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“Mill Cottage” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel

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Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel
Ranked #11 of 20 Hotels in Ilfracombe
GreenLeadersBronze level
Notts
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Mill Cottage”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 August 2012

We stayed in Mill Cottage for a week in August. When we arrived the cottage was not quite ready and was being "cleaned". The first thing we noticed was the musty damp smell. The cottage was surface clean - windows were filthy, cob webs on windows and in corners, crockery,pans & cutlery were grubby & needed washing thoroughly before use. Decor was very tired and sad looking & not really what we were expecting given the rate charged for the week. Kitchen equipment very basic no added extras like a tin opener / bottle opener / decent pans. The swimming pool was good as long as you didn't, look too closely at surroundings. Lady said we could use the trampoline for kids but had to tramp past chickens through long wet grass & nettles
to reach an old trampoline with no safety net. Tennis court was a joke....tufts of grass growing on
it & cracked so not really any good to play a game on. Water went off about 4 times when we
were there.
All in all we had a great holiday mainly because we had good weather & spent minimal time in the cottage. We had thought given the great food reviews we would try the restaurant in the hotel
but given the poor cleanliness of our cottage I didn't really fancy risking it.
To me it felt like a place that was once something special but is now in need of some desperate love and proper TLC rather than a touch up here & there

Room Tip: Book a different hotel
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
26 Thank KarenBNotts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QualityControlNDevon, Owner at Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 26 August 2012
Dear KarenBNotts

Naturally sorry to hear that we didn't meet your expectations whilst you stayed with us recently.

Shame you never mentioned anything to us about issues we could have resolved; if there were cleanliness issues, you should have advised us immediately and we should have rectified any omissions by the staff, though you are also suggesting the previous guests must have left it in a pretty poor way as well - which we don't recall and they seemed a quite normal and clean family. Oddly enough based on your comments of standards of cleanliness we still had to do a good clean when you left too - as we always do.

I don't understand the 'musty smell' to which you refer unless because it had been wet outside and the windows and doors were closed. However, with the previous guests only vacating that morning, not quite sure what you suggest we could have done about that in a few hours, apart from artificial perfuming but the place would also have been aerated whilst being cleaned.

There should have been a tin opener and a bottle opener - sorry about that but they must have gone missing and if guests don't mention it, it's somewhat hard to know and with only a few hours in between changes, we can't do a full audit of everything. These are being replaced now.

The trampoline is available for guests to use for supervised child use. To suggest the grass was too long to reach it is a little lame, really and not quite sure how the chickens in their runs would impede your progress. Most people find the rare breeds' poultry collection interesting and interactive for their children to enjoy. If you didn't think the trampoline was safe to use, that's your call. Contrary to your personal choice, it's not obligatory to have a safety net around a trampoline and in fact there's too much 'political correctness' around these days. Oh yes, we have passed a full insurance assessment too.

Trouble is, there are people like you who are so willing to compromise their evidently exacting and so demanding standards so much but still choose to stay with us for their whole week as opposed to leaving immediately when from their hindsight description of the Cottage and the facilities was just so unacceptable to them. It beggars belief really and makes me wonder what sort of lives these people lead. I think sometimes it's just so they can go away and write a negative review on TripAdvisor to try to damage the reputation of a business and for goodness sake, to leave a 1 out of 5 mark for having had a 'great holiday'.

I trust other reviewers and prospective visitors will recognise what we are trying to offer here and please, read the reviews and as I have said on many occasions, DON'T come to us if you demand IKEA, minimalist style surroundings. If you recognise this is a very old property with characterful charm and buildings, we really welcome you to come and enjoy it with us and if you come with the right attitude, we''ll help you have a great time. We are sorry that KarenBNotts made her judgements based on her own obvious failings in booking the wrong holiday property, or expecting a five star affair for our Three Star Cottages which were only recently passed comfortably for the third year by the independent accreditation board.

Yours sincerely

Philip J Milton - Owner
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144 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Barnstaple, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 August 2012

My wife and I have spent an night away at the Cedar Falls in Taunton which boasts a relaxing spa hotel. Well how wrong they were! Thank goodness we accidently found your hotel. We only came for dinner on the 22/08/12 but the service and food trumped the famous spa in bucket loads, so much so that i will be returning and staying for my wifes birthday, As I wrote in the comments book, the best way to describe the dinner was PERFECTION.

Room Tip: We looked at the Croyde room, would definately recommend it..
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank benandfliss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QualityControlNDevon, Owner at Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 24 August 2012
Dear Benandfliss

Thank you so much for your review. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your meal and we shall very much look forward to seeing you again. Dare I even mention it was the first night for our German Intern to be on her own (from 8pm) so she did really well!

Looking forward to your return trip and thank you again for your generosity with your comments.

My best wishes

Philip J Milton - Owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jersey Channel Islands
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2012

We had a break here at the end of July and after driving for 6 hours (lost) we arrived to smiling, friendly faces and a lovely welcome. We were shown to our room which was lovely, nice, clean and very spacious. After a couple of drinks in the quaint bar we had a good nights sleep, the bed was sooooo comfy!!!!! In the morning we had a great breakfast and asked for directions to the nearest Primark :) (we dont have one in jersey) The lady on reception directed us, so off we went.... another day of driving :). We once again arrived back tired so went to our lovely room to chill and watch telly. Again the breakfast was great, nothing seemed to be to much for anyone. We decided we would have a look at the gardens/pool/gym and WOW......we had to go for a swim, the pool was warm and relaxing, the gym looks very new and up to date but we didn't try anything out.. we were on holiday after all :) We were very reluctant to leave and all in all we had a great time at Trimstone Manor and will definately be returning.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Karen203
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QualityControlNDevon, Owner at Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 17 August 2012
Dear Karen203

Just a short note to thank you for your kind comments. It was a pleasure to have you stay with us and we'll look forward to your return!

I trust you had a safe return to Jersey - sorry about all that driving around!

The children have returned home from Barnstaple today sporting head-to-toe Tigger outfits bought from Primark.... I don't know!

My very best wishes

Philip J Milton - Owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Loughborough, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2012

Arrived with an open mind having read very mixed reviews. Lovely light, spacious room over looking gardens and countryside. Spotlessly clean. Super breakfast with plenty of choice. Staff very friendly and helpful. Definitely recommend.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank eliza6644
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QualityControlNDevon, Owner at Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 18 August 2012
Dear Eliza6644

Thank you very much for taking the time to post a review. I am so pleased that you enjoyed your stay with us.

Yes, it is difficult (impossible?) to please everybody all of the time as everybody's expectations and requirements are different but we do try our hardest!

I was reminded a little while ago by a wise ol' sage that sometimes we all, as customers, need to remember that hospitality and eating establishments do not set-out to provide a bad experience for their customers but are actually there to (hopefully) help guests enjoy themselves and relax. Indeed, it goes without saying that if a guest arrives with a negatively critical spirit then it is not hard to satisfy that negatively;y anywhere. We shall enjoy ourselves and relax better if we have a positive demeanor and no, that's not to be confused with unacceptable conditions in the place we visit! We are also likely to be better received by staff if we treat them nicely (yes, they're as human as everyone else!) regardless of how well they may have been trained and no, that's no excuse for unacceptable discourtesy or unhelpfulness anywhere either.

As I look-out of my Office window on rolling Devon countryside, with green galore to help make us all relax, beautiful nature from birds and butterflies flitting past and a peaceful tranquility, I sometimes wonder what alternative expectations a prospective guest may have and I don't say that in naivity.

We don't want to disappoint anyone and hope that those who come do so based upon what we are trying to offer here - albeit constantly improving as we keep investing across the board in the property, systems and staff.

