South Molton Cottages

Whether you’re exploring Exmoor, heading up to the coast or sampling the delights of mid Devon, South Molton’s a great base.

The town has a few attractions of its own to enjoy, not least a rather special resident chocolatier.

What is there to do in and around South Molton?

South Molton is a typical Devon market town, a bustling place with an indoor Pannier Market on Saturday (selling fish, meat, cheese, books, bric-a-brac and more) and a cattle market on Thursday.

Just outside town is one of Devon’s most popular attractions – Quince Honey Farm. Amazingly, it’s the world’s largest exhibition devoted to honey bees and gives visitors a chance to get up close to the native honeybee in a specially designed and interactive indoor apiary. Little ones will also enjoy the soft indoor Happy Bee play hive and you can all indulge afterwards with a Devonshire cream tea and honey ice cream. And don’t forget to take a pot of honey made from their own bees home with you.

While we’re on the subject of sweet treats, a visit to Melchior Chocolates is a must. Carlo Melchior and his artisan chocolatiers have been making exquisite tasting, handmade chocolates for over 25 years. Carlo trained in the art of chocolate making in his native Switzerland and his business in South Molton is now so successful, he supplies Fortnum & Mason! Carlo’s extensive range includes fresh handmade mouth-watering truffles, pralines, liqueurs and glacé fruits. Visit the chocolate factory to catch a glimpse of Carlo and the team at work, before heading to the shop to indulge yourself. How about some champagne chocolate truffles, or possibly something from the classic single malt whisky selection?

Just outside South Molton, there’s a different kind of sensory treat in store – this time for garden lovers. Castle Hill Gardens surround the magnificent Palladian house, seat of the Fortescues since 1454. Today, Castle Hill is home to his descendants, the Earl and Countess of Arran. The gardens take up 50 acres of stunning grounds and are home to lavender-edged herbaceous borders, a water sculpture, and woodland walks filled with daffodils, bluebells, camellias, magnolias and azaleas.

Where are the best places to eat and drink in and around South Molton?

As you’d expect of Devon, this is an area awash with cosy pubs. But there are also some more contemporary places to eat in.

Set in the heart of Kings Nympton, The Grove Inn is a classic Devon thatched pub, with an interior of low beams, flagstone floors, open fires and lovely red walls hung with photographs of old-timers from the village. The menu makes full use of local produce and features robust mains like the Grove Devon rose veal burger with mature cheddar cheese and chunky chips, or Lundy plaice with herb butter. There are plenty of West Country ales on tap (including beers from the popular Cotleigh Brewery) and a collection of 65 single malts. Maybe book a taxi for your return journey!

With its perky interior of bleached timber, white-painted furniture and comfy sofas, Venue 72 is a warm and welcoming café which transforms into a popular bistro every Friday and Saturday night. By day they serve home-made cakes and coffee, bacon sandwiches, soups, Ploughman lunches and cream teas. When the bistro’s open, expect a more Mediterranean menu with pastas and seafood making an appearance. Venue 72 doesn’t have a license, but you’re welcome to bring your own wine – and there’s no charge for corkage!

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