My name is Angie Silver and welcome to SilverSpoon London, a luxury lifestyle, food and travel blog. I'm a London-based blogger with a love for the finer things in life and a passion for luxury hotels and fine-dining as well as exciting new experiences and adventure.
I was invited to Lucknam Park and our stay, food and drink and my spa treatment was complimentary. I was not paid to visit and was not under contractual obligation to write this blog post or create content on any platform.
What does a travel blogger do when she can no longer fly? Go on a staycation, of course! Technically I can still fly for another six weeks but to be honest the thought of flying at 30 weeks pregnant doesn’t hold much appeal for me whereas an easy hour and fifteen minute train journey seemed much more palatable.
18th century English country manor house, Lucknam Park is the perfect place for a UK babymoon, with a gorgeous spa, tranquil gardens and a choice of restaurants you can’t go wrong. And for me it was that very easy train journey from London (an hour and fifteen to Chippenham or an hour and a half to Bath followed by a short drive to the hotel) plus a chance to spend some time with a good friend who lives nearby. Theresa has been my travel buddy for the last few years and with my baby due in two months, I knew our trips would be put on hold for a bit and we needed one last girls getaway before that. A girly babymoon!
Arrival at the hotel is via a mile long avenue of four hundred lime and beech trees and the hotel itself is set in 500 acres of parkland. A grand columned facade is the first thing you’ll see, setting the tone for a rather majestic interior.
The reception is brightly lit and flower-filled and we were given such a warm welcome. Elsewhere a cosy lounge boasts stunning traditional decor and the dining room is gorgeously grand with swathed curtains, chandeliers and gilded mirrors.
The Restaurant by Hywel Jones has a Michelin star and is a jewel in the crown of the hotel, we didn’t actually try the food here but it’ll definitely be on my list for next time!
With only 42 rooms, Lucknam Park definitely falls into the intimate and boutique category of hotels. Our Park Room had a gorgeous princess bed topped with a crown and beautifully soft sheets.
A lounge and desk area completed our deluxe room with fruit and rock awaiting us on arrival and the view from the window overlooked the courtyard. There was a flat screen TV, digital radio and coffee machine though I was a little surprised not to find a mini bar / fridge in the room.
The bathroom was also gorgeous, lined with marble and with a traditional roll top bath.
The hotel’s grounds are simply gorgeous…
When dining with a conscious is just as important as the food tasting good… for this month’s travel link up focussing on sustainability, I’ve rounded up some of my favourite London restaurants that promote eco-friendly dining.
1. Island Grill at Royal Lancaster London
I was fortunate enough to dine at the Island Grill a few months ago and I was happy to discover it was so much more than your average hotel restaurant! The newly refurbished Royal Lancaster Hotel has stunning views of Hyde Park and the restaurant itself is flooded with light from floor to ceiling windows. Being a grill we were a little concerned that the vegetarian in our party might struggle to order but actually there are ample options for both vegetarians and vegans.
I loved the wild mushrooms on toast with apple balsamic whereas my companions were big fans of the queen scallops, roast cauliflower steak and crisp polenta. And yes, this is still a grill with British organic beef on the menu, free range chicken, burgers and lamb chops. Food waste is kept at a total minimum whilst fish is sourced from their own boat in Kent and honey from their own bees! The old cooking oil is even recycled as biofuel.
I was invited to review Island Grill
Spring Restaurant at Somerset House is well known as one of the most beautiful restaurants in London, but this gorgeous place with a focus on seasonal cuisine isn’t just a pretty face!
Chef Skye Gyngell has pledged to reduce single use plastic, first eliminating plastic straws and then looking into bio-degradable clingfilm alternatives. She is now looking at getting rid of all plastic containers in the restaurant with a focus on being London’s first plastic free restaurants. Skye is committed to responsible consumerism at her ground breaking restaurant.
The pre-theatre Scratch menu is created using waste produce – basically those ‘ugly’ vegetables not sold in the super market that are still perfectly good to use.
Well known for serving some of the best steak in London, but Hawksmoor is also proud to be shortlisted as one of the country’s most sustainable restaurant groups by the Sustainable Restaurant Association and have a three star rating. The restaurant only uses the very best quality British meat from trusted sources where kindness to animals is guaranteed. They are also committed to sustainable seafood, supporting local breweries and charities such as Action Against Hunger and One Water Foundation who provide clean water to third world communities.
