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Unique self-catering home | The Lost Music Hall | South Hams | Devon

The Lost Music Hall

Ipplepen, Totnes, Devon, UK

Created by a London dandy to serve as his secret retreat from society, this intriguing homestay has been revived as part of a tender restoration project besides Devon’s lost Italian gardens. Now fully restored, the hedonistic spirit of the former host invites guests to make themselves at home in his music hall of enormous proportions. Float beneath the summer sun in the outdoor pool, sip on cocktails and spend evenings tinkling the ivories of the baby grand piano within the enchantment of this hidden South Hams valley.

Introduction

The turn of the 20th century marked a significant milestone for the historical Great Ambrook estate near Totnes, when its Georgian manor was extended considerably by eccentric owner Arthur Graham. Many say the London aesthete moved to the South Hams to become a recluse, but his additions of an enormous music room, four-acre Italian garden and swimming pool skirted by dozens of chairs hinted otherwise. One can only imagine the parties this extravagant country manor could host within its wild and secluded valley location. Forgotten for many years and reclaimed by nature, the estate was eventually split and the music room restored to offer luxury self-catering accommodation by recent owners, who reside in the original adjoining manor.

Inside

William Morris once said that ‘simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement.’ Paying homage to its Arts and Crafts roots, The Lost Music Hall follows a similar vein. The pared-back interiors are a rejection of classical Victorian frivolity, instead a celebration of simple, honest craftsmanship. This unconventionally grand annex was designed to colossal proportions, with the original ceilings climbing to over 11 metres high. Oak parquet flooring gleams in the light-filled living spaces and auction finds sit in harmony with pieces imported from the owners' New York loft. Spectacular valley views wrap around the upstairs balcony where (of course) each bedroom generously boasts not one but two double beds.

Outside

Every coin has two sides and this secret paradise was designed to be as much a place for socialising as it was for contemplation and solace. The music hall and adjoining manor sit in over seven acres, shaded by ancient trees and crossed by the gurgling Ambrook river - tempting wild swims on balmy afternoons. Guests have private use of the games room, terraces, back garden and pool area. As for Graham’s Italian garden (the only surviving work of architect T. H. Lyon), the forgotten site was accidentally discovered beneath 50 years of growth and now undergoing restoration work by private owners. Devon certainly isn't lacking in beautiful stately gardens open to the public, and guests may be able to visit this sleeping beauty in the near future.

The Facts

  • SleepsUp to 6 guests
    From £1,650 per week, £1,235 per short break
  • Alternative group optionsUp to 2 or up to 12 guests
  • Bedrooms and bathroomsThe Lost Music Hall features three large double bedrooms, including two double beds in each. The master suite includes king-size beds plus an en suite bathroom with shower attachment, while the other two bedrooms share a Victorian-style bathroom with overhead shower. Please note: whilst Unique Homestays market the three bedrooms for six guests, parties up to 12 people are welcome to make use of this extra large home by selecting the sleeps 12 option from the calendar.
    View bedrooms
  • FeaturesHeated outdoor swimming pool (May-September) and games room with table tennis and darts
  • PetsTwo pets are welcome
    Each pet is charged at £60 per week or part thereof
  • Arrivals and departuresArrival Day: Friday or MondayArrival Time: 4pmDeparture Time: 10amTimes may vary due to Covid-19 requirements, please refer to your booking.
  • FamilyChildren and babies are very welcome. One cot and highchair are available.
  • PracticalitiesThe kitchen is well-equipped for self-catering escapes, featuring an Aga with hot plates and induction hob for cooking plus a washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer. Guests have their own access and parking separate to the main manor house (where the owners reside) and enjoy private use of the back garden with 16ft sq heated outdoor pool between May-Sept. Please supervise children around the pool and river. The owners have a friendly lurcher, who would happily play with your dog (or you!) but can otherwise be kept out of the way. The garden is not fully enclosed.
  • Homestay includesWelcome hamper of local and organic produce, logs and kindling to get you started, Dip and Doze organic cotton bed linen and towels, organic toiletries, wellingtons, children´s toys, luxury magazines, wool covered hot water bottles in winter...House book - your property and destination guideDiscover more little luxuries
  • Other informationProperty terms and conditionsFrequently asked questionsCheck mobile signalRecommend to a friend

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Totnes

Beautiful on the eye and with a Bohemian soul, the south Devon market town of Totnes combines breathtaking countryside with alternative therapies and a magnetic relaxed atmosphere.

