Family Hotel

Devon, United Kingdom

Bovey Castle

Rates from (ex tax)$148.78

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP134.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Outdoorsy British beauty

Setting

Dartmoor parkland

The thoroughly British hotel that has everything covered for family holidays, baronial Bovey Castle near Dartmoor has waxed jackets and wellies at the ready for your moorland adventures en famille. The estate is vast, so there's plenty to do for little Smiths of all ages: the kids’ club is excellent, so you can cheerfully pack your Bovey Ranger off to build campfires while you linger over lunch, and the indoor pool is a first-class spot for splashing about come rain or shine.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Free extra beds in the room for children (excluding stays in the Classic Single and Classic Rooms), and a bottle of red wine for parents

Facilities

Photos Bovey Castle facilities

Need to know

Rooms

60, plus 22 three-storey country lodges with kitchens.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in is 3pm, although you're welcome to arrive earlier and use the facilities, have lunch and make yourself at home before your room is available.

Rates

Double rooms from $148.78 (£112), excluding tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 5% per booking on check-out.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP111.67), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Room rates are usually room only. Breakfast costs from £13 for a Continental buffet (£5 for children), a full English spread is £20 (£10 for children). Children stay free in cots and under-14s stay in extra beds for £20 a night.

Also

Within the main building, there’s an accessible bedroom with a level entry wet room for guests in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. It has a disabled toilet and an emergency alarm.

At the hotel

Spa, indoor pool, restaurants, bar, crèche, school-holiday kids club, helipad, 275 acres, gardens, woods, falconry school, golf course, tennis courts, putting green, DVD library, free WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, mini-fridge, kettle, free bottled water, safe, Espa bath products, slippers, bathrobes (plus baby robes and slippers). Lodges have fully equipped kitchens, a DVD player and utility rooms.

Our favourite rooms

Some of the Superior Castle and Valley Castle can take one extra bed or cot, but the suites are much roomier with separate living spaces and dining tables – they’ll all sleep two adults and two children with ease. Rooms are individually designed by Annabel Elliot, with deluxe fabrics, expert upholstery, beautiful wallpapers and specially selected bureaus and armoires; most have baths and showers. One of the Grand State rooms has a decked balcony directly overlooking the countryside. For bigger families, there are the 14 three-storey lodges dotted around the grounds; they each have three ensuite bedrooms and sleep a maximum of six adults and two children (with two extra beds). They also have utility rooms, outdoor areas and enviably kitted-out oak kitchens with microwaves and dishwashers.

Poolside

There’s a heated indoor pool which features a Jacuzzi at one end; it’s adults-only from 7am–9.30am and again after 5.30pm, but firmly family-friendly for the rest of the day. Free swimming nappies are available – just grab a member of staff. The area contains a scattering of chic deckchairs and is utterly spotless.

Spa

The Elan Spa uses Espa products in its relaxing and rejuvenating spa treatments; choose from a range of classic massages, body wraps, age-defying facials, aromatherapy and reflexology treatments, pre- and post-natal massages, and Orly mani-pedis.

Also

Children can choose from all kinds of brick-building sets, from Lego Duplo to techier kit for teenagers.

Pet‐friendly

Up to two small dogs a room are welcome (£25 a night, for each dog). Liaise with the hotel in advance if you are planning to bring your pet to stay. See more pet-friendly hotels in Devon.

Children

During school holidays, the kids’ club is a life-saver and if it’s booked up when you get there, you might be devastated. Call ahead at all costs. Babysitters need to be booked at least two days in advance.

Overview

Anything you can possibly think of, Bovey Castle has thought of it first (if it’s raining, they’ve even got a jacket for you) – from a trampoline, crolf (croquet mixed with golf), falcons and ferrets within the castle’s confines, to the parkland that lurks beyond. Wear out your little ones, so you can unwind over an Armagnac, spend a few hours at the spa, or hit the world-class golf course.

Best for

Kids of all ages.

Crèche

The Playroom opens daily and has supervised sessions during half-terms and school holidays; it contains craft materials, dressing-up chests, puzzles and games, and the brilliant staff will entertain children aged 3–8 with painting, clay-work, puppet-making and imaginative play for up to three hours. Supervised under-3s are also welcome. Prices are £20 per three-hour session or £10 an hour. You can choose to book in advance or sign up on the activities board on a daily basis.

Activities

If your 7–14-year-olds love to get stuck in, Bovey Rangers runs during school holidays and half terms; it’s excellent and gives adults a break from all the outdoorsy, adventurous stuff you might not fancy. A Bovey Ranger might spend their morning making a campfire, building a shelter, learning archery, building a raft or canoeing. It costs £32 per 90-minute session. Book your spot in advance if you can.

Meals

Children are welcome in both restaurants, and highchairs are available. There’s a small but thoughtful kids menu available in both restaurants, which features all the big hitters – half-pizzas, 'Heinz' tomato soup, pasta and sausages – meals cost £8.50 and come with cordial and ice-cream. On sunny days, staff are always happy to pack you off with a picnic.

