Bewitching nights and birthday delights at Mulberry Barton

Bewitching nights and birthday delights at Mulberry Barton

The sun was shining and the sky a cobalt blue as we drove town the A30 towards our home for the weekend – the gorgeous Mulberry Barton, a four-bedroomed retreat which lies on the historic Buckland Abbey Estate, owned, and managed by the National Trust.

Being in such a prestigious location, Mulberry Barton was easy to find, with clear instructions provided in the check in guide too. Set next to the abbey beside the Cider House Garden, there’s plenty of parking nearby, which was very handy as two of us had limited mobility. The evening we arrived was just lovely; the golden sunshine lowering oh-so-slightly over the lush, verdant trees which dotted the estate. 

We found Mulberry Barton’s arched doorway open and ready to greet us; stepping inside, we received a warm, beautifully scented welcome as we walked through the hallway into the kitchen-come-dining room. With an Aga, plentiful cupboards and a central island, the kitchen is very spacious, with the gorgeous welcome hamper of scones, bread, biscuits, jam, cream, and a plethora of other goodies a most welcome sight.

Beyond the kitchen lay the dining room, with a stunning view of the garden, and the fields and woodland beyond. We were captivated, the roses and peonies in full bloom, birds flitting through the foliage and the gentle sounds of the cows and sheep that grazed in the surrounding fields. 

We wandered through the snug and impressive formal sitting room that made up the rest of the ground floor, before heading upstairs to claim our bedrooms.

There are four en suite rooms in total, two with a bath with overhead shower, one with a shower and one with a bath and separate walk-in shower, all adorned with Noble Isle toiletries and fluffy white robes. Overwhelmed by how beautiful each room was, we settled and quickly unpacked, keen to make the most of the evening. 

One of the highlights of Mulberry Barton is that once the Abbey has shut for the evening, you have the gardens to yourselves to explore – a unique and special opportunity that’s incredibly rare. So, after unpacking and a cup of tea, I took myself off to explore the Cider House Garden and the Wild Garden, stopping at a gateway to gaze over the meadow and rolling hills beyond, delighted by the swallows flying low and the sound of a song thrush in the trees above.

Another fabulous aspect of this location is the lack of noise; being quite a distance from any roads and on private grounds, however hard we listened, we never heard the sound of a car – bliss!

Back at the house, we had an easy supper and caught up on each other’s news, having not seen each other for some time. We gazed out over the garden as the sun slipped behind the trees, then wearily made our way to bed, keen for the adventures that tomorrow would bring.

I woke early the next day, pleased to find it dawning bright and clear. I made my way downstairs and took a cup of tea out into the garden, keen to catch the morning light. Already it was warming up, and the heady scent of the roses lingered around me. 

After everyone had woken up, we had a leisurely breakfast and headed off to explore Totnes, an arty, chic yet alternative town to the east on the south Devon coast. We spent the morning pottering around the fantastic independent shops, stopping for coffee and then lunch in a vegetarian cafe, before heading back and stopping in Tavistock for supplies.

This great market town is a must for stocking up on incredible local produce. We loved the fabulous cheese shop, and neighbouring Spanish deli. Loaded up, we made our way back to Mulberry Barton, keen to spend the afternoon and evening in the garden.

Taking our cups of tea into the garden, we sat on the grass by the ha-ha overlooking the fields and woods. Not being a sun worshipper, I hid under the shade of the Mulberry tree, after which the house is named.

With parts dating back to the 12th century, Mulberry Barton really is an extraordinary retreat. Once owned by Sir Francis Drake, its full of history, cleverly preserved by the passionate owners without scrimping on luxury and comfort, something we most certainly felt as we lounged about for the evening.

At about 10pm, my other half and I decided to go out and explore the gardens some more, as it was an extraordinarily clear evening, creeping towards June’s supermoon. We made our way to the Kitchen Garden, a magnificent walled garden filled to the brim with roses, lavender and peonies to the front and edibles such as pumpkins, beans and other seedlings growing towards the back.

We strolled in silence, bewitched by the silence, the intoxicating scent and the view of the abbey, whose windows burned golden with the last of the sun’s rays whilst the moon rose overhead.

After a fabulous nights’ sleep, we awoke and celebrated a big birthday by opening presents and a breakfast of coffee (the property has an excellent bean to cup machine), croissants, and fruit before heading off to explore Buckland Abbey.

We chose to drive around to the main entrance and park up, pleased that there was wheelchair access to the abbey. Tickets are complimentary with a stay at Mulberry Barton, so we collected our tickets and strolled around to the lower entrance.

Once inside, we explored the Great Hall, Kitchen and Chapel, a fascinating glimpse back in time, from monastic abbey to stately home.

The gardens that surround the abbey are just lovely too, and we were pleased to see that garden games such as tennis and giant Connect 4 were laid out and being used by families. We also popped into the National Trust shop, each of us buying treats to take home with us.

Next, we popped into our cars and headed on to Dartmoor, taking in the incredible views as we headed to Widecombe in the Moor – a picturesque village with a church and green, where we stopped for afternoon tea and bought a sheepskin rug or two.

With afternoon creeping on and keen to make the most of our last night, we headed back to Mulberry Barton and sat once again in the garden, enjoying a bottle of birthday champagne or two as the sun set over the fields.

After dinner, we took one last stroll around the gardens, before heading to bed.

The next morning, we packed our bags and our memories and sadly said goodbye to this unique, oh-so-beautiful, historic home – a home that will forever have a special place in our hearts.

Mulberry Barton is set in the grounds of Buckland Abbey, near Yelverton. Sleeping eight, there are four en suite bedrooms and private parking. Perfect for special occasions, multigenerational holidays or simply to come together to catch up, this stunning, peaceful home is a must for those seeking to escape the everyday whilst surrounded by exquisite grounds and countryside.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at Mulberry Barton here.

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