Charming. Luxurious. Romantic. These are just some of the words we would use to describe Highcliffe House, a fabulous 5-star B&B in Lynton, Devon.
If you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a special occasion or you simply want to add a little bit of luxury to your escape to the Devonshire countryside, then Highcliffe House might be just the ticket.
Read on for our detailed review following our two-night stay at Highcliffe House in April 2023. We hope you enjoy reading all about this luxury B&B and that you consider booking a stay there.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by the owners of Highcliffe House, so we could experience their B&B firsthand. But as always, all words, photos, musings and random side notes are entirely our own and truthfully reflective of our experience.
About Highcliffe House
Highcliffe House is a luxury 5-star B&B, which overlooks the sister towns of Lynton and Lynmouth in North Devon.
Originally known as “The Rookery”, Highcliffe House was built in around 1880 by a highly regarded Victorian architect and engineer called Bob Jones.
This same architect also built Lynton and Lynmouth’s infamous water-powered Cliff Railway, which is still in operation today and well worth doing during your stay.
Today, Robert Walshe and Richard Robinson own and manage this beautiful Victorian B&B together.
Having travelled extensively around the world together, they’re certainly not strangers when it comes to hotel management and how to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible – as you’ll hopefully see from our review below.
But don’t just take our word for it!
Highcliffe House was also included in TripAdvisor’s “Travellers’ Choice” awards earlier this year (within the “Best of the Best B&B’s category). They came 2nd in the UK and 4th in the world! Pretty cool, huh?
Please note that this B&B is adults-only, so you can enjoy a relaxing break away as a couple. The rooms are also located upstairs so they’re unlikely to be suitable for those with mobility issues.
Psst! You can check prices and availability for this B&B straight away via the links below:
Our Review of Highcliffe House in Lynton, Devon
Check-in is from 4-8 pm so you can either head to Highcliffe House straight from work or do something fun on the way.
Naturally, we chose the latter and spent a few hours exploring Arlington Court, which is just a 20-minute drive away from Highcliffe House. More on this later.
Once you’ve arrived, either Richard or Robert will show you to your room and let you get settled in.
Providing you’ve let the owners know what time you’re planning to arrive in advance, you’ll be treated to a complimentary cream tea on arrival in the drawing room.
We were pleased to see that the scones were warm (fresh from the oven perhaps?), soft and crumbly. Of course, since we’re in Devon you must eat them the Devonshire way (cream first, then jam).
A lovely bonus is that you can enjoy all this while you sit back on their plush sofa with gorgeous sea views – especially if the sun’s shining when you arrive!
Highcliffe House has six guest rooms, which are all individually furnished and decorated. We stayed in “The Cleaves”, which is a spacious and stylish room on the top floor.
A running theme throughout the guest accommodations seems to be designer wallpaper from the likes of Laura Ashley, Sanderson, Ralph Lauren and other notable brands and designers, as well as antique furniture and large statement beds.
For example, we had a Jacobean-style bed in our room, which featured the iconic dark brown carved oak associated with this period. It was also 6-foot wide and the kind of bed you can sink right into. Easily the best night’s sleep we’ve had in a hotel or B&B for a long time.
Another running theme is that each room features artwork from the owners’ globetrotting adventures. At the time of writing, they’ve been to over 120 countries together with many more trips to come I’m sure!
Within your room, you’ll also find an Alexa device, a DAB radio, a tablet and Netflix on the TV. We very much enjoyed these modern touches, as well as the traditional white robes and slippers we found in the wardrobe.
There was even some delicious vanilla fudge (locally sourced) waiting for us beside the bed, which we took with us on our walk to the Valley of Rocks. Food with a spectacular view is always a must!
Speaking of spectacular views, don’t get me started on the stunning sea views we had from one of the windows in our room. The owners had even supplied binoculars for us to use.
As expected, all rooms are ensuite where you’ll find walk-in showers and complimentary toiletries.
Fun Fact: The rooms appear to be named after local landmarks and points of interest – particularly ones with stunning views. A nod to the B&B’s hilltop location, perhaps?
