Guest review: An autumn getaway at Trafalgar Barton

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Guest review: An autumn getaway at Trafalgar Barton

We were lucky enough to spend a blissful weekend at Trafalgar Barton, an elegant manor house nestled in a special rural location by the sea. And what a wonderful experience it was...

When and where: An early autumn weekend in the enchanting east Devon countryside 

As we arrived into Branscombe, a picturesque village full of authentic charm, we instantly felt our shoulders drop and our worries melt away. Surrounded by the most glorious rolling countryside, with its touches of autumnal reds, golds and yellows signalling the start of the new season, we knew this was just the place to spend a tranquil weekend in early October.

 Trafalgar Barton


Where we stayed: Trafalgar Barton

Arriving at Grade II Listed Trafalgar Barton was quite special; driving into the beautiful grounds to discover the majestic manor house with its rather grandiose exterior. Once inside, the entrance hall is pretty spectacular with a sweeping staircase and a fabulous chandelier - making us feel like Lord and Lady of the manor! We instantly set off to explore, discovering two elegant sitting rooms, a spacious and sunny dining room, a lovely snug, a fantastic kitchen, and upstairs, six bedrooms to choose from. Oh, and we must mention the fabulous dressing room!

The kitchen at Trafalgar Barton

We chose Bedroom five, a lovely en-suite room with the most comfortable super king bed and wonderful views across the countryside. Being a blustery autumn evening when we arrived, the house remained wonderfully cosy and welcoming, and we settled down in the sitting room for the evening, accompanied by the roaring wood burner. Perfect…

On Saturday morning, we awoke to a still, serene and sunny morning, pulling open the curtains to soak in the beautiful rural views through the sash windows and listen to the sound of bird song. We filled a cafetiere and perched in the sun-drenched snug feeling the warmth of the morning sun flooding through the windows, before heading outside to enjoy the fresh morning air (and to enjoy more of those wonderful views - you can see the sea too!). We decided we probably couldn’t stay there forever, and headed out to discover our surroundings.

Trafalgar Barton snug

After a day of exploring the delights of east Devon, a leisurely soak in the gorgeous free-standing bathtub in Bedroom two was quite a treat, before rustling up supper in the spacious kitchen with some delicious local produce we picked up from Darts Farm on the way.

The outside space at Trafalgar is nothing short of captivating, with glorious views across the valley and a sun-filled patio. I could just imagine those idyllic summer days barbecuing and unwinding on the sunbeds in the early evening sun, but it was just as magical in the autumn, too. The morning light was beautiful, and we took the time to savour the restorative country air before we left on Sunday morning, feeling thoroughly relaxed…

Trafalgar Barton

The history: Captain John Yule, the Tucker family and a lace making business

Previously featured in The Times ‘Home of the week’, Trafalgar Barton has a fascinating history. The property was originally built by Captain John Yule in 1825, a young sailor aboard HMS Victory during the battle of Trafalgar. 

In 1845, the Tucker family bought the property, and renamed it Barnells, where they ran a successful lace making business. Fun fact: the Tucker family supplied lace to HRH Princess Alexandra for her wedding in 1863, which is now part of the Royal Collections. 


The location: Coast path adventures, idyllic villages and seaside towns

Having never visited this lovely corner of Devon before, we were excited to see what we could find. The village of Branscombe itself is delightful, full of dreamy thatched cottages, grand houses, miles of countryside, and an award-winning pub, the Masons Arms. There’s a sweet shingle beach, ideal for coffee and cake at the Sea Shanty cafe and watching the ebb and flow of the shoreline. The coast path here is beautiful too, and you can easily spend a few hours, or longer, exploring the breath-taking coastline and admiring the dramatic cliffs. 

Branscombe in east Devon

On Saturday morning, we hopped in the car to River Cottage, where we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the cosy restaurant overlooking the countryside. From there, we ventured to Beer, just a ten minute drive from Branscombe, a lovely village with sweet shops, great places to eat and a charming pebbled beach dotted with colourful fishing boats. Sidmouth is just twenty minutes away, and we spent a sunny afternoon exploring; wandering around the independent shops, gazing out to sea, and we even found it warm enough to enjoy an ice cream in the autumn sunshine! It wouldn’t be a coastal holiday without one…

River Cottage

On the way home, we stopped in Topsham - a pretty town not too far from Branscombe. Here you can enjoy a coffee (and perhaps treat yourself to a new house plant!) at Circle, pick up a couple of gifts from the lovely lifestyle shop, The Nest, and indulge in a decadent cake or pastry from Sara’s Petite Cuisine, a pastel pink patisserie sure to catch your eye and lure you in as you wander past!


How to book

We found Trafalgar Barton to be the perfect choice for a special family celebration or an unforgettable holiday with a group of friends, any time of the year - with just the perfect combination of captivating coastline and idyllic countryside to explore. Tempted? You can book Trafalgar Barton here.

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