Tuesday afternoon saw me driving south west, from my home in Essex, to the lovely county that is Devon. I was on my way for an overnight stay at the Home Farm Hotel in Honiton. I was staying at this hotel as I was off to River Cottage HQ on Wednesday morning… but more on that in another post!
The drive down was filled with rain, on and off, but fortunately, this didn’t cause too much traffic. After coming off the M25 and the M3, I started to hit the A roads, and knew I was finally in the West Country! I loved that my drive took me right past Stonehenge; had it not been pouring with rain, I would have pulled off and visited, but just seeing it from my car felt magical.
After some conflict between the directions my sat-nav was giving me, and what my phone was telling me, I eventually found myself turning into the car park of the hotel. All told, it took me around 4 hours, which is probably one of the shortest drives I’ve had down to this part of the UK. I parked up, and walked up the slope to the reception of the Home Farm Hotel. It felt very weird to be staying at a hotel on my own, I declared, upon my arrival and shares of photos on Instagram, that it was the first time in my life I have ever done that!
The view behind me was beautiful. Despite the hotel being located on the A35, I didn’t feel like it, with the rolling hills, and woodlands in the distance. In fact, there is more traffic noise outside my bedroom window now, as I type this, than what I heard when staying here.
I walked through the door to the reception area, and was greeted warmly. Between breaths (that slope left me a bit too breathy, but you are allowed to pull your car up outside, if you feel you couldn’t manage it), we chatted about how far I had driven, the weather, and visiting River Cottage the next day, which was a short 15 minute or so drive down the road. The lady (I didn’t catch her name) showed me the bar area and the restaurant – where dinner and breakfast are served, before leading me back outside to room 16, which was to be my home for the evening.
The room was a good size, with a double bed, bedside cabinet (with lamp), desk with mirror, chair and a built in closet – with hangers. There was also a full length mirror on the wall, and a TV too.
The bathroom had a bath, with a shower, toilet, and sink. There wasn’t a slipmat for the bath, which did put me in a bit of a panic, until I read in the hotel information folder that you can ask for one. I personally think these should be provided in the bathroom as standard, so that you didn’t have to worry about finding someone to ask. Not that, that was a problem, there is a bell at the reception desk to ring, and someone came quickly when I needed a member of staff. There were two towels provided, which was enough for me; and there were some small bottles of shower gel and shampoo/conditioner in the bathroom which were handy, as it meant I didn’t need to bring my own. (I had read online that they were provided)
There was a kettle on the window ledge – which seems a strange place for a kettle, since the tea/coffee tray was over on the other side of the room on the desk! But I figured it was because all of the power points where on the kettle side of the room. The decor was neutral, and unfussy, and overall the room was clean, comfortable and perfect for my needs.
I decided to have dinner in my room – I’m not good on my own in public, I had already been having waves of anxiety all morning at the thought of staying on my own somewhere, and eating in a restaurant on my own would tip me over the edge. There is a £3 charge for room service, but this was a small price to pay for me. The menu at the Home Farm Hotel Restaurant is locally sourced, and seasonal, and so, is subject to change over the year. I decided to have a goats cheese tart for starter, with fish and chips for main course. Sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream was my dessert choice. I couldn’t go all the way to Devon and not have clotted cream! The food was delicious, although, I did miss having some veggies with the fish and chips – some peas would have been nice. The pud was so indulgent – especially with that huge scoop of cream. For a brief moment, when I first saw it, I thought it was ice cream!
As the night started to draw in, I closed the thick curtains – including one that goes across the door, and settled in for the night. Free wi-fi was available, a couple of times it dipped in and out, but I was able to do all my usual time wasting online! In addition, I spent my evening watching some telly and chatting to my husband and son on Skype who were missing me (and I them!) before turning in for the night. The bed was really comfortable, the room was nice and dark, and the surroundings were quiet. I slept really, really well – better than I thought I might.
I woke up early the next morning – around 5am, which is about usual for me, and got myself showered and dressed. I went to the reception to pay my bill, for both the room (which was £65 for single occupancy) and the room service I’d had the night before. Breakfast was included in the price of the room, but I didn’t partake. I figured a day at River Cottage would be indulgent enough!
Part of me wishes I had been brave enough to drive down to Lyme Regis or Charmouth (which aren’t too far away) to have a wander around – we have always had such great family holidays in Dorset, but it wasn’t to be, this time around…. But there is always a next time, and I wouldn’t hesitate to come back to the Home Farm Hotel.
Home Farm Hotel