Bovey Castle, Devon

by Fiona Raisbeck

Bovey Castle, Dartmoor National Park, Devon Bovey Castle

If you’re looking for a country break of pure escapism in luxury surroundings set in picturesque rolling green hills with fine dining, pampering options and a plethora of activities to get stuck into to boot, then this is for you.

Bovey Castle is a five-star hotel and country house estate nestled in the idyllic lush green hills of Dartmoor National Park in Devon that offers a quintessentially English stay.

As you travel the winding roads and finally emerge through the castle’s gothic gates, you’re struck by how such a grand and majestic building could be so well hidden. But it is, as it perches atop a hill surrounded by a small clearing of gardens and a golf course amongst the vast Devon moorland.

Originally built in 1907 as a stylish manor house retreat for the heir to the WH Smith family fortune, Bovey Castle was used as a home for recovering World War I soldiers and as a military hospital before becoming a stylish hotel in 1946.

It was most recently renovated by English hospitality entrepreneur, Peter de Savary (he of Skibo Castle fame – the Scottish highlands hotel where Madonna married film director Guy Ritchie in 2000), who has worked his magic to create a luxury haven in rural Devon.



The country house hotel boasts a total of 64 rooms and suites ranging from a single room for lone guests right through to the sumptuous grand suites – all blending contemporary design, such as flatscreen TVs and modern wallpaper prints, with more traditional features, such as homely sofas, comfortable beds, Persian rugs, classic wooden desks and table lamps.

The bathrooms fuse modern living with traditional charm too, with country cottage-style baths and sinks, power showers and heated towel rails all featuring heavily.

Elsewhere in the hotel, there are plenty of communal rooms to explore and relax in, including the cosy Oak Room bar with its traditional wood panelled walls, leather armchairs and roaring open fires where you can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail or just spend an afternoon sampling the fine array of whiskies.



For food there’s a choice of two restaurants: the Edwardian Grill and the Castle Bistro. The former offers a fine dining experience in a large grand Art Deco-style room – think hand-painted Chinoiseries walls and gothic candlesticks – where you can sample the likes of fresh sea bass and smoked eel, roast tenderloin of pork and beef wellington from a menu jam-packed with British classics. But if you fancy something more relaxed, there’s the option of the Bistro, which serves hearty sandwiches, burgers, and fish and chips, to name a few, in a less formal atmosphere.

A scrumptious breakfast is served in your choice of restaurant – either leisurely breakfasting in the elegant Edwardian Grill or cafe-style in the Bistro – with afternoon cream tea also on the menu, served in the bar during the winter months and in the sunshine on the terrace when it’s warmer.



As well as the rooms in the main house, there are 14 self-catering lodges in the grounds, each with three en-suite bedrooms, fully fitted kitchens, a dining room and lounge with views overlooking the lakes and gardens.

If you fancy a spot of pampering during your stay at Bovey Castle, you’re in luck, because the estate also boasts a brilliant Elemis spa with six treatment rooms offering everything from massages and manicures to facials and make-up application. There’s also an indoor pool, steam room, sauna and gym to unwind in.



And for the boys? Well, where do we start. The sporting estate’s grounds are a playground for outdoor enthusiasts who love getting stuck into activities and country pursuits such as archery, rifle shooting, tennis and falconry experiences. And then there’s the golf. Bovey Castle has an 18-hole championship course designed by the same people who created Gleneagles and Turnberry, with a tough course of wiggly and winding holes set on Dartmoor’s green rolling hills peppered with moorland trees, colourful flowers and water features.

As well as the on-site activities, Bovey Castle is a great spot to explore the rest of Dartmoor. The village of North Bovey is just a 20-minute walk away with a small selection of shops and pubs on offer, and, of course, the wilderness of Dartmoor for those who fancy a walk on the wild side.

Bovey Castle, North Bovey, Dartmoor National Park, Devon TQ13 8RE. Prices start at £159 per night for a single room and £229 per night for a classic double room rising to £669 per night for a grand state suite. Call 01647 445 000, email reservations@boveycastle.com or visit boveycastle.com to book.

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