Good news for those who cannot get a room at The Newt in Somerset, which is honestly 99% of the been-everywhere list (if there happened to be a future vacancy, even for the one room that does not have a roll-top bath tub, it is snapped up by someone checking out).
You can, however, at least experience this unique lifestyle elevation by taking a day trip, London Paddington first class rail to Castle Cary, then ten minutes by car. The everything’s included comes with onboard breakfast and afternoon tea, both using The Newt’s own produce, and in between tours of some of the estate’s 800 acres, including Baroque and Georgian-style modern gardens, apple plantations, bee and cyder tutorials and tastings, a slap-up you-choose lunch, and shopping.
Some return home with baskets of the championship in-season produce that The Newt supplies daily to many London’s top restaurants. The Newt supplies, and buys, the best. Every day, apparently, 100 litres of buffalo milk come to the hotel’s own cheesemaker, say for the lebaneh base of a chard, onion and peashoot lunch in Garden Café.
Visits to such nearby experiences as that Buffalo Farm, and the 400+ classic vehicles at Haynes International Motor Museum, are encouragements, by hook or crook, to stay overnight. Some prefer the 17 rooms in The Farmyard, once the estate dairy. Others opt for the 23 rooms in, or around, the main house – an understandable favourite is #3, up 21 stone stairs from a conservatory (other upstairs rooms can be reached by a unique panelled slimline elevator, by Otis for The Titanic). The Clockhouse is perfect for four-room buyouts, and The Granary, for a hideaway with raised platform bed above the admittedly-bijou bathroom.
Wherever, stay over in a curtain-free theatre empathetically designed by co-owner Karen Roos (above), AKA Mrs Koos Bekker of Tencent fame. Expect shutters and walls in bespoke Farrow & Ball. Hairdryers are Dyson, radios Roberts, USB ports where you expect. To complement almost-ironed Financial Times your room’s hardbacks probably include Hobhouse tomes – the estate’s proprietors for over two centuries until 2013.
Want work out? Both Farmhouse and other-house have breathtaking 20-metre indoor pools, and yoga and so on. There’s a scenic Technogym, and a bevy of bikes and buggies – and you can run forever, in all those acres, before the garden-lovers start arriving.
Still time to catch him, Peter Borer on Podcast: