Staying at Brunel
What our Guests say – Testimonials
'Having been one of the organisers from Brunel Friends of Rowcroft for the cream tea yesterday just wanted to pass on many messages from our personal friends that attended........"the best scones ever". - Anon
‘Brunel Manor has been one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences of my life, and nothing would make me happier than to see someone else getting the same chance I had’ - Naomi from Italy
‘Thank you for such a lovely few days of working in the Manor. This was my second time participating in the working holiday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although we were given our task to do and aiming to complete it before we left, the working atmosphere was just so credibly relaxing and enjoyable. We managed to finished all that we were asked to do within the time frame! It was also wonderful to meet up with fellow workers whom I met at the last working holiday. We had good and encouraging fellowship. The Brunel staff/volunteers were all very friendly and helpful. Good accommodation and good food. A really super holiday. Thank you and hope to be with you again’. - Pearl
‘We were extremely impressed with all your staff and the care and attention which was given to our event last week at Brunel. So far as we were concerned it went very well and we felt very much looked after. Your staff went out of their way to be helpful and nothing appeared to be too much trouble for them. Thank you for running the evening bar for us - the participants appreciated the opportunity to relax together and be able to talk to one another in that informal format’. - Farther Heart Ministries
‘A big thanks to you & the team for a wonderful stay over Christmas, it was fantastic’ - John McPhee
‘Words almost fail us as we look back over the time we spent with you over Christmas. What a blessing it was! Everything spoke of the love and dedication that had gone into the preparations for every aspect of the time – decorations, programme, food etc. There was such a sense of joy and celebration throughout the whole time. The whole team and staff were wonderful and served us with love and grace. We described it to one person as “the most Christ-centred Christmas we had ever experienced”. So “thank you” seems rather inadequate. Our thanks not only to you all but most of all to the Lord who makes it all possible. So blessings on you all and we look forward to our next visit. - Reg & Dot Ball
‘I have enjoyed a lovely holiday once again at Brunel Manor - The flagship of Christian holiday hotels and conference centres’. - JL HART. (Solihull)
‘Just wanted to say we had a lovely time for our parents' diamond wedding anniversary staying at the lodge. The accommodation suited us so well with all the rooms, many ensuite, and large kitchen with all its facilities. Having the separate lounges also helped so different ages/activities could take place. It was great to be able to use the large room where we were able to have times of activities and games it was very special with some singing/dancing/showing photos. Thanks again’. - Rachel Graves
‘Thanks Carla - we had an amazing time and were truly Blessed by Brunel's hospitality. We were so thrilled to have the cosiness of Brunel Lodge with space to go and have quiet times. It was so lovely to have the big table in the kitchen that we could share lunch together and we received such amazing service from Caroline and Russ throughout the day. A special day!’. - Gilly Ridout
'Our first time. We are truly amazed at such a superb standard of care and commitment.' - Anon
'The food is amazing. Such a well-planned menu for our stay. Everything was superb quality. Pass on our thanks to the excellent chef.'- Anon
'Never been before, can't wait to come back. You can feel the love of the Lord all around.'- Anon
'The Manor has become my haven for times when I need to step out of the world and refresh my mind, body and soul. It is miraculous what happens when I step in and the front doors close behind me. There is such a sense of calm and serenity.'- Anon
'I'm very sensitive to atmosphere and Brunel Manor has a very peaceful atmosphere. You can sense all the prayer that goes on and it's easy to sense God's presence. God tells me Brunel Manor is a little foretaste of what heaven will be like.'- Anon
'Brunel is a beautiful place with so much meaning and somewhere that we'll definitely return to. We would like to say a massive thank you for your hospitality during our trip. The meals prepared were delicious and merely thinking about that strawberry cheesecake for dessert makes my mouth water. We can see that Brunel Manor is built on customer satisfaction and we really appreciate you for making us feel at home.'- Anon
'Everyone in our party enjoyed your gracious hospitality, including the lovely food, peaceful atmosphere, prayerful support and attention to all our needs. Our time at Brunel certainly served to deepen our fellowship in Christ and refreshed us all.'- Anon
Church group member - 'A fantastic venue. We were so impressed with everything.'- Anon
'The staff at Brunel are so kind and helpful. The volunteers work so hard and everything was of a very high standard. I have had a great stay and would love to return. Thank you and may God bless all you do in the future.'- Anon
'Brunel Manor is a wonderful haven where you can find peace and rest.'- Anon
'It is a lovely place to stay. It has a restful and calm feel and a lovely Christian atmosphere.'- Anon
'Everyone was pleasant and efficient in making my stay a lovely experience. The menu offered was splendid. Good quality and tasty food 4* Well done, chefs! The beauty and solitude was enhanced by extremely good weather. This is a wonderful place. Long may it continue in God's work.'- Anon
'An excellent week - both spiritually and physically. So impressed with the warm, helpful service which was excellent. This is my first visit but I do hope I can come again.'- Anon
'A 5* room. Very high standard of housekeeping - an immaculate Manor. A delightful, polite, caring , well-trained team. Fresh, tasty food in very generous quantities.'- Anon
