During our stay at Butlins Minehead, we got out and about to explore some more of Devon. A frankly hair-raising drive through the Exmoor National Park lead us to Lynton and Lynmouth: twin villages linked by an incredible water-powered funicular. This is the highest and the steepest totally water powered railway in the world: and steep really doesn’t do justice to just how vertical this journey is!
The railway opened at 10am, and knowing how busy it gets during the summer season, we arrived at 9.30am: and we were at the front of the queue (yay!). Mike ran to fetch breakfast pasties for everyone to eat, and kill the time, which flew by with a mouth full of hot flaky pastry! The journey itself only took a few minutes, but the views were worth waiting for.
Our tickets cost: £3.00 for adults and £2.00 for children aged between 4-13 years old.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, they are only selling single tickets at the moment. Face masks were required on the railway, and the numbers of passengers on each carriage were restricted too. The staff were friendly, and chatted with the kids about how the funicular worked, whilst we waited for it to arrive.
We could have re-joined the queue and made the same journey back down the cliff, but we decided to walk so that we could enjoy the shops in the village and the views across the cliffs. We found a sweet shop and bought a big bag of clotted cream fudge (sustenance for the journey!) and promised the reward of an ice cream for making it back to the village below.
During our wander around the village we also explored a couple of interiors shops, a hand dyed wool shop, and an art gallery: lovely independent shops that we’re just the sort of thing I love, but that would have been infinitely more enjoyable without small children following behind (who are not big fans of shopping!) Once we were back in Lynmouth we did find a lovely wooden toy shop, and they were only too happy to go in there though!
We decided to follow the crowds and start our descent: And the walk was steep! Steeper than I expected, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with mobility issues because as well as being steep many of the paths on the descent were incredibly narrow too. We passed a couple of very sweaty families who had decided to walk to the top and ride the funicular back down the bottom to beat the long queues that had formed: they looked to be regretting it! That option is not for the faint hearted: I don’t think I would have managed it.
The views made every step worth it! We chose this day out on a whim, having found a brochure in a service station on our journey to Butlins: and we are so glad we did. It was a ‘gentle kind of fun’ but it felt like we were seeing a (albeit picturesque and idealised) glimpse of what Devon is really like away from the big seaside resorts.
Our Journey in Brief:
We parked in Lynmouth (The Esplanade, Lynmouth, EX35 6EQ) and bought our tickets from the Lynmouth station. We then rode the funicular to Lynton, before walking back down again. With stops for photos and snacks, this walk took just under an hour. I would suggest allowing half a day for this trip if you’re travelling with small children, and longer if you’re not and want to enjoy the shops! We arrived in time for a late breakfast, and get back in the car to head home after lunch.
On a sunny day, you could make a day of it and spend the afternoon playing on the pebble beach: sadly it rained for the duration of our stay.