A couple of weeks ago, just before Brendan started back at Strictly we managed to escape for a one night mini-break at the beautiful Babington house hotel in Somerset. A countryside outpost of the massive, worldwide Soho House chain, Babington is a grade 2 listed manor house hotel and members club set in beautiful Somerset countryside. As with all of the Soho House locations, Babington attracts a pretty cool, young crowd however having been to several of the others I immediately found Babington much more relaxed and friendly and less “try hard” than say, its East London counterpart Shoreditch House. It’s still full of cool media types but potentially a more relaxed, bohemian crowd and as we were there during the school holidays, lots of young families. Babington attracts a lot of attention for being the location of choice for many celebrity weddings including Amanda Holden and more recently Millie Mackintosh and Professor Green and Eddie Redmayne and Hannah Bagshawe.
We had been given our stay as a very kind and thoughtful gift, by a friend two years ago at the end of Strictly. She had seen just how intense and demanding the show can be and realised that the one thing Brendan and I could use most would be time together away from the demands of busy life and childcare of a (then) very young baby! It’s ironic that it took us a further 2 years to actually get around to booking the break but with the show rehearsals due to start again we realised it was now or never!
We arrived on Wednesday afternoon just in time for afternoon tea in the cute and cosy café/bar area of the main house. I was pleasantly surprised to find the gluten-free foodies very well catered for here with three gluten-free choices including Macaroons and a super yummy Lemon drizzle Polenta cake which I washed down with green tea drunk from a delicate china cup and saucer in true bohemian style!
After tea we headed straight off to check out the pool area and have a swim. Babington is blessed with not only an indoor pool housed in a big old barn but also a fabulous outdoor pool heated to virtually bath temperature! We were lucky as it was a beautiful warm, sunny day so we were able to enjoy chilling out on the enormous, stripy towelling clad day beds by the pool in between popping in and out of the sauna and steam room located next to the indoor pool. There is poolside food and drink service as well as a super cosy little indoor café just next to both pools so you really are well catered for whatever the weather.
Another massive selling point Babington have in their favour is the fabulous Cowshed Spa. Set a short walk from the main house through the beautiful grounds, the spa is less high-tech and more cosy potting-shed with chintz sofas and old glass chandeliers. We hadn’t booked in advance so were slightly limited in terms of what appointments were available but the lovely lady who looks after the spa did her best to juggle things around to fit us both in. Brendan had an hour-long deep tissue massage which he said was fantastic. This is high praise coming from someone who like me, can’t abide soft, wishy-washy massages. Whilst Brendan had his treatment I finished up at the pool and headed back to our room to get ready for dinner. The bathrooms are fully stocked with masses of lovely Cowshed products. You are free to use as much of these products as you like during your stay but if you take them home you will be charged for them. The fruity body scrub was one of my favourites and I enjoyed a lovely hour of pampering and product testing!
Dinner is in the main house and the restaurant is fantastic. We had a cheeky Margarita in one of the bars before heading next door to eat. The restaurant is actually located in a conservatory joined to the main house and we were seated by the window with a view through the trees to the lake and a beautiful sunset. Again, gluten-free peeps like me are well catered for and dishes can often be changed to suit. I had the most delicious seafood salad followed by a steak that was out of this world! The hotel also serve one of my favourite Rosé’s, Whispering Angel. After dinner we headed through to the library (how civilised) for yet more green tea and (gluten-free) petit-fours which we consumed whilst eavesdropping on the table next to us discussing string-theory and other scientific wonders (you get the picture)! We had fully intended to be rock and roll and stay up half the night sampling different delicious cocktails as we could have a lie-in the next morning but in the end our busy day of pampering and swimming caught up with us and we headed to bed just after midnight leaving the revellers in the bar to party till the small hours.
The hotel has 8 different types of room and we were in one of the coach house bedrooms which consisted of a bedroom with living area and separate bathroom with bath and huge shower big enough for 2 😉 The room was cosy and bright and nicely decorated. The only issue we had was with the bed which was a double made up of 2 singles pushed together. Unfortunately one of the beds was the most uncomfortable thing either of us had ever slept on! This didn’t exactly make for the wonderful long, uninterrupted sleep we had both been wishing for. Also unlike a lot of 5* Hotels they didn’t have much of a choice when it came to pillows and I basically need to sleep with a rock under my head! None of those awful soft, feathery things that wrap round your face and suffocate you whilst you sleep!
Breakfast was a long, leisurely affair where we stuffed ourselves with full-English’s and Fruit and Chia seed puddings washed down with coffee and slow-pressed fruit and veggie juices. Then there was just enough time for more swimming and some Spa treatments for me this time, before we headed home. I had a lash and brow tint which was a million times better than when I do it at myself, followed by a skinceuticals facial which was both effective and super relaxing, with natural products that smelled wonderful.
We left Babington feeling relaxed and like we had had some very important bonding time. I think it’s especially important for parents to get away from the kids once in a while and concentrate on nurturing their relationship and our lovely friend had obviously realised this when thoughtfully treating us to this wonderful gift. Having said this, I would absolutely love to bring Aurélia back with us to Babington. It’s perfect for kids of all ages as there is a kids club, beautiful grounds to explore and a tennis court as well as the swimming pools. Although anyone can stay here I’d love to have a membership to this place so we could come and use the facilities all the time. The only issue for us is the distance from home, however I’ve just found out that Soho House have just opened a new country outpost near us in Oxfordshire, Soho Farmhouse! I already know what I’ll be asking Father Christmas for!
Rooms are priced between £200 and £640 per night.