The Newt – Somerset, England
Set against a classic West Country backdrop, with a deer park, working farm, extensive native woodland and meticulously designed gardens, a stunningly elegant country retreat. The sister hotel to Babylonstoren in South Africa, it mixes elegant Georgian grandeur with understated simplicity and contemporary verve and colours, to produce what is arguably one of the finest places to stay in the country.
This is a place for enjoying fresh air and country walks, beautiful gardens, delicious and fresh farm to table cuisine, in elegant and sophisticated surroundings. The staff are exceptional – professional and always one step ahead – so kick off your everyday shoes and relax. And if you don’t own your own wellington boots, there are plenty to borrow!
At A Glance
Why We Love It:For its farm to fork ethos & stunning interiors.
Style:Elegant Georgian design paired with understated country living and contemporary styling.
Location:Located in south Somerset between the market towns of Bruton and Castle Cary.
Rooms:23 rooms & suites
Swimming:A wild pool in the spa’s wellness garden and a hydrotherapy pool as well as a heated indoor-outdoor infinity pool.
Children:Children are very welcome here.
Accessibility:Disabled access and facilities.
Open From:All year round.
Price:From £785 per room, per night.
There’s a definite air of private house at the Newt, with only 13 suites in the main house and a further 10 in the Stable Yard. Painted walls, some muted, others bold, sumptuous king size beds, fire places and roll top baths, each one has its very own style and character. And they all have a fully stocked complimentary mini larder!
Delicious and colourful dishes, dictacted by what’s in season in the kitchen gardens and on the estate, is served in the airy atmosphere of the Botanical Rooms. It’s modern and inventive, with menus inspired by original Georgian documents found in the house. Take a short walk through the grounds and you’ll come to the glass walled Garden Café, with its view over the orchards and walled parabola garden, and experience real farm to table dishes.
A lunch of the estate’s own charcuterie, home made pickles and sourdough bread will see you through til supper. And if you’re there with lots of friends or a family party, you should book Horns and Pigtails in the vaulted cellar.
Enjoying a slower pace of life is not difficult at the Newt. The Spa is a luxury little haven, with its sauna, salt steam room, hammam, rasul chamber, pool and hydrotherapy pool. And all the while the grounds and gardens are calling to be discovered. Paths and trails criss cross the estate – walk (or run) through the woods, swim in the wild pool, where you might come across the great crested newts after which the hotel is named, and gain some height on the tree top walk. Or for the more sedate, enjoy a game of croquet on the lawn, after which, a visit to the estate’s cider press should not be missed.
This is a magical place for children for getting lost in nature, exploring the vast gardens, making regular forays to the ice cream parlour (obviously made with cream from the farm’s own cows), or, our favourite, hiding in the wicker nests in the garden. Younger guests also love collecting eggs and picking fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden. Cots are provided and extra beds can be added to the suites for older children. If you’d like a babysitter, you’ll need to request in advance.
The Newt appreciates the magical landscape in which it resides. Their mantra is caring for the land that feeds us all, by keeping things local wherever possible, and sustainably using resources. Heating is provided to the hotel and spa by a biomass boiler powered by woodchips, which are sourced from the estates woodland management programme. Single-use plastics are minimised, and all organic waste is composted in their gardens.
Parabola is a walled garden housing diverse woodland to provide a sheltered habitat for native wildlife, including native deer, or the Great Crested newts after which the hotel is named. The focal point of the larger and meticulously designed gardens, Parabola is a delightful space, with British apple trees planted into a maze. These are then even used to help produce fresh apple juice and cyder, in a delicious farm-to-fork experience. They really do think in ‘food steps’ instead of ‘food miles’!
The West Country
Think of the West Country, and there’s many a nostalgic memory of long, hot sunny summers on Cornish beaches, with ice cream and buckets and spades. One of the most enduring popular places in the UK, it still feels like an off the beaten track find, with its miles of wild Atlantic coastline, purple moorland as far as the eye can see, hidden villages and cosy country pubs. For those who love the great outdoors, it’s simply one of the best places to holiday.
Deep sea fishing one day, to scrambling up a granite tor the next. Exploring a subtropical garden, to discovering life on a working farm, or browsing a farmers market for a morning to surfing the waves in the afternoon. It promises a romantic getaway for couples and a non-stop adventure for families. The West Country has always been renowned as a culinary destination, with numerous notable chefs in residence, making it a pretty good place to work up an appetite. Crab sandwiches, fresh oysters, local cheeses and obviously, a cream tea or two! It makes you hungry just thinking about it!
Tucked away between the rolling hills and gorges of north Somerset, is the little market town of Bruton. With little art galleries, lifestyle shops and an above average number of very good places to eat, this is one of our favourite spots in the area.
Located in south Somerset between the market towns of Bruton and Castle Cary. Set within 800 acres of beautiful woodland, farmland and gardens.