My Honiton - pocket-sized wonderland

Sophie Brookes. Ref edr 02 18TI 6206. Picture: Terry Ife

Sophie Brookes. Ref edr 02 18TI 6206. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Wedding planner Sophie Brooke speaks about the joys of Honiton

Please introduce yourself…

Hello! I’m Sophie Brooke and I am the weddings manager at the Deer Park Country House Hotel. I have been part of the Deer Park family for over five years and during that time I’ve overseen a whopping 375 weddings, all of which have been stunning! My favourite part of the role is the journey that I’m fortunate enough to share with the couples. I’m there from the initial tour of the estate to the couple’s big day. It is wonderful to see their plans unfold and become a reality.

It is my pleasure to go above and beyond to ensure that every wedding day goes without a hitch, so the bride and groom (and especially the bride’s mother) can relax and enjoy the best day of their lives. Every wedding is unique and it’s been fascinating watching trends change over the years.

My favourite trend for this year is the botanical garden – greens, gold, trees, exotic flowers and cacti.

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What is your favourite building in Honiton and why?

I love St Michael’s Church. Although derelict, it oozes peace and tranquillity. What stories those stone walls could tell! It is also the perfect vantage point to overlook Honiton and its bucolic rolling hills.

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What do you think is Honiton’s biggest asset?

With its handy transport links, Honiton is perfectly positioned for the best of city and country living. Hop on a short train ride away from the bustle of Exeter and explore the antique shops, galleries, vibrant cafés and historical architecture of the town. Honiton is a pocket-sized wonderland stuffed with everything you could ask for, and things you didn’t even know you needed.

History is seeped into the very fabric of the town. Literally – ‘Honiton lace’ was once one of the main exports of the town, with Queen Victoria opting to wear a Honiton lace gown for her wedding!

What is your favourite memory associated with Honiton?

Spending weekends visiting Otter Valley Ice Cream with my nephew Alfie. Nowadays, my perfect Saturday would start with a leisurely breakfast at Toast, before whiling away the day wandering the local markets and refuelling with coffee and cake.

What’s your favourite attraction and why?

We’re so lucky to have the award-winning Thelma Hulbert Gallery here in Honiton; home to many national art exhibitions. Within the Grade 2 listed townhouse, there’s such a variety of artwork that is constantly changing so there’s always a reason to go back. It’s free, so a great place to go with the family without breaking the bank.

How do you think Honiton can improve as a town?

I would love for Honiton to focus on becoming more green, clean and serene!

Our focus in life as individuals should always be happiness, so why shouldn’t we aim for a happy society? Scandinavians take happiness research seriously, so perhaps we too should focus on improving human interaction, free fitness and better awareness of each other, to help make Honiton a truly positive place.

For more information about what the Deer Park can offer you for your wedding day, please book your guided tour with the venue’s dedicated wedding team on 01404 41266 or email

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