Discover the delights of staying in a boutique B&B at Bossington Hall, Exmoor Coast, Somerset. Words by Anne-Claire Heels
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? Think Edwardian splendour in Exmoor. Looking like it simply grew out of the landscape, Bossington Hall sits in a scenic spot with its back to the wooded hills and the front facing the sea across a patchwork of green fields. Built in 1911 by New Zealand Shipping Company tycoon Allan Hughes, this gorgeous house just 10 minutes off the South West Coast Path is now a boutique B&B offering six luxurious rooms, eight acres of grounds, possibly the oldest private squash court in England, its own private cinema, and jaw-dropping panoramic views in every direction. Staying here feels like visiting friends – there’s a warm welcome and nothing is too much trouble. From a boot room with torches and dog towels, to the honesty bar in the foyer with its twinkling fairy lights to the handy binoculars for birdwatching, it’s a really relaxing vibe. There are plans afoot to add some spa treatment rooms too. Make sure you book more than one night though, because you’ll want to explore the surroundings, gaze at the stars, have a drink in the cosy lounge or the sunny terrace, watch a film in the cinema room or have a game of squash or tennis – and one night just won’t be enough.
WHAT ARE THE ROOMS LIKE? Classic in style. I stayed in the luxurious Heddon master bedroom, which is in a corner position so you get views on both sides, and a palatial bathroom with underfloor heating, his and hers washbasins, a walk-in shower and freestanding bath. You’ll find king-size beds, plump pillows, comfy duvets, robes and slippers, Cole & Lewis toiletries, smart TV, digital radio, free WiFi, Miles of Porlock teas and a coffee machine, plus enormous old door keys that wouldn’t be out of place in Hogwarts.
BEST SEA VIEW? All the bedrooms at the front look out to sea at Bossington Beach (a 20-minute walk) and Porlock Weir, and there’s a wide terrace running the length of the building ideal for soaking up the sea views with a sundowner.
HOW ABOUT THE FOOD? You’ll have a Taste of the West award-winning breakfast here, with a wide array of goodies to choose from – coffee and pastries, dried or fresh fruit with natural yoghurt and granola, cereals, porridge or cooked meals. There’s a strong focus on using quality ingredients from local suppliers. I opted for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, which was beautifully presented and tasted delicious. The elegant dining room, with its vast fireplace and huge windows, looks over the garden out to the sea, so whatever you’re having, you get to feast your eyes on those wonderful views some more. And there are plenty of places nearby for evening meals.
ANY ECO-PRACTICES? Bossington Hall is committed to improving the environment – using local suppliers for as much produce as possible – the meat and vegetables all come from around West Somerset. It has a continuous planting programme (having planted 10 fruit trees this year alone) to replace some of the storm-damaged trees of the last few years (and those trees were mostly used for timber, in such diverse things as beds, signs, and pot holders on the estate). All lighting is LED and outside is timed for sunset-only operation. They have removed single-use plastics as much as possible from room trays, using glass for water bottles as well as re-usable mini milk bottles for tea and coffee. There’s also an EV charge point in the car park.
HOW ACCESSIBLE IS IT? Despite the fact this is a Grade II-listed building from the early 1900s, there is an accessible suite here with its own lounge, wet room, grab rails, ramp, private courtyard and – for an extra cost – its own kitchen too. To access the main part of the house, you need to use a service corridor, however the main building has level access for the reception, boot room, cinema, bar area and lounge, and there is a ramp to the terrace. The dining room is not accessible, so breakfast is served in the bar area. There is parking right outside, but the yard is cobbled so do bear that in mind.
WHAT WILL IT COST? Rooms start from £150 per night.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01643 862800 or visit bossingtonhall.co.uk.