Kentisbury Grange is a beautiful quintessentially English country hotel, set in a restored Victorian manor house, surrounded by well-kept gardens and the gorgeous North Devon countryside, it is a lovely setting for a romantic weekend away. Originally built in 1894, this Grade II listed building and former gentleman’s residence retained its architectural charm and character while the interior gained a few modern touches during its refurbishment. This award winning boutique hotel together with its excellent restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines is a wonderful place to relax and unwind.
We made our way to Kentisbury Grange on a Friday afternoon just after lunch to escape London for a long weekend in the countryside. The drive took a little longer than expected due to traffic but we immediately calmed down once we were surrounded by the gorgeous Devon countryside. A tree lined path led up to the hotel where we were warmly greeted by Johnny, the weekend concierge, who helped us with our luggage and settling in.
The first thing we noticed when we walked around the estate was a sense of space with manicured gardens complementing the surrounding landscape beautifully.
A few ponds are dotted around the estate from cute lily ponds to a pond that is home to a number of geese and duck families with their young, as well as a couple of shy rabbits that we spotted on our stroll around the grounds.
We stayed in the Kentisbury Suite which was tastefully appointed in a calming colour scheme of cream white & blue, velvet & cashmere textures, a comfortable chaise longue as well as a very spacious en-suite bathroom featuring a roll-top bath. Handwritten notes and homemade macarons by the pastry chef added personal charm and a cold bottle of champagne was the perfect start to our 6-course meal that we enjoyed at their restaurant ‘The Coach House‘ which is only a short walk from the main house.
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Whilst the rooms are contemporary in style, antique artworks, artisan furniture, and enormous stained-glass windows lend a more traditional feel to the communal areas with interior designer Karen Gray successfully combining modern accents with the traditional.
Breakfast is served at The Coach House including a continental breakfast buffet with fresh milk, cereals, juices, yoghurts, warm pastries as well as options from the a la carte breakfast menu for cooked breakfasts and delicious porridge.
There are also self-catering bungalows available on the estate, overlooking the ponds or gardens.
Kentisbury Grange, nestled on the edge of Exmoor National Park, is the ideal base from which to explore the nature of North Devon with its dramatic cliffs, sandy beaches, coastal paths, and medieval towns.
The village of Lynmouth with its cute little shops, harbour and cliff railway (the steepest railway in the world when it was first built) is just one of the many attractive Devon towns and villages. We discovered the area mainly by car as it was raining most of the day – it would have been lovely to be able to explore more on foot.
The deep-cut wooded valleys behind Lynmouth were spectacular to drive through on our way to Watersmeet House, a national trust property, built in a narrow valley where the East Lyn River and Hoar Oak water meet.
Our next stop was Mortehoe, once a base for smugglers and wreckers it is nicely located behind Morte Point with beautiful views over the coastline.
The sandy beaches at Woolacombe, Saunton Sands (picture above) and Croyde Bay are all within easy reach as well which are very popular with surfers.
Arlington Court with its pleasure grounds, formal lawns, Victorian Garden and display of flowers was certainly worth a visit as well and only a 10-minute drive from Kentisbury Grange. The elegant Regency house which is open to visitors throughout the day was once home to the Chichester Family – Arlington is also home to the National Trust Carriage Museum, housed in the original stable blog it displays a range of Regency and Victorian carriages.