The terrace at Gidleigh Park must be one of the best locations in the county to sit and relax either before or after a meal.

The grounds that surround the house are majestic, and timeless. Ancient trees, a rocky stream with granite stones, sweeping lawns and views past the trees towards the moors. The hotel is close to Chagford on Dartmoor and it’s very happily settled into this moorland landscape.

The only sounds are leaves rustling in the breeze, birdsong, rushing water and the murmur of other guests chatting; sitting here, with a glass of champagne, it really does feel a world away from everyday life.

The warm welcome and attentiveness of the staff at Gidleigh certainly adds to the relaxing atmosphere. The service here is impeccable, and very friendly too. You really don’t have to worry about anything, just go with the flow, and be guided through what is a delightful lunchtime dining experience.

Gidleigh Park’s restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in the Michelin Guide 2023, under the helm of executive head chef Chris Eden. His dishes are accomplished and also full of the unexpected and extraordinary delights, that you’d expect at this level. They’re also very rooted in the South West, in terms of suppliers and produce, right down to Gidleigh’s own garden - both its extensive kitchen garden and the wild flowers and fruits that tumble in from the surrounding landscape.

READ MORE: Meet the chef: Chris Eden, Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon

It’s a balmy, sunny day, and the thought of seasonal, home-grown tomatoes really appeals, so I go for the heritage tomato starter. It’s full of the depth of flavour I’m craving, and the addition of peach slices enhances that hot summer feeling. It comes with aeriated gouda, a gazpacho, herbs and a sprinkling of leek ash. It’s salty sweet and intense.

Another starter is flame-grilled mackerel, glistening with touches of crystalised ginger, with thin, punchy slices of rhubarb and and cider veloute coming into play too.

There are sea purslane leaves scattered over the mackerel dish. Chef playfully adds an array of foraged leaves and herbs, they help create a beautiful dish, but their flavours are striking too – pennywort found growing in the hedge banks around the house provides a delicate, grassy-green burst to accompany the lamb lion main dish, which also came with a glazed rib, wild garlic, feta, smoked tomato and rosemary.

Summer truffle, shaved on the dish at the table, along with slices of morel, giving a hint of earthiness, and colourful cordycepes on vibrant green three cornered leek cavatelli pasta, made for a stunning vegetarian main.

Desserts were works of art, and equally good to eat. The strawberry option was a summer extravaganza, capturing all the essence of the fruit; likewise a chocolate delice was a parcel of intensity, creamy and cocoa bitter. The honey parfait with white chocolate and mead was extraordinary, light, creamy and just the right level of sweetness. It was another work of art.

It's a good idea to opt for a wine flight to go with each dish as it adds an extra level of delight – Little Bee an experimental ‘orange wine’ from Sharpham with the heritage tomato dish was a great discovery.

The extras too are perfection, from the snacks and petit fours to the delicate basil and feta pillow that accompanied the pre-lunch brioche which itself was glazed with honey and thyme leaves.

It’s not easy leaving this place, you can lose yourself here, lulled into it pleasures and beauty. But a lunch booking (served on Friday and Saturday) is a leisurely affair and allows you to enjoy the Gidleigh experience to the full.

Reader event  

Join Devon Life and Gidleigh Park for an exclusive lunch to celebrate the news that the hotel’s restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star.  

The lunch is on Thursday, September 21 and will be hosted by Devon Life editor Catherine Courtenay with Gidleigh Park’s general manager Simon Franks.  

On arrival enjoy a crisp glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne and canapes in the lounge, followed by a guided walk around the gardens. Each course of the three course lunch, will be personally introduced by executive head chef Chris Eden. The event concludes with tea, coffee and petit fours on the terrace.  

Tickets cost £95 per person. To book call the Gidleigh Park team on 01647 432367.