The VV has recently visited Endsleigh House Hotel in Devon. The house overlooks the River Tamar and is situated in Milton Abbot, on extensive grounds that once belonged to the nearby Tavistock Abbey.

The structure (which is rambling and could easily accommodate several families) was originally called Endsleigh Cottage, and was built for as a private residence for the Duke of Bedford early in the nineteenth century. 

It was then situated in over 300 acres of wood and parkland, with 20 acres of gardens and lawns that sloped down to the river. The total cost of building the house was in the area of £4,000 ~ quite a significant sum at the time.

The design follows that of the picturesque movement, in the form of a romantic cottage ornĂ©, and has been preserved as a Grade 1 listed building since 1967. 

For those who might prefer more privacy than a hotel can provide (though Endsleigh is very calm and quiet) the Swiss Cottage with its thatched roof is now owned by the Landmark Trust and can be hired separately – as can the Dairy Dell which overlooks a pond and the Holy Well, which was once used as a baptismal font by the Abbots of Tavistock.

But of particular interest to the VV is the shell house at Endsleigh which was built for the display of fossils, crystals, minerals and shells which have been embedded in the walls. Here is a very brief Youtube fim to show the shell house’s interior ~

For more on the subject of grottos, please see the VV’s posts on the Margate Shell Grotto, the truly magnificent and mysterious place which inspired a very vivid scene in her novel, Elijah’s Mermaid.


  1. Essie-

    How fascinating and spectacularly interesting. What a joy it must be to stay here and explore this all. I hope to get the chance to do so one day. Thank you!


    Stephanie Renee dos Santos

  2. It is a lovely hotel, Stephanie. A glorious setting and peace and quiet in such abundance.

  3. I find things decorated with shells incredibly creepy! All that clutter is so Victorian, but at the same time I can't help thinking about how dirty it would get... as a modern take on this, I once saw a shed made entirely out old shoes!

  4. The old shoes - imagine the smell! But glorious.