Wolsey Lodges in Devon and Cornwall

21 May 2019

When the summer holiday season comes around the Southwest of England is a firm favourite. And there are plenty of Wolsey Lodges in Devon and Cornwall: one or more is sure to meet your needs. More than this: staying in a Wolsey Lodge is very likely to transform your experience.

We start off, rather cheekily, in Somerset, where Glen Lodge is set between the sea and Exmoor National Park. This mansion is set in its own 21 acres of landscaped grounds, from which footpaths lead down to Porlock, tea room capital of the western world. This B&B also offers self-catering accommodation in converted stables as well as conventional accommodation in the main house. The house itself has excellent facilities, including a library and Jacuzzi, while the grounds are fantastic, with a croquet lawn and a stream creating waterfalls over tiered secluded terraces.

A little west of Glen Lodge are the coastal villages of Lynton and Lynmouth, with their cliff railway and Valley of the Rocks, where Exmoor meets the sea. Here you'll find North Walk House, a large Victorian cliff top residence with glorious Atlantic views. North Walk House also offers a choice of self-catering accommodation and B&B rooms.

West again and near the market town of Barnstaple is Shirwell Park, a fantastic mansion dating back 900 years. The architecture is classic country house, with antique furnishings and period features, and there's a professionally trained Butler on hand to enhance the country house experience. You can play Jeeves and Wooster amongs its 160-acre grounds that include a duck flighting lake, a cut flower garden and countless woodland walks, but within a few minutes reach the world-famous surf beaches of Saunton Sands and Croyde for an absolute contrast of contemporary surf resorts . Exmoor, with its moorlands and woodlands, is also close by.

West again and Trevigue Farm is set just outside the cult surf baech at Crackington Haven: you can walk into town to hire wetsuits and boards, then avoid the crowds by taking a footpath down to Trevigue's own beach, Strangles, which is always deserted. B&B accommodation is matched by a beautifully converted farm building set up for self-catering: ideal for a sunny summer break.

A few minutes inland and Pendragon is a former Rectory that now offers a mix of self-catering options and B&B rooms: it is cradled by two Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, with Bodmin Moor and one side and the coastal area from Pentire Point to Widemouth on the other. From here you can reach plenty of beaches but also explore the immediate area by bike and on foot. The lodge is justifiably proud of several environmental awards for sustainable tourism, completing this by adding charging points for electric cars so feel free to bring your Tesla.

Round Lands End and escape the crowds by heading out to the Lizard Peninsula, England's most southerly point, where you'll find Atlantic House. It's five minutes across National Trust land to the sea and Kynance Cove is half an hour away on foot. Warmed by the Gulf Stream this has a microclimate all of its own: sunny and warm.

A short hop east reaches Trerose Manor, on a sheltered stretch of the Lizard before Falmouth. Once owned by the Killigrew family, notorious pirates, history oozes from this ancient building that can trace its roots back as far as the Bronze age. There are views across Falmouth Bay and magnificent gardens tending delicate flowers and plants. St Ives and St Michael's Mount are within a short drive.

If St Ives is on your list Tregoose, near Truro, is closer: centrally located it is an ideal base to explore everywhere from Lands End to the stately houses and gardens of the Devon border. This is a Regency property filled with antiques on the Roseland Peninsula, within easy reach - but comfortably off - the main arterial routes into and out of Cornwall.

Back to the coast Tubbs Hill House is a charming refuge close to Megavissey and the coast. It's one mile from the Southwest Coastal path and also a mile from Caerhays Castle with the National Magnolia collection: there are beaches and villages on every side but Tubbs Hill House itself is magnificently tranquil, with lovely gardens stretching down to the River Luney. This is said to carry gold so bring your own pan.

East now to Fowey and you'll find Tredudwell Manor well worth a stop; an enchanting Queen Anne country manor house set in peaceful gardens and woodlands. The interior is no less spectacular, with ancestral portraits lining the dining room, common areas beautifully designed and redolent with bygone charm and bedrooms large enough to walz in. This is a very popular wedding venue and it's easy to see why: truly life as it ought to be.

Head inland a few miles and you'll find The Old Chapel, strategically perfect for a wide-ranging exploration of Cornwall as a whole. This is just up the road from Lostwithiel, Cornwall's centre for antiques, and well-connected for the major arterial routes. From here it is easy to reach the southern highlights of Fowey, Polperro and Looe, but Cornwall's narrow here and it's not much further to the northern hotspots of Padstwo, Polzeath, Port Isaac and Tintagel.

Look east again and before you get right into Dartmoor you'll find the Tamar Valley Area of Natural Beauty, and at the heart of this you'll find Beera Farmhouse. Within easy reach of Tavistock this was built in the Victorian era by the Duke of Bedford and retains its aristocratic credentials with pride. The coast, should you need it, is not too far, but there is plenty to reward you in the immediate area.

East a few more miles and Burnville House is on the edge of Dartmoor, with self catering properties as well as B&B accommodation making this a wonderful place to explore one of the UK's greatest National Parks, a rugged land of towering tors and wooded valleys, rolling landscapes and plenty of sheep. Once sated with the wild landscape on every side you're still within easy reach of the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Cross southeast over Dartmoor and before you get to Torquay there are two stunning coastal Wolsey Lodges. Strete Barton House is a colour-magazine favourite, with its cool contemporary design adding a new layer of beauty to a 16th century Manor House. This is set between the stunning cove at Blackpool Sands and Torcross village with its beach and the Slapton Ley Nature Reserve. Five miles away you'll find the cultural river town of Dartmouth. Many Wolsey Lodges provide dinners by arrangement but this one doesn't: it hardly matters as there are two good pubs within a minute's walk. A few miles along the coast Stoke Gabriel Lodgings is just outside Totnes, a stunning architectural masterpiece where each room has a balcony overlooking the River Dart. Dartmoor and any number of coastal towns are within easy reach.

A final eastern hop across Exeter reaches the last Wolsey Lodge in Devon and Cornwall, Glebe House. This is set in an idyllic and relatively undiscovered valley around the Coly River, often overlooked by travellers heading east or west. It's worth a stop though, as it's within a few miles of the smuggling fishing ports of Beer and Branscombe as well as being within easy reach of Honiton or Exeter.

Head west this summer, to the UK's warmest counties. And do it with Wolsey Lodges. These are more than just places to stay: they can transform your experience.