Steeped in history, Devon’s Huntsham Court oozes with period character to ensure a memorable weekend away. Jade Burke heads to the country retreat to enjoy this giant home from home.
Getting the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of London and spend a weekend in the Devon countryside is quite possibly everyone’s dream break. But throw in a period country house and some exquisite local food and you’re on to a real winner.
I got the opportunity to do just that when I was invited down to Huntsham Court for a two-night stay. The Grade II* listed building is located in Devon, close to the Somerset border, where those staying will be able to soak up the views of the countryside, as well as its picturesque grounds.
Driving through its gated entrance and up its pebbled driveway we soonarrive at the house, andit’s clear the owners don’t do things by halves. Walking through the doors we are greeted by a grand wooden staircase, while opposite a living room and roaring fire invite us in to make ourselves at home. 35 bedrooms are available for hire, each with their own unique design – one bedroom even features a hand painted floral design that was carried out by one of the owners.
Guests can choose to hire the house on a self-catering dry hire basis, B&B, half-board or fully catered with optional activity bolt-ons, making the listed building an ideal setting to impress corporate clients.
Our room, known as the Purdey, boasts dark wooden beams, a four-poster bed and an en suite, which even features its own sofa – just in case you get too tired travelling from one end of the room to the other.
Each room has been given a name, I’m told that ours is named after a beloved pet, while all of the others have been named after family members and general aspects of the house, from Beryl’s Boudoir and Little Loft to Ginger and Peanut.
Looking around the space, I notice there is no TV or radio. Later I ask one of the owners whether all of the other bedrooms follow this trend, and I am told that it was a deliberate move to entice guests to get outside and enjoy a ‘digital detox’, or sit downstairs in the library to meet new people. Despite missing some of my trash weekend shows, this idea truly is a great one to get guests to mingle with one another. After all, the two owners hope for everyone staying to use the house as it is their own, and this certainly helps to get people out of their bedrooms.
“Thanks to its home from home feel and relaxed atmosphere, Huntsham Court will not fail any guest looking to catch their breath in the Devon countryside.”
One aspect I didn’t feel comfortable with was the fact that the Purdey didn’t come with a lock on the door. As the Huntsham is billed as a house rather than a hotel I can see why none of the bedrooms offer this. And despite my initial thoughts I couldn’t have felt any safer thanks to the owners’ and staff members’ attentive nature.
Anyone staying in the house is invited to use the butler’s pantry as their own, while food is often served by Ceylon Curry, The Devon Pantry and Peter Mundy Catering who prides itself on using local produce. We got the chance to taste some delicious curry dishes during our first night at Huntsham, while the chef Peter Mundy made sure our tummies were full on the last night at the house, where I tried the Venison Wellington and chocolate cake.
If you are looking for a corporate weekend away, Huntsham and its surrounding areas offer some exciting team-building activities. From clay pigeon shooting and archery, to croquette on the house’s lawns, you can travel away for the weekend knowing your team will be taken care of.
Inside the house truly is as majestic as its exterior. Each room resembles an Aladdin’s cave of trinkets, from antique vases and lamps to striking rugs and dramatic chandeliers – but this house isn’t stuffy and guests are not made to feel anxious about the grandiose accents, as we are all invited to feel right at home.
As expected in the countryside, my phone signal was lost as soon as we reached Huntsham Court, so I was hoping that the wi-fi would offer us some respite from the lack of communication between any friends and family I was trying to contact. The wi-fi inside the house proved difficult to maintain a strong signal – I can see why the owners have billed the house as an escape from all things digital. But, a faster broadband connection is set to be ftted in the next few weeks at the Huntsham.
Upon arriving, I thought that it would be difficult for this remarkable house to make me feel at home, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Thanks to its home from home feel and relaxed atmosphere, Huntsham Court will not fail any guest looking to catch their breath in the Devon countryside.
Good for: Team-building activities | Exclusive hire | Digital detox
Contact: 01398 361 277 | huntshamcourt.co.uk