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Travel Tourist: Manor House Hotel


Originally published on: 17/05/13 00:00

A wonderland of activities set amid the stunning backdrop of Dartmoor, Manor House is an ideal holiday destination for those who love sport and leisure.

With tennis, five-a-side football and ten-pin bowling, a vast adventure play area and more craft activities than you can shake a paintbrush at, there's something for everybody. 

If tennis is your thing, you can spend all your waking hours on court, regardless of the weather, with ten Matchplay II surface courts – five indoor and five outdoor – on offer, and regular doubles competitions during the week. 

But the beauty of Manor House is the sheer variety of activities on offer. After a couple of hours brushing up on your backhand with resident coach Roger Froud, what better way to wind down than with a spot of glass painting, or a game of snooker? And what’s more, virtually everything available at Manor House and its sister hotel, The Ashbury Hotel, is inclusive, so you don’t come away with a big hole in your wallet.

After a relaxing early morning swim, you can chew over whether to give pottery a crack or smack a squash ball around over a hearty buffet breakfast. Billed as “a break the weather can’t spoil”, Manor House’s tennis facilities cater for everyone. For the complete novice, rackets and balls are available to hire free of charge, while free group coaching is offered between October and the end of April. For club-level players, it is the perfect venue for groups wanting a weekend away or a pre-season tune-up. With ten courts – and three more in the pipeline at The Ashbury – the facilities make an ideal base and many clubs bring their own coach along for a training camp.

“This is really the only holiday destination for tennis in the UK,” Froud, an LTA Senior Performance Coach who offers group coaching as well as individual lessons, says. “There isn’t anywhere else like it. “You have tennis courses around the country but you invariably have to travel from wherever you are staying to the courts, but here we have five indoor courts and you can get from your room to the courts without even going outside which is invaluable in the winter.”

He adds: “We get tennis clubs down here, people coming down with their own coaches and playing. The hotel is growing in profile and the quality of the courts and the facilities are second to none.”

Not content with the current offering, owner Simon Essex and his wife Joan continue to pour the profi ts back into improving the facilities. Having invested heavily in the golf facilities – there are seven 18 hole courses at The Ashbury – the tennis courts have been refurbished, and a new spa is due to open in May, complete with hydro pool, ice station, steam rooms and sauna.  

The Manor House Hotel is located on the A386 Bowerland Road, approximately two miles north of the junction with the A30 and two miles from Okehampton. Contact 01837 53053 or visit


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.