As much as I love foreign travel and love it I do, there are a few places in the UK that I would definitely file under “guaranteed happy place”. One of those is Babington House in Somerset. It’s properly the bees knees. Me and the fitter half try to make a pilgrimage there at least once a year, not least because we know that it delivers on intense R&R for two weary 40-somethings in a way that few other places can. It is number one in our “happy places” ranking, UK list.
Our recent trip saw us escape there just after Boxing Day, where we hunkered down for 3 glorious nights. What a treat. We stayed in the Coach House, having been there previously I can confirm that they are all beautiful rooms, but we particularly lucked out this time on a much larger space than we’ve had before – Room 17, you were a beaut (more on that coming in a separate post). It was basically bigger than my first flat, which granted was a studio with a fold-down bed (yep, true story) but still. Plus it has great sweeping views of the grounds and the lake, which are a beautiful sight to wake to on a frosty morning. Glorious.
We arrived on the 27th and handed our keys over to the welcoming reception staff and this right here is one of the really wonderful things about Babington, the staff are properly and genuinely welcoming, helpful, friendly, can’t do enough for you, always with a smile… etc. etc. they have nailed good service. As you arrive and they sort out the business of parking your car, taking your bags and the like straight to your room, you’re free to head straight on and into the bar. Or in our case, to lunch. The food is always fantastic and while we were there we dined casual in the gorgeous bar area a number of times as well as in the Organery, which is the main restaurant that serves food all day but becomes a white-tablecloth dining room in the evening. Delicious fresh salmon salads, proper burgers and homemade fries, crispy squid, a light supper of sea bass, comforting Mac & Cheese, local venison… the list goes on and it’s all yum. A special mention to breakfast – everything you could wish for, from eggs to pancakes, a full English to kippers. In general the food is British, with Italian influence, and much is sourced locally, plus some is grown in their stunning walled garden, which is well worth a stroll around.
Let me also point out that each afternoon at 3pm, they serve a complimentary afternoon tea for guests. I mean goodness, you’re not going to leave this place lighter than when you arrive. It changes every day, so of course you have to sample as much as you can, right. Or is that just me? Strawberry & White Chocolate fudge, gluten-free Chocolate cake, homemade Oreo Cookies with insanely delicious icing inside, plain AND raisin scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream… I could go on, but it’s just making me hungry. If you stay at Babington House, do NOT, I repeat, NOT, miss out on the afternoon tea. It would be a crime.
But it needn’t all be gluttony and lounging about (all though for me it largely was). There’s an on-site gym, which my husband decided to make use of – running machines, treadmills and all that shizzle. Personally, I hadn’t even packed my trainers so… We did go on a long country-walk together (I largely moaned about having cold feet) and a long bike ride through the Somerset countryside, which was pretty amazing and blew away the cobwebs. Also of course there’s the fantastic Cowshed Active where you can enjoy and indoor and/or outdoor heated swimming pool – one of my favourite things to do in cold weather, swim outside in heated water where you can see the steam rise. There’s also a sauna and steamroom, so you can sweat out and expel yourself of those Espresso Martini’s from the night before (they were good FYI).
If in-activity and pampering is more your thing (*nods head*) then Cowshed Spa will be the place for you. Treatments a-plenty and enough soft towels and honey and ginger tea to induce a blissful coma. I booked myself in for the Dry Body Scrub, Mud Mask, Head Massage/Mini Facial and Soak one day – the husband was due to have it too but wimped out, not feeling much like the scrubbing and opting instead for a Deep Tissue Massage. Another day I visited for a head/scalp massage, which is one of my favourite things ever and it was divine. All the treatments there are wonderful and the therapists are friendly and professional.
We don’t usually go ‘off property’ when we’re at Babington for a stay, preferring to just max-out on enjoying everything it has to offer. But this time as we were there for a little longer, we decided to venture out. One afternoon we took a drive to nearby Shepton Mallet (about 20 mins by car) to visit the Mulberry Factory Shop, I didn’t manage to find anything there this time, but they do have a great selection of bags and clothes etc. at greatly reduced prices. Right next door though there’s also designer shopping outlet Kilver Court, which boasts some great brands from Chinti & Parker to Jospeh, L.K.Bennett to Orla Kiely and Whistles. I spotted a pair of gorgeous brown leather Penelope Chilvers boots reduced from £249 to £169, so snapped those up – Christmas present from the husband (who didn’t quite realise the price when he nodded in agreement to me getting them…). Love them. So definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.Another little trip we made was into Bath one evening – a short ish car ride, about 20-30 mins away. We went to the cinema (I know, rock ‘n’ roll), which was fun, but there is also a cinema on site at Babington so you can catch a flick without leaving the place, just depends on what’s scheduled to run, when. We were keen on seeing Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find them, so we popped to the local Odeon, then it was back to Babs for a nightcap and bowl of chips (all the class).
Babington House is honestly one of the best places to stay in the UK if you enjoy great service, beautiful interiors, wonderful food and the opportunity to do as much or as little as you want on a mini-break. It is without a doubt one of my favourite places to go and I can HIGHLY recommend. If you’ve got kids, it is child-friendly (but only certain rooms are available to book with little ones in tow, ditto dogs), but personally I’d go without them if you have the option as it’s a wonderful place to treat yourself to some proper relaxation time.
Bravo Babington, you’ve done it again. We will be back.
Babington House, Somerset – rates vary for Members/Non Members, Special Offers available. Visit website for more details. Note, this is not a review post, we paid in full for our stay.