The approach is gorgeous with Dartmoor National Park in the distance, a long flower-lined drive, then the River Tamar comes into view and lastly the romantic castle. It’s as well run as any hotel (with a chef, smiley staff and an eclectic wine list) but it’s got an informal family feel with ‘help yourself’ suppers in an Aga-warmed kitchen along with a note saying, ‘don’t wash up!’. Fill up on dry cured bacon and eggs any way you like before visiting 55 acres of Humphry Repton and Lewis Kennedy designed gardens with orchard, summer house and kitchen gardens linked by paths.
It’s the sort of place you don’t really have to leave once you get here with many events happening over the year: ladies’ lunches with speakers, outdoor theatres, wine tastings and special seasonal dinners. Swim in the outdoor solar-heated pool, order a picnic the night before and find a shady spot on a sunny day; wild swimmers can ease themselves straight into the river from its banks. You can walk to a pub in Halton Quay and Plymouth and Tavistock are a short drive.
Return to much comfort, original artwork and nice things from St Kitts Herbery in the bathrooms. Choose from a menu of DIY kitchen suppers or a three-course affair in the dining room with wine. You can even get married here, it’s very romantic.