Page 60

TRAVEL

BOVEY CASTLE THE HEART OF DARTMOOR Feature by Ataur Rahman

The last time we featured Bovey Castle was back in 2005, when our former Travel Editor stayed there for a few days. A number of things have changed since then: ownership, refurbishment, expansion and so on, so now it was time for Urban Life to pay another visit.

I

had heard so much about the property in the past that I thought a nice weekend escape was in order. It’s two and half hours from London by train, but, not having driven long distances for a while, I thought it would be a great idea to arrange some nice wheels and take a long leisurely cruise down south. So I loaned a Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed (naturally), picked up my travel companion and we got on our way. It would have been a lovely drive had the weather not hampered the entire journey so much. It started to rain as soon as we got in to the car. And what a day it was. We had thunder and lightning with gale force winds pretty much the entire route, sometimes reducing visibility to only a few yards. Luckily for us we were in a floating ship, so of course the car did more than its job of handling the conditions perfectly which made the journey that much more bearable. However, we still lost a good hour and half due to the conditions, taking us to nearly five hours journey time instead of the predicted three to three and half hours.

Getting to Bovey was quite simple actually. As long as you are able to follow directions (and I don’t mean using a sat-nav, since that will take you on a wholly different route!), it’s a breeze once you leave the M5. Bovey Castle, with its imposing (and impressive) facade is set amongst 400 acres of land sitting square in the middle of the Dartmoor National Park. It is considered to be one of the top country house estates in England, and quite rightly so as there is plenty to see and do here. The land on which the property sits was originally bought by William Henry Smith (WH Smith fame), but the actual manor house, which is now Bovey Castle, was built by his son and heir Frederick back in the early 1900s. All the on-site amenities are too numerous to list, but included among them are an 18-hole championship golf course, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, Elemis holistic spa and more activities than you can handle over a weekend, such as falconry, sloe gin

making, cider pressing, shooting, fly fishing, and even art classes. If you are feeling that bit more active there an abundance of other choices to indulge in; from rock climbing, kayaking and survival skills (this is Dartmoor after all!), to hot air ballooning, horse riding and quad biking. It is advisable to check for availability before deciding, since a lot of the activities are seasonal and will be dependent on the weather and availability on the day. You can then top this all off with a spot of high-tea on the main terrace with its stunning views overlooking the golf course or in one of the countless lounge areas with open log fires for a relaxing afternoon. Life at Bovey Castle operates at a much slower, less frenetic pace and you soon realise that, here, you actually find that rare commodity that we Londoners so cherish so much: time. And don’t worry about your mobile phone ringing. In fact, you may as well switch it off. There’s hardly any reception at all on the property, so unless you’re a die-hard phone addict, you can enjoy

60 URBAN LIFE

TRAVEL.indd 2

22/09/2009 12:09

Profile for Urban Life Magazine

Urban Life - London's premier (free) luxury lifestyle magazine  

Urban Life is a London-based luxury lifestyle magazine, aimed at the professional/affluent Londoner. Features reflect the tastes and aspira...

Urban Life - London's premier (free) luxury lifestyle magazine  

Urban Life is a London-based luxury lifestyle magazine, aimed at the professional/affluent Londoner. Features reflect the tastes and aspira...

Advertisement