Great British boltholes: The snug retreat with hotel benefits in Dorset’s prettiest market town
- Sarah Hartley checks into Eastbury Cottage, part of The Eastbury Hotel, in the town of Sherborne
- The cottage offers a secluded family bolthole that sleeps six adults and two youngsters
- She describes the standalone bath in the master bedroom as ‘quite the showpiece’
There’s something rather lovely about pottering around Sherborne, surely Dorset’s prettiest market town, then passing the dinky cottages on Long Street to The Eastbury Hotel and unlocking the front door to The Eastbury cottage. Finish the day with a pot of tea in your garden or sip a glass of fizz in your outdoor hot tub.
Hotelier Peter de Savary was one step ahead of what guests might want post pandemic. The Eastbury cottage opened its doors in 2020 with all the benefits of the Grade II listed, 26 bedroom hotel next door but offers a secluded family bolthole which sleeps six adults and two youngsters.
Inside the layout has not been tinkered with so a dining room leads onto a bright, well-equipped kitchen and a goodie hamper.
Above is The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne, which Sarah Hartley says is ‘surely Dorset’s prettiest market town’
Sherborne Abbey (pictured) is a stone’s throw away from the hotel. Sarah also recommends having a nose around Sherborne Castle
You can cook of course but it’s tempting to dine at the hotel restaurant Seasons, where light lunches and dinner can be enjoyed on the terrace.
A snug living room (with great telly) leads to the back garden garden where a brilliant design touch is an outdoor loo converted into a cool den for youngsters with bunk bed and TV.
The luxe refurb by Kathleen Fraser, de Savary’s American interior designer, brings verve with her palette, so pops of red and blue fabric to a headboard or paint enliven traditional brown furniture.
Upstairs a standalone bath facing the bed in the master bedroom is quite the showpiece but there’s a shower in the ensuite too.
Sarah stayed in the hotel’s self-contained cottage, which sleeps six adults and two youngsters. Pictured is the ‘snug’ living room
Family and dogs are at the heart of the hotel, says Sarah. Pictured is a canine guest relaxing
The second bedroom is light, there are white shutters throughout and it’s worth the steep ascent to the top floor where a vast bedroom and ensuite feel wonderfully private.
Family and dogs are at the heart of de Savary properties: on the lawn of the walled hotel garden a croquet match with grandparents and children is heated, alfresco lunches are served on the terrace and guests make their way past the Potting Shed Garden suites to the Woodland spa, nestled like a bird box at the end of the garden.
All ages are here so romantic couples sit near elderly couples hidden behind broadsheets, dogs at their feet.
Our visit is in peak bunting season but Sherborne prides itself on year round appeal and offers a contemporary arts and crafts scene.
Around each corner you’ll find another gallery, boutique or antique shop where you can rifle in search of treasure for hours. Particular finds were Curtain Circuit (@curtaincircuitsherborne) for chintzy vintage curtains and on Cheap Street take a peek round Austyn, purveyor of ‘fine, strange and remarkable objects’.
Sherborne Abbey is a stone’s throw away and do set aside a day to nose around Sherborne Castle. Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594 (don’t miss the pipe he smoked on the scaffold) and home to the Wingfield Digby family since 1617.
After Edward and Maria Digby inherited the seat in 2015, Maria in particular lavished her attention on the gardens where she’s planted 20,000 daffodils and 6,000 tulips around the lake. Visitors to ‘Sherbs’ are namely ‘intelligent grannies’ but, adds Maria, ‘we’re only two hours from Waterloo so it’s the perfect getaway.’
Eastbury cottage is from £600 per night off peak and £800 peak season with a minimum two-night stay. B&B at The Eastbury is from £236 per room per night (www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk)