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Gidleigh Park

CHAGFORD, Newton Abbot, TQ13 8HH

The Rosette award for this establishment has been suspended due to a change of chef. Reassessment will take place in due course under the new chef. When Gidleigh was built in 1928 for an Australian shipping entrepreneur with a taste for Elizabethan revivalism, nobody thought to install a hot tub on the roof. Still, time and fashion march on, and hotel guests can now rest assured that outdoor bathing is very much on the agenda. Despite its nostalgic architectural looks, the old place has always been au courant, as may be seen from a glance at the interiors, which are full of exquisite Arts and Crafts detailing, and a fair bit of quality reproduction twenties furniture. The views from the terrace over lush wooded grounds that descend to the River Teign, which ambles unassumingly through the estate, are the last word in luxuriant tranquillity, giving the lie to the notion that Dartmoor, in whose northern stretches Gidleigh lies, is a bleak and unforgiving place. In late 2015, it was announced that the long residency of chef Michael Caines here would be coming to an end, and that his successor was to be Michael Wignall (ex Pennyhill Park in Surrey). At the time of going to press, the kitchen team was still in development, but early indications were that there are going to be thrills aplenty under the new regime. Wignall combines a complex style with a light touch, so that neither the seven- nor ten-course tasting menus overwhelm. Proceedings work to an impressive rhythm, with one well-balanced dish succeeding another, the whole composition orchestrated to exciting effect. These may be early days, but there is already much to admire. Opening the seven-course deal, a serving of tender slow-cooked octopus comes with langoustine and lime, Mexican marigold, fennel and couscous for an array of fascinating flavours. Next is rabbit loin with assertive accompaniments of snails bolognaise, braised celery and chorizo porridge, and then a gentle interlude for some textured carrots, baked and smoked, unified by silky goats' curd. A strong seafood dish sees plump St Austell mussels bathed in smoked juices, along with barbecued hispi, salsify and burnt leek, while the main business is full-flavoured Norfolk quail, brilliantly accompanied by a rich ricotta dressing, as well as fermented garlic, ceps and crosnes. The first of two desserts is a tour de force combining a warm custard doughnut with toffee apple and cinnamon crumble, and the closing act is a novelty number, a crunchy, gooey signature take on the chocolate-and-peanut Snickers bar. Canapés and petits fours are as innovative as the rest, while a refreshingly simple approach is taken with bread, an appetising sourdough. Ensconced in oak-panelled majesty in one of the three dining rooms, you might feel like splashing out on some wine. An authoritative list of around 1300 items awaits, furnished by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic sommelier.

Further information

Tel: 01647 432367
Please quote 'The AA'.
Send an email

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Open all year.

Restaurant information

Cooking type: Modern European
Chef: Michael Wignall
Number of seats: 52
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Steps for wheelchair: 1
Disabled toilets.
Vegetarian meals available.
Children's portions.
No children under 8 yrs D.
Parking available.

Gidleigh Park, Chagford
  • Gidleigh Park, Chagford
  • Gidleigh Park, Chagford


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From Chagford Sq turn right at Lloyds TSB into Mill St, after 150yds right fork, across x-rds into Holy St. Restaurant 1.5m
Nearest station: Exeter St Davids

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