With a name like Strawberry Water you might expect a magical location. So, having wriggled down country lanes to witness a ruby-red sunset on the rugged shoreline of Welcombe Mouth, first impressions didn’t disappoint. And what’s more, opening the door into this Victorian pile tucked away on the Devon/Cornwall border, it’s immediately evident that Strawberry Water doesn’t rely on its natural environment to impress.
Once a tired hotel with an S&M Dungeon, the property has been completely gutted and refurbished in the style of Victorian Captain’s residence, using quirky and unique furnishings sourced from auctions and salvage yards (think port hole mirrors, ships bunks and antique chests). Despite vintage décor the house is modern and luxurious with first-class facilities (Smeg fridges, outdoor hot shower, wifi etc), and has been built to strong ecological standards using reclaimed oaks, ground source heating and rainwater harvesting.
Sumptuous, romantic, fun and quirky, Strawberry Water has been designed for stylish parties, group holidays and family gatherings. The house easily sleeps up to 18 guests, and a revolving bookcase door between the Dungeon House and the Main House, and a separate entrance into the Cottage, means the property can also be split into three private cottages (sleeping 10, 4 and 4). So it’s perfect for romantic retreats and smaller parties too.
Tucked away in a remote valley location with no mobile phone reception, here you can truly get it away from it all. But don’t be fooled into thinking there’s nothing to do. Beyond the wild and beautiful beach where a waterfall pounds the sand and rocky ridges jut seaward, you can follow the undulations of the South West Coast Path for a serious workout. Cross the border into Cornwall, meander through a lush nature reserve and stomp the arduous 2.5-miles to the Bush Inn at Morwenstow (where you’ll be rewarded by delicious pub grub). In the village of Welcombe is The Old Smithy Inn, a traditional, retro-styled boozer serving real ales and excellent food. Dogs and muddy boots welcome, and there’s usually live music on the weekend.
Of course, you may not want to leave the luxury of Strawberry Water at all – which is no surprise when it comes with its own three acres and a stream trickling through the mature gardens. Spark up the barbecue and dine alfresco, hunker down by the log-burner and raid the games cupboard and DVD collection, or simply relax in the claw-foot bathtub. Whether you’re looking for a romantic winter break, or a full-throttle summer house party, Strawberry Water is the perfect location.
Where is it?
Strawberry Water, Welcombe Mouth, Devon, EX39 6HL
How much is it?
Whole property (sleeps 18) £2600 – £4450 per week. Main house (sleeps 10) £1300 – £1900, Dungeon House (sleeps 4) £900 – £1140, Cottage (sleeps 4) £520 – £760. Short breaks available.