Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Fern Tor Vegetarian & Vegan Guest House Review

Jamie and I decided to go away for a few days over the new year for our 6 year anniversary. As we live in Cornwall, we usually go to the next best place - Devon! We wanted to go to a veggie B&B, and eventually decided on Fern Tor, which is situated near the town of South Molton in North Devon.
Fern Tor is an award winning guest house set in 12 acres of land and is run by a lovely couple called Cliff and Jane (who is a Cordon Vert trained cook!). All the food they provide is vegan with the exception of cow's milk and eggs from their rescue hens for vegetarians. The house is very eco-friendly; there are no feathers or down in the bedding, and the toiletries and cleaning products are all vegan/non animal tested. 
Solar panels help to heat water and generate electricity, low energy light bulbs are used, and the loo rolls are recycled. The food portion sizes you are given are huge, and on more than one occasion we had to give up trying to consume everything on our plates! We were worried about leaving so much food, but Jane reassured us that nothing at Fern Tor gets wasted as they have lots of rescued animals to help with leftovers!
At Fern Tor there are goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, geese, rabbits and 2 gorgeous greyhounds. Jane and Cliff have kindly taken in all these animals who have often been neglected and abused, and they now have a happy, healthy life in the countryside. I loved having a cuddle with the goats, who cheekily tried to eat my hair and the buttons on my coat! We spotted lots of wildlife around the grounds, including mice, squirrels, pheasants, and various little birds.
Fern Tor is dog-friendly, so Jack came too of course! We had a ground floor room, which has its own private garden entrance, an en-suite bathroom (with a lovely deep bath) and a private sitting room with a log fire. It was very hard to get up for breakfast in the mornings as the bed was extremely comfy! 
When we arrived at Fern Tor we were offered tea, coffee, and freshly made vegan fruit scones with jam which were really delicious. 
 After we got settled in we explored the grounds and met the rescue animals, then relaxed before our first meal. We opted for a main and a dessert.
Our first dinner was aduki bean pie topped with vegan cheese and served with mushroom gravy, leeks and cauliflower, and a side salad. It was really tasty but very filling, although we just about managed to finish it all! 
For dessert we had a choice of lemon mousse or gooey chocolate pudding; as we are both chocolate lovers, we naturally opted for the latter, which was served with ice cream.
The next morning we eagerly awaited our first breakfast. There were many cereals to choose from (including vegan cornflakes - yum!), plus fruit and toast made from delicious homemade bread. We both opted for a fried breakfast, and I had the full works (except tomato which I am not too keen on): fried bread, tofu 'bacon', vegan sausages, baked beans, mushrooms, potatoes, and scrambled tofu. It was my first time trying scrambled tofu and I loved it!
We then embarked on a 3 hour walk in the countryside, which was mainly uphill! Luckily it was a dry day in between all the storms but we got stuck in the mud quite a few times - admittedly it was rather fun! In the evening we drove to South Molton to pick up some food from an Indian takeaway that Cliff and Jane had kindly recommended.
Time for our second breakfast and I chose the vegan pancakes with maple syrup, fried potatoes and scrambled tofu (Jamie had a fry up everyday). The pancakes were amazing! Definitely my favourite breakfast.
We were going to drive up to Exmoor on New Year's Day but as the weather was so bad we didn't want to risk it. Instead we drove to a nearby village called Witheridge where we had some chips and a drink in a very cosy pub called the Mitre Inn. Back at Fern Tor we snuggled up and spent the afternoon watching films - we were all still tired from our trek the day before!
For our last dinner we were served crusted cassoulet - vegetables and beans in tomato sauce topped with garlic bread and cheese. It was served with new potatoes, broccoli and salad. We both thoroughly enjoyed it, and I definitely want to have a go at making it myself. 
Although we struggled to finish our meal we couldn't turn down dessert, which was Jane's famous Fernbocker Glory - layer upon layer of ice cream, chocolate cake, raspberries and chocolate cream. It was absolutely amazing! 
I could barely move afterwards as I was so full; in fact, I couldn't face breakfast the following morning as I was still full up! Which was a real shame though as there were still 2 breakfasts I hadn't tried - bagel with cream cheese and scrambled tofu, or a breakfast Fernbocker glory (fruits, yogurt and granola). 
We had such a good time at Fern Tor, and would love to go back again. Cliff and Jane were very friendly and helpful, the room was relaxing and comfortable, and the food was amazing. If you are looking for somewhere veggie/vegan friendly to stay then I highly recommend Fern Tor.
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