Fantastic food in exceptional locations – Taste Buds uncovers the best places to combine memorable dining with a relaxing night away
A confection of uniquely British influences with an idiosyncratic Alice in Wonderland theme, Glazebrook boasts eight luxurious, individually designed rooms. Glamour and opulence abound, cut through with a streak of whimsy and an attention to detail that means there's always something to catch the eye. The restaurant is the domain of Executive Head Chef Anton Piotrowski (Michelin-starred and Winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2012) and serves top-quality local produce sourced within a 50-mile radius of the hotel. Look no further than Glazebrook's long list of awards for assurance that quirky and unique doesn't come at the expense of quality.
Surrounded by 20 acres of grounds and woodland with views stretching over the hills to Exmoor, this 18th-century manor house is all about comfort and relaxation. With 16 elegant and refined bedrooms, Northcote Manor prides itself on offering a warm welcome and 'at home' ease to its guests. This extends to the restaurant, where fine dining it may be but stuffy and stiff it certainly isn't. Chef-Patron Richie Herkes seeks out the best ingredients North Devon has to offer and makes them the stars of the show. Regular gourmet events allow the kitchen to show off their skills.
Unobtrusive luxury in refined, relaxing surroundings is central to the Hartnoll experience. Only a stone's throw from Exmoor National Park, outdoor pursuits are plentiful and guests can work up an appetite with a yomp on the moor. Head Chef Steve Cox oversees a constantly changing menu with a focus on simple but delicious cooking that makes the most of top-quality ingredients. Good food is accompanied by equally good drink from an easy to navigate wine list.
“Seasonal dining is all about making the most of what the West Country has to offer.”
With a spectacular Dartmoor location, Prince Hall offers guests doorstep access to stunning scenery and abundant fresh air, combined with relaxed hospitality and the greatest of comforts. Imaginative, refined food is served in either the fine-dining restaurant or less formal bistro, with local sourcing of ingredients a priority for the kitchen team. The hotel's kitchen garden provides almost all of the vegetables and salads used, and much of the fruit. Doggy guests are made to feel very welcome.
Located at the gateway to Dartmoor National Park and handy for both Plymouth and Tavistock, Moorland Garden offers contemporary comfort in a tranquil setting. The Wildflower Restaurant looks out over the gardens and when blessed with fine weather, diners can eat alfresco on the terrace. Taking advantage of south Devon's 'turf and surf' produce means seasonal dining is all about making the most of what the West Country has to offer. Local specialties such as Plymouth Gin have been imaginatively woven into the menu with distinctive and delicious results.
Surrounded by 80 acres of parkland and featuring varied amenities from a croquet lawn to zip wire and doggy pampering hut, there's almost no need to leave the Deer Park's grounds during your stay. Accommodation is classically luxurious and in-room treatments are available. Head Chef Andy Storey makes imaginative use of a wealth of local, seasonal produce – including ingredients grown in the kitchen garden. For those seeking less formal dining, pizzas can be enjoyed from the wood-fired oven at the bottom of the lawn.
A hotel with history, the White Hart is a traditional posting house with roots going back to 1639. Comforts are modern, however, with understated decor making this a smart base from which to explore Dartmoor. Food is hearty and unpretentious but nonetheless refined, with local produce featuring abundantly. Known for its homemade pies and robust game dishes, the White Hart couples great food with local ales and an unfussy wine list.
Dating back to the 15th century, The Sea Trout is a traditional Devon inn combining exceptionally good food with all the warmth and welcome you'd expect from a pub. Daily specials make good use of varied local seafood and well-executed pub classics feature alongside accomplished à la carte dishes. Once you've explored the River Dart, meandered round nearby Totnes, then eaten well in the restaurant or bar, collapse into bed in one of the inn's 10 stylish rooms.
With a quintessential Devon seaside location and its own private beach, Soar Mill strives to offer the best in luxury and relaxation. All rooms boast private patios from which to take in the sea views, with binoculars on hand for those lucky enough to spot a dolphin. A spa and heated saltwater pool are available should you need any further help unwinding. Diners can expect modern British cuisine that makes the most of local, seasonal ingredients. This means that seafood is, of course, integral to the menu.
With a fascinating history and oozing Edwardian charm, Orestone Manor offers guests a classic, characterful country house experience. The 12 rooms are all individually designed for maximum comfort – be sure to bag a sea view to make the most of Orestone's location overlooking Lyme Bay. Modern European cuisine relies on quality local produce – from venison and beef to scallops and crab – and can be enjoyed in the restaurant, in the less formal conservatory or sun terrace. Classic Devon afternoon teas are fast becoming a speciality.
Enjoying expansive sea views from its clifftop location, Sandy Cove provides the perfect base from which to explore many of North Devon's best beaches. Woolacombe Sands is just a 15-minute drive away. Dining in the Cove Restaurant is relaxed but luxurious, with accomplished cooking vying for attention with the striking views over Sandy Bay. Accommodation is contemporary, comfortable and stylish.
Published 16 March 2016
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