Everything’s about slow living here. There’s a vegetable garden, a swimming pool and a tennis court; farm animals, several hens and two Lop pigs (a rare British pig breed) call this home. The agritourism theme surfaces everywhere – vines grow on the outside walls; a wood burner awaits you in the hall plus the smell off freshly-baked bread.
In 2020, Olive and Hugo Guest quit London city life to transform Hugo’s childhood home into a farm-style guesthouse – this is officially a farm or smallholding, but with none of the hard grind. It radiates a homely, perhaps Bohemian feel thanks to the colourful wallpaper, varied fabrics and vases of freshly cut flowers. Wooden floors are covered with pretty rugs. You might want to take a closer look at the paintings and decoration crafted by local artists, many by Olive herself.
The house has six cosy bedrooms decorated with a mix of family antiques and designer touches, such as fabrics from Molly Mahon.
Breakfast is included in the room rate, and includes options for people following alternative diets. Supper (pre-ordered) is served Monday to Saturday in the restaurant. Most of the produce for the simple but delicious dishes, such as pies and vegetable lasagne, comes from the kitchen garden.
Hugo cooks a more sophisticated three-course dinner Thursday to Sunday – choices include tagliarini with monkfish ragu and roast chicken. There’s a four-course lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
The location is wonderful, with views of East Devon’s woods, pastures and hills. Immerse yourself in the countryside with one of Olive’s illustrated local walks booklets, a packed lunch and a rug. Or there’s the Castlewood Vineyard Tour and Tasting, or mackerel fishing with twilight dinner. Hugo and Olive also offer bread, pasta, and salami making courses plus art classes, such as print making, still life and collage.
They bring off with considerable cool the balancing act which we especially value: high standards of food and housekeeping blended with the laid-back atmosphere of a well-run home from home.