'Being at Brunel sends one away home feeling refreshed and gives everything a different perspective - a better one! We feel really privileged to be able to come to Brunel. It is a real God-shaped bolt hole! Thank you chef for catering for my cream-free diet - the food was delicious.'- Anon
'I've always said from my very first visit that this is a little bit of heaven on earth!! ...... peace, humour and kindness pervade the manor and the grounds.'- Anon
'Welcoming and friendly, nothing too much trouble.'- Anon
'If we had been royalty, we couldn't have been treated better. It is a very special place.'- Anon
'A wonderful haven of peace and refreshment of body, mind and spirit.'- Anon
'Need to go on a diet when I go home because the food was that scrummy I couldn't leave it'.- Anon
'The cheerful and efficient way in which you met our need for a cool room at meal times doubled the benefit and enjoyment of our stay. It was the best standard of care and service we have ever experienced.'- Anon
'Thank you so much for providing such a prayerful and loving place.'- Anon
A guest reported a problem with their room but 'it was sorted within an hour or so! Excellent!'- Anon
'The best disabled room we have had during the last three years. Everything in the right place.'- Anon
'I should like to thank you and the staff for looking after us so well for our church holiday. We all really enjoyed our stay with you and appreciated all your helpfulness.'- Anon
'Our fourth visit. Truly wonderful. Can't wait to come again.' - Anon
'Far exceeded my expectations. The atmosphere of quiet calm is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.'- Anon
A Picture of Brunel Manor painted by Joanna Gardner, Southsea Hampshire.
‘I’d like to invite you to my second home, Brunel Manor. Well actually, I don’t own it, I have to pay to go there and only get to spend around 14 days there most years, but it certainly feels like home to me! Lots of my friends feel the same, so let me tell you all about it...This big and beautiful old house is on the Teignmouth Road in Devon, near to Babbacombe. It was supposed to be Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s dream home but he died quite young, and had only managed to lay out the grounds and build the cellars. There are pictures of him around the house. The person who bought it next finished it in a different style.
I am always very glad if I get one of the rooms at the back of the house with the classic “Brunel” view looking across Torbay between the trees. Quite stunning! I have amazing childhood memories of holidays at Brunel Manor and when my children were teenagers, we had a week there so I could show it to them and to my husband. The whole family loved it, and it became a holiday habit! As empty nesters now, Duncan and I still go every year to the family weeks in August.
Family weeks provide outings and activities for your sociable active people and opportunities for retreat for your hibernators. Let me explain. As soon as I arrive at Brunel Manor, I like to find old friends among staff, also fellow habitual guests, and get to know new ones. I like to sit about a lot and chat, to join in the energetic family times in the morning with their modern worship songs and lively Bible stories, and to take part in the occasional craft activity or silly game in the lounge. Duncan, however, arrives on holiday “all peopled out” from work and church and likes to sit about on his own for a few days with crosswords and books, just appearing for meals. After a few days, he might feel ready to come out of his shell and get sociable! We only went for one or two of the group outings, but they were amazing! Going with a group of guests meant that I could go on a rather choppy boat trip from Torquay to Dartmouth with friends, while Duncan and fellow “Grump” Jon, neither of them good at sea, could have a wonderful trip on a steam train in a first class observation carriage from Paignton to Dartmouth and meet up with us for fish and chips! (I was grateful for the calmer waters on the way back after that lunch though!) The “Grumps” only gripe was that they had waved to our boat from the train and we hadn’t noticed to wave back! (I use the term “Grump” in the fondest sense!)
What else can I tell you about my second home? How about the loving atmosphere which welcomes and wraps you in peace as soon as you arrive? You can tell when a place is steeped in prayer. The staff are mostly international Christian volunteers. There are a few paid staff – the current manager has been there for maybe 3 years now, then there’s a buildings manager and housekeepers and Carla, who has been on reception since I was a teenager and other brilliant admin staff too!
I have to tell you that the food is wonderful! When Caroline arrived, she began to introduce more “from scratch” cooking, using what is seasonal and plentiful, and traditional homemade puddings too and the result is scrummy. Special requirements are not a problem either, just let them know.
Let me talk you through some of the highlights of this year’s holiday at Brunel Manor....
- An evening spent toasting marshmallows by the bonfire, listening to a single mum’s story of how she has become a Christian and is getting baptised on her return from holiday. This is after years of coming to Brunel family weeks with her Christian parents, and is a tremendous encouragement to us who have shared holidays with her over the years.....
- Our Sunday morning worship time and Bible story at Hay Tor on Dartmoor, followed by a picnic and games which mixed up guests and volunteers.....
- A Barn Dance with our once-a-year band.
- A magic show by Brian, a talented Christian entertainer
- Seeing shy teenagers arriving with their family for their first visit, and being welcomed in by the others and quickly becoming part of the ”in crowd”...
- A crazy game of croquet up and down the steep grassy banks on the Brunel lawn!
- The food!
Now you just have to come and try Brunel Manor for yourself!