Dating from the 13th century, BridgeHouse is reputedly a former clergy house and the oldest building in Beaminster. Whatever its antecedents, it is certainly a venerable and charming building and has been run as a hotel by Mark and Joanna Donovan for the last nine years. Mark, a former television producer, and Joanna, a former retail buyer, took on the hotel as a major change of lifestyle. Their aim has been to create a stylish country town retreat by ‘updating where necessary, without destroying the building's unique charm’.
  The sitting room and bar areas have medieval character; local artists’ paintings hang on the cream walls. Lunch and dinner are served in the Georgian panelled dining room or the conservatory. The hotel’s brasserie is both high quality and unpretentious. In summer, guests can also eat under a large ‘Gazova’, which looks out on to the walled gardens. Head chef Steve Pielesz has an excellent reputation. The area is blessed with quality local produce: fish, meat and cheese all come from nearby. Bread, biscuits and ice-cream are all made in the BridgeHouse kitchens; even the marmalade that accompanies the satisfying breakfasts is made on the premises.
  Bedrooms, with mahogany beds and Frette Italian linen, are all different, as would be expected in a building so full of nooks and crannies – including a priest’s hole.