Lympstone Manor review – fine dining and fab views in South Devon

UK Hotels
  • 27 rooms
  • Double rooms from £420.
  • They have a policy of keeping children under 16 in parents’bedroom
  • Gastronomic restaurant is open to children who are offered a specific menu
  • The beach nearby will make many happy
  • Tennis court
  • Heated outdoor pool from 2022
  • Close to Exeter airport
  • Nearest train station is Lympstone

Lympstone Manor sits on top of the hill overlooking the Exe estuary

Location 4.5/5

Lympstone Manor is a luxury hotel in South Devon, on the Exe estuary. It is a beautiful region with coastal paths along the Jurassic coast.

The arrival  through the main road and the outskirts of a town is not very attractive.  Finally you turn into a nice alley and the view of the estuary that opens in front of you is quite splendid. 

The hotel is in vast grounds with a vineyard and a pond on a hill overlooking the estuary with sea views to match. From there you can walk the Exe trail all the way to Exmouth and Omborne view. 

Lympstone manor review, an honest review of what it's like to stay at Devon luxury hotel Lympstone Manor
Lympstone manor review – view of the building from the grounds

One of the key benefits of its location is the proximity to the beach. I would advise against taking your car to get there as we saw traffic jams even mid-week.  Walking will take you 45 minutes but you can also borrow the hotel’s bikes which would make it shorter.

If you walk, do not make the mistake of having  a snack at the cute Tea Garden just at the end of the path along the estuary and at the very start of Exmouth. It has a lovely setting and was a welcome stop in the shade but the food and even the tea were disgusting.

On the other side, you can walk to Lympstone, a really cute village on the estuary with a glimpse of what life was probably for fishermen a few decades back.

If you stay longer, you can of course consider exploring many of the other beaches or go for a hike in the Dartmoor national park which is nearby.

Great views from many of the Lympstone Manor rooms

Style 3/5

The hotel is a pretty white building surrounded by green lawns and a vineyard.  

The lounges and rooms are mostly decorated in grey tones with lots of crystal and velvet. Some areas have a bit of an art deco feel and the bar in particular is a beautiful piece. While it can certainly exude luxury and elegance, we found it a bit too bling for our liking.

There are 27 rooms, all in the manor house or in the modern extension built right next to it. Most of them have great views.

We had one of the top suite, the Heron suite which appealed to Mr Big because of its two flashy golden bathtubs side by side. 

Lympstone manor review, an honest review of what it's like to stay at Devon luxury hotel Lympstone Manor
Lympstone manor review – the golden bathubs in the luxury bathroom

There was a very large and very comfortable bed and plenty of storage space. The suite actually has a whole wall of cupboards so if you are the kind who has lots of clothes, you’ll be very happy. 

The lights by the side of the bed were a true health and safety hazard as they hung quite low. Both me and Mr Big banged our head against them a few times despite not being the tallest people (I’m 5 foot 2!).  I would really encourage the hotel to reconsider those lights,  a classic example of a design over function.. 

There was a nice lounge area where they put a bed for Mademoiselle.  We appreciated that their policy dictates that children under 16 need to stay in the parents room. Much cheaper. Although teenagers might be embarrassed to be in close proximity to their parents 😀

The hotel has recently opened Shepherds huts.  They could be a romantic and cheaper option. They are in the wooden area at the bottom of the hill so quite private but maybe more shaded. Heads up that there is a coastal train line passing just nearby. 

Dining at the Lympstone Manor restaurant by Michael Caines

Food 4.5/5

You obviously come here first for Michael Caines mbe ‘s cooking. He had two Michelin stars for 18 years at a previous hotel and this restaurant was awarded one Michelin star but it was of course still delicious food.

There were a few people on the lawns enjoying the afternoon tea at Lympstone manor. It seems to be a destination for many who like their cream teas!

Often when you go to hotels with a Michelin chef, you are a bit disappointed that the food in other parts of the hotel, say the bar or a more laid-back lounge, is under par. Not here. 

We had the “light bites” menu in the lounge the first evening and they were of very high quality, cooked by the main kitchen with chef Michael Caines also overlooking that part of the food offering. I swapped my omelette for a lobster bisque when I saw it served at a nearby table looking absolutely grand. The maitre d’h then told me that “Michael said that you probably saw the bisque to want to change”! 

It was full of flavour, light and aromatic. We also chose the deserts that again came from the main kitchen. Look at that green apple! It was a white chocolate covered in green and encasing a subtle apple mousse. 

The second night we of course had the gastronomic diner. We chose the Estuary tasting menu which focused on seafood and it was exactly the right balance of flavours. Each dish was growing in depth of flavour and the red mullet in particular was my favourite.  

Is Lympstone Manor family friendly?

For families: 3/5

The hotel is very friendly and accommodating of children but I’m not sure there would be much to keep them occupied for a longer stay.

We saw a few families in the hotel. None with a young baby or toddler but certainly primary school age children or teenagers like Mademoiselle.

As mentioned, kids under 16 have to stay in their parents room and they can add beds and cots. 

They allow children in the gastronomic restaurant too and there is even a children’s menu with everything they’ll like and the addition of healthy options such as vegetables, including asparagus! 

The heated outdoor pool at Lympstone Manor

Activities: 0/5

There is no spa at the hotel and when I inquired twice, there was also no possibility to get a massage in the room.  This could have been due to Covid although other hotels do allow it at the moment.

They are currently building a heated outdoor pool. Opening in 2022 it will have a pool house with food and drinks being served. Apparently though no plans to have a spa or offer treatments which is a pity. 

Lympstone manor video tour

In this Lympstone Manor video tour, I show you our room as well as some of the lounges, the Michael Caine restaurant and the outside.

Overall

3.5/5

Lympstone manor is a lovely spot for a break on your way to further afield on the South West of England. With the Pig at Combe, it’s definitely one of the boutique hotels in Devon to consider. If you go to Cornwall for instance I would recommend stopping for the night, book the Shepherds Hut which are cheaper, and enjoy the fab diner. 

I’m sure that a dip in the pool followed by a drink on the lawn admiring the estuary will be a great start to your holiday. 

What we liked

What could be improved

  • Great views of the estuary

  • Bath filled up very quickly and was very comfortable. 

  • Great smell of toiletries.

  • A bit spare on amenities

  • Lots of space to put your clothes

  • Very friendly staff on arrival
Rooms are expensive for the space you get. 

No spa or massage treatments

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