Babysitting

Babysitters are available for £20 an hour (minimum three hours); book at least two days in advance. Different rates apply during the festive season (£30 an hour on Christmas day; £40 an hour on New Year's Eve).

Also

Letterboxing combines orienteering and puzzle-solving and there’s a trail within the grounds of the castle. Ask staff for details, but the basic aim is to locate hidden weatherproof boxes using clues, keeping a log of each one you find. The trail gives purpose to your walking and stops little ones getting bored.

Eco‐friendly

Bovey Castle draws all its water from the Bovey River, cleaning and purifying it before pumping it through the hotel.

Food and Drink

Photos Bovey Castle food and drink

Top Table

If you’ve got a babysitter, go for one of the tables by the Great Western Restaurant’s big windows for romantic, wistful views. If you haven’t, you can get some privacy at the front of the dining room, behind tactfully positioned planters.

Hotel restaurant

There are two restaurants: one formal, one less so. Inspired by the glamorous railway company that first opened the hotel, the Great Western Restaurant is an elegant art deco space with chandeliers, chinoiserie, champagne – the whole shebang. The food is far from stuffy, though: expect game from the moors (we spied squab pigeon and rabbit-stuffed beignets), seafood fresh from Devon and Cornwall, a fine selection of artisanal cheeses, and delicate dessert confections (try the 9th Hole chocolate tree stump). Sunday lunch is everything it should be: cosy, traditional, delicious and locally sourced – it’ll leave you feeling quite lovely. A kids’ version is available from £15 for two courses. Smith's Brasserie is a more casual place to pull up a bucket chair for generously filled sandwiches, a burger or trad-Brit meat or fish dishes (our pick is the corned-beef hash or cheddar-crusted fish pie); desserts are equally satisfying. Another meal that’s never overlooked by Bovey is afternoon tea; linger over sandwiches scones and cakes by the crackling fire, or overlooking the delicious estate on the terrace. Children can do tea too; they can order whatever they like for half price. During school holidays, kids’ high tea and movie time is at 5.30pm.

From May to September, you can dine privately among the magnolia trees at the summerhouse, which is hemmed in by perfectly-formed hedges in a secret location on the estate. Book in for a private dinner or take the family down for a bijou afternoon tea. The waiters are light on their feet and super-discreet.

Hotel bar

The Oak Bar practically oozes cognac from the cracks of its wood paneling. It’s a sultry spot with high ceilings, huge views of the grounds, tartan carpets, Chesterfield sofas and wine-red curtains. Behind the bar, there are 130 whiskeys, plenty of malts and Armagnacs, Dartmoor ales and a long wine list. Children are allowed at any time, but it’s quite an adult setting – jazz tinkling in the background, pianist on Fridays and Saturdays and serious grown-ups sipping serious drinks. During the day, cocktail-making lessons take place here.

Last orders

Restaurant opening hours are seasonal and vary between weekends and weekdays, but the earliest they close is 9pm. The bar stays open until the last guest goes to bed.

Room service

You can also phone down if you need milk to be warmed. Regular room service runs from 7am to 10pm and includes simple stalwarts such as soup, fishcakes, a ploughman's and a burger. A limited selection of sandwiches and snacks is available overnight.

Location

Photos Bovey Castle location
Address
Bovey Castle
Dartmoor National Park
North Bovey
TQ13 8RE
North Bovey
United Kingdom

Planes

The nearest airport is Exeter International (www.exeter-airport.co.uk), a 45-minute drive away.

Trains

Exeter St Davids train station is a 40-minute drive away. You can reach Exeter St Davids in just over two hours from Paddington with First Great Western, or in three and a half hours from Paddington with South West trains.

Automobiles

The hotel is easy to get to from the M5 - it’s about a 30-minute drive once you exit the motorway. If you’ve got a SatNav, the postcode may throw you off-course, so enter ‘Bovey Castle Golf Course’ instead. Your room rate includes valet parking. If you want to hire a car from Exeter, Thrifty and Avis have offices near the train station and Europcar is at the airport.

Other

There’s a helipad near the hotel, for which the coordinates are below. Call ahead to organise your arrival and the hotel will send a vehicle to meet you. Latitude 50º North 38 47 Longitude 3º West 47 57

Worth getting out of bed for

There’s a heated indoor pool which features a Jacuzzi at one end; it’s adults-only from 7am–9.30am and again after 5.30pm, but firmly family-friendly for the rest of the day. Free swimming nappies are available – just grab a member of staff. The area contains a scattering of chic deckchairs and is utterly spotless. The spa itself is quite basic – a reception leading to a few treatment rooms, rather than hammams, Arctic mists or plunge pools, but the service and attention to detail are excellent. Treatments using Espa products include age-defying facials, pre- and post-natal treatments and reflexology. There’s also ‘Nfanga – Angel Bliss for children’, which is designed to ease your child’s nervous system and improve the quality of their sleep.

