Nestled in the Somerset countryside, The Newt hotel and spa (formerly Hadspen House) opens its doors on August 29, having been purchased by telecoms tycoon and hotelier Koos Bekker of South Africa’s much-lauded Babylonstoren hotel and vineyard. Until September 29, it will offer one-day excursions to the grand country estate in collaboration with Great Western Railway (£285 per person), for visitors wanting to sample its farm-to-table restaurants, traditional cider press and cultivated gardens designed by architect Patrice Taravella, which supply the rejuvenated Grade II-listed pile with herbs, flowers, fruit, vegetables and honey.
Guests will travel first class from London’s Paddington station, and start the day with a guided tour of the grounds – which segue from mazes to a Victorian fragrance garden. Following refreshments, the party will then wander the woodlands and deer park, taking in the walled parabola garden (an egg-shaped maze comprising an orchard with 267 varieties of apple trees).
Lunch will be served in the glass-walled Garden Café, which overlooks a kitchen garden, while further culinary treats can be bought at the Farm Shop next door. A trip to the Cyder Press and Cellar promises to be educational, taking visitors through the process of harvesting, fermenting and bottling the estate’s traditional cider. A light supper, accompanied by Babylonstoren wines, will be served on the train home.