Restaurants in Regent Street and St James’s are working with the Sustainable Restaurant Association as part of the The Food Waste Pledge in order to give diners options for ‘conscious’ dining. Renowned restaurant sketch, is one of eleven restaurants as part of their commitment to social responsibility which also includes working with charities such as Place 2Be and Hospitality Action.
5. Adam Handling Chelsea
Adam Handling’s newly opened restaurant at Belmond Cadogan, Adam Handling Chelsea, see the continuation of his commitment to zero waste, use of sustainable practices and seasonal products. It was also one of the best restaurants that I tried recently!
A babymoon or final fling is the perfect way to celebrate the pending arrival of your little one, whilst getting a last chance to have a holiday on your own. But getting on a plane whilst pregnant can be a little daunting with the prospect of uncomfortable seats, increased risk of DVT or worst case scenario, you go into labour on the plane… ok the latter is very, very rare but with all the fears and anxieties pregnancy brings, a UK staycation may feel like your best option especially if you want to be in close proximity to an NHS hospital. Fortunately there are plenty of UK hotels that are just perfect for babymooning!
1. The Scarlet, Cornwall
The serenity of the Cornish coast is the perfect way to relax and enjoy each others company before the new arrival and I would highly recommend The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth as the hotel of choice. The eco-friendly hotel has gorgeous views of the coast, stunningly modern interiors and a location that is totally away from it all. Best of all, The Scarlet is adult-only so you can bask in a few final months of being totally child-free!
Another highlight of the Scarlet is the spa and the hotel offers a special babymoon break in conjunction with the spa experience. The hotel hosts pregnancy specialist therapists who create a bespoke program for guests using advice from doulas, prenatal yoga tutors and other mums. The package actually includes accommodation, breakfast everyday, plus and lunch and dinner for a romantic evening together. There’s a Pregnancy Journey treatment (massage, exfoliation, body wrap) or any other safe treatment, massage lesson, private pregnancy yoga and special sensitive products to take home.
The Scarlet is famous for the cliff top hot tubs which may seem frustrating as hot tubs are not advisable during pregnancy but at the Scarlet they’ll adjust the temperature of the tub so that you can enjoy it without worry.
2. Chewton Glen, The New Forest
I recently enjoyed a family holiday to Chewton Glen in the New Forest and I thought it would be a really perfect babymoon staycation too. The English country manor has comfortable lounges to chill out in, beautiful extensive grounds for relaxing walks and a beach in reach if that’s what you’re looking for. There are two restaurants, the fine dining for romance and The Kitchen for comfort food including wood-fired pizzas for hungry pregnant ladies! The spa at the hotel is award-winning and a babymoon is the perfect time to take advantage for a swim or pamper.
The hotel is also famous for being home to luxury treehouses and this would be the ideal time to splurge on one! Some parents might also be concerned about taking children to the rooms that are 35 feet above ground – actually they are perfectly child-friendly but if this a concern than now might be the time to check them out.
3. Soho Farmhouse
Well obviously. But seriously, it’s difficult to get a room at Soho Farmhouse at the best of times but even harder when you have a child as there are a very limited number of child-friendly rooms so make the most of it while you can! And while Soho Farmhouse is child-friendly (there’s a kids club and horse riding for children), it is still a club for adults
The spacious cabins are perfect for alone time by the fire, there are pretty grounds and a boating lake for chilling and an indoor outdoor pool for swimming. Soho Farmhouse also boasts the Electric Cinema which features new releases, perfect to get some cinema time in. I’ve been warned cinema date nights are a rarity when you have a baby.
Food-wise, there’s plenty pregnancy-friendly food served in the Main Barn in the form of either hearty comforting meals or healthy dishes and there’s no need to avoid Japanese restaurant, Pen Yen as there is much more than sushi and sashimi on the menu. Spa-wise, Cowshed always delivers for me and I actually experienced the Udderly Gorgeous Full Body Massage while I was at sister hotel, Babington House. Especially for pregnancy, there is also the option of a full half day package with Udderly Gorgeous range including Udderly Gorgeous Full Body Care, Cowshed Facial, Cowshed Pedicure and Speedy Manicure.
