I returned yesterday from a short break at Higher Orchard, Dunster owned and run by two very welcoming, caring and lovely people-Janet & Graham Lamacraft. Higher Orchard is as it suggests, high up! There are some steps to negotiate on one gated entrance or a slope on another gated entrance and parking outside for guests. It is like stepping back in time to a home of great design out of a Dickens book with wonderfully old and beautiful features, nooks and crannies both in the house and outside in their super garden. Its old world charm is just what I like with amazing woodwork, doors, fireplaces, pictures, furniture, tapestries and lovely needle point cushion covers in bright colours and patterns. The house boasts beautiful stain glass windows and outside round every corner there are delights of summer houses and archways with climbing plants which must look stunning in full bloom later in the year. At this time of year there were lovely spring plants, trees and lots of wild woodland flowers and bluebells which Jan picks and dots around their home and in the rooms. Guests are invited to use a spare fridge/freezer if they wish to, something useful if buying and eating your own food, as I preferred to on this occasion, although there are many eating places to visit. They set a simple breakfast which suited me perfectly. Plain yogurt and compotes of home grown rhubard and blackberry and apple with local mueseli from the Flour Mill at the back end of Dunster Castle by the stream.
From my room I could see the sea, the Church and part of the Castle not to mention surrounding fields and some areas of Jan & Graham's garden. For company you can "chat" to Mr Minkles and Pearl their cats or Maisy and Ruby their lovely docile dogs. Pearl loves a fuss made of her and purrs with delight as she follows you upstairs. There is a choice of English breakfast after your yogurt or cereals or any part of the breakfast menu you like if a smaller one is desired. They have their own chickens which provide very fresh eggs. Jan also makes her own jams and gorgeous marmalade (my favourite!) and they offer a choice of brown or white bread and copious amounts of lovely coffee if you don't want tea. Graham is a great help if you need assistance with luggage carrying and is a very pleasant and chatty "gentleman waiter" for his wife who freshly cooks what you order and at the time you wish to eat; which you write on a lilttle book on a table in the hall the night before; a great idea. There is copious amounts of hot water in the rooms and nice white towels. I had a small television in my room with a good picture and a hairdryer is also provided, so I needn't had taken mine had I asked before I visited. Can you believe they also had a hot water bottle in the bathroom if needed!!! Definitely home from home!
The house has an interesting history, I'm told originally built by a Miss Martin (a Banker's daughter) to her own specifications. Graham has researched into their home and will tell you should you wish to know. I 'm sure he said it was built in 1864. There was a lovely lilac coloured wisteria out when I visited which was all up one side wall of the house.
For me, the place was perfect for a complete "turn off" break which I needed and I will most certainly recommend it to family and friends and will definitely be returning one day. Book it and enjoy a very peaceful and restful break in the most delightful village of Dunster where time has stood still for years, and I should know I've been visiting Dunster since a very small child and have taken my own children when young too. I NEVER tire of it how ever many times I visit. The tiny villages and surrounding countryside is simply beautiful, even in rain. I can't think why I've not come across Higher Orchard before, but go and see for yourselves, you will be made most welcome.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.