Q: Are there any good places to eat nearby?
A: Yes, Bampton is a wonderful village just 5 miles away and has a few pubs and cafes. Highly recommended are the Toucan (www.toucanrestaurant.co.uk) which does great cakes, bacon butties and lunches and the Quarryman’s Rest (www.thequarrymansrest.co.uk) which does fantastic hearty pub food (amazing scotch eggs) and a fine selection of beer and ales. On your way back worth stopping off at the butcher’s too and getting a Cornish pasty – you’ll never eat a nicer one.
If you are after Michelin star food then The Mason’s Arms, Knowstowe (www.masonsarmsdevon.co.uk) is worth a trip.
Q: Where’s the best local pint?
A: The Quarryman’s Rest (www.thequarrymansrest.co.uk) and the Exeter Inn (www.the-exeter-inn.co.uk) serve a good pint and there are some local brews which can be bought by the barrel and served at your event too.
Q: Can additional guests join later?
A: Our house capacity is 130 plus some staff at any one time. If you are having an event with 130 dining, then sadly we are unable to facilitate additional guests joining. If you are having a banquet for less than 130 people then you can have extra guests join the party after as long as the number never exceeds 130. For example, a wedding or party with 90 guests dining could have 40 people join after the meal. Often people who want to invite more people than 130, arrange a late check out on the sunday afternoon (or stay an extra day) and invite different non resident guest on the friday, saturday or sunday, so across a weekend everyone gets to come to a some part of the event.
Q: Is there much to do in the area?
A: We are surrounded by wonderful countryside between Exmoor and Dartmoor and 12 minutes from the M5, so you can arrange plenty of things to do at the House, in the area or even nip to the coast or the city for a day trip. Our supplier directory has a list of some of the best the area has to offer to suit your mood form sporty to relaxation, action to pampering.
Q: Are pets welcome?
A: 2 well behaved dogs are welcome, by prior arrangement.
Q: How many adults can you sleep in separate beds?
A: A frequent question asked by corporate groups or retreats who don’t have couples sharing beds. Across the 35 bedrooms we can accommodate 55 people in separate beds ranging from huge fourposters to luxury twin beds. Some would be sharing rooms. We do additionally have some portable single.
Q: Are you set up for children?
A: We pride ourselves in being ready for everyone. We have 4 travel cots, 4 high chairs, children’s cutlery and crockery and one of our rooms has the flexibility of being a bedroom or set up as a play room. We have numerous adjoining rooms ideally suited as family suites or for older children we can create dorm rooms. There is a table tennis table, a 5 aside football area and oodles of space for a good game of hide and seek. We also have a great contact list for local things to do for children of all ages or the whole family. We also have the names of local childminders who can come up to the house.
Q: Do you have disability access and disability friendly rooms?
A: Of course. We have three bedrooms all next to each other on the ground floor which are disabled friendly. Two share a bathroom and can be set up either as two bedrooms or a luxury suite with a bedroom and lounge. Perfect for people needing a carer close by too. These rooms have a shower room for the less able with a low threshold shower. The third room has a disabled persons alarm, reinforced bed, disabled shower room. All rooms easily link through to the main reception rooms with wide corridors and we have portable ramps for the outdoor steps. All areas of the garden are accessible without needing to use steps. The house is listed and old so we have been unable to fit a lift however.
Q: Do you get mobile reception?
A: Reception varies depending on the weather, so it ranges from very poor to nothing. We do have a complimentary house phone for your convenience during your stay so you can make and receive calls. Most guests like the fact that their guests can dial out if needed but otherwise the lack of mobile signal means everyone is in the moment!
Q: Do you have WiFi?
A: Many of our guests enjoy the fact that it’s a special time away from distractions to catch up and have fun so the WiFi is by prior arrangement. When on though, it is good! The main reception rooms can have satellite WiFi and we are currently networking the rest of the house.
Q: Can you guide us on what best works for events?
A: Of course. The most important thing is that you get what you want, so we are very flexible to suit your needs and are happy to go the extra mile. We know some people want to be very hands on and others would prefer to brief an expert to put everything in place. To that end, we have a supplier’s directory that we think will guide you to suitable people that should provide great value and high quality. If you prefer we can assist with the planning of your event from guidance to a full event planner service.
Q: How relaxed are you about moving things?
A: Very, the house is furnished to be lived in. Things are to be used, sofas to be sat on and we have a great team of porters to do the lifting. As we have 5 reception rooms, you are never without a space to relax or break out, even with a banquet of 120 people. All we ask is that it is put back before you leave, and our team of porters can be scheduled to work around you to set up rooms up how you want them.
Q: Do I need to hire chairs, tables, crockery, glassware?
A: No. We have a banqueting set for 130 people – including chairs, tables, linen, glassware, crockery and cutlery – all included in the rental price. If you would prefer to rent additional or alternative kit for your specific styling needs we know some great well priced suppliers for all sorts of things and are happy to advise or receive delivery in advance of your event.
Q: Do we have to move out of a room for it to be reset?
A: Unlike many venues we are lucky to have 5 main receptions rooms so during your event you can roll across all the rooms and never have the need to vacate a room whilst it is being made ready for the next part of your day. Our team know what works well in the house so just ask, but we are happy to try something different too.
Q: Pay Bar or complimentary drinks?
A: Many of our clients like a balance between the two. We are licensed to sell alcohol and so can staff a free or pay bar, but you are welcome to bring your own drinks in, or do different things different days. If you are bringing in your own drinks, we charge no corkage or hidden charges and our cellar prices are competitive with the supermarkets.
Q: I am thinking of having a different number of guests on different nights.
A: Many of our guests like to book an extra night before or after for a select few of their guests to stay so that either side of the big event they can have a smaller more intimate night with close family or friends. As you have already booked the house this is not expensive either – if you think this might be something that you would like please discuss it with our team and we can work out accommodation to suit your needs.
Q: Who cleans up after all my guests?
A: We prepare the house prior to your arrival and if you like we can help put a team of staff in place to suit your requirements (at extra cost), whether a butler to keep the fires stocked, organise drinks and tidy up a little or a full compliment of housekeepers, staff and caterers to pamper you so you don’t have to lift a finger. A popular choice is to get a housekeeper in for a few hours in the morning of departure so you don’t have to worry about last minute washing up. Often people want different things on different days, which is never a problem. Tell us your needs and we can tailor the staffing to suit you.
Q: I don’t want self catered. Do you offer packages?
A: Everyone has their own vision of their event so rather than us provide packages for you to fit in with, we can guide you to the suppliers who best suit your style and budget. We are happy to give you some personal guidance on typical costs and budgets if that helps, but many clients prefer to speak directly with the supplier. We have also found that often packages including things that the client doesn’t want but still has to pay for so this way we can offer total flexibility to help you get best value and exactly what you want.
Q: Can we bring our own drinks and/or caterers.
A: Yes, and we charge no corkage, no kitchen fee, and no handling or storage fees if you do.
Q: Are there any hidden venue hire costs?
A: No hidden costs. We have one price to hire the house on a self catering basis so you can spend as little or as much on your event at the house as you want – no other charges from us.