Twelve new and beautifully appointed bedrooms at Rockbeare Manor, near Exeter – Part 1

From the moment that we first looked around Rockbeare Manor with a view to turning it from erstwhile family home, to an exceptional exclusive wedding and events venue, it was clear to see how well this Devon Manor could be transformed to include a collection of stylish guest bedrooms. The Georgian proportions, high ceilings, intricate cornicing, period features, and not forgetting the unbelievable views to the South West, were all features that have added to the overall feel of the twelve beautifully designed bedrooms that have now been created.

c  

Making each room feel special has been important to us from the start.  The existing features of the house have of course contributed to that.  Huge sash cord windows create such wonderful light throughout and original fireplaces can be found at every turn, showing the character of this 18th Century Devon Manor.

Bedroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon  Bedroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

The design and furnishing of the individual rooms however, has been down to Bristol based Alexandra Cork who has been behind the overall look of the interiors project.  She has worked assiduously to make sure that the quality of the finish and attention to detail has been to the highest standard.

Alexandra’s vision for Rockbeare Manor, which is only 10 minutes from Exeter, was to create elegant luxury; chic, stylish and with a finish that speaks for itself. This has certainly been achieved, and it is befitting of a building that has so much grace.  The furnishings, soft tones and lighting have all been chosen to reflect the charm of the building, but with a luxurious and contemporary edge.

Bedroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon   Bathroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

Next to our Bridal Drawing Room on the first floor, is Room One, a principle room in the house.  It is incredibly spacious, with classic Louis Phillipe style sleigh bed, and a striking feature wall. From the windows, you can see the steeples of Rockbeare and Broadclyst churches, as well as Devon’s largest single-trunk oak tree.  Whilst from the twin sinks in the bathroom there are views of the impressive fountain, South Lawns and private listed parkland.

Bedroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon  Bedroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

One of our two family suites was previously known as the ‘Blue John’ room due to the purple-striped stone used in the feature fireplace, a gem which was beloved by the Romans and sought after in the 18th Century. The views from this first floor room are among the best in the house – almost panoramic.

Bedroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon  Bedroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

Every bedroom has a modern, wet room style shower with accompanying bath – some of which are freestanding in the bedroom itself, giving a lavish feel.

Bathroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon  

The windows have been dressed in made to measure fabrics from the Grand Palais range using a soft colour palette with a botanical feel, really complimenting the Regency inspired scheme used on the feature walls.  They also frame the views perfectly – which reach up to Haldon Belvedere, Dartmoor and the Cadbury Hills.

  Bedroom at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

We really are over the moon with the overall result and know that these twelve bedrooms will prove a popular addition to every wedding and special event that we host here at Rockbeare Manor.  We welcome the first of our overnight guests today when they attend the wedding of Sarah and Fergus, and will of course be making them very welcome.
The rooms at Rockbeare Manor are reserved for the guests of those hosting a wedding or event at our special Devon venue. For more information please contact the events team on 01392 797 444.

With great thanks to Jess at Perspectives Photography for the beautiful images http://www.perspectivesphotography.co.uk/.

Rockbeare Manor – Regional Finalists at The Wedding Industry Awards

We were thrilled that Rockbeare Manor was recently awarded Regional Finalist in two categories at the South West Wedding Industry Awards:  ‘Best Countryside Venue’ and ‘Best Newcomer’.  The wedding venue awards are judged purely on the feedback gained from couples that have held their special day at that location and as we were a brand new wedding venue in Devon at that time, the competition against us with the more established venues in the area was strong.  During the eligibility period for the awards we had only completed 7 weddings, but we knew that it would be worth a try!

The Awards are a two stage process with a hand-picked panel of wedding experts creating a shortlist of suppliers – from individuals and independents to high street favourites and designer brands.

We had a great evening when the ceremony came around, and whilst we didn’t go home with an award, it was great meeting up with our fellow Regional Finalists such as Mel and Justin at Maxi Photography and Christine at Peboryon luxury cakes.

The best bit about entering the awards, was definitely the feedback that we received from the couples who had their wedding here at Rockbeare Manor.  Such kind words describing how wonderful their wedding day at Rockbeare Manor was, and we can’t thank you enough for that.  To read them all please click here.

If you are engaged and looking for a breathtaking wedding venue for your special day please do get in touch – we’d love to chat through your vision for the day and show you around our beautiful venue in the glorious South West. We’re just 10 minutes from Exeter, and even less from the M5 so links both North, West and East couldn’t be better! Call us on 01392 797 444 or request your brochure here.

www.rockbearemanor.co.uk

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

Wow, what a year it’s been!

Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon

It was on Sunday 10th January 2016 that we opened the doors at Rockbeare Manor for the very first time, to newly engaged couples looking for their perfect Devon wedding venue. At the time we were only 2 months into a very intensive 10 month renovation programme and so we were naturally a little apprehensive about what the reaction of the potential brides and grooms would be.  The Ballroom was really just a shell – covered in scaffolding with a concrete floor, there were other rooms that hadn’t been decorated in nearly eighty years, and what is now a beautifully light and airy Atrium, was boarded over awaiting the feature skylight. But, we hoped that everyone would see through the temporary disarray and be able to visulise the incredible change that it was going through.  And Phew…they did!

From that first day, we met couples that went onto book their wedding with us, some for as early as August that year so it really was a very exciting time.Bride in Drawing Room at Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon

Our first event was in June – a formal dinner and party for 130 guests (no pressure then!), but of course it all went smoothly and the atmosphere was fabulous. We were all so thrilled to be welcoming people to our brand new Devon venue, something that we are all incredibly proud of and so the smiles were permanently on our faces.

We were then lucky enough to be chosen as the venue to host Exeter Chiefs player Tom Johnson’s launch party for his Testimonial Year. The weather couldn’t have been better, the music was creating a really relaxed vibe and the invited guests enjoyed Prosecco and canapés on the South Lawns on a balmy summers evening.

Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon - South Lawns and Ballroom

Since then, it’s been non-stop (and great fun!) with photo-shoots and masterclasses, stunning weddings, Christmas parties and corporate events and it was topped off when The Wedding Industry Awards selected us as a regional finalist for ‘Best Countryside Venue’, and ‘Best Newcomer’ for the whole of the South West.  Awards are given purely on votes and feedback from couples that have been married at the venue and so that really did mean a lot to us.

Bride in the Drawing Room at Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon Sweeping staircase floral arrangements at Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon

So, what does 2017 hold for us?  Well, naturally we’ll be hosting lots more amazing events – it’s what we love, and we’ll be making each and every one really memorable for those hosting or attending an event with us. Our team will also be growing so we look forward to welcoming some new, super-talented people to Rockbeare Manor in the coming months.  Finally, we have very nearly completed the refurbishment of twelve luxury bedrooms within the house which will be available for guests as of March so we’ll make sure we give you a sneak preview of those very soon.

So from all of us here at Rockbeare Manor, we wish you all a very happy, fun-filled New Year with lots of laughter, love and dancing!

We hope to see you in 2017.

The South Pavilion at sunset. Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon.

 

 

Introducing Ben Upton – Head Chef at Rockbeare Manor

Meet Ben – Head Chef at Rockbeare Manor – Rugby, Fishing and Camping fan and all-round lovely guy!

Ben Upton - Head Chef

 

Where did it all start?

I was 14 and did some work experience in a bakery in Thame. I really enjoyed creating the produce and would have really liked to become a baker, but I received some sound advice from my boss at the time who said that it might be best to develop a wider range of skills.

As soon as I started my formal training at college I knew that I wanted to become a Chef – something just clicked, I loved it.  I have worked at lots of different outside events over the years; Twickenham, Wentworth, Woburn and I was also lucky enough to spend some time at the Savoy.  It was there that I really got to experience a fine dining environment, which really inspired me to progress my career in this industry.    

