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The Magdalen Chapter

Child friendly hotel, Devon – Magdalen Street, Exeter

About The Magdalen Chapter

“Wow”. I said it so many times that I was asked to stop.  This isn't a typically child-friendly hotel; it is incredibly stylish and uber relaxed. The Magdalen Chapter also happens to be very welcoming and my children were incredibly happy here!

The Magdalen Chapter is simply a gem of a child friendly hotel in the fab city of Exeter that deserves a stopover, or a city or a theatre break - in fact all three - at least once a year.  The conversion of Exeter's eye hospital and creation of the laid-back, gorgeously furnished, beautifully finished Magdalen Chapter is glorious. I loved it.  The colours, the designer collaborations, friendly staff wearing Converse (girls v. impressed), the space, both indoors and out; its a fantastic place.

Our visit got off to a good start bumping into a group of ladies who had just enjoyed a spa and champagne break - something to be done with the grownup girls for sure.  But I didn't feel in the least bit envious, not even with my huge back-breaking bags and no hope of pampering - I simply wanted to see what was around the corner.  So with my three girls we veered left into Reception, a space so far removed from a traditional ‘reception' you'll think you've got it wrong - and checked in.  The iPad for us to access all hotel info and browse the internet went down a storm - fab idea, mobile and practical.  And so we went round the corner on an adventure:

The hotel is one big gallery full of show-stopping, as well as understated, gorgeous pieces.   A huge Hugo Dalton wall-painting dominates Chapter 1, a high ceilinged room with huge windows and a lovely relaxed feel made physically so with plumpy sofas, cushions and cosy throws, Eames chairs and Russell Pinch furniture to covet and if required space to do a bit of work.  We were there on a break though so the girls grabbed a book from the eclectic library collection, wrapped themselves in throws and enjoyed the space.

The hotel has space for the kids to explore - the joy of that space is that all leads to the garden ultimately - there's a lovely easy flow to the design - and it feels secure.   So the girls toddled off to the loo, they disappeared into the lounge (Chapter 1), snuck off to the library and ate with us in the restaurant - on each occasion they bobbed out into the garden and did a crazy walk around the pathway that encircles the lawn - I sat at an outside table doing a bit of work and savouring the sun with a glass of Chablis!

The library has loads of books you could get into, as well as board games to keep you occupied - it features a fab fire too, which in the cooler months, I imagine, would make this the spot to be for truly chilled out family time.

The restaurant is bright and airy and completely open so you can watch the chefs in action.   There's a lot of wood, glass and chrome and it manages to be both welcoming and uber cool. The fact that the restaurant literally open out onto the lovely walled garden, where the kids can play safely on the circle of grass, which thanks to the Devonshire sun was scattered with deck-chairs and looked even more restful and inviting, makes for as relaxed and sedate a meal that you might drag out. Our food was excellent, Eve's sausage and mash was delicious, fish and chips yum and the pizza remained uncommented on but disappeared very quickly with a grin - all kids plates were cleared - say no more!

The pool area is small, in fact the indoor pool is practically an incredibly posh hot-tub with a wood-burning stove which creates a steam room effect - it smelled of woodland and musk and lovely.   The water is a very comfy temperature, you may choose bubbles or no and enjoy the twinkly atmospheric ceiling lights as Aggie and I did.   The fun begins once the door slides open to the outdoor space that is big enough for swimming and splashing and just being in a decadently warm pool in the outdoors.   We were in there straight after breakfast - before the spa day people arrived - and left by about 11 when grownups were milling around - by which time the girls were shattered and were calling for a sofa and cosy throw in any case!

Bedrooms are all different, spotless, contemporary and symphathetic to the buildings quirky design.   Our huge bed with crisp white bed-linen, the flat screen big tele, very posh coffee machine which I loved and simple space immediately led to us downing bags and flopping.  Aggie had a z-bed with no compromise on mattress comfort (I always check) and its presence did not impede on our being able to get around.   Our inter-connecting rooms were joined via the eaves - the girls loved the privacy of having their own everything, yet with easy access to us - we enjoyed the same.   The older girls had iPads at the ready and worked out the strategy for the rest of our time here.

The bathroom with huge white fluffy towels and REN products (hurray!) and a bath that could fit all girls in at once as well as a huge separate shower went down a storm - they all smelled delicious having had a mini spa break in there.  I didn't incidentally check out the spa treatments but the small spa was, like it's surroundings beautifully ‘done', was super-stocked with REN and the spa menu sounded divine so I would certainly give it a go - order your partner a drink, let the kids on the lawn with the over-sized play equipment and treat yourself for an hour.

I intend to stay here and break up our journey every time we head to the south west - in fact I'd probably do a detour from my sister's in Poole.   It's a treat on every level.

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Terms & conditions


Whichever style of room you choose, you’ll have creature comforts for relaxation and smart technology for entertainment. And if you’re feeling energetic, try out our fitness room located in the Spa suite. For a little more gentle relaxation our outside-in pool may be just the place. Rates start from £140 Bed and Breakfast.


No deposits are taken at time of booking.

Check in & out

All rooms are guaranteed for check in by 3pm and we ask that rooms are departed by 11am on the day of departure.

Cancellation policy

If the room is cancelled up to 1 day before the arrival date no fee will be charged. If cancelled later or in case of a no show, 100 percent of the first night will be charged.


Room Facilities: tea/ Nespresso coffee maker, complimentary mini bar, air conditioning, REN toiletries, complimentary use of an iPad and free WIFI. Use of the fitness room and pool.

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Search for availability at The Magdalen Chapter

Accommodation owner will confirm exact pricing on enquiry. If you can't see the dates you'd like contact the owner directly.

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Send an enquiry to The Magdalen Chapter

You can send an enquiry directly to the owner of this property to confirm pricing and availability.

Bailiffscourt: a luxury family hotel:… … via @awaywiththekids


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