The Newt in Somerset, Bruton
Somerset's swankiest country estate, with a luxe Georgian hotel, restaurant and spa, splendidiferous gardens, cafe, cyder bar, shops and an aerial walkway in glorious woodlands.
With minute attention to detail and no expense spared, South African billionaire Koos Bekker has turned the former Hadspen House into an homage to Somerset, the land and its heritage. So expect lots of apples at this super luxe country house hotel, restaurant and spa, incredible gardens, cafe, shops and cyder bar. It’s also a working farm – growing crops, making cider – albeit in a five star sort of way.
The hotel, a 17th century building with elegant 21st century decor, has 23 individual bedrooms throughout the house and Stable Yard and further 17 charmingly rural bedrooms a short walk away in The Farmyard. Guest can chill in the luxury spa with Medieval Herb Garden, indoor-outdoor pool, steam room and sauna or throw mud at each other in the mud chamber.
The gardens and grounds are open to non-residents and are truly spectacular. Pick up a map in the Threshing Barn (complete with art installations) and wander among the cultivated gardens and outdoor spaces, including the Cottage Garden inspired by Gertrude Jeykyll, three Colour Gardens, Long Walk, Kitchen Garden, Victorian Fragrance garden and tropical hothouses. There’s a tree top walkway in the woodlands. A garden museum and Roman villa are rumoured to be on the horizon.
Slurp a glass of their own pressed apple juice or cyder and a hot snack in the outdoor Cyder Bar.
Eat in the Botanical Rooms restaurant in the hotel (also open to non-residents) or Garden Café perched high up on a bank planted with rosemary and thyme on the edge of the woods. Food is highly seasonal farm to fork nosh sourced from the estate and super locally.
Buy ethically reared meat, artisan cheeses and fruit, veg and herbs from the estate, biscuits, preserves and more in the Farm Shop (you can shop online too).
Everything is totally tasteful in the House & Garden shop.
Tours and assorted workshops throughout the year – bee safari anyone?
Great Garden Escape days from London, travelling First Class (natch), from Paddington.
At £30 entrance for adults/ children 7–15 years £10, it’s not the cheapest day out but you can turn your ticket into an annual pass for the rest of the year (and you will want to return, I promise you).
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