Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle (with a video)

Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed (cos I kept posting pictures of blue skies and beaches), that we took a trip down Devon/Dorset way the other weekend.

It was a surprise trip for my step-dad’s 50th birthday and somewhat of a military operation to get nine people and a dog down there without him being aware of it. My mum had to tell him they were going on a surprise weekend away, just the two of them, and then get imaginative as to why they were staying somewhere that could sleep ten people. 

 We had to get the food delivered to my sister’s house in Winchester, G and I had to drive via Winchester to pick up said sister and then try and fit said food into our tiny car. 

The tesco delivery guy took one look at our car and was like ‘no chance love’ but we proved him wrong. Who doesn’t enjoy a journey where you’ve got to worry about the possibilities of squashing a birthday cake or a bottle of champagne smashing onto your head? 

We pootled down nice country roads (although anything would have seemed nice after the hellhole that is the M25 with roadworks), breezing past Stonehenge and witnessing the most glorious sunset whilst munching on jelly babies. 

We arrived in the dark, driving through the gatehouse – yup, it had a gatehouse – archway, parking behind some trees and trying to close the car doors quietly. We then crept towards the castle, clinging onto a helium ‘50’ balloon which was rustling conspicuously loud and trying to escape in the wind.

We knocked on the first door we saw and got no answer – a true sign of how big the place was. Eventually we realised we should go through the gate where we found another door that also looked like it could be the entrance. We ran and ducked under the windows and knocked on this one instead which turned out to be the right one because my step-dad, who was expecting a Tesco delivery, answered and we yelled SURPRISE in his face. 

And then about an hour later, his best friend plus family also showed up on the doorstep and did the same. 

Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle

It was genuinely a lovely weekend. 

The weather was frosty, with sunshine and clear blue skies. It was busy, with people dotted around everywhere; leaning against the kitchen surfaces chatting, playing with Paddy the dog, carrying dishes of food into the big dining room and lounging by the fire. 

We took a trip to Lyme Regis, taking a long walk along the beach which was dotted with colourful beach huts. The kids and Paddy could run around like crazy, I could take lots of photos of those beach huts and then we all took a walk along the famous Lyme Regis Cobb, and naturally had a family photo shoot at the end with that endless horizon view as our background.  We had a pub lunch (drooling over the memory of the halloumi ciabatta) and wandered around the slightly-tacky tourist shops before heading back to laze by the fire eating birthday cake (I made this chocolate and Guinness cake again and can confirm it's the best cake ever. EVER). We ate hearty brunches and dinners (with so many puddings) at the big dining room table and played murder in the dark (after muchos begging from the kids) and explored that flippin’ dreamy castle.

Because really though, the best part of the weekend was the venue. The castle, as we called it. 

THIS is where we stayed (full tour in video below). It’s the remains of a medieval manor house. It has three floors, five bedrooms, five bathrooms, three (some hidden) staircases, an enormous living room, dining room and kitchen, a secret room hidden behind a curtain in the living room which hosted what we assumed was the original (huuuuuge) kitchen fireplace, and a medieval great hall on the top floor. Oh and maybe a ghost. 

The size, the hidden rooms/staircases and the general air of history made the place feel magical. I felt like a child again, wanting to run around and explore with my imagination running wild. 

It gave me such a rush of affection for winter ‘staycations’; hiring a big house in the British countryside and bundling in with your favourite people. You don’t need plans or focus because it’s the middle of winter. You can all just laze and chat and eat, and it’s pretty darn lovely. 

(I’ve started making lil videos and the one from this babe of a weekend is below. It’s not compulsory viewing or anything; but there is a dog chasing balloons.) 








No comments