For the first time in our marriage, we were experiencing FOMO; our elder daughter had flown to Portugal for a tennis camp, and simultaneously, our younger was on her first school ski trip. So, this “fear of missing out” had gripped us hard, yet, fortuitously we found ourselves with a 3-night window. Not wanting to waste precious time at airports, I decided on booking a Walled Garden Room at Babington House, near Frome in Somerset, opting for peaceful location and spa over sightseeing and tourists.

We had stayed several times at this luxurious country house with rooms en famille, but not for many years. Would it be as wonderful as I remembered? Has the shine of the member’s club hideaway been smudged by it’s younger sibling, the successful and super-cool Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire? Perhaps, the glory and exclusivity of the house had faded, just like it’s honeyed Somerset stone brick facade?

Walled garden Room, Babington House

Firstly, the setting and decor of our room set the tone. Being one of three Walled Garden Rooms, adjacent to the dreamy Cowshed spa, amongst the beautifully cultivated rows of herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables, many of which are integral ingredients of the natural and soothing beauty products in the Cowshed range. And importantly, for us this weekend, the rooms are just a few short steps, but sufficiently far away from the main house, stable block and coachhouse rooms. For this read family…there is nothing worse than when you are away from your own offspring, being bombarded by others! Our room (really it should be renamed suite) was spread over three levels and felt very grown up indeed. A vast mezzanine bedroom area overlooked the funky but snuggly-comfortable lounge, complete with log burner, drinks tray and cocktail shaker and retro touches such as the bakelite telephone and Roberts radio. Floor to ceiling windows provided vistas of the vegetables and patio doors opened on to a private enclosed sun trap with outdoor furniture and the piece de resistance, the double-width steel jacuzzi bath. Fresh coffee, weekend newspapers and alfresco bathing in the welcome spring sunshine felt like the height of decadence on a bright Sunday morning.


Walled Garden Room Bikes, Babington House

I had made reservations in advance for us both at the spa each day for facials and massages and the treatments we enjoyed, together with the service and attention we received were five star. Other than these appointments our days were filled by walks in the surrounding farmland and woods, swimming in the outdoor pool and zipping like giggling teenagers around the eighteen acres of estate on our assigned complimentary bicycles. Then of course there was the gym, the bijou cinema, library and snooker room to enjoy, not to mention the tennis court and lawn croquet. All that fresh air and activity gave us an excuse and an appetite to tuck in to tea every afternoon served in the deli-bar. And this was proper cakes – three-layered Victoria sponge with oozing cream and strawberries fresh from the walled garden, sharp lemon tart with burnt caramelised skin, plump hot-cross buns with sticky glaze and bottomless pots of fresh leaf tea…all for free, served in a relaxed farmhouse kitchen style that makes you feel indulgently cosseted.

Alfresco Bath, Babington House

All of our dining experiences during our stay at Babington were just perfect, with a mix of flavoursome and fragrant ingredients, many of which were home-grown on site, or sourced from local farms. We ate in the Orangery for breakfast, lunch and dinner and were attentively served by a young and enthusiastic team in a casual but cheerily relaxed style. We loved to watch the chefs in the open kitchen, especially on Sunday when the roast lunches were being prepared and the Yorkshire puddings were the size of a soup bowl.

We were relieved that Babington House was just as special as we had remembered, even more so. As we slowly and reluctantly  headed down the tree- lined driveway to home and reality, I was already hastily scanning the school calendar for future 3 night opportunities.


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