June 9th – 11th 2023
The 2023 National Rally will be in beautiful North Devon. We’ll be staying in a lovely hotel in Barnstaple which is convenient for Exmoor, the coast and the many other attractions in the area. We will join the Lyn Valley Classic car show in Lynton and Lynmouth on Sunday.
The Imperial Hotel (www.brend-imperial.co.uk) faces the River Taw and is only a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Barnstaple. It has secure parking and is a very nice hotel. It has 63 rooms of various grades. They’re all very nice. We have reserved all 25 of the hotel’s Standard rooms which are a mix of twin and double rooms. We are hoping that rather more than 25 rooms will be needed. If you wish to book a higher grade room, that’s fine. If you want to make sure you can get a standard room you should book early! You will notice there’s an early bird discount on the standard rooms – but not on the others.
The hotel rate includes dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings and breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings and parking in the hotel car park. Drinks and bar bills are not included.
You can bring a dog. If you do, there’s an extra charge and your room will be in the River Court building as dogs are not allowed in the main hotel building. The River Court adjoins the main hotel and is of the same standard. Your room might be there anyway even if you do not have a dog. The River Court is the building you can see to the left of the flagpole in the picture.
If you want to stay extra days, please make arrangements with the hotel directly. Details are on the booking form.
If you don’t want to stay at the hotel at all but want to join us for dinner on Friday and/or Saturday, please book using the booking form.
We have use of a function room after dinner on Saturday where you can look forward to speeches, the raffle and one or two surprises.
Much of the north coast of Devon is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. We will also be in gear crunching distance of both Exmoor and Dartmoor.
We’ll be based in Barnstaple. Clovelly is 40 minutes away, RHS Rosemoor 30 minutes and Saunton Sands just 25 minutes. I’m not sure if these times allow for being stuck behind a tractor. A lovely drive over Exmoor will get you to the West Somerset Railway which runs from Bishops Lydeard (near Taunton) to Minehead. Closer, but smaller, is the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway at Woody Bay Station. Dartington Crystal is located at Great Torrington, just 25 minutes from Barnstaple. Their new visitor centre is open on Saturdays, but you’ll have to be there on a weekday if you want a factory tour.
Lynton and Lynmouth, the destinations for Sunday are only 40 minutes away.
This is a hilly area. Some hills are very steep, with tight bends. But there are normally less challenging, although longer, alternatives. The Road Book will identify these. Nevertheless, you should make sure your brakes are up to scratch before you set off.
Obviously, this depends on where you are coming from but if you are going to use the M5, you leave at junction 27 and drive 37 miles up the A361. If you have the time, the B3223 over Exmoor is a very nice drive – one of the best in the country. Or you could come along the North coast on the A39 and have a crack at Porlock Hill
Friday 9th June:
The rally starts at 7 pm on Friday. So please aim to arrive and check in at the hotel by 6 pm.
At 7 pm we will have dinner in the hotel’s main restaurant.
Saturday 10th June:
There is so much to see and do in the area surrounding Barnstaple that there will be no single set drive on Saturday. There will be suggested routes in a Road Book and if we can arrange some discounts on local attractions we will. RHS Rosemoor is not far, nor is the National Trust’s Arlington Court so bring your membership cards. If you only have the weekend, you will not see it all and will have to make some choices about where to go on Saturday.
In the evening we will have dinner in the main restaurant at the hotel, after which we will move to a function room for speeches, the raffle and one or two surprises.
Sunday 11th June:
We will check out of the hotel and drive to the Valley of Rocks which is just outside Lynton. Having assembled by about 10.30 am we will drive, in convoy, through Lynton and down the steep hill (eek!) into Lynmouth to join the Lyn Valley Classic. This is a classic car show organized by the Lions club and all proceeds go to charity. They tend to get about 400 cars in a very attractive setting on the seafront. Admission is included in the rally fee. We will have an area reserved for us where the cars will need to stay parked until 4pm. Dogs are welcome.
Lynmouth has shops, pubs and all that you would expect of a small tourist-oriented fishing village. It is connected to Lynton – which has more shops and cafes, by a water-powered funicular railway and a zig-zag footpath. Some of the cars in the show, normally the supercars, will be on display in Lynton but most will be in Lynmouth. We hope the weather will be kind and we may decide to meet by our cars for lunch. However, there is no provision for lunch in the rally fee.
At 4 pm we are free to collect our cars and head home.