4. The Connaught
Rather than relaxing in the countryside, a glamorous trip to London maybe just the ticket. The Connaught is one of the most luxurious hotels in London and is perfectly located near some of London’s top restaurants for some date nights before the big day and plenty of the high-end shops to spoil yourself. Personally I’m buying shoes and handbags at the moment as nice new dresses are off the cards. You can also explore luxury baby boutiques fit for your new prince or princess that are located nearby.
(This was photo was taken as part of engagement shoot, my thighs and waist are definitely not looking like that now!)
If you can manage fine dining, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is the hotel’s onsite two Michelin-star restaurant or there’s Jean-Georges at The Connaught offering lighter fare. The Connaught also serves one of the best afternoon tea’s in London and a great way to indulge a pregnancy craving. The hotel’s spa is by Aman and a ‘Perfect for Pregnancy’ range is offered using plant-based, organic products to help with stretching skin and aid relaxation.
5. The Pig on The Beach, Dorset
For something super low-key and more wallet-friendly (stocking up on baby stuff is expensive!) then I highly recommend The Pig on the Beach in Dorset. Here you can feel right at home and totally relaxed, no need to get dressed up in the evening (when you have about two outfits that fit, that’s a real plus) and the food is just like you might get at home but better. For accommodation, I recommend booking the Bothy, a super cute cottage for that extra privacy.
A small hotel, more a restaurant with rooms, The Pig on the Beach is the sort of place where you can chill, play board games, for walks on beach or just sit and admire the view. There’s not spa as such at the hotel but there are two cute huts overlooking Harry’s Rocks and the hotel offers a Pregnancy Massage by Bamford.
Did you go on a babymoon in the UK? Where did you stay?
I firmly believe that if a tourist visits England and focuses only on London, they are seriously missing out. Personally, I’m totally in love with the Great British countryside and for me it’s the real heart of England. And when staying in the countryside I’d really recommend opting to stay in a quintessential country house… I’ve stayed in lots of UK hotels but Babington House has to be one of my favourites. Having not been for over six years it was definitely time to revisit…
Regular readers will know I’ve stayed several times at Soho Farmhouse … well Babington House is actually this sister property in Somerset. As both are owned by Soho House, you know you’ll receive the signature service that’s absolutely top-level whilst still being relaxed and informal, making you feel right at home. Located around half an hour from Bath, it was an easy journey of an hour and half for me from Paddington station followed by a taxi organised by the hotel. The ideal choice because Babington House is only a forty-five minute drive from my friend’s Theresa’s Bristol home and therefore the perfect place for us to meet. Theresa is now smashing the events business after setting up her own company Hummingbird Events.
Babington House actually have quite good availability for mid-week stays and if you’re a member and you book ‘last minute’ you can pay the Spontaneous Stays rate. You don’t even have to book that lastminute.com, I booked a few weeks before we stayed and there we lots of room categories available at really good rates. There are 33 rooms split between the main manor house and the coach house (which lies a few step away from the main house) as well as a cabin by the lake and the lodge house which is a self-contained cottage. We opted for a Coach House room some of which are ground floor, some first floor or like ours, split level.
Our room was totally gorgeous the scrumptious squishy sofas, piles of books to look through and plump cushions to snuggle up to.
A stylish spiral staircase leads up to the bed area and you can look down on the room from the mezzanine gallery. The bed was a cloud-like dream! So so soft with about a million pillows… I honestly got a better night sleep here than at home!
And there’s a gorgeous deep soaking roll top bath in the room.
I’ve stayed in a few Soho House properties now (Soho House Barcelona, Berlin, Soho Farmhouse and this is my second time at Babington) and I’ve discovered several things that come as standard. That’s the great thing about staying in a branded property that meets a certain standard whilst at the same time isn’t a faceless corporate chain. There’s always a full bar with ready-made cocktails, a top-level coffee machine, a drawer full of snacks and a fully stocked fridge. That ultra-comfy bed is also something I’ve noticed at all their properties.
