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an outside shot of Underhill Barn B&B

About

BUILT IN 1868

Underhill Barn was a working agricultural barn until 1995

Full of character but with every modern convenience for your comfort, Underhill Barn sits in the heart of Southleigh.

We viewed Underhill Barn in Spring 2022.  The space for guests, combined with natural light and cosiness it really grabbed us. We've sensitively renovated Underhill to give our guests the very best experience.

 

Southleigh is a working agricultural village with a strong community at its beating heart.  Set within the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) we’ve embraced country life to the full and are enjoying the change in life having previously lived and worked in London for over 30 years.

Ants and Lance, the owners of Underhill B&B
Meet Ants & Lance

Ants’ first job was in Hospitality Management, however his career took a turn and he worked for over 20 years leading digital platforms and teams for many well-known global brands… but his passions lay elsewhere.

 

Food is and has always been his passion – he loves cooking, finding new produce and interesting ingredients and they are keen hosts, regularly entertaining friends and family.

 

Lance worked in the Customer Service industry for over 30 years before diverging into the commercial aspect of providing medical services to private practitioners and the NHS.  Monday to Friday he's working but he’s on-hand for weekend guests!

 

Getting to know Ants:

 

What first got you in to food?

Mum was an amazing cook and for her time, very adventurous, she lapped up recipes by Elizabeth David, Ken Hom & Madhur Jaffrey, we always ate our way around the world, even if that meant cooking it ourselves, especially in the 70’s & 80’s. I think everyone at school thought we were a bit eccentric which I suppose we were, I see it as a badge of honour!

 

Coffee or tea?

I have to start the day with a coffee, I drink much less than I used to, but I really need a coffee to get going a feel like myself in the morning, but a good ol' cuppa made with proper tea leaves is a must in the afternoon. I have at least two mugs a day and more if I’m stuck at my desk, and it has to be proper tea leaves, not bags, which is why we always serve leaf tea at breakfast.

 

What made you want to open a B&B?

It had long been a dream of ours to move into a rural location.  Whilst I loved my job, my heart has always been in and around food, so a B&B was a natural next step.  I love meeting new people and hearing about their stories.  Having worked in the City in senior roles, I know how exhausting modern city life can be, and I want to provide a haven of calm and tranquility for our guests to recharge here at Underhill and of course experience the amazing produce from literally right around us.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Whilst especially in more recent years I’ve gone more down the healthy route, and I love a good bircher muesli or granola with fruit, and whilst that’s all very worthy, I have to confess that my all-time favourite is a bacon buttie with proper sourdough bread with brown sauce and Lea & Perrins sloshed over the top, divine!

Early bird or night owl?

Historically I was always a night owl, however more recently I’ve discovered that I’m at my best in the morning and it's my most productive time, the light here in the morning out the front of the house is amazing when sunny, it really helps me get out of bed.

 

Wallflower or social butterfly?

I’m definitely a social butterfly, I love meeting and mingling with new people and learning all about their stories, I find people infinitely interesting, hence one of the reasons why we opened Underhill Barn.

 

Guilty pleasure?

Tilly my cat, and Pop music especially 70’s Disco and early 80’s, frankly the cheesier the better and who doesn’t love a bit of Donna Summer?

luxury accommodation, nestled in the Southleigh countryside

Getting to know Lance:

 

What first got you into food?

I moved to London when I was in my early 20’s and discovered a world of food literally on my doorstep. Exciting new flavours, unusual ingredients and visiting a diverse range restaurants really ignited my passion to get behind the stove.  Over time my confidence and repetiore began to grow.  I’ve done cooking courses at Leiths and Rick Stein’s which I’ve absolutely adored.

 

Coffee or tea?

I have to have a tea first thing to get me going, without it I’m just not myself, however I drink much less tea than Ants.  A mid-morning coffee however does perk me up and get me through to lunchtime.

What made you want to open a B&B?

Having loved living life in the big city for nearly 30 years, I felt that it was right to shift gear and change our lifestyle, I think a lot to do with it was a time of life thing.  I love the beauty, peace and tranquility here in Southleigh, and its sense of community, it’s a proper working village.  Again having had so much of my career in Customer Service, opening a B&B felt like a good fit, made better by Ants and I having complementary skills.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

It has to be a full-English breakfast, but with softly poached eggs, rather than fried and definitely tomato sauce.  We’re so lucky here to have amazing local produce with sausages and bacon that literally come from the fields around the local area.  An occasional treat is Eggs Benedict, but I tend to have that when we go out for breakfast or when we are away.

 

Early bird or night owl?

I’m a bit of a typical Gemini in that I can be both things at once but if I had to choose Im probably more of an evening person, luckily Ants is great in the mornings!

 

Wallflower or social butterfly?

I’m a bit of a social butterfly that’s home-based!  I love our home and I’ve always been a bit of a home bird, so come in and say hello, I love hosting and meeting new people as it was part of my job for so many years.

Guilty pleasure?

Chocolate and anything sweet.  Its genetic, Mum and Dad were both the same so I didn’t stand a chance!

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