Great British Boltholes: Mason’s Arms in Devon is a luxurious pub-cum-hotel where you drink in the sights
- Mason’s Arms in Branscombe has become a luxury hotel with 28 rooms
- Serves local snacks and also has a ‘smart’ restaurant
- Go exploring and you’ll find three National Trust locations in the village
Everyone loves the last few miles of a seaside trip, and the trip to Mason Arms in Devon does not disappoint.
You twist through narrow, high-coverage streets before getting a breathtaking view of Branscombe. It is a charming village, where whitewashed huts appear like a pearl necklace in a green valley that leads to the sea.
My destiny is one of those jewels. For centuries, the Mason Arms was the cider house in the village. It recently became a luxury hotel with 28 rooms, buying several neighboring cottages. Guests find some rooms along trails or steps in the gardens that were once private.
Vallery views: The pub-cum-hotel has 28 rooms, some with beautiful views of the gardens
My room – No. 17 – is the end of a row of thatched huts on the hillside above the pub. The room has spectacular views of a private garden with a table and chairs overlooking the valley.
Inside, it is spacious, with brown leather, a sofa with deep buttons, a large bed with comfortable pillows and framed prints of birds from the garden. The modern bathroom has simple white brick-patterned tiles and a bath and shower.
I like the homemade touches, which include a handwritten note affixed to the door, explaining which switch does what. And if I had other questions, the owners were never far away. When I arrived, owner Rob Peperell was digging in the vegetable garden, while his wife Natalie attended to a customer who had arrived on horseback.
The pub itself is as idiosyncratic as the hotel’s gardens. The 700-year-old main building is a collection of rooms, stairs and passageways with whitewashed walls, wooden beams and stone floors. In winter, you have huge bonfires. In the summer, straw umbrellas are spread around the garden.
Go out and explore and you’ll find three National Trust locations in the village. There is an old mill, a working forge and the Old Bakery, which serves cream teas in its orchard.
All rooms have different shapes, sizes and styles and can be in old houses, outbuildings or above the pub
Mason arms Branscombe, Devon. B&B from £ 80 per room. For more information visit masonsarms.co.uk.
A 15-minute walk along the river leads to Boca de Branscombe, where the huge pebble beach has a small straw café next to the beach huts. From here, you can join the South West Coast Path and head towards the next coastal village of Beer. You will be on the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, with some very photogenic chalk pinnacles, covered with tufts of green hedges.
The USP: Village pub, which has become a luxury hotel 800 meters from the sea.
The rooms: they all have different shapes, sizes and styles and can be in old houses, outbuildings or above the pub. Some with private gardens accept dogs, others have four-poster beds and a sea view. All have undemanding country house decor.
The food: local snacks like fish and chips or Dartmoor venison burgers. Or head to the stylish restaurant for homemade fish pies with saffron mayonnaise, Devon hake or pecan pie.