Devon guest house wins TV contest after hiker's shock move

Terry and Nikki outside the Ramblers’ Rest
Terry and Nikki outside the Ramblers’ Rest -Credit:PR supplied

A Princetown venue is celebrating success following its appearance on a Channel 4 programme. Ramblers’ Rest, located in the heart of Dartmoor National Park, has emerged victorious on the popular show Four in a Bed.

The show involves bed and breakfast owners who take turns to stay with one another and pay what they consider fair for their stay after giving feedback. The winner is the establishment named the best value for money.

Each guest house vied for top honours in the competition, with some even saying that they wouldn’t have the other hosts back. As the final episode on Payment Day unfolded, tensions rose when Ramblers’ Rest received two underpayments, all due to no breakfast - leaving the King's Arms seemingly poised for victory.


But in a surprise move, Hilary, a fellow competitor who had already awarded the Ramblers’ Rest an outstanding 10/10 for all aspects, stunned everyone by making an overpayment of £53. This unexpected recognition propelled Ramblers’ Rest to the top spot, securing them the coveted title with a final score of 112%.

"We were incredibly fortunate," says Nikki, (owner).

"Hilary, is a regular hiker, and so exactly matched our target market. She understood our concept perfectly and knew many hikers appreciate surrounding themselves in comfort after a day of exploring the trails and want to prepare for the next day. It was fantastic to know that we met her needs so well"

Terry (co-owner), adds: "I honestly couldn't believe it! Even after counting £120 and realising Hilary had already overpaid for the £112 room; there were still notes to count! It took a while for the disbelief and then the realisation that we may have won, to sink in."

The Ramblers’ Rest hadn’t entered to win, they said.

“We don’t do breakfast, which means we were already on the back foot in the competition. We wanted to take part in Four in a Bed, so that we could show our concept to a large audience and see how other businesses present themselves.

Kitchenette in a guest room at Ramblers' Rest
Kitchenette in a guest room at Ramblers' Rest -Credit:Helen Northcott

"We hoped our semi self-catering concept, along with the quality beds and linen, eco-friendly approach and hot spa pool would appeal to people wanting to visit Dartmoor,” said Nikki.

The couple enjoyed their trips immensely and paid the Kings’ Arms in Stratton and the Earlsdale in Ilfracombe in full, with an overpayment to the East Creek B&B in Weymouth.

Terry said “When scoring, we really thought hard about value for money, the location, the offering and if we thought the pricing was reasonable. We had agreed that we would only underpay if the venue really wasn’t worth the money.”

Besides the actual competition, the experience on "Four in a Bed" proved to be a rewarding one for the Ramblers’ Rest team. "We had a fantastic time filming the show," says Terry. "Meeting the other proprietors was a real highlight. There's always something to learn from fellow accommodation providers, and we definitely will be keeping in touch with all of them."

The final results were shown on Channel 4 at 6pm on Friday, May 3. The Ramblers’ Rest and many of their friends and Princetown villagers were watching the results in the Prince of Wales.

“We managed to keep the winning results secret. I’m not great at lying. Thankfully, because we don’t do breakfast, nobody thought we’d win - including us!” Nikki added.