My partner and I both work full time and don’t have the time frame allowed for a long break. Anyone in this position knows that a long weekend staycation is the perfect answer to this. We enjoyed a stay at Bovey Castle in Devon.
Arriving at Bovey Castle is like stepping back in time. Set in Dartmoor National Park the Devonshire countryside unfurls to enfold you as you drive through the gates via the rolling lushness of the golf course.
Parking your car, your keys are surrendered to reception, it feels symbolic, as if you are also handing them the cares and concerns of the daily grind at the same time. Your luggage is carried in by salubrious young chaps wearing gaiters and tweeds which reminded me of Upstairs Downstairs, or more recently Downton Abbey. It’s a service performed with a smile and a bit of banter, rather than humouring you by going through the motions.
We enjoyed a stroll around the perfectly tended croquet lawns and felt immediately refreshed and revived by the stately air of the place and the gentle summer sun. Afternoon tea in the lounge followed and we then toured the hotel taking in the beautiful rooms and the shiny, happy staff.
The rooms are enormous with great views of the surrounding countryside and we experienced perfect sleep in a massive bed helped by black-out blinds and a total lack of any 21st century road noise.
The food and service was great but what makes a stay here so special is the place itself. It was bought by W.H. Smith from the Earl of Devon and subsequently owned by the Great Western Railway and it appears that not much has changed inside since that heady Edwardian era. It is a symphony of oak panelling, marble bathrooms and polished brass which would be much appreciated by lovers of art nouveau and general luxury.
There is a rather glamorous pool and spa with fluffy towels and gorgeous smelling toiletries but what really made our day was the fudge they bring to your door at 6pm when they turn down the beds, simple souls that we are! There are falconry displays every morning which were entertaining for adults and any children (of which there were many) who were lucky enough to be included in what appeared to be multi-generational family holidays.
The closest town for an outing was Mortonhampstead but we found Chagford had a more to offer including the Dairy which sold delicious home made ice cream. It is located next door to a great ladies wear shop, enjoying our ice creams on the bench in the square allowed me the chance to gaze at the window display and happily I was able to convince my partner that YES I did need another white linen shirt to add to my collection.