The A303 is subsumed into the A30 which beckons you on, on to deepest Devon and into Cornwall, but pause for a delightful evening and night in historic Yarcombe, a mile or two off the highway. Once the Estate of Sir Francis Drake, him of the Armada and bowles on Plymouth Hoe fame, vestages of his ancestry still remain in Yarcombe in the delightful Shefhayne Manor, available to hire for a week, and The Yarcombe Inn with it's wonderful selection of handpumped beers, free wifi and food prepared to exquisite standards by a Heston Blumenthal trained chef. My dish was truly a feast for the senses!
Having eaten and supped in such surroundings, driving on would be out of the question, no matter who 'Des' is for the evening, so ensure you have taken the trouble to suprise your partner by booking into the Old Vicarage, just a few steps away from the pub, down through the ancient churchyard.
The Old Vicarage stands in its own grounds overlooking the rolling Blackdown Hills. Grounds that have been lovingly landscaped by the owners, with borders full of varied and some exotic plants. Stolling through the soft lawn lake a deep pile green carpet to discover hidden vistas is a delight to experience in the quiet still of the evening or before breakfast.
The old house has huge windows, some of large panes of shaped glass which show the views to the church or across the gardens to the hills beyond to their best advantage.
As you enter your large high ceilinged room for the first time prepare to be amazed by the array of antique furniture within. Fabulous. The bathrooms are well appointed, but - be aware that not all rooms are en-suite. The antique bed was so high that anyone shorter would have had to jump up onto it. No matter if you had to as it was sturdy and immobile with not a hint of a squeak.
After a superb nights sleep, breakfast is served at you chosen hour and in the spacious dinning room overlooking the garden. If you have time and the season right, step through the french windows into the garden to enjoy its splendour and the rising sun picking out the details on the magnificent house.
Ann prepares breakfast for her guests to their requirements. High chair for the baby if needed. The table is laid with fine china and is a real Country House experience with buffet style fruit and cereal available, proper coffee and then the sumptuous, wonderfully cooked breakfast arrives.
Linger over breakfast, take in the papers in the ajoining lounge, use the free house wifi to check the state of the A30 before you set off, then pack, take another turn around the garden or explore the old yew guarded churchyard with its Lytch Gate and leave this little piece of historic England behind, but hold it in your memory.
All this for less than an anywhere room in some mediocre BestPremierLodge type chain hotel. Well worth taking those 2 miles off the beaten track and discovering a perfect piece of Olde England.