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Dunkery Beacon Country House

Muddy says: Award-winning luxury hotel and fine dining restaurant, open to non-residents, in the heart of Exmoor – with food that’s as spectacular as the moorland views

A hunting lodge in the 1900s, a safe house and training house for M16 in the 1960s,  chef John and wine expert Jane Bradley arrived in 2012 and transformed the house into an award-winning luxury country house hotel, with home comforts, relaxed fine dining and the truly personal touch.

Lying within the Exmoor National Park, near the medieval village of Dunster, the hotel has stunning views of the surrounding moorland including Dunkery Beacon, the highest point in Somerset.

There are eight luxury rooms, including three suites, each individually decorated, with four-posters, sleigh beds, doubles and twins, sunken baths and luxury bedding. Well-behaved pets and children over 10 years are welcome.

Named after Samuel Coleridge (who wrote the Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan nearby), the hotel restaurant is open to non-residents and has a menu that’s seasonal, locally sourced and eclectic; each plate of food is a work of art. On the menu, dishes like local Wicked Wolf gin cured gravlax of salmon with wasabi mayo; Exmoor roast Devon duck breast with confit duck leg arancini; chocolate fondant with tonka bean ice cream, cinder toffee and blackcurrant coulis.

Wine comes from Britain’s oldest wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd.

No surprise to discover they’ve acquired most of the food, drink and hospitality awards in the West Country and were Editor’s Choice in the 2019 Good Hotel Guide.

Outside, there’s over 750 miles of paths and 267sq miles of Exmoor’s wild moorland, lush river valleys and acres of woodland to explore. A designated Dark Sky Reserve, it’s the perfect place for stargazing.  Bliss.

Restaurant: Dinner from 6.30pm Weds to Sat from April to the end of October;  Fri and Sat during the winter. Sunday lunch from 12.30pm until 2pm from Mothering Sunday until end November.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset