Stayed at Knowles House with 5 other family members including elderly parents and a dog. Wonderful house with a terrific garden. Weather was perfect and garden was superb for chilling, sunbathing or even Yoga. Met by the owners who gave us a guided tour and explained everything we needed to know from the heating to the recycling. Lovely clean bedrooms with a twin on the ground floor with its own small lounge area perfect for the elderly who have difficulty with stairs. Layout of the kitchen with the cookers and crockery, separate sink room and a third utility room with large fridge and freezers take some getting used to but no big deal. There’s a standard cooker / low level grill if your not confident with using the Aga. Big flat screen TV in the lounge and plenty of small ones in the bedrooms if your that desperate to watch TV. Showers in the bedrooms were very good and we had no issues with hot water no matter what the time of day.
Lovely walk for dog walkers alongside local river one minute from the house. Journeys out to local coastal towns didn’t take long in a car. Make your own mind up about the best ones to visit - we liked Beer but won’t be rushing back to Seaton! Lovely coastal walks between Seaton and Branscombe.
Took a local taxi (The very helpful Bert from Seaton Taxi’s who took all 6 of us+ Dog) to the Ship Inn at Axmouth for a couple of evening meals - Quality food, highly recommended - make sure you book.
Would definitely recommend this house.
I stayed at Knowles with 11 family members including my elderly parents and children and it was a wonderful break for all of us. Knowles is a beautiful Victorian home that the owners once lived in with their parents. The house is very comfortable and cosy and each room has been left sympathetic to its origin which we all found lovely. The garden is amazing, the owners employ a gardener who clearly loves the garden as his own and keeps it pristine with beautiful flower beds and even a cottage garden with herbs etc growing in it which we were able to use. We were very lucky with the weather so we chose to stay at the house most days (we usually eat out a lot) but because the garden was so lovely we chose most days to hang around and eat Alfresco. The only negative I can think of is that we left our 2 dogs at home, what a mistake, they would have been in seventh heaven.
Our family of 12 stayed at Knowles for 7 days in July and overall we had a very nice time. A number of positives but there were also a few negatives and also a problem with the return of our £500 security deposit which left a bad taste in the mouth. Unfortunately, this nudged my overall score from a 4 to a 3.
Lovely, well kept gardens
Lovely location, very quiet and lovely countryside views from the property
Easy to find and lovely looking property
Plenty of parking. We had 4 cars and had no problems
Bedrooms were very nice and comfortable although one of the smaller twin rooms did not have a wardrobe. En suites (5 in total) and separate bathrooms (2) were all very nice.
Excellent BT wifi. We have two autistic boys and internet access is very important to them. I have to say that the wifi was the best we have ever had at holiday property with good reach throughout the house.
Well stocked with washing machine, dishwasher, tumble dryer, iron, ironing board, kitchen utensils etc.
Nice flat screen TV, Sky, DVD player and a stock of DVDs. There were also 3 separate TVs in some of the bedrooms which were handy for the kids.
Owner kindly took in our Tesco delivery as we were late (that’s the M25 for you!).
Felt a bit overlooked by two houses. The owners of Knowles had built two houses in the grounds so it seemed a bit closed in and overlooked at the back of the property. As mentioned above, the front of the property offers lovely views of the countryside. Made sense for the owners to make use of the grounds I suppose but still a shame.
For a property that can sleep up to 13 people (4 double rooms, 2 twin rooms and 1 single) the living room was a bit small and did not have enough seating i.e. settees could only seat 5 people (2 seater and a 3 seater). There was a window seat but not in view of the TV however, we made do in the evening with people sitting on the floor or on 2 beanbags we got from the downstairs bedroom.
Dining room was reasonably large but the dining table was not big enough. It could only really seat 10 people at a push and that was using another smaller table in the room and everyone sitting on top of each other. We made do but only because the kids sat elsewhere at meal times. Really needs a rethink.
Kitchen was very dated and layout was odd. There are three rooms i.e. Room 1 – has the kitchen table (only seats 4-5 max), kettle, microwave and cupboards, Room 2 – has the sink, Room 3 - larder type room with the freezer and fridge freezer. Cups and glasses were in the conservatory which again did not make any sense. We seemed to be constantly walking to and from the rooms to even make a cuppa! Did it spoil the holiday? absolutely not, but the kitchen let the rest of the house down and could really do with an overhaul.
There was an Aga but was switched off as too hot for the summer. This left just one standard cooker that was completely unsuitable for the number of people staying. Dinners therefore consisted of takeaways which was not a massive problem but breakfast was a bit chaotic.
Tumble dryer had a warning notice on it say do not leave unattended as a fire hazard as a recall needed! Not really what you want to see in a holiday home.
All the above were manageable and were more niggles than real problems. However, what really disappointed me was to receive an email from the managing agents (Milkbere Cottages) 2 weeks after leaving the property saying that the owner (Mr McClean) had been in contact with them to say that we had caused damage to some of the bedroom walls/ceilings by throwing shoes at them! They therefore deducted £50 from our deposit to cover repainting without any discussion. A most bizarre accusation especially as my 86 year old mother occupied one of the rooms in question! I didn’t have the energy or the will to contest £50 but I was surprised that it took 2 weeks to tell us especially as the deposit was supposed to be returned within 7 days. Also, since we left, the property must have been let to 1 or 2 other families so how can he say that it was us? Our family has been staying at properties for many years and this is the first time we have ever had this issue. Also I know that no one in my family would intentionally cause any damage and we would certainly have let the owner know if anything had happened. My wife accidentally broke a tea mug and entered in the ‘accident book’ and we also told Mr McClean about it, so nothing made any sense.
Mr McClean also criticised us for not sweeping all the floors and hoovering all the carpets during our stay and said that we had cut the kitchen tablecloth so he had to replace it (at no cost to us he kindly added!). Re the first point, it is an extensive 16 room property and I was not aware that whilst on our family holiday that we were expected to clean all the floors from top to bottom. It if was so important, why didn’t he or the housekeeper (who showed us around) mention it to us. If they had we would have complied (albeit reluctantly). Also, again, why wait 2 weeks to tell us? Re the tablecloth, it was an old cheap plastic covering and whilst I cannot prove one way or the other whether it was cut, in view of the age of the covering and its very low value, it just seemed really petty to have made a mention of it.
I did email the agents who passed my comments onto Mr McClean but I haven’t had the courtesy of a reply.
So a word of warning, when you get to the property you may want to check the décor and take photos of the rooms before and after. Also, please ask any pensioners in your party to refrain from throwing their shoes at the ceiling and walls which I know is a common pastime for the older generation.
I would imagine that Mr McClean will come back with some covering comments about this review so at the end of the day it is up to you to decide and make the decision. I don’t recall seeing a mention of this issue in the other reviews so maybe we were just unlucky.
|How easy was it to book the property?||How helpful were the directions to the property?|
|How easy was key pickup/access to the property?||Overall condition of the property|
|Bedding & mattresses||Kitchen & utensils|
|Friends getaway||Families with young children|