A while back, trying to organise the perfect romantic escape for my wife and I, we stumbled across Millbrook Cottages. Sounded perfect, online pictures were amazing.
But throughout it all, emails kept on arriving from the friendly folk at Millbrook Estate. Seems like every month they were winning something new.
Five star awards, gold medals and titles such as, “Most Romantic Getaway in the Whole Wide World. Ever. Seriously, don’t even think about going anywhere else.”
So when the chance came to stay for three glorious nights, we leapt at it. Question is, could the place possibly live up to the hype? Hmm.
The roads round that part of North Devon, just down from Exmoor, are a drivers delight. With superb scenery, sweeping curves that keep on coming and enough beauty to fill your heart with birdsong.
As we drove down, the hedgerows were full of wildflowers, the sky was full of swallows and the sun was shining like a diamond. Turns out, the website was telling the truth, this quiet corner really is a bit of heaven in Devon.
Turning into the estate, from a quiet country lane, was enough to take the breath away, to make you pinch yourself. The place looks just too good to be true. Like a mini paradise on earth.
A crunchy gravel drive takes you past beautifully manicured lawns, edged by a babbling brook lined with flowerbeds, over a dinky stone bridge, complete with romantic streetlights, before depositing you in the circular carpark.
Out front is a pretty little paddock, complete with its very own chillout cabin. The Alpaca Shack.
There are four cottages on the estate, each designed to accommodate a couple in complete, indulgent, wraparound, luxury.
Two of them are dog friendly too. If that isn’t enough, there is also nearby Rose Cottage, which is thatched, drop dead gorgeous, sleeps four and is child friendly.
In other words, if you are looking for an extra special romantic escape, whether for two, two plus pooch or two plus kids – there is something here to fulfil every one of your sweetest dreams.
We were staying in Lakeview, a luxurious cottage complete with its own garden gate, sunny decking area, BBQ and, joy of joys, hideaway hot tub.
After exploring outside, we opened the front door, to be greeted by the welcoming smell of freshly baking bread. Turns out, the staff make a loaf in the bread maker for their guests.
They really do pay attention to small details here. Those tiny touches that mean so much.
The smart speaker was playing our fave tunes when we walked in, our pillows were ones we had chosen from the pillow menu, whilst on the table was an apple crumble cake baked locally.
The kitchen had everything you could hope for, whether you wanted beans on toast or a full roast dinner.
As was the dining table. Perfect for a romantic meal for two. But if self catering is not your idea of romance, help is at hand. Literally.
The welcome pack includes details of private chefs who will come in and cook whatever your hungry hearts desire.
The living space is laid out on the upstairs of the cottage, with a huge, dreamy, double bed taking pride of place.
When we arrived, it was strewn with rose petals and looked most inviting. Before giving into temptation, testing it out, seeing if it was every bit as cosy, comfy and warm as it looked (Spoiler alert – it was!) We poured ourselves a drink from the honesty bar and went downstairs.
The bathroom kept the kudos coming. With a shower that promised to reach parts other showers hadn’t even heard of, whilst the jacuzzi bath was yet another luxurious temptation to add to the list.
But first, we needed to chill for a while. It was hot tub time.
Mere steps from the front door, discreetly hidden from view, was our very own private hot tub. We lifted the lid, climbed in and settled back to savour the peace and quiet of the countryside.
Birds gently twittered overhead, clouds passed by and, as the sun dipped below the horizon, bats came out to play.
Followed by a sky full of stars along with a slender moon. Really let us leave the cares of the world far behind.
Next morning, it was time to explore the 32 acres of loveliness that make up the estate. First order of business, was to visit the Alpaca Shack.
Where a small but perfectly formed wood burner was waiting to cook our bacon and boil our bags. Teabags, that is.
After an excellent breakfast, we went on our way. Crossing a cutesy wooden bridge leading to a winding path through the woods.
Could go on here about the smell of wild garlic, the joy of tiptoeing through a forest of fresh green foliage whilst a stream burbles away in the background.
But even better than all that, was the beautiful ‘Babooshka Hut’ hidden away, but available to be used as your very own private dining room for two. With one of the private chefs taking care of kitchen duties. Truly a woody wonderland.
At the far end of the woods, is a lovely little lake, just perfect for fishing. Also, just perfect for sitting next to, whilst thinking about nothing much.
One of the glorious details we noticed around the estate was that every time you fancied a sit down; a love seat, swing seat or bench would appear.
As if by magic. As if someone had read your mind. Very impressive. As were the Alpacas.
Never been up close and personal with an Alpaca before. But the free range bunch that roam the estate were so friendly and curious, would have been rude not to let them sniff our hands.
They really were charming creatures. Made me think no romantic escape, couples adventure or indulgent luxury break is truly complete, without Alpacas.
They’re awesome. Like something from a fluffy fairytale.
Could have easily stayed on the estate throughout our stay, there is so much to do. But, you can’t live on loveliness alone, food is necessary too.
Luckily, there is a cute community shop and cafe just a few minutes stroll away, in the village. It has a little bit of everything you need.
If you want to get out and about, there are a whole bunch of beautiful beaches, towns and villages close by. Bideford, Appledore, Westward Ho, the list is long. All you have to do is follow your nose and you will find a delightful day trip destination.
Same is true for pubs. There are lots of them around. Very lovely they are too. The village pub wasn’t doing food whilst we were there, so we took a short spin out to The Bell, which was superb.
Though we soon missed our comfy cottage and went back to Millbrook.
With all this gorgeousness on offer, was no surprise to discover that Millbrook also offer wedding services. Don’t blame them.
It really is the perfect place to celebrate anything special; an elopement, honeymoon, mini moon, engagement, anniversary, birthday or, just-because-we-felt-like-it, moment.
One afternoon, wandering through the woodland trail, I came across a happy couple who had come for a quiet wedding, just the two of them.
They were all dressed up in their wedding weeds and must say, could not imagine a happier couple, or a better place to get hitched.
If I ever win the lottery, I would buy this place. To keep it close to me heart forever. Until then, the good news is, you can stay there for a few nights, whenever you wish.
Seeing how it feels to live in a modern day Garden of Eden. With Alpacas. Sigh. I love it!
FactboxMilbrook Cottages: Set in a peaceful spot near the village of High Bickington, Millbrook is a Devon Tourism gold award and Feefo Platinum award winner. As well as the four luxury properties for two, Rose Cottage is also available nearby, located in the quiet, pretty rural village of High Bickington. All five properties are full of character and within walking distance of both a traditional pub and a well-stocked village shop. Check out Millbrook Cottages for more.
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