As well as that there’s always a good supply of Cowshed products (Soho House’s branded beauty range) included full size products in all different scents in the shower. They don’t just provide a hairdryer but go the extra mile with straightening irons and spare phone chargers too. As well as all those gorgeous products, the shower is absolutely huge and I always find Soho House has great water pressure. One thing I will say to be aware of is that Coach House rooms don’t have separate bathrooms so the shower and bath are in the living area which I hadn’t quite appreciated when I booked, this set up is definitely more for if you’re with your partner than if you’re with a friend!
I was invited to attend JW Marriott Grosvenor House London food safari as part of a press event and my food was complimentary. I was not paid to attend and was not under contractual obligation to write this blog post or create content on any platform.
I remember about eight years ago attending a grand charity dinner at a London hotel… row upon row of beautifully decorated tables in the grandest ballroom I’d ever seen in my life! Fast forward to now and I was invited back to the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London, the biggest and and one of the grandest hotels in London! With memories of the grandeur of that epic ballroom, I knew I was in for a treat we would be experiencing a food safari, sampling the different restaurants around the hotel.
First established in 1929, the hotel is currently celebrating its 90th birthday … but you wouldn’t be able to tell that this Grand Dame is just ten years shy of a centenary. A recent refurbishment has the Mayfair-located hotel looking totally brand new!
Our day started in the utterly elegant Park Room, so named for the view overlooking Hyde Park, it was probably my favourite room of day as the pretty feminine light colours and green hues mimicked the nearby Royal Park. As we started on the canapés, I chatted to the other influencers with eager anticipation for our foodie day before an introduction (or re-introduction) to the hotel’s house champagne Perrier-Jouët. I’m no stranger to the house, I’ve even visited their cellars in the Champagne region. I already knew about the association of the champagne with the arts and about the gorgeous bottle design but one thing I didn’t know was Oscar Wilde’s fondness for the champagne … he even ordered cases to his prison cell!
As well as a place for all-day dining, The Park Room is also the venue for the hotel’s famous afternoon tea … of which over 100 covers per day are served! Named Anna’s Afternoon Tea, as a nod to the Duchess of Bedford famous for having started the tradition of the meal between lunch and dinner. Dale Desimone is the pastry chef here and with over 20 years working in hotels and restaurant internationally, he has long-established experience and a passion for desserts shown in his creations for Anna’s Afternoon Tea.
Finishing up in the Park Room, it was time for the next stop on our safari and we headed to the hotel’s Turkish restaurant, Rüya London. Restauranteur Unut Ozkanca’s drew inspiration from his heritage in Istanbul for the menu at his original Rüya in Dubai which features dishes from the Anatolian region – the concept is mimicked here with Chef Patron Colin Clague, who has also worked at Jean Georges, Zuma and Rüya Dubai, at the helm
The interiors are super stylish with Middle-Eastern themed tiles, brass fittings and lighting from Conran and Partners plus an open kitchen with the smells of freshly baked bread floating out. The restaurant even has a separate entrance so you can walk straight in of the street and you’d barely know you were in a hotel – the room was actually once a branch of Barclays bank hence the length of the space.
Divided into different sections, the menu gives you the opportunity to try different elements of the cuisine. One of my favourite ways to dine is mezze-style and we had the opportunity of trying lots of different dishes including burnt watermelon, sheep’s cheese, tomato and pine nuts salad and roasted baby beetroot salad with goat’s cheese and corn bread.
Aged Kashar cheese pide with slow-cooked organic egg with black Perigord truffle and home-made spicy sucuk.
Çıtır Kalamar simit coated baby squid with avocado haydari and a rare wagyu beef dish not pictured.
We also had a little look at the private dining room, a gorgeous events space seating about twenty people.
Hungry for main course? It was time for our next stop.
I was invited to attend The London Landmarks Afternoon Tea and my food was complimentary. I was not paid to attend and was not under contractual obligation to write this blog post or create content on any platform.
I love blogger afternoon teas as they’re a really relaxed way to catch up with old blogger friends and meet new ones… it was great to catch up with Katie and Felicia and be introduced to some lovely new ladies as we enjoyed the roaring fire and glasses of Perrier-Jouët were poured.
We also had a chance to look at the beautifully illustrated London map on the table. Drawn by Eleni Sofroniou, it’s a lovely keepsake of the tea and highlights some of London’s most well known spots such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben (minus the scaffolding!). Alongside the champagne there’s a vast tea selection to accompany the food, I opted for Wild Rooibus but there are lots of other options for black, white and green tea as well as herbal infusions.
