A cozy quintessential Devonshire minimoon getaway
We love to hear how much our readers like to travel and we know first hand how overwhelming organising your honeymoon can be, and let's face it, these days it isn't usually traditionally left to the husband to arrange now is it?! We super-organised women usually have a detailed idea of where we want to go and it may or may not involve a 3 week pilgrimage to Europe complete with English countryside manor, tweed jackets, Hunter boots and a Spaniel at our feet. No? Just me?
Our drive down the quaint (and often dangerous if there is another fast car coming your way and you're still getting used to driving on the left) roads towards Kentisbury Grange in Devon had us ooh-ing and ahh-ing as we passed rolling hills and thousands of sheep. Bare Oak trees and the leftovers of a previous snowfall told us it was Winter but the increasing temperatures reminded us Spring was on it's way, so we'd packed our best overnight bag with layers, hats and white jeans - ready for every weather type.
Dressed with large wooden dogs, Kentisbury Grange's imposing large wooden door just reminds you that this building is indeed Victorian heritage at it's best. The inside however has thankfully been updated to luxury standards and it has all the comforts of a home away from home (if you have a wealthy Uncle who owns a property in the English countryside).
We checked into our indulgent suite and whilst I planned ahead of a long lie in the clawfoot tub and lounging in the obligatory robe until someone forced me to check out the next day, we explored the grounds whilst the weather held out. The natural springs from nearby Exmoor pour into the ponds next to a sweet pagoda in which you can be married. Even if you're already wed, grab a bottle of champagne from your room and two glasses and head to this gazebo as the sunsets for a toast to the future (hopefully a future of more getaways!).
We admired the newly built Cottage Suites (opening in April) nearby and made a mental note to revisit these Grand Design-style self contained bungalows. Dinner fast approached and the Coach House (by Michael Caines) did not disappoint. Starting with a champagne cocktail and meandering through the 6 course tasting menu, we we're blown away each time by the talent of Head Chef James. We're both still dreaming of the Venison/Chocolate/Stilton dish.
Our lazy morning the next day was enhanced by the outstanding breakfast of all breakfasts (pretty sure we ate another 6 courses). Dorset muesli's, fresh eggs any way you like them, bread baked that morning in the kitchen and an endless array of teas, juices, preserves, cereals, and manly breakfasts that were fried, baked and sauteed. On these well fed, lazy mornings, we wonder why we don't live in the countryside and do this every day. But then we're reminded that we have a one year old at home and that diet would fast create an unforgiving waistline...
If you're planning your European honeymoon, make Kentisbury Grange a part of your English trip - and be sure to invite us too...