We're an unrivalled location for exploring our area and with facilities for all to enjoy. However, we are not an IKEA, minimalist place but yes, we do have to rely upon staff to help us 'do our stuff' too and generally they do a pretty good job (thank you team!).

As much as we'll try to be great for everyone, if anyone reading this is very demanding, expects perfection and instant attention to every whim within five seconds, no possible occasional incursion by nature to our 1000 year old site (a lived-in and worked-in place), then they need to book a Five Star Hotel in the middle of a Town. If however, we hope guests are looking for mid-range individuality and somewhere 'quintessentially quaint' then we are here to service your needs at prices which reflect our offering (certainly far lower when compared to other 3/4 star hotels nearby) and with accolades of staff service, friendliness and attention which usually always are very complimentary.

Thank you again for leaving a review and we shall look forward to seeing you return! Sorry if I've gone-on a bit but that's for the benefit of anyone reading the reviews!

My very best wishes

Philip J Milton - Owner
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Dorset
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2012

My mother, myself and son visited the Manor as a result of local advertising - my mother lives in Ilfracombe. On arrival for lunch we were advised the chef had left!! However the staff were polite and offered us sandwiches which we agreed. Here comes the rub. 2 rounds of sandwiches £10 each. We were not offered any choice at all. They presumed we liked mustard with our ham - which we didn't so only able to eat the cheese. They took half an hour to prepare them.
I had gone to admire the many chickens and other poultry so was not aaround when Mum paid the bill.
Was appalled when told it was £36!!!!!!!!!!! The setting was great but to pay that much for sandwiches, So my mother will certainly not be repeating the experience and I wont be recommending the Manor to my friends. Carol, Dorset

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Carol T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QualityControlNDevon, Owner at Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 21 August 2012
Dear Carol, Dorset

So sorry that you were not happy. A plated round of sandwiches, tortilla chips, side salad, etc is £8.50 as noted on the bar Snacks' menu, so that is £17 for two rounds, so I assume the full bill of £36 to which you refer includes drinks? Your figures just don't add-up else? Our full luncheon menu is available for parties of 8 or more, pre-booked or else casual callers are welcome to the Bar snacks' menu. Even then, three courses of our pre-booked lunch are only £17.95. Do always check how much you want to pay for what you want in future so there is no surprise afterwards but certainly all our prices are displayed openly.

Our head chef has not left, contrary to your comment; perhaps not there at the time you called (?) but that is rather different.

I am sorry that you were dissatisfied though may I suggest something somewhere was lost in translation as why would we offer you sandwiches you don't like.... it doesn't make sense.

May i suggest pre-booking something more substantial next time and we should be pleased to accommodate your needs. That said, I apologise if any member of staff was anything but courteous and facilitating as other staff can provide the bar Snacks' menu without problem.

Yours sincerely

Philip J Milton - Owner
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Northampton, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2012

We stayed in one of the self-catering cottages from 7th - 14th July 2012 and we were so disappointed in it that is is hard to know where to start. We had booked a cottage for 3 and weren't expecting a mansion, but we were expecting there to be enough room to relax. We went into a tiny kitchen which had a double seater and single seater chair of the kind found in an old peoples home, very small, upright and basic. These were up in a corner by the door and faced a TV screen on the wall. Apart from this there was a small fold-up table and four fold-up chairs. My son had gone to look at the bedrooms and called out to us that he didn't fancy sleeping in the single room. On inspecting it, we found that the carpet looked as if it hadn't been cleaned all season and had hair and lumps of black fluff all over it as well as stains. There were also very old cobwebs on the beams at the top of the stairs. On the furniture there was a thin layer of sand, which was very odd, considering that we were quite a way from the sea and sand. My husband went to reception and a girl told us that if we wanted to change, we could have another larger cottage which wasn't in use that week. She showed us the cottage and it was a lot larger (being meant for 6) and looked attractive, with a quite large en-suite double bedroom downstairs, and a kitchen/sitting room and two bedrooms upstairs. We thanked the lady for letting us change.

