What: The Newt in Somerset is a new luxury country house hotel and gardens, which features a spa and cider pressed freshly on site. It’s also a working farm.
Where: Somerset. Near Bruton, to be more specific, not far from another beautiful garden destination, Hauser and Wirth.
When: From now. The hotel has launched and the doors to the gardens and cider press are open for visitors.
Is it brand new? Definitely not. Hadspen House in Somerset was the family seat of the Hobhouse family for more than two centuries. The house itself is Georgian and people have paid attention to the garden since the 17th century. Recognise the name Penelope Hobhouse? The legendary designer created an Arts and Crafts garden there in the 1970s and wrote her first book The Country Garden, about it.
Wow, good gardening heritage then… It wasn’t just Penelope. Canadian gardeners Nori and Sandra Pope also developed their famous colourist borders in the estate’s walled garden, which they wrote about in the 1998 book Colour by Design.
Who owns it now? South African telecoms magnate Koos Bekker and his wife Karen Roos bought the estate in 2013, having seen it for sale in the pages of Country Life.
Is it still the same garden? Renamed The Newt, the house and the gardens have undergone a redesign since the current owners took it on. French architect Patrice Taravella has worked on both the house and the gardens and Iain Davies, who previously worked at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, is Head of Horticulture.
Can I visit? Yes! But whether you are eating, visiting the garden or the cider bar, you will have to pay an entrance fee of £15. This month there’s the chance to explore its historic gardens in style, with a special weekend day package that includes first class travel from London, a tour of the gardens with the garden team, cider tastings, workshops and lunch, for £285.
And it’s a farm too? It is and there is also a cider press and cider bar, just in case you forget you’re in Somerset.
What’s with the name? The name has been chosen because of amphibian friends that have been found on the estate. As The Newt’s own website says: ‘They also possess the incredible ability to regenerate, retaining their functional and structural properties. And so this resident was a perfect fit.’
Where can I see more? Head to their website for more information.