If you’re in need of some R&R, Somerset hotel The Newt is just the tonic
Words: Charlotte Pasha
There’s a sprinkle of magic in the air at The Newt in Somerset. It could be the roaring wood fires, the eclectic interiors or the deer who roam freely in woodland.
Or it could be the bedrooms: comfortable oversized beds, a complimentary larder with delicious lemonade and fudge and, in ours (ask for Room Two) – views over the Long Walk and a freestanding bath tub designed for wallowing. There’s even a little velvet chair next to it for bathside chit chat.
Decor throughout is eclectic and interesting – playful, with colourful chairs and plenty of fringed ottomans, but juxtaposed with elaborate cornicing and rather serious portraits.
Want to relax? Head to the spa, where you can enjoy the indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pool, steam, sauna and salt room. Feeling active? Take a guided tour of the gardens to explore the elaborately planted parabola walled garden with more than 200 varieties of apple, the Japanese and kitchen gardens and a suspended walkway through the treetops.
Other enticing activities include honey tasting, mushroom workshops and a cyder tour. The Newt brews its own cyder in a state-of-the-art cellar, using a slow cold fermentation process. It uses apples from the estate, of course, and produces several different types. The Winston, the champagne of cyders, is worth a try – so-called after Churchill supposedly enjoyed a pint of Champagne with his dinner.
We also take the Roman Villa tour, exploring the ruins of a settlement dating back to 351 AD. There’s an accompanying museum and reimagined villa to portray life as it was, complete with audio headsets and staff dressed as Romans.
The hotel is doing a fantastic job as a working estate, showcasing local produce. The breakfast buffet has standout croissants from the in-house bakery; dinner is day boat fish and a honey ice cream sundae – if you didn't think the hotel would have its own bees, you don’t quite get it. At the Garden Cafe, which has sensational views of the walled garden and beyond, vegetables are the main event with meat as sides. The menu is hyper seasonal – on our autumn visit, mushrooms lead the way. Don’t miss the cheeseboard and the sourdough – the latter elevates the ordinary to something spectacular, making use of leftover waste from the cyder making process.Do visit – you won’t regret it.