Famous Visitors

Sir George Newnes

Moved to Lynton and played a very major part in the development of the town.

R.D. Blackmore

One of the most famous English novelists of the second half of the nineteenth century, and author of 'Lorna Doone', which was based on the locality.

C.S. Lewis

The novelist, especially famed for writing 'The Chronicals of Narnia', visited Lynton in 1925 walking from Brendon.

He purchased a copy of Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor for his companion and they lunched at the Cottage Hotel. "The view from the balcony was beyond everything I have seen - Straight ahead and across the gorge, the hillside rose hundreds of feet above us into a cap of well shaped rock. Behind that the Lyn valley opened out in long perspective of winding water and many coloured woods, heather and grass. To the left was the bay, not deeply blue but of a strangely pure clear colour and beyond it a line of surf between the water and the cliffs which fell away East and North."

J.M. Barrie

The writer of the famous story Peter Pan got inspiration from the area including the nearby River Oare and the Doone Valley, where they stayed as a family with their five boys for summer holidays.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

English poet. 1792-1822

Shelley moved in 1812, with his friends, to Lynmouth. He worked on his poem Queen Mab, and continued to work on radical leaflets. He rowed out into Lynmouth bay and sent messages in bottles and on boats made by the group. These messages were also dispatched suspended from fire balloons from the hill top as night fell. Shelley was inspired to write these lines:

"Bright ball of flame that through the gloom of even
Silently takest thine ætherial way,
And with surpassing glory dimm'st each ray
Twinkling amid the blue depths of Heaven."

Their servant Dan was sent to hand out leaflets Barnstaple, however he got arrested and received six months in prison. Shelley ended up paying fifteen shillings a week to make his stay in prison more comfortable, having been unable to secure his release. Shelley also got into more trouble, but was kindly bailed out by his landlady who organised a collection amongst neighbours. Mrs Hooper's Lodgings where the group stayed still exists in Lynmouth, and is now known as Shelley's Hotel.

Wordsworth & Coleridge

English poets Coleridge and Wordsworths fell in love with the Lynton area and even thought of settling there. Coleridge wrote to a friend: "We will go on a roam to Linton and Linmouth, which if thou camest in May will be in all their pride of woods and waterfalls, not to speak of the august cliffs, and the green ocean, and the Vast Valley of Stones all of which live disdainful of the seasonsor accept new honours only from the winter's snow."

Henry James

The american writer visited in 1872 and stayed at the Castle Hotel.

A spot consecrated to supreme repose. Perched on the side of one of the great mountain cliffs with which this coast is adorned, and on the edge of a lovely gorge through which a broad hill-torrent foams and tumbles. A capital centre for excursions. Of his strolls in the Valley of Rocks he wrote: None is more beautiful than a simple walk along the running face of the cliffs to a singular rocky eminence whose curious abutments and pinnacles of stone have caused it be named the Castle

Bertrand Russell, Cyril Joad, John Strachey and Miles Malleson.

These notable figures in society came to visit in Christmas 1926 (Russell had visited earlier with his second wife Dora in 1924.) They stayed in Lynton, probably at the then Lee Abbey Hotel (now Lee Abbey).

Thomas Gainsborough

English painter.1727-1788

Lynmouth was described by Thomas Gainsborough, who honeymooned there with his bride Margaret Burr, as "the most delightful place for a landscape painter this country can boast".

Robert Southey

English romantic poet. 1774-1843

Southey traveled to Lynton in 1799, journeying along what is now the A39 via Porlock, and staying at one of Lynton's Inns - likely the Crown of Globe.

Southey's praise of Lynton and Lynmouth at the expense of some other places in the area was used widely as publicity for the developing tourism industry. His likening of the area to Switzerland earned it the title 'The English Switzerland' and sparked off a fashion for building in a Swiss style. The towns often being referred to as 'England's Little Switzerland' can be attributed to Southey - rather than Shelley, who is often wrongly given credit for this.

Southey's journal writings about Lynton & Lynmouth are fascinating to read to this day.

Elkie Brooks

A resident on the edge of Lynton for several years, more recently moved away although still based in Devon.

Henry Williamson

Famed for writing the popular novel 'Tarka The Otter', Henry Williamson lived for some time in the locality and drew much inspiration for his writings from the area.