However, after she had left us, we realised that this cottage was also very neglected and dirty too, with cobwebs in the corners of the rooms and windows, mould in the wardrobes and showers, thick dust on the skirting boards and window sills, a fridge that needed to be defrosted and with a broken-off door to the ice-box compartment and a nasty strong smell in the hallway of damp and mould. The fact that both my son and I suffer from asthma and I have bad arthritis, was a worry with all this damp and mould. In the bathroom the hand basin had a thick piece of cardboard wedged between the large gap between the stand and basin. The tiles had cracks and looked very unhealthy and on the toilet was a large tin of paint and a big screwdriver on the top of it. However, we decided to stay as it had all been paid for. We found that in the mornings between 8.30 and 9am it was impossible to get any cold water out of the taps as it had run dry.

One of the reasons we had chosen Trimstone was that it said on their website that there was an indoor swimming pool and hot tub. We went to the swimming pool but couldn't find a hot tub. On asking about it at reception, we were told that it had been broken for about six months and that it wasn't going to be replaced as it was beyond economical repair. I told the boy who informed us of this, that I was very disappointed as that was one of the main reasons for choosing the place. I also told him about the dirty rooms. He looked surprised and just said that he was sorry about that and didn't offer to get anyone to clean it for us.

Going back to the swimming pool, although the pool was kept clean and was a good warm temperature, the surrounding area was quite dirty with sweet wrappers on the floor which stayed there for most of the week. The changing rooms were also never cleaned properly until the last day of our holiday. On the first day I went in there, there was a tissue with blood on it on the floor. I assumed that someone had dropped it there and that it would be cleaned up later, but in fact it stayed there until the day before we went home. There were also no lockers to leave your clothes in while you were in the pool so they had to be taken in with you and left by the side of the pool where you could keep an eye on them.

There was a games room which we looked in but then went out of again, due to it being so dirty and dusty. The pool table was covered in dirt and fluff and the net on the table tennis table was broken and hanging off.

It has taken me quite a while to write this since coming home as I came home feeling worse than when I went away, with a cold, bad chest and in a lot of arthritic pain.

In conclusion, I would not recommend staying in one of these cottages.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
27 Thank Sue H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QualityControlNDevon, Owner at Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 14 August 2012
Dear Sue H

Sorry to read your review, especially as we tried our hardest to appease you.

You don't mention at all that it was you yourselves who chose to book our smallest self-catering unit at the cheapest price and then after complaining that it was too small for the two of you and your grown-up son that without any increase in the cost (it would have been about double) at all we offered you the much larger 'Mill Cottage' which happened to be available. It had been only once-over cleaned since the last vacation and we were in the throes of a few touch-up jobs (as you have evidenced) but we let-you-in quickly to satisfy you (with hindsight we should have cleaned-up afterwards first and removed the paint brushes, etc) as when we popped-in to do it after you went-out (you suggest we didn't do anything in that regard) , you had already spread yourselves so thoroughly across all the property despite there only being the three of you so that we couldn't really do much at all! However, I see you took some photographs of the property before we had had a chance to finish making it properly ready whilst being maintained - that's rather unfair.

Despite your disappointment and meagre score allocated, you did decide to stay all week. Paddock Apartment about which you write comfortably accommodates three in a double and large single bedroom and has passed a 'Visit Britain' inspection for three years on that basis, at Three Stars, including the furniture, new kitchen and equipment and new flat screen TV.

If I recall correctly the weather for your week was very pleasant. In fact, as the second cottage was unoccupied we were doing some repainting and you have noted the painter's brushes as he had been in the throes of his job touching-up odd scuffs, etc (he had not expected the cottage to be occupied which is why he had left the items there whilst elsewhere).

The cold water to the Cottage is fed by a pressurised system, from our own supply. It is the same cold water throughout the whole property.

