Dickensian Evening marks the beginning of Tavistock's festive season. The tantalising smell of mulled wine and mince pies lingers around the town centre. Christmas lights are switched on, children sing carols, and dance groups and jugglers perform in the streets. Late night shopping is done in an historical atmosphere as stalls line the streets and shopkeepers dress up in Victorian costumes. Dickensian Evening is bound to cure any Scrooge from his "Bah, humbug!" attitude!
This fabulous hotel is on the Devon/Cornwall border overlooking the River Tamar. It manages to combine all of the essential ingredients of a fine country hotel in such a relaxed way that I can't believe anyone could find it anything other than perfect.
There are roaring log fires, beautiful gardens and fabulous rooms. Room 8 has handpainted wallpaper and looks straight out across the lawn and down to the river while room 1 is a gorgeous suite with doors opening directly on to the gardens and a vast bathroom complete with free standing bath which seems large and deep enough to host Olympic swimming events!
Afternoon tea is laid out at 3.30 every afternoon and is not to be missed for those whose idea of heaven is bowls of clotted cream, freshly baked scones (hot cross buns at Easter!) and traditional cakes such as Victoria Sandwich and apple and sultana cake.
Foodies will not be disappointed by the restaurant menu. The chef's risottos are fabulously creamy and rich - my particular favourite is wild mushroom with truffled brie although the fish starters are usually delicious as well. I'm not sure of the secret of the beef fillet but it is divine.
To top all of that, the staff are so friendly and truly cannot seem to do enough to assist.
Autumn is a wonderful time to visit Devon with its golden vistas of beech woods that fill the landscape and, if you want more variety in your autumn colours, then a visit to Buckland Monachorum, with its magnificent acer glade, will bowl over even the most ardent leaf peeper.
Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton, near Tavistock, Devon, PL20 7LQ
£5.50 entrance fee, need your own transport to get there, plant centre sells plants, garden tearooms at the place serves homemade cakes and light lunches
I like everything about Tavi - the town itself is beautiful with pretty streets, an enormous park which the children love and a river running through it.
There is a lovely indoor market selling everything from homemade pencils to olives but the real draw for us is the small, but perfectly formed, farmers' market which is held in front of the town hall on Saturdays.
I bought the most delicious bag of home-grown organic salad from one of the stalls (stall owner was also the grower) which we had for lunch with homemade bread and tangy sheep's milk cheese also from the market.
There is a wonderful cheese shop around the corner for a larger range of cheeses too.
And the man on the bread stall is gorgeous.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com
Search Been there