Revitalised Moorland Garden Hotell offers a perfect local escape
With its countryside setting not far from Plymouth, Clair Skelley finds the newly refurbished Moorland Garden Hotel is a great little getaway.
Sometimes you need to escape your everyday routine but don't have the time or inclination to travel, so if you're looking for a getaway hotel, not too far from Plymouth, then look no further than the Moorland Garden Hotel.
The Moorland Garden provides a base for visits to the quaint town of Tavistock where you can meander through the pretty streets visiting unique stores and the market, and enjoy riverside walks to your heart's content.
Alternatively you can pop over to the beautiful National Trust-owned Buckland Abbey, the 700-year-old home of Elizabethan seafarers Drake and Grenville.
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Originally a monastery for 13th century Cistercian monks, the Abbey is now filled with various artefacts from Grenville and Drake's time at sea, along with a film detailing Sir Francis's love of the Abbey.
The National Trust guides in each room are extremely friendly and knowledgeable. You can also don your walking boots and follow one of the many walks around the estate through meadows and orchards, taking in the stunning views towards the Tavy Valley.
Returning back to the hotel along a winding road and driveway which gives you the feeling of leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind, there is no denying the building is set in the most beautiful surroundings. The Moorland Garden itself has a new team led by entrepreneurs Sonia and Brian Meaden (parents of the Dragons' Den investor and light-stepped Strictly Come Dancing contestant Deborah Meaden).
The new owners have commenced an extensive refurbishment programme to restore the hotel, which includes introducing a "garden" influence to the bedroom makeovers. Leading Westcountry interior designer Nadine Judd is responsible for the individual themes, which include a Forget-Me-Not suite with a palette of pale blues and creams, and a Lily of the Valley room with an opulent colour scheme and hand-printed black and green floral wallpaper.
In case you decide to use the spot as the location for your wedding, the honeymoon suite has also been completely redesigned with the bride and groom in mind, and now boasts a double bath, four-poster bed, dummy for the bride's gown and a couples' hammock on the balcony overlooking the beautiful gardens – perfect for wedding photographs.
The new team also includes head chef Bruce Cole, originally from South Africa and passionate about sourcing local produce, who is fast becoming an ambassador for the region. Bruce has this month also led the team to win the Best Restaurant in the South West accolade, fighting off competition from 30 other establishments.
A visit to the hotel doesn't have to be an overnight stay, either – you can pop along to the Wildflower Restaurant for a meal or a rather delicious cream tea at any time.
I look forward to popping back to The Moorland Garden to see what the Meadens do to the place. Personally, I hope their plans include a beautiful spa and pool area which is a much-needed requirement for Plymouth, instead of having to trek further up country. I can imagine a group of girlfriends and I enjoying a spa, Pimms on the verandah followed by a beautiful dinner cooked by Bruce!