I have very fond memories of Combe House Hotel in Devon where I worked for over 15 years, culminating in a role as a Sous Chef. I enjoyed every moment. The atmosphere that was created by serving exceptional food in such a grand country house drew people from far and wide.  I was really excited though when the opportunity arose at Rockbeare Manor near Exeter; it’s great to be part of the team in this new phase of it’s life, turning from family home to a wedding and special events venue.  The refurbishment has been completed to such a high standard and in a sensitive way. The house works perfectly as a venue – there are bright spacious areas to chat, dance and chill. I’m really glad to be a part of such a great project.

What do you love most about what you do?

Experimenting and creating food that people find pleasurable to eat which encourages them to go away talking about their experience. Food is always changing and that makes the job so interesting. You are always learning something new and there are always different ideas to explore.

What is your favourite thing to cook?

I still have a passion for cooking bread with lots of different flavours, and if not at work I’ll do this with my children at home, teaching them about where food comes from and how it is made. However, you cannot beat pan-fried trout especially if you’ve caught it yourself. I do enjoy cooking most types of seafood and fish…linguine packed full of local seafood or sea bass fillets with sauce vierge. Alternatively, you can’t beat a rare fillet steak served with a rich red wine reduction and wild mushroom beignet.

Who are your inspirations?

Tom Kerridge cooks my kind of food, and I also think that Phil Howard at The Square is fantastic – the attention to detail his dishes have is second to none and his cookbook is one that I use at home a lot. 

And of course my gran who was a fantastic cook – eating was an event and she made the best treacle tart!

How do you spend your down-time?

My favourite day out is spent on the beach with family – normally involving a spot of sea fishing for mackerel which I’ll then barbecue on the beach. I also love course fishing, and more recently I’ve been trying fly fishing too. I love visiting the amazing coastlines that Devon and the South West has to offer – so I’ll often go camping with friends and family where we enjoy lots of outdoor eating, long dog walks and relaxed evenings.

Where would you go for dinner?

I have been to many of the great restaurants over the years, Pied à Terre was one of the best, but the restaurant that I would recommend to anyone is Rick Steins seafood restaurant in Padstow.  The whole experience was superb – the ambience, the service, the food – it was a complete package whilst feeling relaxed and welcoming.  Locally, we’ll visit the Otter pub and sit by the river while the kids have a paddle and we have a bite to eat. It’s really family friendly.

What trends do you see?

Eating out is becoming much more relaxed and sociable.  There has been a big shift in our clients choosing sharing foods and platters instead of more formal three course meals and I think this is going to continue for a while still. I’ve noticed people taking more of an interest in where their food is sourced as well – they care about how ethically produced the menu is and that’s really important.  It’s something that I feel really strongly about and so at Rockbeare Manor our focus isn’t on the cost of our produce, it’s on the quality, where it comes from (the more local the better) and the flavours we can create with it.  We cook from scratch – everything that we possibly can, to make sure that the guest experience is the best it can possibly be.

 

 

How To Navigate The Top 5 Wedding Planning Minefields

Wedding Place Setting

Throughout our years of experience in planning weddings, we’ve learnt a thing or two about navigating the various ‘etiquette issues’ that have the potential to cause family and friend fallouts on the big day. By fact that Rockbeare Manor is an exclusive wedding venue deep in the Devon countryside means you have so much freedom in how you want your wedding day that ultimately, we believe, this can help ease pressures to do things a certain way.

However for those issues that a bride and groom struggle with here’s our advice on how to manage them:

  1. Guest list

One of the first steps for any newly engaged couple is to plan the guest list. This in itself is a minefield, as you have to find the balance between inviting every acquaintance that you both know, because you feel duty bound to do so, and only inviting the people who you really want to be there. An easy way to simplify your guest list is to consider if you are likely to share a future relationship with the person in mind? Or perhaps ask yourself hypothetically if you would happily take them out to dinner – if the answer is yes then they may well be ones to go on the invite list.