View on maps

Totnes

Getting there

  • On the Map The estate sits in a hidden valley near Totnes in the South Hams region of Devon, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • By Car The house is just over an hour from Exeter, or four from London via the M3 or M5 via Bristol.
  • By Train The house is conveniently located equidistant between Newton Abbot and Totnes train stations.
  • By Air Exeter Airport is approximately 40 minutes away, with taxis and car hire available.

From the owner

“We bought the property and moved here in 2019. We have since met many individuals who have connections to the estate, each sharing stories about the house and the families that have enjoyed it as their home. Arthur Graham’s historian and biographer talks fondly about the special atmosphere here, and it does indeed have a tranquil, magical ambience.”

From the owner

This unique building was a bold addition to the existing manor house in the early 1900s by Arthur Graham. Designed by local architect T. H. Lyon, the building was originally an enormous single-height chapel-like structure with a vaulted ceiling and gallery. It is said to be similar to a chapel that the architect had designed at Cambridge where Graham had studied and was in part constructed in order to house an enormous organ that was especially made and shipped from New York.

Graham was a society bachelor who entertained extensively and there are many stories of the guests that enjoyed time here in the hidden valley. I can imagine the gatherings with guests spilling onto the grand Italianate terraces on a summer evening enjoying the view across the grounds with its ancient trees and tiny river.

A biography of Graham and the creation of his music room and the Italian garden (sadly no longer part of the estate) is due to be published later this year. The music room was converted to a two storey building in the 1930s and what was lost in the grandeur of the full height was gained in the lovely parquet flooring upstairs and the light-filled bedrooms.

Holding up the tradition, we've hosted several music events since we’ve been here.  Notably a benefit concert with some amazing folk musicians and a chamber music event as part of a festival organised by Ashburton Arts, where a world-class string quartet played to an audience of over 100 people. A brilliant evening.

The Montgomery Family

Owner recommendations

Live like a local, discovering the best hidden gem restaurants, walks and attractions during your holiday in Totnes with an insider’s perspective.

The Almond Thief Cafe, Dartington
To Eat

The Almond Thief Cafe, Dartington

A little corner of Brooklyn in South Devon, The Almond Thief is rightly famous for its sourdough bread and melt-in-the-mouth pastries served from their industrial bakery. Team all of this with great coffee and a charming friendly vibe, and it will fast become your favourite new brunch spot.

Surfing, Bantham Beach
To Do

Surfing, Bantham Beach

Nestling deep in the South Hams at the mouth of the river Avon, Bantham is home to one of Devon´s best surfing beaches. Backed by soft sand dunes, the beach overlooks Burgh Island, accessible by sea tractor. A wide expanse of shallow sloping sands, rock pools and a “Gastrobus” serving snacks makes this a favourite with families.

Riverford Field Kitchen, Buckfastleigh
To Eat

Riverford Field Kitchen, Buckfastleigh

This award-winning organic restaurant creates a daily-changing menu from whatever is available on Riverford Farm, so you can enjoy food sourced literally metres from the plate. Booking in advance is essential. Check the website for special events, cookery classes and farm tours, and partake in a memorable culinary experience during your stay.

Ashburton
To See

Ashburton

This sweet little town on the edge of Dartmoor has developed a chic London feel, thanks to an influx of newcomers choosing to relocate from the capital. An established centre for antiques, don´t miss Ashburton Craftmongers for beautiful, locally made crafts, or Catherine Waters and Franklin & Hare for gorgeous antiques.

Unique extras

Enhance your stay with a unique experience from one of our preferred suppliers. From professional in-house chefs to luxury at-home spa therapists and wine delivered to the door, see what’s on offer for your bespoke escape.

Press

Below are a selection of features in which Unique Homestays has appeared. If you would like to feature the property in an editorial capacity, please contact the marketing team on +44 (0)1637 882014.

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Disclaimer: These particulars, whilst believed to be accurate, are set as a guideline so should not be relied upon as a statement of fact. The photographs show aspects of the property at the time they were taken and it should not be assumed that the property remains precisely as displayed. If there are points of particular importance that need clarifying before you book, please contact us.

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