Devon’s lovely easy-going capital, Exeter, has hotels for everyone. Some of the best B&Bs in Exeter include grade-II listed, rustic-chic and boutique boltholes a short hop away. If you’re craving a fry-up – full-English style – and a breath of fresh air, try one (or more) of these B&Bs.
Variety is the spice of life at this vanilla-yellow grade II listed Georgian townhouse; seven room types – across 21 airy rooms – mix up period features with contemporary pieces suiting singles, couples and families. The surprise element is the patio garden with its heated outdoor pool. If you forget your swimsuit, don’t worry, as you’re a mere five-minute walk from the historic and shop-lined city centre, where you should visit the architecturally awesome gothic cathedral.
This Victorian villa close to the station makes a homely base that’s handy for the city centre. It’s awash with original features including iron fireplaces, wooden floorboards and picture rails. You can sink into a plump Chesterfield sofa among pretty teal-painted walls, Persian rugs and potted plants. Twenty rooms – some with rooftop views – deliver comfort with nature-themed fabrics and Victorian porcelain bathrooms. Take time for a leisurely breakfast, including toasted artisan bread baked on-site in the light-filled dining room, with outside patio space.
Oozing country charm with a lick of chic, this 16th-century stone-and-cob longhouse is on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. It gives you a laid-back, rustic alternative to a city stay – 20 minutes from the city. Five enchanting rooms reveal natural stone, exposed oak beams and valley views; book Orla’s Room for its free-standing double-ended bath. Cooked breakfast uses locally sourced goodies (with vegan and veggie versions) eaten communally around a long polished slate table. There’s also a cosy wood-panelled honesty bar and a lounge with fireplace.
Anglers gather round: you’re within 15 minutes of great fishing on the River Exe at this 16th-century coaching inn-turned-boutique bolthole. There’s a warm, homely welcome: 21 well-thought-out rooms gleaming with metro-tiled bathrooms, warm wood panelling and raw brickwork. Sup Hick’s Cornish Ale by the bar’s brick fireplace before dining on daily-changing specials doffing caps to the region: Devon butcher’s pork sausages are a must.
Just a short walk from the High Street, this good-looking gothic guest house, neighbouring St David’s Church, ups the ante with framed Penguin Classics and marble fireplaces. The nine rooms spoil you with sink-into Hypnos beds, Miles Somerset teas, Taylors coffee and blackout curtains. Room 7 is a great choice with cloud wallpaper and the only tub in the house – hotel-grade bathrobe provided. Townhouse treats include virtuous breakfasts of bircher muesli or Devon charcuterie – plus indulgent cakes such as banana walnut and lemon-drizzle.
You get a boutique-hotel frisson in the 14 rooms here: teal-painted wood panelling, vintage bedside telephones and textured, colourful cushions; and you’ll be seduced by the complimentary glass of vintage port, accompanied by handmade Devon fudge. Owned by Young & Co.’s Brewery – there’s an English pub next door – City Gate has a cellar bar for watching the game over a craft beer or cocktail after work and glass-roofed dining room patio means al fresco suppers in warm weather. If the interiors inspire, walk to Leaf Street to buy crafts and gifts.