The Town House Kensington don’t let you go hungry and as with the Tale as Old as Time tea there are additional savouries to the requisite sandwiches. The steak and ale pie would please the jolliest cockney whereas the Colsten basset stilton and broccoli quiche is great from cheese lovers and there’s a bite-size crab cake with tartare sauce and caperberries. The ingredients are inspired by those that you might find at top London markets such as Borough, Maltby Street and Southfield, which all feature on the illustrated map. There are options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free too!
With so much choice of incredible afternoon teas in London, I love the way hotels are innovating and setting themselves apart. For example the tea stand themed around the London Eye is so unique and stunning, I’d love one of these in my own home. Located at the top of the London eye are the all important sandwiches…
These represent the best of British with smoked salmon, lovage pesto and cream cheese on brown bread, classic cucumber and Coronation chicken, a dish famously invented for Queen Elizabeth II coronation in 1953. The egg and cress sandwich is a ‘London Bridge’ roll with eggs form Heritage breed Copper marans hens. At the bottom of the stand are classic fruit and plain scones served with Heather Hills strawberry jam and clotted cream.
As usual the best bit in terms of aesthetics are the sweets which are very clearly inspired by London’s top landmarks and symbols. The Gherkin has long been one of London’s most recognisable architectural feats and this one is made from white chocolate with a dark chocolate ganache whereas London’s more recent addition, The Shard has been fashioned from carrot cake and milk chocolate. Once a London staple but now of out use and few a far between with the advent of the mobile phone, the classic red Telephone box has been made out of rhubarb mousse.
Perhaps the most well loved landmark of all… we fondly know it as Big Ben but did you know that Big Ben is actually the bell? The official name of the tower where the bell resides was once known as the Clock tower but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. This particular confection was a lemon curd tart with the most delicious pastry surround.
As usual tea, service and food was absolutely wonderful at Townhouse Kensington and the company was fantastic. Thank you again to the hotel for inviting me to experience their fabulous new tea!
The London Landmarks Afternoon tea is £42 per person with a selection of Rare Teas. Add a glass of Champagne for £12.50
Town House Kensington
109 – 113 Queen’s Gate
Who doesn’t want to stay in a hotel that offers great service and comfort but is also aesthetically pleasing? These are my top ten most Instagrammable Hotels in England.
1. Soho Farmhouse, Great Tew, Oxfordshire
It will come as no surprise that my favourite UK hotel appears on this list. With gorgeous individual wooden cabins home to log fires, snuggly blankets and roll top baths (even some with outdoor baths) the photo opportunities at Soho Farmhouse are endless.
The extensive grounds are beautiful too with rivers running past the cabins, pretty little bridges and farm animals grazing in the fields. You can get your picture on the rowing boats, with the resident horses or in the hotel’s beautiful kitchen garden.
Soho Farmhouse is also a private members club so photos are banned in public places… of course you can use your discretion, avoid other people and get beautiful photos around the cabin and quiet areas of the grounds. It’s also worth checking out Soho Farmhouse’s sister property, Babington House, unfortunately it’s about six years since I stayed so I don’t have any decent pictures but beautiful four posters beds, outdoor baths and sumptuous fabrics also make Babington a gorgeously photogenic hotel.
2. Coworth Park, Ascot
Another of my absolute favourite UK hotels Coworth Park, the Dorchester Collection property is an absolutely gorgeous elegant country house style hotel. The interiors are just stunning with the furniture being inspired by nature in eye-pleasing neutral tones while beautiful sculptures add a touch of drama. The organic theme continues to the bedrooms and copper baths and four poster beds look perfect in any shot.
The grounds are utterly beautiful especially in summer when the meadow is in bloom – the perfect place for a picnic. There are also pretty little quirks around the place such as bronze sculptures, a retro red phone box and elegant water features.
3. Cliveden, Berkshire
Cliveden has long had a reputation for being one of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels in the UK but it was recently made even more famous owing to Meghan Markle staying the night before the Royal wedding and the recent documentary on the hotel.
