Last April found us winging our way South, not to a far flung destination but to Devon. Iain had been invited by Alex Graeme of Unique Devon Tours to sample a “Hounds of the Baskervilles” tour and had arranged accommodation nearby Bulleigh Barton Manor. Located in the charming village of Ipplepen in South Devon, this 14th Century Manor house proved to be an utter delight!
After a five-hour drive on busy UK motorways, unloading the car, settling into our home for the next few days and some relaxation time seemed very welcome. On arrival, driving up to the house, taking in the quaint traditional Devonshire guesthouse, the free range hens and grazing sheep beyond, Iain’s reaction summed it up perfectly;
“I think I’m going to like it here”.
As if by confirmation we were greeted by Zennor, a very friendly dog, that knows how to greet guests.
The first priority seemed to be unpacking the bags and possibly chilling for an hour before meeting Alex. However, that is not what our hosts Mark and Liz Lamport consider an acceptable welcome. We were met in the driveway by Liz and shown where to park the car, Mark soon joined us from the depths of the immaculately maintained gardens and we were given a guided tour of the house.
On the way we both stopped to admire an old-fashioned, hand built dolls house, typical of the detail found everywhere.
Once unpacked, and familiar with our surroundings it was time to settle down at a prepared table on the lawn with a proper, home-made Devon cream tea.
As we munched on our scones smothered in jam and cream, cream first of course, Iain let out a deep breath and almost exhaled the words “No, I know I’m going to like it here!”.
This was above and beyond the normal welcome received at most accommodation, but reading the many glowing TripAdvisor reviews, it is obvious this was not special treatment. This is what Mark and Liz offer to all their guests;
“A place you won’t want to leave”
“without doubt the best I have ever stayed in”
“perfection in South Devon”
You get the idea, yet these are typical of the comments on the 169 excellent reviews, this is an outstanding place to stay!
We stayed in the “Brooking Room“, which is named after the family who owned the house from 1688. The same family which includes Trevor Brooking, the ex-England footballer as a member of and who owned it for some 200 years.
Spacious and comfortable, with a lovely four-poster bed that simply consumes you. As all cares will also seem a million miles away, a fabulous night’s sleep is almost guaranteed in the depths of the Devon countryside.
Liz’s breakfasts deserve special mention, in fact they deserve songs to be sung and tales to be told about them; the stuff of legends. Locally sourced bacon and sausages, and multi-coloured eggs picked daily their own free range, rare breed chickens, it certainly sets you up for whatever the day has in store! The scrambled eggs have to be the most yellow ever seen!
All this and there’s even a swimming pool!
I realise that this review is gushing with hyperbole, but our experience simply confirmed what wonderful hosts Mark and Liz are. Their own description on the website reads; “while you are staying, this historic house is your home” and their friendly helpful attitude, attention to detail means it feels more like home than home does!
At one point I was convinced Iain was never going to leave, and it would be a lonely drive back up north!
I truly loved it, and anybody seeking some inspiration for a break, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, will not go wrong staying at Bulleigh Barton Manor.
When you do, say hello to Liz, Mark and of course Zennor from me!
Guest review by Alison Bailey
I started as a photographer at the tender age of three when my Dad gave me my first camera, a Kodak Brownie. I crawled around ‘taking pictures’ of everything, even though there wasn’t any film, and I’ve been taking pictures ever since.
I’ve worked as a Lab Technician specialising in Pathology to the promised land of Olympus cameras, and even a spell in law enforcement. I’ve returned to my first love now however, specialising in wedding photography. I predominantly use digital today, but the traditionalist in me still loves film, and the skills required to develop it.