Just got back to London from a 2 night stay at the Ashley House during the bank holiday weekend and wanted to write a review straight away! Was sad to leave – friendly and helpful hosts make such a difference and Jamie and Nicky are definitely the best hosts we have come across – friendly, welcoming and helpful without being too full on. Upon arrival of South Molton, we had trouble locating the Ashley House car park and had to ask Jamie for directions on the phone who was very helpful and we managed to find it very shortly after following his instructions.
Jamie greeted us at the car park and gave us a very warm welcome, offering to help us carry our bags even though we only had one small bag each. We walked through their vegetable patch which very impressively had tomatoes, peas, red and white onions growing. Saw the chickens as well, which looked happy and healthy and – as Jamie pointed out – lay good eggs for breakfast! The back garden is spacious and we could tell once all the newly planted flowers are given a bit of time, will make the garden look quintessentially English.
Jamie showed us into our rooms immediately, allowing us to put our bags down and settle in. We were told that Nicky was preparing a traditional Devon cream tea and scones for our arrival, and had just put the scones in the oven and that it would be ready in the next 20 minutes. This came across as the first sign of a good stay already – it’s a nice touch, welcoming guests freshly baked scones – a lovely, homely gesture. The scones were delicious and still warm from the oven. We were given 2 each – a plain and a fruit scone – served with clotted cream, homemade jams and tea (option of Earl Grey or Breakfast), my other half had coffee. After tea, Jamie came over and chatted to us about our stay and we met Nicky as well as Cassie – their 11 month old golden retriever, gorgeous friendly dog. Both Jamie and Nicky were very helpful and honest about recommending places to go, where to eat and helping us make reservations for dinner and even offering to arrange taxi bookings after dinner in case we were drinking. Their list of recommendations were endless – Jamie works in the traveling industry as a consultant so has a good understanding of what people would look for during a visit and the types of activities that would be appropriate. Whereas Nicky seems to enjoy making people feel welcome with her cooking and providing home comforts – they make a perfect pair as hosts!
Being real foodies, Jamie and Nicky ensured breakfast was delicious and varied with options – freshly prepared fruit salad, yogurt, cereals, toast, the infamous selection of homemade jams (marmalade, blackcurrant, blackerry & apple, raspberry and strawberry) and the option of cooked breakfast with bacon, sausage, egg, beans, tomatoes and mushrooms as well if you’re feeling extra hungry.
Ashley House has 3 ensuite bedrooms, and we stayed in room 3 which is cosy, well proportioned and overlooked the back garden. Everything has been furnished to a high standard with top quality finishes and no botch jobs in sight. En-suite showers were powerful, with adjustable pressure and precise temperature settings. Beds were extremely comfortable, with thick duvets, high thread count soft cotton sheets, two choices of pillow per person and the mattress was just the right balance of firmness/softness. There was also a small flat screen TV in the room so that we could watch TV in bed; WiFi is available and we had no problems with connection or signal. There was no noise during the night – had a really comfortable sleep – it was almost like being in your own bed and sleeping in your own room! The curtains were reassuringly thick, and let through no daylight in the mornings.
Even the smaller details have been carefully thought through and no expense spared – Farrow & Ball paint (good choice) throughout the property, chandeliers in the hallway and scenic photographs of local North Devon were dotted around for inspiration. Fluffy white Christy towels were provided in all possible sizes – face, hand and bath towels along with a bath matt for when you come out of the shower. So many B&B’s just give guests one towel per person and assume that this would suffice – even a lot of good hotels fail to provide enough towel options! Shampoo and body wash was generously provided (full sized products) and supplied by a local soap company, adding to the locally sourced charm. We even have tea, milk, cookies and bottles of water topped up for us each day. Nicky makes the room everyday, so everything is kept spotless. Coming back to the B&B after a long day out was like coming back home – everything felt comfortable and familiar and we felt we could really relax in our rooms.
The location of Ashley House was also really ideal as a base for exploring North Devon – Exmoor National Park is only a 10 minute drive away, Woolacombe, Croyde Bay and Hartland Quay are all approximately a 30 minute drive and these are the key places to visit for first timers in Norh Devon. The Quince Honey farm is also one road away.
Our visit to Devon was definitely made far better because of our stay at Ashley House with Nicky and Jamie – we were sad to leave so soon. We and would love to come back again and we would suggest anyone visiting in North Devon to definitely stay here. As mentioned previously, friendly and helpful hosts make a difference and it certainly made our trip much more memorable.
Thanks again for a wonderful stay and best of luck with everything!
Mandy, Quoc (and Quoc’s appreciative belly)