Time of year: April 2016
Purpose of trip: We travelled here to join a two-venue family party.
Why we chose this place: The second part of the celebration was being held here; but if we’d been browsing for a weekend break, the pub’s idyllic, riverside location and 17th century beauty would have caught our eye.
How long we stayed: One night.
Our accommodation: We stayed in a comfortable double, with en-suite shower room. It was decorated in a shabby-chic French style, with a high open ceiling and rafters visible–all very attractive. There was a small, flat-screen TV, plus a kettle with tea and coffee. The room overlooked the carpark with fields beyond. The shower room was well equipped with good, contemporary fittings and a range of complimentary toiletries.
Service: We may have confused the duty receptionist as a large group of family members in separate cars arrived simultaneously–all with different names, and all an hour earlier than the listed check-in time. Despite that, and because we were all keen to join the first stage of the party at a nearby vineyard, they gave us a warm welcome and we were shown to our rooms for a quick change. All staff we met–from reception, to the bar, to the restaurant, were welcoming, cheerful, efficient and professional.
Food: The pub boasts a restaurant menu and lighter bites at the bar, using locally sourced food where possible. Because we were attending a catered function here, we didn’t get the chance to sample the menu in the evening, but the catering team provided our party with two huge, delicious pots of curry, rice and poppadoms. The next day we were impressed by our full English breakfasts; tasty and beautifully presented. There were cereals, juices and toast as alternatives, and plenty of tea and coffee.
What we paid: Our room rate was £100 including breakfast.
Location: A couple of hilly miles from Totnes, beside the Harbourne River.
Activities close by: Apart from the pretty, bustling market town of Totnes, Dartington , Dartmouth Castle and Paignton are an easy drive, and also the beaches at Blackpool and Slapton Sands. There’s golf at Bigbury about 10 miles away. Virtually on the doorstep though is Sharpham Wine and Cheese (which happened to be the the venue for the first part of our family celebration). Vineyards, a creamery and a dairy farm have been developed here on the site of the original, one thousand year old farm, which is spread across 500 acres. There’s a shop and cafe, and visitors can also book tours there, ranging from “trek and taste” to “vine to wine”. Check opening times before visiting and find out more at www.sharpham.com
What empty nesters might really like about this place: Its idyllic location, ‘olde worlde’ style, great food, and walking and cycling opportunities right from the doorstep. There’s free wifi and parking, and a great team of staff on hand to help you. You could get a train to Totnes and a taxi, or possibly a bus. One of our party was heading back to Canada from the pub, picking up a coach in Totnes all the way to Heathrow!
What empty nesters might not be so keen on: If you don’t have your own transport, there is a limit to how much you can reach easily on foot–but that might be part of the appeal for some visitors.