History of Highbullen Hotel

Behind the impressive Victorian façade of Highbullen Hotel lies a wealth of history and adventure.  From classrooms in World War Two and a spell as a magnificent family home, Highbullen has some incredible stories to tell.  Here are a few it has shared so far.

An Architect’s Dream

It was in 1879 that William Moore, a prominent architect, and builder from Exeter built the impressive mansion from stone quarried from within the estate.

Highbullen is a fine example of the architecture that emerged from the “Arts and Crafts” movement.  It is easy to see the influence of Philip Webb, who is often referred to as the father of the “Arts and Crafts” architecture.  The solid, well-proportioned forms, steep roofs and deep porches of Highbullen are all typical of Webb’s style and the intriguing marble fireplace in the drawing room is of particular note.  Highbullen remained the Moore family’s home for over 40 years.

Wartime Evacuees

Jumping forward to World War Two a new and exciting chapter opened in Highbullen’s history.  The substantial ground floor rooms became classrooms when a private school was evacuated there and during this time the grounds were maintained by German prisoners of war.

Highbullen as a Hotel

In 1963 Highbullen was purchased by the Neil family, when Hugh and Pam started the hotel.  It soon became well known for it’s high standard of hospitality and gastronomic excellence.  “Foodies” quickly began to flock to the spectacular setting, with Delia Smith becoming a regular visitor to the wonderfully atmospheric Cellar Restaurant in the 1970′s.  Some of Pam Neil’s (our founding chef) recipes feature in Delia’s cookery books.  Later on, the hotel was run by their children, Colette and Martin.

At the start of October 2012, Highbullen Hotel was purchased by Mr Frank Chapman, who, with the help of his daughter Susie, has restored Highbullen to its former glory.  The Hotel, Restaurant and many of the facilities have undergone extensive refurbishment to create what is now a Gold Award winning, leading hotel in North Devon.

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