As I was on a press stay I was given the most gorgeous room – the Lady Aster suite is one of the most beautiful rooms that I’ve ever stayed in with this utterly gorgeous bed. Elsewhere interiors are beautiful and classicly British plus you can get some gorgeous shots in the perfectly manicured garden.
4. The Scarlet, Cornwall
Another one of my favourites… The Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall is both one of the most beautiful and the most tranquil hotels I’ve stayed in. The views from this eco-friendly, beach front hotel are absolutely gorgeous.
You can get your best shot for the ‘gram from the hotel’s famous cliff top hot tubs… just don’t forget to order a glass of champagne to enjoy with it!
5. The Tamburlaine, Cambridge
The is nothing more Instagrammable than a pretty pink interior, and The Tamburlaine in Cambridge is definitely one of the prettiest I’ve seen.
‘It’s the most Instagrammable time of the year’ (sung to the tune of it’s the most wonderful time of the year)… There’s no time that London looks more beautiful than when the shops, restaurants and hotels are adorned with baubles, festooned with trees and embellished with Nutcrackers. Read on to discover my favourite places in London to get the perfect Instagram shot.
1. The Dorchester
Already mentioned as one of my places to go at Christmas, The Dorchester Hotel is looking so utterly Instagrammable with gorgeous carousel horses on the outside and a giant Christmas tree on the inside. There’s even more of the horses in the main Promenade as the hotels celebrates the latest Mary Poppins film as well as the festive season.
The Dorchester is also very close t0 Winter Wonderland, London’s biggest Christmas extravaganza featuring charming Christmas Markets. To read about more hotels near Christmas markets you can read my latest Expedia Hotel Edit live now.
2. The Natural Museum
One of the most photogenic buildings in London looks even more beautiful at Christmas time, resplendent with an ice rink, carousel and Christmas tree. Even if you don’t get your skates on you should definitely pop there for a photo!
3. Peggy Porschen
London’s most Instagrammable cafe always embraces the festivities and the pink bakery is transformed into a glittering confection with Christmas trees and festive themed cupcakes.
One of London’s most exclusive private members clubs seriously won at Christmas this year with London’s most dramatic displays. A giant Christmas tree adorns the facade and is an unmissable spot on Berkeley Square.
Expect to see this place a lot on London’s bloggers festive feeds!
5. Covent Garden
Clearly who ever looks after the Covent Garden area has cottoned on to how important Instagram marketing is as the different seasonal displays there are some of the best.
This car piled with presents and the festive chairs surrounded by mistletoe have been two of the most popular installations but there are also giant reindeer and a massive Christmas Tree. A word of warning though, it gets very busy around here.
6. The Ivy Chelsea Garden
The Ivy Group have become renowned for their ‘extra’ displays and several in the group can be found adorned with baubles and Christmas Trees. But there is no better restaurant than the Ivy Chelsea Garden, order one of their festive Gingerbread Martini and enjoy the festive facade as the restaurant masquerades as a Gingerbread House.
7. Fortnum & Mason
There’s no London department that says Christmas quite like Fortnum & Mason especially as their hampers have become such iconic gifts. The window displays are some of the most beautiful in London and step inside to see the stairs covered with golden baubles.
If Annabelle’s wins at Christmas on the outside, Sketch wins the prize for best interiors. One of London’s most famous restaurants with the most often Instagrammed interior, sketch has been transformed into a magical grotto for Christmas.
Outside are the cutest Nutcrackers while inside is a cornucopia of surprises and art installations. Be sure to check out the famous egg shaped loos that have been wrapped up as Christmas presents.
Mayfair is one of London’s most affluent areas and it’s no wonder that you can find some of the prettiest decorations just by wondering up and down the streets. A few spots to look for as follows:
Private members club, George which has cute gingerbread men outside.
Italian clothing shop Stefano Ricci.
With no cameras allowed in public places and a slightly inaccessible website… Soho Farmhouse remains a mystery to many people. In fact my video inside Soho Farmhouse is one of my most viewed – proof to me that people are interested to know more. I’ve actually written about staying at Soho Farmhouse three times before and I’ve stayed five times at the English country resort-cum-private members club. To take a fresh perspective, I thought I’d tell you what it’s like staying in the biggest possible accommodation offered at Farmhouse – the three bed room cabin. If you want to know more about staying at the resort in general, refer to this post about our first stay or this one about the top ten things to do at Soho Farmhouse.