There’s “Hollerday” named after Hollerday Hill, “Countisbury” named after Countisbury Hill, “Summerhouse” named after Summerhouse Hill… you get the idea.
Then there’s the room we stayed in “The Cleaves”, which reflects a local term used to describe the steep wooded valleys you’ll find dotted around Exmoor National Park.
To help make your stay even more comfortable, you’re also free to use the drawing room and sitting room at Highcliffe House at any time.
There’s even a well-stocked bar downstairs where you can order expertly-crafted cocktails, as well as wines and beers.
If you prefer fresh milk for the tea and coffee supplied in your room, then you’ll find some in the refrigerator in the guest lounge downstairs.
As you explore these public rooms, notice the rest of the house features yet more artwork and collectables from the owners’ travels around the world.
So, seeing as Highcliffe House is a B&B, you’re probably wondering what the breakfast is like.
In a word? Exquisite.
Seriously. I don’t usually get so excited about breakfast, but Robert and Richard really know how to serve a sumptuous feast in the morning.
From a traditional English breakfast to freshly baked pastries, Eggs Benedict and even pancakes, you’ll want to make time for this part of your stay.
Scott and I sampled two of the main breakfast choices during our stay: the traditional English breakfast and the pancakes.
While the cooked breakfast featured succulent sausages and thick bacon from an award-winning butcher, as well as award-winning eggs (we both had scrambled), the pancakes were fluffy, stacked high and served with thick bacon and delicious maple syrup.
The owners pride themselves in sourcing many of their ingredients from good quality and award-winning businesses from the local area and the wider UK – and you can really tell!
If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to definitely have the pancakes if you stay here. I wish I could steal the recipe, they were that good!
Alongside your choice of hot breakfast or cereals, Robert and Richard also serve fruit juices, tea and coffee, a freshly made fruit smoothie and even a yoghurt parfait if you have room left at the end.
We tried the parfait on the first day and it was delicious! Safe to say our breakfast kept us going throughout the day, right up to dinnertime. Simply perfect for all the walking and sightseeing we packed into our weekend getaway.
Of course, you can enjoy your breakfast while you admire the same sea views that most of the house has. Unless the misty fog creeps across in the morning, which does happen occasionally.
What we also found interesting was that we noticed the crockery was different on the second day.
Richard told us that he’s an avid collector of fine china. He has 23 complete sets; 15 of which are used during the breakfast service.
So, if you were to stay at Highcliffe House for 15 days, you’d use a different set of plates at breakfast every single day.
It’s the little touches like this that don’t go unnoticed among their guests and that help to set this B&B apart from the rest.
Highcliffe House sits on the edge of the beautiful Exmoor National Park, so while there’s plenty to see and do in and around the local towns of Lynton and Lynmouth, this B&B also makes a great base for venturing further afield – especially for fellow nature lovers.
But while you’re staying at Highcliffe House, you must make time for the 20-minute walk to the stunning Valley of Rocks landmark, which is also home to a herd of wild mountain goats. They just happened to cross our path while we were walking!
The Valley of Rocks also forms part of the South West Coast Path, so you can stretch your walk for a little longer if you like.
Or, you can simply enjoy wandering around the sister towns of Lynton and Lynmouth to look for unique souvenirs, gifts, homewares and more. Don’t forget your fish and chips!
The only downside to this B&B’s location is that there are many narrow roads in Lynton, so you must take note of the owner’s instructions on how to get there.
They recommend driving up Sinai Hill (where the B&B is located) rather than down it so that it’s easier to pass other cars should you come across any. Your drive along this narrow part is also shorter when going up the hill versus down.
During our stay, we didn’t find this to be a problem at all as no other cars were passing us at any time we were driving.
If you’re going to walk into Lynton or Lynmouth (and we highly recommend you do if you’re able), then you’ll have to walk up a very steep hill to the house once you’ve finished sightseeing. But it only takes a couple of minutes!
Of course, being high up a hill means you’ll be rewarded with stunning views across Lynton and the endless sea views we’ve already mentioned. So that certainly makes up for it, am I right?!
