Rebecca is an experienced travel writer, specialising in Japan and the UK. Born and raised in the West Country, she's also spent time living in London, Cambridge and Kyoto, and is now based in Newcastle. She loves promoting independent and inclusive businesses, and sustainable off-the-beaten-track travel.
Southernhay House, Exeter, Devon
For a romantic break in Exeter, you can't do better than Southernhay House. With just eleven rooms it never feels crowded, and staff are attentive without being overbearing. It's located near some of Exeter's prime attractions and housed in a listed building. The hotel's design balances period character and modern comforts. The bar and dining room are airy and inviting each morning, and cosy and relaxing for dinner each evening, with short, seasonally changing food menus and original cocktails. The hotel will be expanded in summer 2020, with the Green Room, a glass pavilion in the garden, extending the bar area and allowing more outdoor events. SevenCentral, a luxury apartment in a neighbouring building, will be fully accessible and enable self-catering stays.
Your expert guides
Exeter is packed with indie shops and cafés, especially along narrow Gandy Street and leafy Magdalene Street, and at the quay end of Fore Street.
Southernhay is within walking distance of Exeter's historic buildings, museums, bars and pubs.
By car: Exeter is around 4 hours' drive from London, under 2 hours from Brighton and 1 hour from Plymouth. Parking is available on Southernhay East overnight or in a local car park.
By train: Exeter St David's is a 20-minute walk or short taxi ride from the hotel, reached in around 3 hours from London Waterloo, 1 hour from Bristol, and 3 hours 30 mins from Penzance. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
With its chic bedrooms, low-lit bar and grand dining area, Southernhay House is aimed at adults, and makes a perfect romantic weekend break. We love the little details left by the building's globe-trotting nineteenth-century owner, from the room names - Cotton, Ambergris, Spice - to the quotes displayed behind the bar.
Service & Facilities
The staff all know the area well and can point you to independent, locally owned businesses you may otherwise have missed. As the hotel is housed in a listed building unfortunately no rooms are fully wheelchair-accessible.
- Bar & bar menu
- Dining room
- Function rooms
- Club Room
We love Southernhay's no single-use plastic policy. The cruelty-free toiletries are full-sized, local spring water comes in glass bottles, and milk for your morning brew is delivered fresh. One of the four luxury rooms, Ivory, boasts a large bathroom with underfloor heating, and an original fireplace next to the luxuriously deep freestanding bathtub.
Intimiate Rooms, Comfy Rooms, Larger Rooms, Luxury Rooms, SevenCentral Apartment
Facilities include: handmade queen or king-sized bed, small seating area, luxury toiletries, flat screen TV, tea & coffee-making facilities, hairdryer, free Wi-Fi, mini bar
Food & Drink
The cocktail list includes some delicious original creations,
from the tangy, non-alcoholic Millennial
Martini to the potent Orientalist. Try the baked eggs for breakfast, served in a cast iron pot with creamy sauce, spinach and mushrooms, plus herby potato scones on the side.
Bar menu: Locally-sourced classics, bar snacks and "tiffin tins" to share. Available at lunchtimes and in the evenings to eat at the bar, in public rooms or al fresco. Plates from £7.50. Cocktails from £8.
Rooms available from £205 per night
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