Thursday 28 November 2013

Hotel Endsleigh

Last Sunday the weather was crisp and cold and the promise of at least some sunshine for the couple of days ahead prompted us to phone Hotel Endsleigh to see if a room might be available for Monday night. We wanted to visit while there were still a few leaves on the trees and enjoy the last gasp of autumn colour.
It was cloudy and dull as we drove across Dartmoor, how disappointing! But just as we arrived, on the dot of two, the sun shone. We put our bags in the bedroom and went straight out to explore the garden, knowing that daylight was short.
The hotel sits in a secluded valley on a rise above the River Tamar. There is no through road and it is wonderfully peaceful.
The  herbaceous border is reputed to be the longest in England.
The rose arbour runs parallel to the border and the yew walk 
and is equally long!

Very careful plans were made for the original creation of the grounds, created by the leading landscape designer of the time, Humphry Repton. (1752-1818.) He produced a book, bound in red, containing text and drawings to show the rounds of his various projects before and after improvement.

Some 'artist's licence' was used in the drawings - hills flattened, rivers re-sited!

There are lovely details to be discovered

and the pleasure of finding gardeners to talk to. They were busy in the parterre laying weed-suppressing membrane under pebbles where there had formerly been bedding plants. Do follow the new gardening blog at hotelendsleigh.
The watercolour below is from the 'Red Book' and shows children sailing their boats in the rill, which is fed at either end by lion head fountains.

We left the formal garden area and walked through the arboretum as the sun was setting.

 It was becoming bitterly cold. In the area of crag and cascade most of the colour had dropped from the trees and carpeted the ground.
We were happy to retreat to the comfort of log fires, comfortable armchairs and the prospect of dinner.

Take a look at Miss Cellany to see some interior photographs.
The following morning we woke to a carpet of frost. I left Himself with the morning paper
 and went out to explore.

It was time to head back for breakfast. When the meal was finished the frost had disappeared along with  any glimpse of sunshine. Blue woodsmoke rose from the chimneys.
Time to go home.


  1. I love that hotel! I went in the summer though during one of the rare heat waves and there were lots of fish in that looks just as lovely in this season. I also read Amanda foremans book on the duchess after staying there. You could really feel her spirit...

    1. Oh, Coulda, I envy you being there in the summer in a heat wave, lolling about on the terrace, eating afternoon tea!
      The great thing about our out of season stay was that there were just five of us overnight, and the other company was delightful, so that it felt as though the place was ours. (I wish!) Hoping to go in the spring when the tulips are in flower, so shall keep reading the gardener's blog for info.

    2. That place does make you feel like it is your house though oddly!! :)

  2. What a wonderful place. The gardens in particular would be lovely at any time of the year. Whilst I would be drawn to follow you on the crisp, early morning walk around the grounds, I must say that a little of what Himself is doing would go down well first. With a large pot of tea of course. Have a good weekend.

    1. But, Gary, Himself missed all the sunshine. He was brought coffee to have with the morning paper. By the time we had finished breakfast it had become very dull and dank.
      You would love this place. Next year they celebrate 200 years and have planted masses of tulips in the long border - a good time to visit!

  3. What a charming place in such a beautiful setting - love the parterre garden - lucky you even though it was a quick visit.

  4. Time is very elastic and this brief stay felt very satisfying. We were pleased to experience some sunshine and crisp frost wedged between the long spells of dull weather.

  5. So glad you enjoyed the gardens. Even after years of working here we are still thrilled by the magical moments when light and landscape take you a million miles away from the concerns of everyday 'real' life.

    1. Dear staff at Hotel Endsleigh,
      I have not been a guest at your house and gardens - not, yet. From the photos I see here I can only wholeheartedly agree with your "million miles".
      greetings from Vienna, Austria,

    2. We enjoyed Endsleigh so much that we have promised ourselves a return visit. I love your photo of the sun shining through the rose walk. Himself said that you've got a 'good eye' for a photograph to which I add that, given all the work involved, you've probably also got a good back!

  6. Breathtaking! The valley, the red leaves, the frost ... thank you so much for posting this trip.
    Did you know that there are people who travel as far as to Japan, searching for the beauty you found close to Dartmoore in late November.
    You may guess, who once traveled that far. hehe.

    1. Yes, Paula, you've got to visit south-west England, and after a stay at Endsleigh put me on your itinerary.

    2. There is a plan forming – it includes relaxing days in Hamburg, a "trial cruise" from Hamburg to Southampton, Hotel Endsleigh .... ahhh, such a splendid plan!
      Yesterday Mr Paula and I brainstormed, where to relax in 2014. He came up with Hamburg. You might remember how madly in love I am with Hamburg. I could not believe my ears that Mr Paula would actually choose a CITY to relax during a vacation. But he is right: the city is very relaxing, thanks to the polite people. And then one led to another:
      Queen Mary cruises from Hamburg to Southampton, Southampton-Dartmoor is a shorter Ride compared to London-Dartmoor. (Yes, I already checked the driving-route).

      It is almost as if this is meant to happen. I am happy right now. It makes so much sense, don't you agree?


      PS: yesterday my mother "complained" that the daylight is so bright, you don't feel like sitting in front of a candle when there is bright sunlight. We were all a little bit confused, with the unexpected amount of Lux. In the evening the hour for the first candle of the wreath had come. Finally!

  7. I really enjoyed reading this article.