You have said that you selected us because of the Hot Tub. With respect but the Jacuzzi (never advertised by us as a 'hot tub') was closed well over a year ago and has not been on our website for all that time so your comment is incorrect as you booked much more recently. It was not 'broken' but unfortunately because of new rules on communal jacuzzis and regulations on their way, after maintenance updates we had to make the decision that we could not continue offering one.

In the meantime we have opened our gym and refurbished the sauna as part of our ongoing improvements, all with no increases to tariff.

I am sorry that you did not enjoy your accommodation though am pleased that despite what you say you seemed to have had a very active week in the glorious North Devon area.

In future, I do encourage you to discuss with the owners of any holiday accommodation so that between you, you agree on the space you need and other facilities so that your needs will be better met and there is less room for disappointment and a mismatch over your expectations.

I am sorry that between us we failed to meet your expectations and that we had disappointed guests. We wanted neither and do not set-out to achieve either outcome. We shall continue improving what we do and what we offer as well as endeavoring to ensure that guests come with expectations which meet what we have and for the fair prices which reflect them.

Yours sincerely

Philip J Milton - Owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dartmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2012

I prefer not to make any comments other than it would be better if the owner ran the hotel himself rather than relying on his staff - The rooms were adequate but the views from some of them non existent - I had a dog room which I must say was a lot better than most hotels I had stayed in

Room Tip: Lovely old hotel with a laid back attitude
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Daphne T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
QualityControlNDevon, Owner at Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel, responded to this review, 31 July 2012
Dear Daphne T

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We are glad that overall you enjoyed your stay with us with the special voucher you purchased.

As the owner I have more than one occupation so I have to rely upon staff to help do all the tasks they must fulfill and overall, they are very good and undertake their responsibilities efficiently and professionally. However, I am kept fully aware of everything operating in the Hotel and the staff know they have our full support and encouragement - and that we have been making a very big investment here to improve the offering from what we inherited in 2007 (and there'll always be things to do!). We still offer something very different to the big, impersonal chains where the staff have no connection with the ownership at all and I think that the general relaxing yet professional style which you experienced is a direct reflection of that. We try to encourage an atmosphere which makes guests feel comfortable and homely and I think that our poultry collection helped you in that regard, based on your interest! We have quite a menagerie and these are primarily our boys' responsibility.

Thank you for commenting on your room - we have a couple of dog-friendly rooms and unfortunately the view from one (yours) is not too exciting though despite that I was pleased to hear that you felt that it was better than most dog-friendly rooms you have stayed-in elsewhere. However, if next time you'd like a Prestige room overlooking the delightful gardens and valley, please do ask, though I regret we can't take a dog in that one!

My best wishes

Philip J Milton - Owner
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Additional Information about Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel

Property: Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel
Address: Trimstone, Ilfracombe EX34 8NR, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Ilfracombe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Ilfracombe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Trimstone Manor a traditional country house offering accommodation. the only one in the greater Ilfracombe area (and only three miles from glorious Woolacombe), is set in 44 acres of landscaped gardens and beautiful North Devon countryside and provides the perfect location for those who want a peaceful and relaxing break. With easy access to the A361 Trimstone is also perfect for those who want to explore North Devon. The fine sandy beaches and rolling surf of Croyde, Woolacombe and Saunton are just a short drive as are the secluded coves and cliff paths around Ilfracombe and Combe Martin. Other attractions include the famous twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth, Exmoor, the North Devon coastal footpath, Arlington Court for the National Trust's Carriage Collection or the delights of a working sheep dog and falconry demonstration a mile away. Whatever the weather there is always something to do at Trimstone. Nearby we have clay shooting grounds, golf, quad-biking, horse-riding, you-name-it! Guests can use the games room, tennis court, indoor heated swimming pool, gym and sauna, walk in the grounds or simply relax in a quiet spot with a drink and a good book. Concessionary evening rates for Three Star Tyme Restaurant apply for pre-arrival bookings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Trimstone Manor Country Hotel
Trimstone Manor Country House Hotel Ilfracombe, Devon

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