Ready to relax? Vineyard Estate on the South Devon coast pushes all the right buttons, and is helps focus on the discovery in finding a nice crisp white from the on-site vineyard, winery and shop. At five o-clock, the gentle buzz of the winery and shop peter out, leaving you wrapped in silence as thick as Devon cream.
With rural views over the orchards, woodlands and down to the River Dart, this eases in the sense of calm tranquility. Take a vineyard walk on site, then bag a bottle of fine fizz from the winery. Pack some sarnies for the picnic area, or book a table at Circa, the estate eatery, for site-reared beef, organic veg and Brixham seafood.
Cook on the electric oven or Aga, eat together on the big oak tables or out in the sunshine with a view of the vineyard. Sleep in tastefully panelled en-suite bedrooms, some with river views and balconies, and burrow down amid the deep duvets and mattress toppers. Discover what being together again feels like.
Here in South Devon, with Vineyard Farmhouse frontage sloping away toward the banks of the Dart and Lower Vineyard Farmhouse nestled within a working vineyard, which you’re welcome to explore, you’re truly part of the countryside. The estate grounds invite lengthy strolls before dinner in the on-site restaurant.
There’s acres of grounds that come dotted with ponds. The terraces, with river views, suggest a cheeky barbie with meat from Savill’s. After shop hours, the orchard and picnic area’s all yours, too, so pack a scotch egg or two and indulge in a bottle of English Sauvignon Blanc from the winery.
There’s plenty of modern-day fun to be had, with the indoor pool heated to an agreeable 30 degrees and workout-worthy 30 foot by 15.
Step right out along the riverside at The Boathouse, located a good walk through the beech woods, or hop into the Land Rover with your cases upon arrival or departure and you’ll be there in a jiffy.
Vineyard Farmhouse is a classically furnished delight, as befitting the home of a revered naval captain. But you don’t need to be a decorated explorer to enjoy the big, sociable spaces that never fail to drink in the river views, with the hub of life here the main kitchen/dining/living area with balcony offering a front-row seat on the Dart.
Inside Lower Vineyard House, all is beautifully, cosily modern, with a palette of muted greys and olive greens set against the farmhouse flagstone floors. Grab some fizz from the winery, settle back, chill out, soak up the sense of peace. Life at The Boathouse revolves around open-plan living space flooded with light from the floor-to-ceiling French windows that span the property.
Once you’ve towelled off in the changing room from a leisurely swim in the indoor heated pool at the main house, it’s time to discover the games barn where you can battle it out tournament-style on its full-size snooker table or table tennis and football tables.
Worn out yet? Perhaps a family film night in the TV room with Sky TV will do the trick? Or bring your Netflix password and stream away. Load up the logs into the log-burner or fire, then escape with a good read from the full bookcase, or make a night of it with the quiz games and cards.
Eat on site at ethical, seasonal Circa, with menus that include uchiki kuri squash terrine and celeriac soup. Or cook for yourself in either of the fully equipped kitchens on the Aga and electric oven plus Aga plates in Vineyard Farmhouse or in the electric oven with five-burner induction hob at Lower Vineyard Farmhouse.
Eat around oak tables or out on the terraces with views of the river, vineyard or beyond and enjoy meaty treats sizzling on the gas and coal barbecues. Wash everything down with fine fizz from the estate, such as award-winning Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris Wild Ferment and finish off by popping pods in the coffee machine.
Take in the panoramic views from the balcony table at The Boathouse, fire up the barbecue, uncork a bottle from the estate and throw some fresh mussels into the pan. You’ve everything you need here for self-sufficient peace and quiet. The kitchen comes with electric cooker, fridge-freezer, dishwasher and more, and the living space provides a dining table for four.
Stoke Gabriel’s one of those Devon villages with an 800-year-old oak tree in the churchyard. But it also comes with two pubs: The Church House Inn and The Castle, which is a top choice for Sunday lunch. Or head to Totnes for West Country rump steak or chicken, ham hock and leek pie at The Royal Seven Stars.
The gentle buzz of the artisan shop and wine store next door gives way to complete silence at five o’clock closing time, leaving you in a tranquil wooded valley that, when paired with mattress protectors and toppers, speeds you to slumberland. Or escape from it all down at Vineyard Farmhouse or The Boathouse where the only sounds to disturb your slumber will be the roll of the river and the dawn chorus of the songbirds.
Vineyard Farmhouse sleeps 12 in six luxury bedrooms. Watch the river roll by from the master suite on the first floor, complete with a superking, TV, private bathroom and space for a cot. You’ve also got river views from bedroom two, a super-kingsize with a bathroom shared with bedroom three, offering a king bed. Bedroom four is a twin with a shared bathroom, while bedroom five provides a four-foot divan double and a shared bathroom. Finally, there’s a double bed in the annex, which comes with TV and en-suite.
In the Lower Vineyard Farmhouse, sleeping 8, the three upstairs bedrooms are superking, zip-and-link divans giving you family flexibility over your sleeping arrangements. Bedroom one, the master, comes with its own bathroom and will fit a cot, while bedrooms two and three also have private bathrooms. Downstairs, bedroom four is a king offering a private bathroom and step-free access for those with restricted mobility.
Sleeping four in an en-suite master with commanding river views and a twin, The Boathouse offers the perfect adventure for a young, energetic family who don’t mind the 10 minute woodland walk and a few steps (well, 71) down from the main Farmhouse to the spectacular location that results from that on a working farm and vineyard.
If yours are the kind of kids who love holidays but worry about leaving home behind, bring home with you. There’s space here for two dozen in twelve bedrooms across the estate, with three properties to enjoy and explore and also escape to for their own sanctuary if needed.
With many high hedges and twisting and turning roads, add more excitement by telling them that Vineyard Farmhouse was once home to the famous explorer John Davis. On arrival, they’ll discover plenty for themselves, including river views from the balcony. Get the barbie going for bangers and burgers.
The acres of land promise picnics on the way down to the River Dart. Back up the hill, the fun keeps on coming. Head to the play barn to lose countless hours over full-size snooker, table tennis and table football. Then, of course, they’ll splash away more time in the heated 30-foot indoor pool.
Stay up late on a school night playing cards in the cosy living spaces with open fires casting shadows on the wall. Or get together for Sky or your own Netflix or Amazon accounts for a movie night. Sleep deeply in luxury bedrooms then wake for breakfast on the balcony and a walk through the vineyards.