Sometimes you just need to escape London and enjoy some good old English countryside for a few days… Earlier this year, with just that in mind my close friend Lily and I jumped on a train to the Cotswolds for a girls’ weekend at The Fish Hotel!
Indulging my love of shepherd’s huts, we had booked a Hilly Hut for our weekend escape, and as we drew up to it, I have to admit I squealed with excitement… Especially when I saw this view…
We had both been busy at work, and were so looking forward to a weekend of laughter, long country walks, delicious food and so much fun! We took a half day away from work and ran to the station and before we knew it we had arrived at Farncombe estate, home to The Fish, Dormy House and Foxhill Manor in their 400 acres of beautiful countryside.
I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone who has read this blog before that I love shepherd’s huts, but I was so excited to stay in the Hilly Huts at The Fish for a few reasons… Firstly, they’re much more luxurious than those I’ve stayed in before, with their own hot tub, they’re a little more secluded and I didn’t have to try my hand at camp fire cooking every evening!
Each Hilly Hut has a very, very cosy double bed which you’ll struggle to get out of each morning, and is filled with cute little touches like a vintage radio and phone so you can call reception or the restaurant whenever you like.
After a few long weeks at work and generally needing a little R&R to reset, getting out of those cosy sheets even after a longgggg evening snooze!
Everything you could need is in the hut… And everything else is contained in this handy little folder!
We both loved the way that the design of the hut absolutely made the most of the space; with a bedroom area, complete with areas to store your tea mug (which is very important when you’ve pulled the TV out after dinner and you’re having a girly Bridget Jones viewing session!), hangers to hang your dresses for dinner and books in case you’ve forgotten to pack a country essential.
A little tea or coffee making area – perfect for that morning cuppa when you want to drink in more than the view…
…and maybe clamber back into that bed…
Though I think the most special part of the huts is the peaceful and very private outdoor area. We didn’t have the weather for it the weekend we visited The Fish, but I can imagine that this little table is a perfect place for breakfast, whilst taking in the views and planning your day’s adventures.
If the weather doesn’t permit, or you’re looking for a very snug weekend away this side of Christmas, make sure you take full advantage of your in-hut log burner (which the staff kindly set for you daily), make a cup of hot chocolate and get cosy in your sitting room area.
I’m not sure what it is about shepherd’s huts that I love: it’s probably in part the very happy memories that I’ve had with Andy and close friends; the fact that everything is cosy and cute and that you get to enjoy the good old British countryside.
But these Hilly Huts were even better than I could have imagined. Everything was taken care of: your hot tub is cleaned daily, your floors have underfloor heating meaning that they’re a perfect place to stay all year round, and did I mention the view?! It was an ideal hut for a very relaxed girly weekend away but I can also see it as a very private, romantic weekend away – particularly the new Hideaway Huts which I really want to go back and see!
When we finally managed to drag ourselves out of the huts, we really liked heading to the boot room and picking up one of The Fish’s handmade maps and wandering to cute local villages and setting the world to rights as we laughed crossing field after field!
Before coming back and getting snuggly in front of the fire…
Grabbing a bottle of something fizzy and warming up with the outdoor chimenea on in the cosy hot tub!
Away from the huts, the hotel is spread around the estate, with accomodation and the restaurant a little walk from each other, so do pack comfy shoes for walking up and down the hills! Walking into reception is very much like being in someone’s living room, with a cosy fire and armchairs waiting for you.
If you’ve forgotten your wellies (here’s looking at you, Lily!) you can always borrow a pair of Original Muck Boot Company boots so you can still enjoy the stunning surrounding countryside. It’s also a great place to wash your pooch if you’ve brought them with you, or your own boots, too!
Grab a map based on how far you want to walk, and off you go!
We managed to walk all the way through lunch time and so when we got back, showered and warmed ourselves up again, we felt like treating ourselves to afternoon tea.
The room where tea is served is decorated in the hotel’s quintessential cosy, laid back style.
Homemade jaffa cakes, macarons, profiteroles and warm scones were just some of the delights that we treated ourselves to post a very long and muddy walk to Chipping Campden!
Cake always tastes better when you think you’ve earned it!
And the same goes for Delamotte champagne too! If you’ve brought your pup with you, there’s a special dog afternoon tea too so your four legged friend doesn’t have to miss out!
For other meals, Hook by Martin Burge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a lovely dining room which is full of light and views out over the estate. As you might imagine from the name, the restaurant specialises in fish and seafood, serving simple, delicious dishes in laid-back surroundings.
Start with a cool glass of wine as you look at the menu, and talk about all the fun things you’ve done at The Fish that day…
Order the gravlax…
And the scallops… And plan which part of the beautiful Cotswolds you’re going to explore tomorrow!
After dinner, head next door to the bar for a very cosy night cap, sat by the fire – or do as we did and take your night cap back to your hot tub for a really peaceful end to your evening where you can spot the stars and fully relax.
Breakfast is also served at Hook, with tables of continental breakfast, fruit granola and more, as well as a cooked breakfast you can help yourself to from the pass.
Sadly we didn’t have the weather for it during our stay, but I loved this outdoor area which I think would be perfect for a sundowner or morning coffee.
Just after we stayed, the Treehouses opened and I’d absolutely love to go back and stay in these beautiful rooms – just look at those baths!
After a weekend of walks, afternoon tea, more laughter than I had had in a long time, Bridget Jones marathons and turning into prunes in the hot tub it was sadly time to head back to London. But we were so refreshed for having had a weekend away, some girls’ time and well – a hot tub never hurts does it?
I have such fond memories of our stay here and I can’t wait to go back one day and see the new Hideaway Huts and maybe the Treehouses too… And that’s just The Fish – Dormy House is high on my UK getaway list and with it being so close to London and all…
I might just pack up the car and get driving!
Looks like if you need me for the next while I’ll be somewhere in the Cotswolds…
Turns out that to me, reset means a combination of bubbles (both drinkable and hot tub created!), laughter, the good ol’ English countryside and a shepherd’s hut – sounds pretty good right?!
What’s your favourite way of recharging and relaxing?!
The Fish Hotel