A tactic we see many couples adopt is to make a provisional guest list nice and early in the planning of your wedding which can then be revisited later down the line.  It’s really important when choosing a venue to check that the dining capacity fits in with your potential guest numbers. At Rockbeare Manor we can host wedding breakfasts for 50 to 160 guests in our beautiful Ballroom which gives you lots of flexibility to have a guest list which evolves over time.  Final numbers don’t need to be confirmed until 4 weeks before the day itself.

  1. Children

Another important aspect to consider is whether you want to make your ceremony or even your wedding a child-free zone. It’s important to remember, no matter how many people protest, that it’s your decision.

There are ups and downs to consider with having children present. They can be very cute in photos and liven up the dance floor in the evening, however some may feel them to be a distraction at the wrong times throughout the day. If you do not want children present it’s important to let your guests know as early as possible so that they can make arrangements, and it is equally important to hold your ground if that’s what you would prefer for your wedding.  

However, for those couples that do invite children we’d suggest thinking about how to make their day fun too – a wedding is a long day, and so it’s a great idea to provide some activities for the children such as garden games, colouring books, and activity packs to keep them occupied. We can also put you in touch with children’s entertainers and event crèche’s.  

Whatever you decide, Rockbeare Manor is accommodating either way.

  1. Social Media

We’re now better connected than ever before due to social media. If you want your wedding to be social media free then it’s not unreasonable to ask your guests to refrain from posting pictures or other content about your wedding online until after the celebrations have ended. But if you like the idea of embracing social media you could actively encourage your guests to post online content about your wedding. Why not specify a personal hashtag that is for your wedding only?

Rockbeare Manor has WIFI throughout our venue in case you prefer the latter option.   

  1. Money for gifts

There’s some debate over whether it is acceptable to ask your guests for money instead of a more traditional wedding gift. And the trend of asking for money is on the increase with the average age of couples marrying now at 32 years old.

What research suggests is that wedding guests are more open to giving money as a gift if it has a clear goal attached, such as going towards a honeymoon or a significant item. If you’re going to ask your guests for money towards your honeymoon, then it may be a good idea to give them an idea of where you plan to go or the name of the travel agent you are going with so that they can purchase travel vouchers for you.

  1. Table plans

Arguably the most socially stressful part of a wedding because of course you want everyone to have a blast, and avoid any possible tension between guests that may not get on.

The traditional rule of thumb is to sit close family and friends nearest to the top table, with couples sat together and, if children are present, a children’s table where they can all sit together.

But, if having a top table is too complicated or causing worry (usually due to separated parents) don’t feel that you have got to have one.  Why not have ‘sweetheart table’ with just the two of you, or, sit with your bridesmaids and ushers and ask your parents to each host other tables. It’s your day, and you can think creatively about how to mix up guests based on common interests, geography and family branches.

At Rockbeare Manor we understand how challenging planning a wedding can be, and we are here to help and support you to achieve the day that you’ve always envisaged. Ultimately, one of the best things about Rockbeare Manor being an exclusive wedding venue in Devon is that the events team will work with you to create a day that is as individual as you both are.

Welcome to our Blog !!

Hello !!! And welcome to our brand new Blog.

Here we hope to bring you all the goings on at Rockbeare Manor, as well as helpful planning tools, amazing event inspiration, and of course the progress that we have been making in the transformation of the Manor from family home, to outstanding wedding and events venue.

We (the lovely team at PM Hospitality) moved into Rockbeare Manor at the end of September 2015 and our journey began to renovate and restore this absolutely incredible place. The house was built in around 1760, but since 1855 it has been owned by the same family and that still remains the case today.

In our next blog we’ll tell you more about the journey that we have taken over the last 6 months, and give you some insight into the extensive works that have been carried out….Rockbeare Manor, then and now.

Rockbeare Manor - wedding and events venue in Devon

Rockbeare Manor – wedding and events venue in Devon