I always get itchy feet after a holiday and so after Spain, I decided that a short and spontaneous trip to Devon was just what the doctor ordered. No early morning flight to catch, no need to wash tons of clothes in preparation or last minute dash to Boots for suncream. Just a small bag and a hop, skip and a jump in the car – perfect.
When booking a British holiday you have to embrace the fact that it will almost certainly rain and if you plan a coastal break I’m sure the chance of rain increases by 200%. So therefore I would say the most important thing to get right is your hotel or holiday home because a large portion of your holiday will consist of being indoors.
High Grange House, an elegant farm house in East Devon, has been in the Chapman family since 1951 but in 2014 after the death of her Aunt, Lady Bathurst went about lovingly restoring the house. I’ve heard so many wonderful childhood memories of High Grange from Lady Bathurst as well as the pains and joys of renovating the property I was dying to see it.
Arriving onto the gravel drive with the woodland gardens spilling out in front of you, there is an immediate air of tranquility as well as a desire to explore. Nothing makes me happier than Eddie having the freedom to run around, get muddy and play outside to his heart’s content and when we saw the croquet lawns and the beautiful Wendy house I knew there was going to be plenty of opportunity for that.
Done well, as soon as you walk into your holiday home you should truly feel like you are ‘home’ for a few days and that’s exactly what it feels like walking into High Grange. There are so many rooms to explore that Eddie was endlessly entertained playing hide and seek. Mostly, however, we spent our time in the kitchen – they say the kitchen is the heart of the home and nowhere is that more true than High Grange. The seriously impressive 60 square metre kitchen was hand made for the house and the effect is incredible. We cooked and watched TV and snuggled up and tucked into the scones, jam and clotted cream that were left in our welcome hamper.
Every time Eddie has a ‘first’ it is always so exciting and he was thrilled when he walked into the enchanting Owl Room to see bunk beds. He wanted to sleep on the ‘high bed’ which meant that, despite it being perfectly safe and there being 5 other beautiful bedrooms to chose from, I ended up sleeping in the bottom bunk. I had escaped my own house, descended upon the luxurious High Grange to end up sharing bunk beds with my toddler. Sometimes life is too ironic. The only saving grace being it was a double bottom bunk.
We were joined by my friend Harriet and her miniature dachshund, Twiggy, and as predicted – it mostly rained. So I took full advantage of Harriet’s skills as a hair and makeup artist and spent two days prancing around the house having more ‘styling’ changes than Mariah Carey. The outdoors games room ‘The Shippen’ with the pool table provided hours of entertainment and in the evening when Eddie was in bed we sat outside in the chic central courtyard, drinking wine, and putting the world to rights. The great thing about British holidays is that it’s so easy for friends and family to join you and this is definitely the sort of house that you want to fill with people – the more the merrier.
The following day we went for a walk in the grounds – there is the most incredible clearing in the middle of the wooded gardens with a large table and you can’t help but imagine what it would be like in summer having a meal with all your family and friends, or in winter surrounded by twinkly fairy lights and candles. That’s the thing about choosing a holiday home as beautiful as High Grange – come rain or shine, it’s going to be wonderful.
We finally managed to tear ourselves away from the house to take a trip to Lyme Regis and the sun came out. We pottered amongst the coastal town’s shops and then strolled on the pebbled beach – if ever you find yourself there they have the most incredibly little crêpe shop tucked just back from the beach. It was the most perfect couple of days and we even squeezed in a trip to River Cottage Cafe which was everything I hoped it would be. It was the perfect mini break and just proves you don’t have to travel far to have an incredible holiday. Mostly though, it was really lovely to add our memories to the multitude of stories that High Grange already has to tell.
Styling and photos: www.hcbrides.co.uk