Yetson Retreat isn’t just for celebrations. It is a celebration. Hugging the hills that fringe Devon’s South Hams, Yetson celebrates the high life. It’s a stylish period estate that comes with a 400-year history, manor house and converted barns, some enchanting toys, beds for 20, and roots as an old bookshop. Get together to write the next chapter.
From April to October, the heated outdoor pool is all yours. It’s walled, welcoming and warmed quickly by a German solar cover. Take a dip or just laze on the loungers, or drink and dine on the terrace table. Keep things civilised with the pool room and showers. Serve yourself from the optics in the outdoor bar.
Dine in the courtyard, hit the gym in the converted barn, make the entertaining barn your party palace. Tap into the fast wifi, binge on a boxset on Sky Classic, pack the kids off to the playroom. Dash down to Dartmouth for a dose of coast, then it’s back to base to go gastro in the Durant Arms, just a wobble away down the winding lanes.
The hum of a main road? Not here. Just the owls hooting in the copse by night and the summer sound of the woodpigeons as you drink and dine in the courtyard.
Of course, the crisp Devon air will also echo to the giggles of the kids in the heated pool, 40 feet long and warmed by German tech. Laze on the loungers, soak up the sun and contemplate your next tipple from the optics in the outdoor bar. When everyone’s all swum out, you can shower and change in the pool room.
Among eight acres, the landscaped grounds studded by herbaceous borders, mature trees and ponds offer plenty spots for a picnic. Walk the woodlands on marked trails, potter the Pinot-Noir vineyard, or get oh-so-English with a little croquet on the lawn.
Once an antiquarian bookshop, home to rare editions and other wonders, Yetson Retreat has added to its own story, with a gorgeous restoration of its Georgian features. It’s a glorious celebration of a house, ready to host family and friends in its log-lit spaces beneath original beams.
The manor house and two converted barns here create a mini village. Each living space is a brilliant bolthole for barnstorming through books or tapping in to the wifi and disappearing beneath huge headphones and a long playlist. Despite the tech, the spirit of the Georgian age lives on here in high ceilings, sash windows and marble fireplaces.
Chillax in the well-proportioned drawing room and sitting room. Raid the basket of logs and fan the flames of idle chatter over a game of cards. Get kids to make friends with the second-floor playroom and party on after hours in the entertaining space in the barn, once the site of vast village gatherings for major sports events.
Yetson is old but there’s nothing yesteryear about the broadband speeds or the Sky Classic. Fiddle with the remote until you find a family film or footie match. Take it easy here, or go a little harder if you’re missing your workout. There’s a gym in the second barn. Yetson is happy and homely; elegant and entertaining.
This is the kind of kitchen where you’d expect to find ceiling meat hooks. And there they are: above the central island, marble worktops and double gas range with five burners. Here, you’ll create lip-smacking organic masterpieces from Ben’s Farm Shop all washed down with something lovely from Majestic Wine.
There’s space for ten around the main-house dining table, with the logs from the fire create a crackling atmosphere. But if you want extra entertainment space, there’s room for ten more in the barn. Shut the door on the dirty pots, then come back next day when the fog has cleared to load the dishwasher.
Of course, you might want to put your feet up. Talk to us about a one-off celebration or even a fully catered break. Pop out to vegan-friendly Bianca e Massimo, opened by a performing artist and a jazz musician, to Emma’s for duck and mushroom pudding, or to Pie Street for unpretentious grub and great ale.
There’s finer dining on offer at Gather, home to seasonal Devonian dishes that change according to the owners’ foraging success, the strength of the tides and the machinations of the weather. Or try Michelin-starred The Elephant for aged beef fillet or Skrei cod followed by marmalade steamed pudding.
Yetson offers 20 a deliciously deep slumber. On the upper floors of the main house, you’ll find five sumptuous bedrooms complete with parquet flooring, driftwood light fittings and sailboat themes. Be sure to bag the four-poster.
The master suite comes with a study and en-suite bathroom, with feature arched windows, freestanding roll-top bath and walk-in double shower. Bedroom two is a twin with sleigh beds, while bedroom three offers a vaulted ceiling and en-suite with walk-in shower and bath.
Bedroom four on the second floor features twin beds that convert to a superking with zip-and-link. There’s a shared bathroom with bedroom five, a smart double.
In the barn, the ground-floor bedroom one is a twin or zip-and-link superking, while bedrooms two, three and four are doubles. Bedroom five is a mezzanine that sits above the lounge and dining room and offers a superking. Sash windows offer up rolling countryside and the quiet twitter of indigenous birds.
Staycations for kids aren’t just about keeping them entertained; they’re about making memories. That begins on the journey down to Devon, when the motorway gives way to winding, twisting B roads. Their progressive narrowing indicates that you’re in a special place and that you’re nearly there. So there’s that question answered.
Of course, when you get here, things get even more exciting. It all begins with the battle for the bedrooms: mum and dad will probably claim the four-poster master suite, but the sleighbed twin could still be up for grabs, or even the mezzanine in the barn.
Love adventure? How does a car-free eight acres sound? Follow the marked trails that skirt the woodland, explore the walled kitchen garden and vineyard, find the picnic-friendly pond. Play croquet or giant Jenga on the lawn, or hide-and-seek among the herbaceous borders.
Come between April and October and swim yourself silly. Get changed in the pool house then dive into the 40-foot pool, kept toasty with an air-source heat pump and German solar pool cover. When you’re done, wrap up and chill out on the loungers with squash and a burger from the barbie. Memories are made of this.