About The Pack o’ Cards

Packs of Cards owners Chris and Debbie

Welcome to The Pack O’ Cards hotel in Combe Martin.

The Pack o’ Cards is a family friendly Inn in North Devon situated in the beautiful seaside village of Combe Martin. The Grade II listed building is absolutely unique in it’s architecture and fascinating history. Being so unique has made the building famous, being featured many times on postcards, tour guides and TV.

Owners Chris and Debbie have been offering guests a warm welcome for over 25 years and just recently welcomed TV production company TwoFour who filmed an episode of Channel 5’s The Hotel Inspector.

The picture above features owners Chris and Debbie Batchelor and their son and head chef James alongside hotel expert and presenter Alex Polizzi.

The last appearance on TV was back in 1987 when magician Paul Daniels visited and magically made the 5 of Diamonds appear above the building in a flurry of fireworks.

What we offer


Histroic photo of Pack o' Cards Combe Martin

The Pack O’ Cards is the most famous building in Combe Martin. You’ll see it all over postcards and leaflets and on tourist information websites and all with good reason for this eye-catching building has a fascinating history and a unique story behind it.

A monument to lady luck

The Pack O’ Cards was constructed over 300 years ago by a man called George Ley. He was the local squire in Combe Martin – but more importantly, he was an avid fan of card games. One night in 1690 – or so the legend goes – George Ley won a particularly large hand in a game of cards, and declared that he would use the winnings to build an everlasting monument to Lady Luck.

So George began building his new house in Combe Martin. It had four floors, to match the four suits in a deck. Spread across those floors, it had thirteen rooms and thirteen fireplaces, to match the number of cards in a suit. It had fifty-two stairs to match the fifty-two cards in the deck, and was built over an area of fifty-two square feet – plus an extra foot for the joker. It was also built with fifty-two windows – although with the introduction of the Window Tax in 1696, many of them were swiftly bricked up. The overall impression of the building is a towering black and white structure with a strong resemblance to a house of cards piled on top of each other.

The origins

It’s not certain when the building first became an inn, but it is recorded that by 1822 the building was known as the King’s Arms Inn, with a Jane Huxtable as landlady. The name was officially changed to Pack O’ Cards in 1933, though it had undoubtedly been referred to as this locally for many years before.

Despite some alterations, much of the original interior decoration is still intact, with panelled corridors and decorative plaster ceilings, and the building was Grade II listed in 1953.

Pure magic!

In 1987 the hotel appeared on BBC TV when magician Paul Daniels visited and magically made the 5 of Diamonds appear above the building in a flurry of fireworks.

Ten years later in 1997 the current owners Chris and Debbie moved in with their two young children and managed to combine their family home with a vibrant and thriving hotel business.

Chris and Debbie say; “We’ve added our chapter to the continuing story of the Pack O’ Cards as has every customer who’s come for a drink, a meal, and a comfortable stay”.

pack o cards leaflet

playing cards


Old postcards

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We are on other websites but calling or booking through our site gets you the best deal

Call: 01271 882 300

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