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Our History

The Royal Oak Inn at Withypool is steeped in history. For centuries, people have been coming here to stay and to enjoy the delights of our 18th-century Inn here on Exmoor.

President Eisenhower stayed at The Royal Oak

We were very fortunate to have the 34th U.S. President – Dwight D. Eisenhower stay at The Royal Oak. He sent a letter to say thank you in November 1944 and was thought to have planned the D Day landings while staying here. He enjoyed riding on Exmoor and stayed in our suite at the top with views out over the beautiful countryside.

Letter from Eisenhower



R.D. Blackmore inspired by the 18-century Inn

One of the most famous English novelists – R.D. Blackmore was said to have written part of Lorna Doone, published in 1869, from the comfort of the Inn’s Bar.




Artist Alfred Munnings had a studio in the loft

Considered one of England’s finest artists, Alfred Munnings, specialised in the portraits of Horses and had a studio in the loft of the brilliant Exmoor Inn where he became most inspired to produce his works of art.




Owner inspires rise of Bond character

In the 1930s, the Exmoor Inn was owned by Gwladys and Maxwell Knight, a spy-ring leader and radio broadcaster upon whom Ian Fleming based the character of James Bond’s boss, M. During World War II

Covid-19 Update

In light of the latest government restrictions when you visit, there will be a few more changes again. Regrettably, we're currently not accepting bookings from people who are from areas where local lockdowns or restrictions have been enforced.

  • 1. You must wear a mask at all times except when seated at your table. This includes going to & from the toilet and moving around the premise. Masks are available to purchase if you forget your own.
  • 2. It will continue to be table service only. Staff will be waiting on tables and taking orders. Please do not approach the bar when you have been seated.
  • 3. No more than 6 people at a table. Please do not move tables and chairs as these have been placed to comply with distance rules.
  • 4. We will be open from Midday until 10pm. Food will be available from Midday until 8pm. Last orders for drinks will be 9.30pm.
  • 5. All customers need to be off of the premise by 10pm. Residents can take any drinks to their rooms if ordered before 9.30pm
  • 6. As we have always done, tables will be sanitised between use and the premise checked/cleaned throughout the day.
  • 7. Please download the NHS Track & Trace App. Our QR posters will be on display throughout the premise for you to scan. If you do not have a smart phone, waiting staff will take your details before taking your order.

Please bear with us during this time & the changes that are being made. We thank you all for your support & custom and look forward to seeing you all soon. Tracey, Family & Team.


Covid-19 safety