Riding, caving, golfing, falconry, all within easy reach of the house
Newton Surmaville sits on the border of Dorset and Somerset and, as such, is well placed to pick the best from both counties. The coast line of Dorset, due south of the house is stunning and has all manner of seaside activities to enjoy. The rural interior is more pastoral, think Hardy or Austen novels, indeed many were filmed in the area. Either way, there is plenty to do and with Bristol and Bath no more than 90 minutes away, the lure of the bright lights are easily satisfied.
Yeovil Golf Course is right next door to Newton Surmaville, so it couldn’t be easier. There are 2 courses, both of which are draped across two borders of Dorset and Somerset – 27 holes divided by the River Yeo. The Newton is a 9-hole course that winds through part of the old Newton Surmaville estate and has some challenging ground to negotiate along the river. The Old Course is a standard 18-hole course and has some beautiful views of the town and the countryside around.
A visit to the Somerset Cider Brandy Company is a must and only 20 minutes drive away. Enjoy a private tour visiting the barrel bond, the distillery and learn all about the fascinating history whilst sampling some of the cider and Somerset cider brandy. If you visit in the spring you will see the magnificent site of the orchard full of blossom.
Just under one hours drive away from Newton Surmaville is the Bronze Age site of the World famous, Stonehenge. This prehistoric monument consists of an outer ring of vertical standing stones of about 13 feet in height and 7 feet wide (weighing around 25 tons) with horizontal lintel stones connecting the standing stones. This is an absolute ‘must see’ for any visitor and if you go in the early morning, you can watch the sun rise, get a special guide and have a private visit.
Cheddar Gorge is pretty extraordinary. The gorge itself is spectacular with cliffs that rise above the road but there is so much more to the area. It is home to an incredible subterranean network of caves which you can explore in varying different ways, depending on your sense of adventure and appetite for cramped spaces!
Wookey Hole Caves are six miles south-east of Cheddar Gorge and a mile or so outside the town of Wells. Here you will find Wookey Hole which has a series of caves that were inhabited for 70,000 years. Plenty of adventure and fun for everyone including Adventure Golf, a 4D cinema show and lots of information on the fascinating story of Wookey Hole.
Sherborne (15 mins away) is a lovely market town, typical of the area. It is full of old-world charm and many interesting independent shops. It’s strong sense of history can be seen at Sherborne Castle and Gardens and it is proud to support a burgeoning food scene where you can find local producers and suppliers being well represented in cafes and food stores.
If you’d like to have a riding lesson, Pevlings Farm Riding Stables are 25 mins away from the house and they specialise in teaching children, though they do have some larger horses for adults.
The Big Shoot’s Sturminster Newton Clay Pigeon Shooting location has state of the art equipment and is located on a private range so there is no waiting around and your session can be tailored to your needs/desires. They will provide a huge variety of stands all in a beautiful setting.
Simulated clays in the stunning grounds of Cricket St Thomas (25 minutes away) is also an exciting way to spend a morning. A great way to perfect your technique.
At Pitcombe Rock Falconry, the focus is on the rescue and rehabilitation of birds of prey. They are passionate about these birds and love to share their enthusiasm and knowledge. You can get up close and personal with a long-eared owl, learning how to handle it and ‘fly it’ or you can go the extreme and learn how to take a hawk hunting. If successful and your hawk catches a rabbit, you will be able to take it home for supper once the falconer has prepared it for you.
Watersports at Langport (20 minutes away) on the River Parrett are very popular. You can kayak or canoe on the beautiful river as well as paddleboarding and wild swimming for those braver folk!
Sutton Bingham Reservoir is set in the rolling hills of Somerset and Dorset, just 5 miles outside Yeovil. A beautiful spot for fishing, sailing and walking providing a perfect day out for all the family and an ideal chance to connect with nature.
You can reach the Jurassic Coast within an hour from Newton Surmaville. A World Heritage Site on the coast of the English Channel, at a length of 96 miles, it stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset. There is so much to do along the coast from exploring and enjoying the beaches to fossil hunting.
It can be great fun to hire bicycles and cycle along the canal towpaths which connect various towns to each other. A relaxing way to spend an afternoon as the paths are flat and not hilly so an ideal way to travel through the countryside enjoying the scenery.
The Somerset Levels, a coastal plain and wetland area of Somerset, provide the perfect spot for avid birdwatchers. The RSPB and other conservation organisations have restored this ancient habitat to much of its former glory. Depending on the time of year there are Lapwings, Starlings and Golden Plovers as well as several birds of prey to see.
Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum – in children’s activities section
Haynes Motor Museum – in children’s’ activities section
Newton Surmaville is a dream home for a large house party
…or an intimate gathering of family & friends with lots of different spaces for guests to enjoy both in the house and throughout the property.
The icing on the cake comes in the form of the wonderful staff, Harriet and Stuart, who maintain the house and grounds in immaculate condition and who are unfailingly attentive; their cooked breakfasts, eaten beside the flaming log fire and surrounded by historic objects, will live long in our memory. Whatever the occasion, be it a family holiday or a gathering of friends or colleagues, you can be sure of a warm welcome and an unforgettable experience at Newton Surmaville.
I was fortunate enough to celebrate my friend’s 50th birthday with a girl’s trip to this amazing home. Newton Surmaville combines the magnificence of an established country estate home with all the modern-day creature comforts. There are fruit orchards throughout the property where you can have your pick from apples, pears and plums. We enjoyed walking the property in the morning with our coffee and had cocktails every evening in the bar or in the upstairs library.
The fabulous bucolic views, stunning décor and top of the line linens made for the ultimate, relaxing trip which this stressed-out mom needed! We did some great antique shopping, ate some of the most amazing meals I’ve ever had and took a few day trips to visit the Roman baths and some surrounding historic estates.
I am hoping to return for a couples’ trip soon.
Staying at the Newton Surmaville House in Somerset was a once in a lifetime experience (but we hope to do it again as soon as possible). We were transported back to a period in time almost inconceivable to Americans, with all the amenities and comforts of modern day living — as a royal, that is. (Thanks, Harriet and Stuart!) The house is both grand and cozy, classical and contemporary, rustic and luxurious — and we nearly cried when we left.
Exploring the grounds outside the house was equally thrilling, with a rose garden to get lost in, a footpath along the River Yeo, and a meadow filled with grazing sheep. The surrounding towns Bruton, Bath, Stourhead were picturesque and fascinating, with wonderful architecture, gardens, museums, historic homes, antique stores, and restaurants to experience. To future visitors: whatever you do, don’t let your travel companions talk you out of seeing Stonehenge (like I did).
Our week stay at Newton Surmaville in Somerset was an absolute delight. The house is not only stunningly designed, but each room is cozy, inviting and perfect for time with friends, family or to just relax and enjoy a cup of tea. We also enjoyed walking the property, eating fresh fruit right off the vine and exploring the area all around the home. There are wonderful restaurants locally and many adorable towns to visit but everything we needed was right on property making our week both relaxing and fun.
We could not recommend this beautiful and historic home more and hope to come back for a visit again in the near future!