Combe House, Devon

Surrender yourselves to the pure romance of this charming Elizabethan manor house

The Linen Suite at Combe House

First impressions: Combe House, resting in the rolling green hills of East Devon, is gorgeous. Elegant, delightful, magical, enchanting – we could go on. In fact, we will…


The house has been renovated lovingly to refined effect, speckled with hand-picked antiques and radiating a hello-and-unwind warmth via the well-upholstered sofas. Plenty of original features remain – think flagstone floors, mullioned windows with wide stone surrounds, and even the restored Georgian kitchen, complete with working Victorian cooking range and no electricity (candlelit special occasions can be arranged).

Room for romance: Full marks to owners Ruth and Ken for the Linen Suite (once the old laundry quarters). It’s an absolute stunner! The bedroom, bathroom and lounge are decorated to absolute minimalist bliss in various natural shades and fabrics. The latch doors give it a stylish country-cool energy with a touch of luxe, and you can’t help but feel at home padding about on the painted wooden floorboards. (So much so, that the Mr is now trying to sabotage the design direction for our pokey London one-bed). Brilliantly discreet touches include a Victorian iron stand, the original drying rack suspended from the ceiling and a huge 6ft-diameter copper bath. Glorious! It’s such a wow-factor piece and just-the-two-of-you perfection. You’ll feel super-exclusive in this suite: tucked away at the back of the hotel, it’s your very own slice of Do Not Disturb.
     The 15 bedrooms in the main house are more of a classic country backdrop, but no less impeccably styled with individual touches and a multitude of charm in tranquil colour schemes.

The Dining Room at Combe House in Devon

Wine & dine: Those rolling green hills are the sprawling panorama from the pretty dining room, where crab mayonnaise with tomato jelly and avocado, followed by monkfish and chorizo, then lemon cheesecake with honeycomb ice cream confirms Combe’s recent foodie awards and Good Food Guide listing. Seasonal game; locally caught fish; west country suppliers; and 70% of the produce grown in the grounds – this place is the real deal.

We love… the grounds. All 3500 acres instil heroine-from-a-romantic-novel illusions (and the Mr looked rather dashing, too). There’s the kitchen gardens, the chicken pen, the restored potting sheds and glass houses, and the walled garden (the owners used to spend thousands on blooms, now they grow their own). Not forgetting the one-bed thatched cottage at the end of the sweeping drive: brides & grooms, you can take a breather from the crowd and cosy up together. And did we mention the Arabian horses that roam freely around the estate…?

Couples looking for a Devon wedding will get everything they want and more but without the constraints of a formal wedding package, at Combe House. The ethos here is low-key luxury from a homegrown, sustainable perspective. The finer things in life can often be the simplest (excluding, perhaps, that amazing bath) and Combe House excels in producing bespoke creations, whether that’s a dinner for two, canapés on the lawn for a party of five or all your friends and family within the four walls of a linen-draped marquee.

We don’t love… not having time to enjoy an evening G&T in the tiny rondoval hidden in the gardens. 

The motto here is ‘somewhere different; somewhere special’ and, on this occasion, we can’t help but wholeheartedly agree.


Go there: B&B from £215 per night, visit combehousedevon.com or call 01404 540 400.