A delightful Bed & Breakfast at the gateway to the Valley of Rocks on the rugged North Devon coast
What inspired you to start running Longmead House in Lynton, North Devon?
Melanie and I had got to the stage in our lives where we needed to face a new challenge and do something different in a great part of the world. Nick was working and commuting long hours in the City in London and Melanie was working in management in Social Care. Both of us felt that we had had enough of the long commutes and work pressures that these positions held and wanted to spend more time together.
We considered our skills, attributes and passions and found ourselves on the path to buying our own Bed and Breakfast business. We strongly felt we we could utilise the skills we both had learnt over our working lives and more importantly ensure we had a good work life balance moving into these new roles as business owners and Bed and Breakfast hosts.
We found ourselves searching across Devon for a suitable business in a local community that we would enjoy living in all year round. We found the unique location of Lynton & Lynmouth as, well as the history décor and layout of Longmead House fitted the bill and ticked all the boxes. We were ready for the challenges of being our own bosses and making a new life as well as a new friends whilst building a successful business together.
Melanie, who has a passion for producing great food, she was always making homemade goodies to take into her work colleagues and can now cook to order everyday for our guests. We are both sociable people who always enjoy meeting people and being hosts, making them feel at home and helping them enjoy a very well-earned break. Running Longmead House brings all these things together.
What makes Longmead House so special?
Longmead House is a very special place having been built by Bob Jones (the contractor who built the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway). We have history within our walls, in the shape of our fireplace in our guest lounge which was once the centrepiece of the long, lost Hollerday House, home of Sir George Newnes.
In its time it has been a hotel and it has had several changes of owners and uses. We know for a fact that the Dining room and Guest Lounge have traded places, as the door to what is now our guest lounge still bears the ‘Dining Room’ brass label. The guest lounge now has a wood burning stove, where guests can warm themselves on a chilly night and indulge in a drink from our bar. We could tell early on that Longmead has been ‘loved’ and cared for by all of its previous owners and has charm and history which many of its visitors have appreciated. We aim to continue as custodians of such a grand house with the history, heritage and tradition that surrounds this Victorian building.
Our rooms are individual and decorated in keeping with the building. This year, as part of a dedicated effort to support the local ‘Lyn Climate Change‘ organisation, we have ‘upcycled’ some of the furniture to bring back some freshness and colour into a couple of the bedrooms. We aim to run Longmead with a focus on Recycle, Reuse and Reduce Waste in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. We have discarded single use water bottles and introduced both glass bottles for water and fresh milk in all the rooms .We are pleased and privileged to call Longmead House our home and love sharing this with our guests who we hope also feel they can relax and enjoy being here.
We have a level and spacious car park which makes it easy for our guests to access Longmead House. We are well situated between the village, the Valley of Rocks and opposite Hollerday Hill, which makes it easy for guest to leave their car safely in the car park for the duration of their stay.
Our large garden is a great place to spend a summers evening with a drink from our bar. Best of all, our breakfasts are very special and second to none, using local produce and homemade items such as granola, bread, marmalade, and jams. Many of our guests have complimented Melanie on her breakfast and homemade cake offerings. It’s a good job that people can walk off the calories!
“Our rooms are individual and decorated in keeping with the building. Best of all, our breakfasts are very special and second to none, using local produce and homemade items such as granola, bread, and marmalade, and jams.”
What do enjoy most about being a B&B owner?
We love greeting new guests for the first time, making them welcome, with tea/ coffee and home-made cakes, and providing guidance and help to them about how to make the best use of their time in Lynton & Lynmouth. We enjoy the flexibility that we now have with being in charge of our time to make the most of enjoying life.
You will often find us visiting Lynton Cinema watching the most recent film releases in the small intimate venue that we can walk to within 5 minutes. Over the last 12 months we have explored some of the attractions, sights, walks and activities in the areas that are so accessible. So we can speak with genuine enthusiasm and share our experiences about these , with our guests. These activities have Included, going off road ATV driving, pony trek riding over the moors, taking a Jeep Safari tour around Exmoor, learning about the geography, history, flora and fauna of the Exmoor National Park and the surrounding area. When we can take a couple of hours off on a sunny day, we can enjoy many short walks locally such as from Hunters Inn to Heddons Gate, or from Webbers Post up to Dunkery Beacon keeping fit and healthy outdoors.
We have taken trips on Steam Trains both at Woody Bay and on the West Somerset Railway between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard seeing a different angle of both North Devon and West Somerset countryside.
We are very pleased to welcome many of our guests back to Longmead. We always remember that each of our guests is an individual and they are the most important people. It is lovely to hear the stories that our returning guests have shared with us, many of them have been ‘holidaying’ and visiting the area with their families for over twenty years. It is great to realise that we will now be contributing to some of these people and those that are new to the area, in making new memories for them.
What are your favourite things to do in Lynton & Lynmouth?
There are many great things to do in Lynton and Lynmouth and the surrounding area. We enjoy the ever-changing landscape of Exmoor. As we are within half a mile, we often walk into the Valley of Rocks where the habits of the goats fascinate us. Nick is a keen photographer and often snaps the spectacular sunsets, coastal and moorland scenery and views that we are surrounded by. A drive through the spectacular Exmoor scenery to Exford is always interesting, (especially in our Classic car).
As Melanie enjoys singing, she has joined the local choir The Lyntones and has been a regular at the local ‘gigs’ that the choir has supported. Despite being a small community there are many things to do, from taking a class at the local gym , browsing through the shelves of books in the library or community bookshop or walking up Hollerday Hill and sitting on the bench looking out to the Bristol Channel to take a quiet moment for relaxation and meditation surrounded by the sounds of the wind and the Valley below.
The more we come to know the area, the more we appreciate the diversity and changes of the landscape around us. The coastline is dramatic and a view of the sea is always refreshing. We always appreciate refreshments in the area’s great tea shops, pubs and restaurants at any time of the day. From the Giant Scones in the Cliff Top Café or a Turmeric Latte in the Quirky Charlie Fridays to the best ever Homemade Pies from the Pie Shack we have enjoyed tasting some lovely local and home-made fare that surrounds us here in Lynton.