Let’s start from the beginning. I visited Soho Farmhouse last year with my parents, now in all honesty it’s not 100% their cup of tea as my mum prefers modern hotels and Soho Farmhouse takes the ‘farm’ theme to the extreme and the cabins are very rustic. Honestly, I love it there but I will say I know it’s not for everyone. My parents also felt like they were the oldest people there as the average age of guests is probably 25 – 45 so being in their 60s they felt a little random. However, my mum decided that they wanted to go again because there were many things that they did like, eg the size of the cabins, the proximity to their Buckinghamshire home, food that is tasty and simple and overall good value for money.
A question I always get asked is how have I always been able to book a room. I’m a member of Soho House and there are rooms reserved for members only, I’ve tried to book for friends and family but they only allow non-members during the week. During my recent stay we were told that this was set to change to members only though friends and family can stay with a member in the group.
Before now, I’ve always stayed at the weekend and I secured bookings only by doing so around six months in advance. Rates vary as to whether you’re a member or non-member or whether you have booked a friends and family rate. To give you some example of the difference, a studio cabin (the entry level cabin) is £295 for a member and £355 for friends and family. We paid £805 per night for the three bedroom cabin – I know that’s a lot but when you think it can fit six people in and they’d being paying £135 each, it’s really not that bad considering the size of the room that you get. On this occasion we booked mid-week as my parents are retired and my sister and I have flexible schedules. I booked our October stay in July which is still quite far in advance even for a mid-week stay.
My parents drove to Soho Farmhouse but as I don’t have a car (Mr S usually drives but he didn’t come this time) I got the train to Charlbury and Soho Farmhouse arranged a taxi for me. My sister came the next day by train too. When you arrive at Soho Farmhouse there’s a gate house where they’ll take your name and booking details. Members of Soho House members can also come for the day and sign in guests but space at the restaurants is subject to availability and guests can’t use the pool etc. Once you’ve checked in, a repurposed milk float with drive you to the cabin.
With three bedrooms, our cabin was of course huge! I mentioned it’s the biggest cabin available, but there is also the farm cottage which sleeps eight, it’s not included in the cabin category and two of the rooms are bunk rooms rather than full size bedrooms.
Every guest is provided with a bike to get around the farm (though we never used ours!) and you’re asked your shoe size so that they can give you wellie boots. Are you ready to go inside?
So the first thing to see is a porch type area where you can hang up you coat and leave you shoes. There’s also a picnic basket and blanket, books and a few bits and pieces should you want to clean the room. Under that curtain is a full size washing machine and tumble dryer – not something you see often in a luxury fully catered hotel.
From the porch you enter into a cosy living area with a huge comfy sofa and two arm chairs. There was only four of us staying but it’s worth noting that though this is a six person cabin, there’s not enough space for everyone to sit in the living room on sofas. There’s a big screen TV, a fire place, books to read, and a double balcony. The cupboards and drawers are packed full of drinks and snacks and games – snacks aren’t included in the price of the room but there is a fresh loaf of bread and cheese on arrival plus a pint of milk delivered every day. There’s also a dining table in the room with six chairs but for some reason I didn’t take a photo of it.
One reason my mum likes coming to Soho Farmhouse is that the cabins have full kitchens – not that she wants to cook but she just likes having it there! The kitchen has everything including the kitchen sink so there’s an aga and hob, dish washer, toasters, kettle, Nespresso machine and in the cupboards and drawers you’ll find glassware, cutlery and crockery. There’s a cute farm shop at the house so you can pop there and pick up some food if you do fancy preparing it yourself. If you don’t fancy going to breakfast, there’s also granola in the room which you can have with your daily milk. There’s also a float which prepares breakfast to order right outside your room!
There’s a huge American-style fridge, stocked to accommodate six people, aka full of wine and champagne… there’s even pre-made cocktails should that take you fancy.
And then there’s some cute retro touches in keeping with the style of the house such as a Robert radio, record player and dial phone. One thing I will say is that I don’t think the living area is as the equivalent in size to the one bed room cabin, which is odd as one is for six people and the other only for two.