Lewtrenchard Manor is one of those classic country house hotels which actually feels like someone’s home rather than a hotel: a rather grand home, admittedly, but one where you instantly feel as if you don’t need to lock your bedroom door and where you can roam around as you please.
Tucked away in the Dartmoor hills between Tavistock and Okehampton, Lewtrenchard Manor is a grand, historic building and has grand, historic rooms to match: there’s a sweeping staircase, wood panelling, stained glass windows, open fireplaces, tapestries and even a vast upstairs gallery full of books, antique furniture and a piano but which is long enough to serve as an indoor bowling alley.
Arriving at Lewtrenchard Manor
That it is actually a hotel rather than a private home comes in little hints such as a reception desk, but even that is hidden out of sight when you first arrive at Lewtrenchard (there’s a lounge instead) and there is no bustle of staff here, no official notices, none of the paraphernelia of hotel admin which means you are left completely to your own devices.
If you fancy a drink then wander into the empty bar and someone will soon arrive to take your order before leaving you to it – and if you think there’s something familiar about a room featured in one of the magazines left lying around you’ll soon see it’s because you are sitting in that very room.
We arrived in style, in an Aston Martin DB11, and the ultra-modern car looked rather good at the gates to the Manor and outside the building itself, a Jacobean manor which dates back to the 1600s.
Bedrooms at Lewtrenchard Manor
Having taken several hundred pictures we finally checked in and found our bedroom, which was on the first floor just off the upstairs gallery. It was a good size, with a separate lounge/study, and was furnished in a classic if not overly luxurious style. The window seat was a great perch to admire the gardens and the bathroom was on the moderate size but still managed to fit in a jacuzzi-style corner bath and separate shower.
Exploring Lewtrenchard Manor
There seemed to be no-one else about so we had the run of the place and enjoyed examining the various antique pictures, books and ornaments dotted around the place. There is a piano in the gallery which we, probably wisely, refrained from playing, and in the summertime weddings are held in the pretty courtyard between the buildings.
We were shown around the other rooms which were all different – some had four-poster beds and some has their own balconies – but all done in a similar classic country house style.
History of Lewtrenchard Manor
Having been a manor house belonging to several notable local families for several hundred years, Lewtrenchard Manor become a hotel in 1949 and was bought in 1988 by Sue and James Murray. Having sold it to the ill-fated von Essen hotel chain, after nine years the family managed to buy it back and our pre-dinner drinks were made by their son Duncan Murray, who now runs the hotel he grew up in.
The hymn Onward Christian Soldiers was written here by the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould who lived here in the 19th century and there are little notices dotted around the rooms with information of other hymns he composed.
Dinner at Lewtrenchard Manor
After appetisers of cheese straws, olives and mushroom arancini, Duncan led us across the hall to the dining room and served us a very good meal of dover sole in a shellfish bisque to start, followed by glazed short rib of beef with pressed potato and oyster mushrooms and citrus-roasted fillet of brill.
The restaurant also offers a seven-course ‘surprise’ tasting menu for £69 which uses locally-sourced ingredients and is also currently working on a chef’s table concept, although with TV screens showing the food being prepared rather than guests experiencing the kitchen atmosphere which is an interesting if unusual concept.
A highlight of our meal was the excellent cheese selection which included the brilliantly-named Sharpham Elmhurst – a gorgeous creamy and buttery cheese with lingered on the taste buds – alongside Cornish Garlic Yarg, Cornish Brie and Devon Blue. Petit fours were served with coffee and we retired to our bedroom very replete.
Breakfast at Lewtrenchard Manor
Thankfully our sleep was undisturbed by the hotel’s resident friendly ghost (a former lady of the house who is supposed to haunt the room next door – Duncan has yet to see her) and we woke to a discreet knock on our door which signalled our morning tea and coffee had just arrived, a lovely start to the day. We then enjoyed a hearty cooked breakfast in a room at the front of the hotel which was decorated with portraits of previous inhabitants of Lewtrenchard Manor before heading outside to explore the grounds.
There is plenty of choice of places to walk from the hotel rather than having to drive anywhere, from pretty forest walks to ambling around the lake in the grounds and from there a visit to the pretty local church next door.
Losing track of time we ended up checking out later than expected but it didn’t seem to be a problem and indeed nothing would disturb the relaxed charm of this very laid-back, family-owned manor house hotel.
Hotel information and to book Lewtrenchard Manor
Lewtrenchard Manor, Lewdown, Okehampton EX20 4PN
Tel: 01566 783222
Lewtrenchard Manor is a member of the Pride of Britain Hotels collection. A one-night stay costs from £180 per room (two sharing) with a full English breakfast or £270 per room on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
The hotel runs events throughout the year including history and garden tours, jazz lunches, wine-tastings and murder mystery nights.
If you like this review then check out other Pride of Britain Hotels reviewed by ALadyofLeisure.com including: Medieval magic with a modern twist at The Swan hotel, Lavenham; Head to the heart of Cornwall with a stay at the impressive Headland hotel, Newquay; Maison Talbooth: an almost-perfect stay at a lovely luxury hotel in Essex