Delve into Route 12, where Lauren Heath travels the world via Thai, Italian and quintessentially British cuisine from Lynton to Watchet

As North Devon meanders into West Somerset, enjoy some unique options available to rest your weary legs and reward your hungry tummy amidst the rugged edges of Exmoor.

Can you imagine driving the country lanes in the middle of North Devon and discovering authentic Thai cuisine in the quaint pale green Cottage Inn. Yep you heard right, that’s what Nartnapa Thai at The Cottage Inn, Lynton offers. Thailand-born Nartnapa, who gained her professional chef training after university and even cooked on tv, returned to the UK with her husband and now dishes up a taste of Thailand for those visiting Lynton.  With cosy pub vibes and a few riverside garden seats, this quaint property has a unique offering.

Have an urge for sumptuous scones, with an interesting twist? The Lynmouth Bay Café should be on your i-tea-nerary. Serving homemade quiches, soups, ploughman’s, their cream tea offering includes sweet and savoury options, with chilli or whortleberry jam to name a few and their changeable limited editions cream teas such as warmed ginger scone, clotted cream and homemade lemon curd. Heading out on a the glorious Watersmeet walk? They can supply you with a takeaway picnic or packed lunch made with their home-made cakes scones and sandwiches.

For the healthy-minded and those with vegetarian and vegan lunch desires, head to Toucan Wholefoods shop and café in Minehead. A wholefoods store downstairs, and dog friendly café upstairs, you can fill your tummy and your car boot with delicious and nutritious goodies.

Fancy subtle Mediterranean and middle eastern vibes overlooking Watchet harbour, then East Quay Kitchen is the place to be. Based in a quirky mix of architecturally interesting buildings and containers as part of a social enterprise site, they serve breakfast, lunch and evening platters with sustainability and low waste in mind and cater for plant-based diners too. Delicious dishes that change with the seasons include Turkish eggs, a feta and watermelon panna cotta with Greek salad or warm smoked mackerel with Sardinian fregola.

A fan of MasterChef? Want to meet one of the critics? Well known food writer, restaurant critic, broadcaster and MasterChef guest critic William Sitwell hosts Supper Clubs at his family home on the edge of Exmoor. A small detour off the route, The Sitwell Supper Club at Rooks Nest, Somerset sees some of the finest chefs visiting and curating epic dining events for their those who manage to grab a ticket. Hosted by William himself, along with drinks selected by him (he is founder of the world’s smallest wine store), events have included some of London’s finest with Italian feasts, Mexican fiestas and even an Indian banquet with chef Atul Kochhar.

For a rural getaway on this wonderful bit of coastline, here are a trio of options from B&B and self-catering, delightful dining for residents only or a variety of non-resident nibbling options.

Say ciao to Italian influenced ingestion on the edge of Exmoor where residents of boutique Locanda on the Weir can enjoy Naples-born chef proprietor’s passion for fresh, locally sourced cuisine and Italian wines. Overlooking the 15th Century harbour at Porlock Weir, the four rooms enjoy delightful sea views across Porlock Bay. Dining consists of a four-course seasonal menu of dishes such as cherry wood smoked lamb cutlets with fennel pollen and pomme puree or burrata, aged tomato and sherry emulsion.

For countryside charm, Bossington Hall, Porlock is a luxury mansion B&B with six rooms who encourage dining out at local venues. Built in 1911, this beautiful stone building with 1920’s interior styling has all the right mod cons including Wi-Fi and an EV charge point. You can borrow the binoculars, don your wellies, burn some energy on the oldest squash court in England, and even bring your pooch. Prefer a larger private space? Then book their self-catering ground floor apartment, which has also been tastefully and thoughtfully designed for guests needing accessible accommodation.

Dunster Village is one of the best kept and most intact medieval villages in England, and whether you visit for a drink, dish or overnight dreaming, make your destination the Luttrell Arms. A dog friendly hotel with beautiful beer garden for alfresco weather and castle views, cosy corners and fireside feasting for chillier times. With dining for non-residents available, it also has plenty of lovely walks on its doorstep for those with or without a furry friend.

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