Paschoe House is a delightfully intimate country house hotel hidden in Devon, with easy access to the spectacular scenery of Dartmoor. Dog friendly too! Perfect for a two night break away from London.
Short breaks in country house hotels can be relaxing, or they can put me on edge. A laid back ambience and friendly staff means I enjoy a couple of days happily unwinding.
A place that’s too stiff and formal, and where you’re always aware that your every move is being monitored for the crime of lifting a finger for yourself – heaven forbid! – is a place where I can’t really kick back and chill out. Happily, Paschoe House is definitely at the relaxed end of the spectrum.
The house was extensively refurbished and opened as a hotel in 2017.
Paschoe House is situated at the end of a long private drive, and faces south over its own little valley in central Devon, about 8 miles north-east of Dartmoor and five west of Crediton; it’s a wonderfully secluded spot. Don’t trust Waze to get you there, however. It will take you down a winding, steep, narrow road to where the entrance used to be.
We arrived at night to find the house glowing with light and a warm welcome for both us and Herbert, our wire haired dachshund. Of the ten bedrooms, three are dog friendly. We entered our room to find a large and luxurious bed, with down duvet, pillows and mattress topper for us and one for Herbert (complete with complimentary dog toy).
It is the extra touches that make hotels special – the hot water bottle and pillow spray, a jar of home-made biscuits, and a daily briefing sheet giving the next day’s weather forecast, the names of the staff on duty and some ideas for local exploring.
There’s a capsule espresso machine in each room and kettle, for early morning tea and coffee, as well as a luxuriously appointed bathroom, with full range of all natural toiletries from Bamford.
The rooms are individually designed by hotel manager Tabitha, whose family own Paschoe House; I loved the dramatic bathroom wallpaper in our en-suite.
There are three classes of room: snug, spacious and sensational. In our spacious room, the bed was huge and comfortable, and with remote, electric curtains and complete control of lighting with smart light switches, there was little reason to get up in the morning.
Downstairs, the house isn’t overwhelmingly large or rabbit-warren-esque, with three main rooms; bar/library, sitting room and dining room. To one side of the south facing terrace is a conservatory for larger functions and weddings.
Decor around the house is bold and like the bedrooms lifted with quirky splashes of individuality – such as taxidermy, but also by use of bold colour and statement wallpapers.
There are two staircases up to the top floor, including one cunningly hidden behind a bookcase, that’s sure to be loved by children.
We started with a drink and dinner on our first night in the bar. I loved the way that the gin menu lists the distance from the house to the distillery, and the jars of different garnishes for each gin. Local produce doesn’t just have to be food!
There’s an extensive light bites menu in the bar in the evenings that’s way more that just simple sandwiches. I enjoyed blackened cod with excellent triple-cooked chips, and E’s chicken burger (again with chips) was pronounced excellent. I’m already trying to reproduce the amazing miso ice cream that was served with my pudding.
We ate in the bar/library which is dog friendly: of the public rooms, only the dining room is out of bounds to hounds.
Breakfast next morning continued with the high standards set the previous evening. As well as a full English breakfast, there are kippers, three variations of eggs Benedict, pancakes, omelettes and so on available. We breakfasted like royalty. In fact, so well that we went without lunch on both days. Unfortunately we never had any room for tea!
That evening after exploring Dartmoor and local towns, we enjoyed the seven course tasting menu. Particular high points were an onion cappuccino; stone bass with a smoked potato raviolo; rabbit, and duck breast with blackberries, foie gras and shiitake mushrooms.
I find that tasting menus can be an endurance test, with endless tiny dishes, exquisitely plated but not satisfying the requirement for a meal, and taking far too long. This was definitely not a trial, but a delight. Their chef is imaginative and provided a memorable and beautifully plated dinner, accompanied by wine from the extensive list.
Paschoe stands in 25 secluded acres, overlooking a small valley. There is a terraced lawn set up for games (croquet, giant chess), as well as a tennis court. Off to one side is a walled garden, where flowers and produce used in the house are grown. We had a chat with the gardener, who has recently relocated from London. He has big plans for the produce he will be growing.
At the bottom of the valley, below the garden, is a chicken run supplying the kitchen with the freshest of eggs.
Nearby and things to do
Dartmoor is a paradise for adventurous walkers. Even those of us in the market for a shorter stroll rather than an all-day route march will be able to find a route to their liking. We went to Postbridge, with its ancient clapper bridge, and went for a short meander – keeping our feet dry, thanks to wellingtons borrowed from Paschoe’s boot room.
There are numerous small towns nearby and on moor that are full of galleries, restaurants and other welcome distractions for visitors. We came away from our stay with some pottery bought from one of the galleries in Chagford. National Trust properties are also in abundance within a short drive.
Thoughts from Herbert
Sometimes I get to stay somewhere that befits a fearsome, proud and mighty hound such as me. I had two days like that the other day. The staff had been properly briefed as to my name; even those who weren’t on duty when we arrived opened the door for me and welcomed me by name when I came back from my day out.
My food – I’m very particular about my food, you know – was kept in the hotel’s fridge without any fuss, and bought to my room at dinner time for me. There was the most luxurious bed supplied for my stay, far bigger than my bed at home, and I loved the brand new dog toy they gave me. It is now my favourite, and holding up very well to a good old relaxing chew.
There was even an Emily Bond dachshund towel by the front door so that I could get dried off after a walk. Being so close to the ground means that my chest – so necessary for a properly deep, majestic bark – does get muddy and wet very easily.
My humans seemed rather satisfied with their quarters too. In fact they slept so well I was a bit worried I’d need to wake them up in the morning to ask for my breakfast.
We loved our stay at Paschoe House and really were rather reluctant to leave and drive back to London. I love the idea of returning. In an ideal world, we would take over the whole house for a relaxing house party where we’re looked after like queens and kings.
We stayed as guests of Paschoe House; rooms are from £195 with offers available online. All opinions are our own.