Huntsham Court, Devon

THE VENUE: This is a private and exclusiveuse Victorian Gothic country house with 27 bedrooms and a further eight in a nearby cottage, and all a 15-minute taxi drive from Tiverton Parkway station in Devon.


THE CHECK-IN: No check-in as such but a warm welcome from the staff before being shown to our rooms.

THE ROOMS: Shabby chic (the owners call it ‘relaxed grandeur’) in style, all bedrooms are high-ceilinged, huge, have creaking floorboards, grand drapes and quirky touches. There are hand-painted walls, an original Charles Rene Mackintosh fireplace, commanding four poster beds, twin tubs on platforms, and so on. The eight loft rooms are more contemporary in style. In total, the venue can sleep 72.

THE BUSINESS: The house is a blank canvas and the five huge reception rooms are all suited to board meetings, training sessions, conference sessions, board-level away days and, outside, team building. For example, the Great Hall (pictured), can accommodate 120 under the watchful gaze of a stag’s head over the grand fireplace, or 99 theatre style. The dining room takes 50 in a U-shape set-up.

THE FACILITIES: Ample parking, a kitchen, butler’s pantry, snug bar, den (with the only TV), dining room, drawing room, Grand Hall, library and pretty manicured grounds for all sorts of team building activities. There is wifi in one room, the library. Tried and tested third party local providers, including caterers, waiting staff, masseurs, croupiers, falconers, archery experts and even mobile coffee providers – you name it – are all listed on the website, together with event ideas, and these augment the house team who ensure the event goes smoothly.

THE VERDICT: This is an ideal get-awayfrom- it-all venue, aided by there being no mobile phone signal! Weddings fill it at weekends but on weekdays it’s an ideal venue for corporate meetings and events.

THE DETAILS: Huntsham Court, Huntsham, Devon EX16 7NA. Tel: 01398 361 277. Twonight weekday hire for 19 bedrooms is £9,900 or 27 (including eight rooms under the glass-ceiling loft) at £11,300, or 31 (extra rooms in nearby cottage) at £12,100. Midweek one-day hire is £6,200. Seasonal variations apply. No corkage. Prices include VAT and five hours of planning help.

Reviewed by Gillian Upton (2014)