If your 7–14-year-olds love to get stuck in, Bovey Rangers runs during school holidays and half terms; it’s excellent and gives adults a break from all the outdoorsy, adventurous stuff you might not fancy. A Bovey Ranger might spend their morning making a campfire, building a shelter, learning archery, building a raft or canoeing. It costs £32 per 90-minute session. Book your spot in advance if you can.

There’s no cosier place to be on a rainy English afternoon. If Lego isn't their thing (and we don't know many children who don't like Lego), take your afternoon tea by the fire and borrow a board game – there are three gorgeous communal rooms to while away the time in. Or, if you’re fond of the elements, borrow wellies and a wax jacket and do whatever you’d do if the sun was shining. Besides the golf and spa, there are lots of adult activities the hotel can help to arrange, such as sloe gin-making in the barn, art master classes and game shooting.

During school holidays, the hotel can organise tennis coaching for all ages and levels, as long as you ask in advance.

The Dartmoor setting is bliss, and Bovey Castle puts you in prime position to enjoy it, even if you’re not usually very outdoorsy. You don’t need to travel very far away for an epic family adventure, whether it’s history, wildlife, the seaside or ice-cream that floats your brood’s boat.

Get out there and walk! Dartmoor National Park is just outside. If you don’t want to go it alone, Bovey’s activities coordinators can plan a tour to suit you, whether you want to set foot on some lesser-trodden spots, or you like the idea of a War Horse Moor Walk, taking in some breathtaking filming locations. Speed to the good stuff (and spare a certain Little Smith’s feet) by turning your walk into a safari in Bovey’s Land Rover Defender. There are spectacular views from the top of Hound Tor, a jumbled granite outcrop overlooking the moor. Impress (or spook) the kids by telling them where the tor gets its name: according to local legend, it’s made of a pack of hounds, turned to stone. Feeling energetic? The hotel can acquire bikes for the whole family for a half day (£15) or a full day (£20), complete with a helmet, bike repair kit and map.

For a family day out at the seaside, Bigbury on Sea is your best bet – the water is shallow, the sand is soft and the area is dotted with rock pools to keep your budding marine biologists entertained. There are bodyboards to hire and lifeguards on duty. Make an adventure of Burgh Island – accessible on foot at low tide, or by ‘sea tractor’ at high tide.

Pubs like The Horse Inn on George Street in Moretonhampstead are worth going on holiday for. The dining room of the ex-barn is beautiful, the food locally sourced – a bright, exciting menu might include fresh dayboat squid, sweetbreads of Dartmoor lamb or Devonshire rainbow chard. The whole clan can relax: there are proper pizzas with fresh toppings, as well as a chest of toys and a roomy patio.

At Lake Sourton, the thatched Bearslake Inn is run by the Cross family, who live and breathe Dartmoor. The building used to be part of a farm and the hallways are adorned with photos of those who have lived and worked there. The restaurant is crisp and smart but wholly unpretentious. There’s a children’s menu and the chef will happily scale down most meals on the main menu too.

If you’re not spotting enough animals at Bovey, there’s loads to see at Pennywell Farm (www.pennywellfarm.co.uk), a 30-minute drive away, plus farm-themed rides, theatres and quad bikes. Watch out for the miniature pigs, which steal the show every time.

It would be criminal to be so near Gidleigh Park (about 15 minutes away) and not eat there, so book that babysitter! Presided over by super-chef Michael Caines, the restaurant is consistently voted one of the best in the country (+44 (0)1647 432367).

Reviews

Photos Bovey Castle reviews

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Bovey Castle’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Beautiful setting and very friendly team.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Oct 2017

We loved

The views and the facilities – both indoor and outdoor. 

Don’t expect

Easily available spa appointments.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Aug 2017

We loved

Beautiful surroundings and welcoming atmosphere.

Rating

Stayed on 25 Mar 2017

We loved

The freebies in the room. The building itself is beautiful. This is great for children. The pool is big and the grounds are huge.

Don’t expect

Really hot showers or a quiet pool area in the day time.

Rating

Stayed on 4 Mar 2017

We loved

The amazing grounds and views. Our Grand State Room was lovely and it had the most amazing bathroom. The children loved feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs every morning. The concierge is very helpful and gives good advice.

Don’t expect

Mobile phone signal.

Rating

Stayed on 11 Apr 2016

We loved

Staff were fantastic and everywhere. They gave an incredibly warm welcome and couldn't have been more helpful, friendly and accommodating. Lodges were fantastically roomy and very well appointed, and the pool area was great. Locale and the grounds were just glorious. The spa was fantastic; I had an amazing massage!

Don’t expect

Communications from the "Activities" centre weren't the greatest. And the "play room" for older kids left something to be desired, in our opinion.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Dec 2015

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