Characterful Old Harbour And West Somerset Railway
Butlins and Amusement Arcades
Give It A Wide Berth Midsummer
Having two cracking pubs in the harbour area is reason enough to wander down that way and the harbour itself is well worth the visit too. In its heyday Minehead was quite an important port (a couple of hundred years ago) and in more recent times (a hundred years ago when it had a proper pier) was a major day-trippers destination from South Wales,...more
I suppose it must have been the British weather that encouraged the construction of amusement arcades at the popular seaside resorts - somewhere to shelter en masse and whilst you're at it get fleeced by the gaming and entertainment machines.But each to his/her own and here in Minehead you'll find a couple of suitable light-flashing, disco-booming...more
Although Minehead isn't one of my favourite places in mid-summer it does have a good beach. This curves for about a mile and is mostly sandy with patches of shale and shingle. It is though tide-dependent as the tidal range here, as with the whole coastline of the Bristol Channel is the second largest in the World - high tides can occasionally...more
It had been a bit of a coin toss whether I was going to have lunch at the Old Ship Aground or the Quay Inn and the deciding factor had been that the Old Ship's outside tables had been fully occupied at the time I was ready to eat.The Old Ship is another characterful, family-run, pub and is located next to the harbour which on a stunning April...more
The railway first arrived in this neck of the woods in 1862 with the completion of the goods line linking Taunton to Watchet for the transportation of iron ore to Watchet harbour to be shipped across the Bristol Channel to Ebbw Vale in South Wales for smelting. It wasn't until 1874 that the line was extended to Minehead which contributed majorly to...more
West Somerset RailroadA nice Steamtrain trip from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and back. The total duration is 1.15 mins. I advice you to take the WSR Rover Ticket, which allows you to leave the train and board the train on any of the 10 stations along the way.WSR Rover ticket is £ 10.50 a person.5-15 years travel at half fare and under 5's are...more
This was my first stay at Butlins and you can see the white tenty thing (known as the Skyline...more
Bryan and Sarah are the warmest, friendliest people you will ever meet. They helped so much on...more
Blue Anchor Bay, Minehead, Somerset TA24
Good for: Couples
In this modern era of pubco clones it's always a pleasure to find a prime-sited family-run establishment and the moment you walk through the front door of the Quay you know this is one such. The flagstoned corridor leads past a proper public bar with simple wood furnishings and even barstools. The carpeted restaurant area is a bit more formal but...more
Although titleing itself as a "restaurant" this is much more what I'd describe as a cafe seving simple food quickly, totally informally and is open daytimes only. It is though quite a smart cafe; spacious, well-lit and scrupulously clean. The location is on the main drag where it occupies the whole of the first floor of the block at the start of...more
The dining room at Butlins is very big with a huge amount of choice. The trays are blue and you just 'help yourself'. There's a choice of toast in the mornings followed by an English (or as many Englishe's as you want!), orange juice or tea. We din't bother with dinner as we were too stuffed from the breakfast!Breakfast is at 9.30am while the...more
Butlins holiday camp (or resort as it seems to now be styling itself) offers its guests a wide variety of entertainments, dining and social opportunities and all at very reasonable prices - obviously having gotten them in they want to keep them and get them to spend.
This has an advantage for non-Butlins visitors in that the local places have to firstly keep their prices down and secondly offer something a bit different in order to compete.
Cafe Mambo does just that.
Mambo is located in the characterful Queen's Hall which was built in 1914 as a theatre and cinema venue and has, to my mind, made imaginative use of the many original features of the building. On stage, where the cinema screen is located, now has a multi media screen which is used for big screen sports events, cinema presentations and also, when neither of these are happening, is an amazing 27ftwide virtual bowling alley.
That has to be seen to be believed - it's a sort of gigantic arcade game where you "bowl" (without a ball) at the pins on the screen. A webcam picks up your movements whilst a computer processes them into a realtime simulation as if you actually had sent a ball down the alley. It is PDC!!
The location is perfect for the beach and within minutes of the town centre, the West Somerset Railway, the bus stop and even for Butlins, plus the view from the upstairs terrace looks out over the Bristol Channel - on a clear day you can see South Wales.
During the day this a chill cafe bar with good eats at reasonable prices (Thai, grills and snacky stuff) which it continues into the evening. There's freebie WiFi with a good connection, the local-ish Bays brewery provides a decent (and cheapish) pint and staff are chatty and attentive.
In the evenings there's usually something interesting - live music, cinema presentations, open mike nights, quiz nights, DJ's, party nights and almost always just people out to enjoy themselves.
But avoid it like the plague in mid-summer!!
Second website is the Theatre Trust - If there's a search box the ID is 233.
Dress Code: No specific code but a little decorum from males is useful - women are actively encouraged to dress skimpily (well, by me anyway ;-))
The Quantock Motor Services bus 300 runs from Ilfracombe into Lynmouth and on to Minehead and vica versa with a fairly regular summer schedule. The Minehead to and from Lynmouth route is a particularly stunning journey following the coast for most of the way in an open-topped double decker.
Leaving Lynmouth the bus follows the coast road up Countisbury Hill then across the northern coast of Exmoor passing through Porlock with its famous Hill (1-in-4 gradient!) and then on to Minehead through the lush rolling hilltop scenery of Exmoor with a journey time of about an hour.
Travelling on the upper deck, which has both an enclosed section and an open one, provides for superb scenery, both seaward and landward but do be aware that this bus does rattle a bit and that standing on the open upper deck is not recommended due to overhanging branches.
This is another remnant bookshop on the main drag. Here they stock quite a wide range of publishers' overuns from contemporary fiction to classics, the usual glossy cookbooks and also some interesting non-fiction stuff.You never know what they are going to have and so no visit to Minehead is complete without dropping in to see.more
With its trestle tables I think this may have been just a temporary set up for the season job but it sure came in useful. I like to mix my rerading with escapism and heavy duty stuff and here the "Book Sale" ideally suited the former.Can't remember what I picked up but the three books I bought lasted me a goodly amount of my summer evenings whilst...more
44 Reviews and Opinions
Minehead has a full-time lifeboat station, manned during the day, just down from the harbour. There are two inshore boats, the RIB Atlantic 85 and a smaller inflatable D class. Most of their work involves small vessels in trouble and individuals who get caught out onshore by the tides. They also provide safety coverage at local marine events such...more
As with most similar places around the Southwest Minehead has a strategically located Tourist Information Centre. Here friendly local staff can advise on and assist with accommodation, provide public transport information, suggest things to do and much more. There's plenty of freebie leaflets plus guides and maps for sale and they also act as...more
Minehead is the Somerset start point of the 624 mile South West Coastal Path which terminates at Poole in Dorset. This is the UK's longest continuous footpath and was originally created by Customs officers to patrol the otherwise almost inaccessible parts of the coastline used by smugglers.The SWCP is unargueably the most challenging footpath in...more