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Plumber Manor Country House Hotel, Sturminster Newton, Dorset
It's hard to imagine a hotel where guests are made to feel more welcome, which is perhaps why Plumber Manor enjoys such a high rate of repeat guests. Key to the warm atmosphere are the charismatic Richard Prideaux-Brune, whose ancestors built the house in the 17th Century, and his hardworking wife Alison. This is their home, and it really does feel like you're being welcomed as an old friend rather than a hotel guest. The Jacobean manor sits in beautiful gardens crossed by a stream and surrounded by farmland. Accommodation is in the main house, packed with family history, or a converted courtyard of buildings in the grounds. The restaurant serves tasty, traditional fare and is excellent value for money.
We love walking on nearby Okeford Hill for almost aerial views of the Blackmore Vale's tapestry of fields, hedgerows, woodland and villages.
Plumber Manor is deep in the Dorset countryside, close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and half an hour's drive from Yeovil.
By car: The hotel is 3 hours from London and Birmingham and 3 hours 30 mins from Cambridge. There is plenty of free parking on-site.
By train: London Waterloo to Yeovil Junction train station takes 2 hours 20 mins. The hotel is a 30-minute taxi from the station. thetrainline.com
By plane: Bournemouth Airport (28 miles)
Style & Character
Couples and families alike enjoy the hotel and surrounding countryside, as do their dogs. It's a popular base for shooting parties. We love the wonderful first-floor landing with its stone-mullion windows, giant sofa, grand piano and vast portraits of the Prideaux-Brune's ancestors.
Service & Facilities
The service. It may be a grand house, but the welcome is warm, friendly, professional and far from pretentious. Plumber is popular with walkers and shooting parties, so dogs are frequent visitors. They're allowed in some courtyard rooms.
- Family rooms
- Pets allowed on request
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
Room six is spacious and has large stone-mullion windows overlooking the gardens, and an ensuite with both bath and shower. Heading to bed is a pleasure - climbing the grand staircase, passing portraits of dignified ancestors to your room, where chef's shortbread waits.
Smaller Double, Standard Double/Twin, Superior Double/Twin
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom, tea and coffee facilities, homemade shortbread biscuits, TV, phone, hairdryer, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
Surrounded by farms, shoots and close to the sea, Plumber was sourcing its food locally decades before it became trendy. Try the partridge breasts on black pudding, bubble and squeak - simple but delicious, perfectly cooked and topped with a tasty gravy.
The restaurant: fine dining, local produce, British and European inspired, daily specials, Sunday roasts, cocktails. Open daily for dinner, 7-10pm. Two courses £30.