Where to stay: W of England

Charlton House Hotel ****
Shepton Mallet, in the Mendip Hills, Somerset
Country house hotel set in environmentally sensitive restored parkland


Situated in a private estate in the rolling Mendip Hills in Somerset the building features a panelled hall with an eclectic mix of antiques, family photographs and racing memorabilia collected during the owners’ globetrotting.

It has 25 individually designed bedrooms and suites. Some are on a grand scale with four posters, sumptuous bathrooms and working fireplaces. Others offer a more intimate atmosphere and some even have their very own secret gardens providing a 'house party' atmosphere. They feature WiFi, flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player and library and minibar.

The restaurant has received several national and local accolades including 2 AA rosettes.

There are stylish, comfortable drawing rooms overlooking the fountain at the front of the house and the gardens and lawns at the rear. Light refreshments and alfresco dining are also available on the West Terrace.

The Spa boasts indoor and outdoor ozone treated hydrotherapy pools, Crystal steam room, Finnish sauna, Laconium, ice fountain, treatment rooms and decadent relaxation areas and offers its own hand-made essential oil products.

Green features

Charlton House is part of a group owned by the entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne who says that one of the virtues of being a privately owned company is that they are not beholden to shareholders or to the stock markets and, therefore, don’t have documents entitled ‘Environmental Policy’ and so on gathering dust on their shelves.

Nevertheless they aim to take common sense steps that have a positive effect on climate change and the business. For example, they are moving towards a paperless working environment, better quality waste management contracts, more recycling and tele/videoconferencing rather than expensive business travel.

Regulatory changes to air conditioning gases, for example, will increase overheads but encourage the introduction of new technology that will operate more efficiently and have a beneficial impact on energy consumption. Replace candescent light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives is much more expensive in the short term but savings in the future will balance out these increases.

The reduced energy bills alone make it worthwhile for employers to replace outdated equipment with newer, more efficient models. “My advice,” he says,” is to put aside pressure from the government to make your business greener and make the changes on your terms now rather than letting your systems run till they collapse. All employers could save money by introducing more energy efficient systems; whether that means switching off the office lights when the last person leaves work or cutting down on unnecessary business travel. Looking after the balance sheet and the planet can all be part of the same business plan.”


Charlton House Hotel
Shepton Mallet
nr Bath
Somerset BA4 4PR
Tel: +44 (0) 1749 342008
Fax: +44 (0) 1749 346362

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