Delightful Day Trips From Highcliffe House
Still, as I mentioned, Highcliffe House is in a great location for some incredible day trips in Devon and beyond. Listed below are a few we particularly recommend.
Watersmeet is a delightful place to visit – especially in the spring and summer months – where relaxing riverside strolls, woodland walks and fields of foxgloves await.
Owned and managed by the National Trust, there’s a tearoom at Watersmeet House, which is next to the meeting point of the East Lyn River and Hoar Oak Water. The name “Watersmeet” makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it?
Watersmeet is less than a 10-minute drive from Highcliffe House. Alternatively, you can walk there from Lynmouth in about 2 hours or so if you prefer (following the river upstream).
If you’re going to drive to Watersmeet, then we’d recommend parking at Combe Park (owned by the National Trust) and walking to Watersmeet from there. It takes about 30 minutes or so and makes for a gentle walk following the river.
Otherwise, you have to pay for parking at Watersmeet and traverse a steep hill to get to the tearoom.
Porlock & Porlock Weir
The charming villages of Porlock and Porlock Weir are both within a 30-minute drive of Highcliffe House.
In Porlock, independent boutiques and charming tearooms await while Porlock Weir features a charming harbourfront.
Both are worth a visit if you like wandering around cute villages.
Bossington & Hurlstone Point
Bossington is roughly a 10-minute drive from Porlock (and once again, about 30 minutes from Highcliffe House).
From the National Trust car park in Bossington (members park free), you can join part of the South West Coast Path and take in the views from Hurlstone Point – a stunning viewpoint, which is also home to an abandoned coastguard lookout.
It takes about 20 minutes to reach Hurlstone Point from the car park, so you could easily spend the day visiting Porlock, Porlock Weir and walking to Hurlstone Point if you like.
Dunster & Dunster Castle
This beautiful National Trust property features picturesque estate walks by the side of the River Avill, as well as stunning views across the surrounding landscape from the castle gardens.
The local village of Dunster is also worth a look where yet more charming shops and tearooms await.
Outside of Exmoor National Park, there is still much to see and do. Here are a few of our favourite places, which are all less than an hour’s drive from Highcliffe House.
Arlington Court is another beautiful National Trust property, which is just 20 minutes away from Highcliffe House by car.
Here, you can enjoy a look inside the beautiful Regency Manor House, which dates back to 1823 and step back in time at the Carriage Museum, which is home to a variety of 19th-century carriages and vehicles.
There’s also plenty to see within the grounds at Arlington Court, such as the “Lake Walk”, which is just under 2 miles long.
If you want to see another beautiful seaside resort town and harbourfront during your trip, then Ilfracombe is well worth a visit.
You should be able to drive there from Highcliffe House in under 40 minutes.
Once you arrive, you can enjoy more stunning coastal walks, independent boutiques and even a look at the towering 66-foot-high “Verity” statue, which was created by Damien Hirst.
This is just one of the Devonshire hidden gems, which await you in Ilfracombe!
Woolacombe & Croyde Bay
Alternatively, if you’d rather relax on a sandy beach for the day then Woolacombe and Croyde Bay are two of our favourite beaches in Devon.
You can reach Woolacombe in around 35 minutes from Highcliffe House by car, while Croyde Bay is about 45 minutes away.
And finally, if you really want to get out and about for the day then the infamous village of Clovelly is just over an hour’s drive from Highcliffe House.
Although you have to pay to visit this village, it’s an iconic and popular attraction for a reason!
Here, you can wander along the cobbled streets, which wind down a steep hill towards the harbourfront and a stunning waterfall.
Along the way, be sure to admire the picturesque houses, shops and tearooms nestled into the 400-foot-high cliff.
You can even go inside an old Fisherman’s Cottage to see what it would’ve been like to live there in the 1930s.
Final Thoughts On Our Stay At Highcliffe House
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the Highcliffe House B&B in Lynton, Devon and our experience staying there.
Once again, we’d like to thank Robert and Richard for allowing us to experience their charming B&B first-hand.
We can now completely understand why so many of the guests staying there at the time we did had actually stayed there before!