New Hotel Opening: The Newt in Somerset

07 Oct 2019
4 min read
From the owners of famed Babylonstoren in South Africa, The Newt opened its doors at the end of August, bringing a bundle of botanic bliss to Britain. 

Celebrating all things Somerset, The Newt is set on a stunning British country estate and boasts some of the most beautiful gardens that the UK has to offer, along with a cyder bar, ancient woodland, farm shops and Garden Café, with menus honoring seasonal produce from the kitchen garden. In and amongst the greenery, there is also a 23-bedroom hotel and an incredible spa.

Capturing all the essence of a Georgian country home, The Newt captivates with its rustic-chic charm. Its bucolic setting inspires a garden-led menu in the restaurant, and garden-scented treatments in the Spa. Guests are encouraged to embrace country living and explore the Estate, while enjoying home comforts and superb service.

For the exclusive use of hotel residents, the Spa offers international treatments with an English country feel. Treatments include an authentic hammam and mud therapy in a private couples’ chamber, while facilities include an indoor/outdoor pool, halotherapy room and Wild Pool. There is also a gym onsite.

The gardens are open to the public, and with the exclusive ‘The Great Garden Escape’ day trips from London to Somerset available from July to October, everyone can enjoy a piece of the serene setting.


The Newt in Somerset is a working country estate located between Bruton and Castle Cary in Somerset. It incorporates a garden visitor attraction with cultivated gardens, ancient woodland, orchards, cyder cellar, restaurants and farm shops, which are now open to the public.


A celebration of all that Somerset has to offer, with a focus on locality and sustainability. Everything stems from a deep respect for the land, its animals and its environment, as well as a passion for horticulture and agriculture.


The Newt in Somerset was previously called Hadspen House and is a Grade II*-listed building. The original farmer’s house was built between 1687-1690, while garden plans were conceived and ground broken in 1691. A lawyer named Henry Hobhouse II purchased Hadspen House in 1785.  He gave the main house, with its façade of local limestone, its current Georgian appearance.  Over the next two centuries his successors remodelled the grounds, creating more naturalistic parkland. The property remained in the Hobhouse family until 2013.


Throughout the hotel and gardensthe past is brought to life or reimagined by offsetting heritage elements with contemporary design, styling and architecture. Some structures, like the Parabola and main house, are original and still intact after centuries. Other buildings, such as the Threshing Barn and Spa, are based on traditional agricultural structures; while spaces such as the glass-walled Garden Café are of modern design, aiming to fit organically within the landscape.

In the hotel, elegant main house rooms have been updated with a fresh, playful aesthetic. The Stable Yard’s original horse yard buildings have been transformed into sophisticated and versatile accommodation, while retaining their original characteristics.

There are 23 bedrooms across the main house and its Stable Yard, each varying in design. The main house has 13 bedrooms while the Stable Yard has 10 bedrooms – four of which include kitchen facilities.


The gardens take centre stage, with acres of formal gardens designed by renowned Italo-French architect Patrice Taravella and cared for by an expert gardening team. They provide sustenance for the body and inspiration for the mind, supplying all restaurants on the Estate with herbs, flowers, fruit, vegetables and honey.

In the garden, visitors are led on a journey through time: from a Baroque maze to a Victorian fragrance garden and greenhouse, to a true cottage garden, to modern water gardens and colour rooms.  At the core of the gardens nestles a Parabola walled garden with a comprehensive collection of trained apple trees, arranged in a maze. The Parabola encloses some 3,000 square metres of garden within 9ft of walls and contains 460 apple trees of 267 varieties.


The Newt in Somerset celebrates every aspect of the apple, from pruning and training saplings, to harvesting, pressing and the final stage: cyder making. The Newt cyders are made using 100% juice, with no added sugar or water.  A state-of-the-art Cyder Press & Cellar uses cold-fermentation processes that retain the full flavour of the fruit.

Apple pressing to make juice is a weekend event for visitors to experience, while daily tours introduce the craft and history of cyder-making. There are 60 acres of orchards with some 3,000 standard apple trees, of 70 varieties of cider apple. The trees are planted in old style, eight metres apart.  Supplementary apples are currently picked at local Somerset orchards within a 10-mile radius. Greg Carnell is our Cellar Master, heading up cyder making.


The Botanical Rooms

The Botanical Rooms offer a menu largely sourced from the Estate and its neighbours. Dishes are locally sourced, just-picked fruit and vegetables suggested by the seasons. Guests can enjoy fun dining inspired by their surroundings – sharing small plates as the Georgians did, or feasting on whole vegetables and carefully husbanded meat, fish and venison cooked on a unique grill, fired with wood from the Estate.

Horns and Pigtails

In the original vaulted cellar of the house, communal dining, wine tasting, special events and private Georgian feasts are possible. Menus are inspired by Georgian documents found in the house.


The driving force and Creative Director at the Estate is Karen Roos, a former magazine editor and owner of Babylonstoren in South Africa – renowned for its beautiful gardens. Paul Rawson is General Manager of the Estate, Andrew Foulkes is Hotel General Manager, while Sue Seager oversees farming.

Master Innholder Andrew Foulkes was named Cateys 2017 Manager of the Year in his former role at the Abbey Hotel in Bath. His career started in the kitchens, as chef de partie at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and then Kitchen Manager at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. It was here that he moved front of house, becoming Assistant Manager of Operations.


Rates start from £300 per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis. Rates include a personalised larder as well as access to gardens, estate and spa facilities.


The Newt in Somerset has partnered with Great Western Railway to offer exclusive one-day tours of the estate.  The journey will take guests from London Paddington to Castle Cary in a designated First-Class carriage and includes guided tours, talks, traditional cyder tastings, all meals and train tickets. Accompanied by the Head Gardener and Cyder Master, guests will gain exclusive insight into the cultivated gardens and ancient woodland, partake in traditional cyder tasting and enjoy the bounty of Somerset produce at the Garden Café restaurant.


To find out more and to book, visit The Newt’s website or Instagram page.