Backwell House

Backwell, Bristol, Bath & Somerset, United Kingdom Book from Book from £86 per night

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Country pile meets Bristol cool - an indulgent Georgian hotel with fantastic food, just 15 minutes from those bright city lights
At first glance, Backwell House looks like your classic country pile, but look a little closer and the independent Bristol spirit can be seen throughout. Owner Guy Williams spent a year renovating this Georgian dame, putting his design and carpentry skills to good use making beautiful herringbone dining tables and handmade bedheads. Today, his hotel has real heart, striking a fine balance between classic and quirky; look out for the concrete basin cast into a vintage suitcase, and walls papered with fascinating 19thC receipts.

The whole house just wills you to relax - and relax we did. Our room for the night was an indulgent dual-aspect affair, overlooking rose gardens and magnolia trees in blossom. A cloud-like bed and freestanding copper tub were accompanied by a champagne bucket just waiting to be filled. Come evening, we revelled in a delectable dinner, from smoky BLT-style appetisers to a tangy deconstructed rhubarb and custard - then slept the sort of deep sleep you can only find in the countryside. Oh, and if you’re not usually the rural type, worry not. Backwell House is a stone’s throw from Bristol - and if you can be bored there, you’ll be bored anywhere.

Highs

  • Perfect for a romantic break: just 9 luxurious rooms, creative food and it's adults only
  • Walking and cycling in nearby Ashton Court
  • Set amongst peaceful green fields, but buzzy Bristol is just 15 minutes' drive away; the best of both worlds
  • Grand country hotels can instil a ‘best behaviour’ atmosphere, but here we just felt really relaxed and well-looked after
  • Easy to reach: the local train station has direct links to London Paddington, and you're 10 mins' drive from Bristol airport or 15 from the M5

Lows

  • Apart from wandering the walled garden there's not much to do on-site; a spa and cinema room are in planning
  • The restaurant is only open Wed-Sun, and the dinner service was a little haphazard
  • More practical in-room info would be handy for details like WiFi codes and breakfast times
  • Traditionalists may be surprised by the blue lighting at dinner - it's a matter of taste, but we loved it!

Best time to go

This is a year-round retreat: glorious in the warmer months and very cosy in winter. The gardens are at their most colourful in spring and autumn. You may want to coincide your visit with one of Bristol’s summer festivals. The International Balloon Fiesta, the Harbour Festival and Love Saves the Day all bring colour, crowds and joie de vivre to the city.

Our top tips

A folder in your room is filled with fascinating insights into Backwell House's history. Home to various influential families over the centuries (whom the rooms are now named after), we particularly enjoyed reading about the Robinson’s much-loved cricket league, played on the front lawn from 1878 to 1964.

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 9
  • Restaurant (open Wed-Sun) and bar (open daily)
  • Ages 12+ only
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Spanning 2 upper floors, the 9 beautifully crafted rooms speak of classic taste and modern creativity. Metro tiles, heritage hues and handmade drapes set the tone; amongst them are Guy's handmade headboards and sink backs, and original artwork by Bristol-based artists.

We stayed in Hobbs and loved its copper tub, leafy green décor and dual-aspect garden views. Robinson shares a similar layout and level of luxury, but it has a more traditional look and the most enormous rainfall shower we’ve ever seen (complete with playful disco lighting). Toogood’s classic panelling, freestanding tub and wall of glass windows give it the wow-factor. Robbins has open countryside views and is the hotel's sole twin option.

What the smaller rooms lack in grandeur they make up for in character. Keedwell features stunning original beams and high ceilings. Squires is the quietest room, with exposed beams and an original scullery door to the ensuite (complete with small holes along one panel). Moody blue Grace has an ornate carved headboard. Burnett is lovely and light, but gets some evening kitchen fan noise (until 10pm). Smallest is Sparrow, a charming little love nest.

Requisite luxuries are in place: Hungarian goosedown bedding, Bramley products and drenching walk-in rain showers. In-room sherry, Pukka teas and Gower Coffee Company grounds tempt the taste buds.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Though Bristol's culinary temptations are an easy taxi-ride away, it is definitely worth dining in if you can. (The restaurant opens Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, plus Sunday for lunch only.)

We spent a lovely evening in the storm-grey dining room. You always know you’re in for a good dinner when the bread-and-butter causes a commotion; this is that kind of place. Every course was well-balanced and delicious. My chicory and duck egg yolk starter was earthy yet sweet, but my boyfriend’s creamy crab with lovage won out. Luckily, the playing field was levelled by the mains; my tender Backwell pork with carrot purée just managed to outshine his turbot with curried velouté. On nights when the restaurant is closed, go into Bristol or walk to The George at Backwell for tasty gastro-pub fare.

The dinner service was a little haphazard but the breakfast experience was exemplary. Light poured in through lofty sash windows, illuminating a table full of beautiful blue crockery, fresh Greek yoghurt and a rainbow of fruit – ruby red strawberries, plump blueberries. Sweet pastries were piled high and homemade jams waited in kilner jars. With our morning cuppa in hand, we waited for our hot dishes. Creamy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for me - yum - and, quote, “the best blueberry pancakes I’ve ever tasted. Ever” for him.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Hole up and forget the real world. Wander the walled garden, smell the roses, visit the chickens and imagine the 19thC cricket games played in front of the haw-haw
  • Feeling active? Take a country walk through the Somerset countryside. Or hike and bike through Ashton Court's expansive grounds, which have deer herds and superb Bristol views
  • Central Bristol is an easy drive or bus ride away. Entertainment options are endless, but the big names include Clifton Suspension Bridge, the SS Great Britain, the independent Watershed cinema, Clifton Lido, and the Tobacco Factory theatre
  • We love trendy Southville for urban street art and North Street's independent bars and restaurants. There's a great farmers' market on Sundays
  • Stroll around Chew Valley Lake then refuel with award-winning Salt & Malt fish and chips
  • Practice your swing at a local golf club - Long Ashton and Woodspring are both close
  • Immerse yourself in the Georgian splendour of Bath (under an hour’s drive, or train it from Backwell station)
  • Back at Backwell House, retire to the lounge, nab a leather armchair and lose yourself in a good book. The cosy bar is right next door, should you need a cocktail...
  • Get married! Backwell House is a popular wedding venue with a bespoke planning service (60-200 guests)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being

Kids

Backwell House only accepts children aged 12+, unless booked for exclusive use.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Robbins and Toogood can interconnect; the former can be arranged with twin beds. Extra beds can be placed in Toogood, Robbins, Hobbs and Robinson (1 per room).

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
9/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Couldn't rate this higher. From the moment we arrived we immediately felt welcome and were super impressed with the standard of the hotel, the service and the luxury! Getting a bottle of wine on arrival (and being able to pick which bottle we wanted- not just the standard house!) and enjoying that in the gorgeous drawing room was the perfect way to settle into what was a wonderful stay. Can't wait to come back!

10/10,

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Rates for Backwell House