‘Solid on the outside, welcoming on the inside’: The Mail’s Inspector reviews Bovey Castle in Devon
The inspector calls Bovey Castle in Devon and says it’s austere on the outside but welcoming on the inside with “the biggest inglenook fireplace you’ll ever come across”.
- Bovey Castle was built by son of William Henry Smith of WHSmith, inspector reveals
- “It’s a real resort,” he explains. Activities on offer include golf, tennis, archery and skeet shooting
- Inside there are 60 rooms and two restaurants, with the huge fireplace in the ‘Cathedral Room’
- Remember, the inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is
Quite a welcoming crowd awaits us on arrival at Bovey Castle on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. On closer inspection, the dozen or so casually dressed men standing at the entrance to this princely former Devon manor house have just finished their round of golf and are about to play a few rounds in the bar.
“Come in,” says one. It’s early evening and this extraordinary home is bathed in sunlight. It looks Elizabethan in style but was actually built at the turn of the 20th century by the son of William Henry Smith of WHSmith. Peter de Savary owned it for a while, but since 2014 it has been part of the Eden Hotel Collection.
From the outside it is austere; Inside you feel welcome and there is a lot going on. The golf course surrounds the house and down in the valley there is fly fishing, skeet shooting, sleigh rides, tennis, a deer park, archery. A real resort.
Bovey Castle looks Elizabethan in style, says the inspector, but was built at the turn of the 20th century by the son of William Henry Smith of WHSmith
Pictured above is the Cathedral Room at Bovey Castle, which “contains the largest inglenook fireplace you are likely to ever come across”.
The bulletin board by the front door has a list of activities. We just missed a falconry display and the Ferrets and Chickens Encounter experience.
Our room doesn’t have the best view (we’re paying £410 for dinner, bed and breakfast), but it’s extremely comfortable in an old-fashioned way, with carpet, crown molding and a large bathroom with its own window.
There are only 60 rooms so there is a great sense of space. There are two large restaurants at either end of the building — one for lunch and dinner, the other for breakfast — and the wood-paneled Cathedral Room near reception has the largest inglenook fireplace you’re likely to encounter.
There are only 60 rooms in Bovey Castle, the inspector notes, “so there’s a great sense of space.”
There are two large restaurants at either end of the building – one for lunch and dinner, the other for breakfast
A golf course surrounds Bovey Castle and down in the valley there is fly fishing, skeet shooting, horse and carriage rides, tennis, a deer park (above) and archery
Golfers seem to have their own private dining room, so we have the almost undivided attention of the mainly Romanian staff in the restaurant, where our appetizers arrive suspiciously quickly. But there is nothing wrong with my burrata followed by fillet steak.
Finding enough cooks and waiters is now a problem, so at breakfast we forgive if not much is happening ten minutes after sitting down. Then they tell us the coffee maker is broken.
But the staff is full of apologies and I enjoy a cracking Egg Benedict. At the checkout we meet an American, here to play golf. “It’s a hell of a difficult course, but the whole setting is unforgettable, don’t you think? he says. We’re tempted to agree.
Bovey Castle, North Bovey, Moretonhampstead, Devon, TQ13 8RE.
Double rooms are from £325 B&B. For more information call 01647 445000 or visit us boveycastle.com.