Wine lovers are welcomed to take a guided tour here which includes a stroll through the vineyards and a visit to the winery, and is finished off with the all-important wine tasting.
The group Mel and I were part of seemed to know a lot about wine and their knowledge and enthusiasm for them confirmed to us that the vino here was not to be sniffed at. And their sentiments are echoed by hundreds of others who hold Furleigh Estate wine in high regard.
The winery has won several awards over the years. The Tyrannosaurus Red was the first to win a bronze medal in the Wessex Vineyard Association 2008 annual competition, while the Furleigh’s Brut Rose 2010 was awarded a silver medal in a blind tasting amongst hundreds of other sparkling wines of similar style and origin at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC) in 2016.
The one downside about travelling in the UK is the weather. You just don’t know which way the wind will blow. Sadly, becoming hostages of torrential downpours, our waterboarding activity at the Exewake watersports school located on the river Exe in Exmouth had to be cancelled. So we embarked on a swift drive to Salcombe Harbour Hotel where we were putting our heads down for two nights.
Surrounded by beaches, this waterside abode sits directly on the south-west coastal path and is a short walk from the chocolate-box town of Salcombe, and a boat ride to some of Devon’s prettiest coves and beaches and a simple sail in the waters. The décor is light and airy, with plenty of nautical kitsch in the shape of life rings, porthole mirrors and a huge fishing net as decoration on the ceiling by the entrance. By the time we had arrived, and indeed the rest of our stay, the weather picked up. But the lounge with its comfy sofas and huge marble fireplace would still make it an inviting place to hole up on a blustery day.
Eating in the Jetty Restaurant with its coastal views was a delight. It’s no surprise that there is ample fish on the menu, with Poole Bay shrimps and Salcombe lobster taking a prominent place.
In summer, you can pick out your own seafood from the restaurant’s sunken Crustacean bar. I was happy with all of the fish offered, but meat lover Mel was far happier tucking into her steak. The marble bar has an array of Salcombe-themed cocktails and a strong gin menu. But if you still need your fill, complimentary decanters of gin and sherry can be found in the rooms.