Tag Archives: Cowshed Spa

Babington House

Babington House Drive

Miles from London, in a faraway land called Somerset, there’s a long tree-lined lane. It leads to a pocket-sized chapel, St Margarets, and just beyond it, the dour Georgian manor that is Babington House.

Part of the Soho House portfolio, I was expecting a snazzy English countryclub scene, but the other guests were mainly just local mums bringing the kids swimming, and a few other couples in for the weekend from London. But mostly, we had the place to ourselves.

Babington House St Margarets Sign

Babington House Lawn

Babington House Lawn Chapel

Babington House Cobblestone Path

We stayed in the Coach House, in a delightful room over two stories. Sweet touches were everywhere you looked – fresh flowers, vintage books with winsome titles, a silver tin of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Babington House Coach House

Babington House Do Not Disturb Door Soho House

Babington House Coach House Room Velvet Sofa

Babington House Room Coach House Dressing Table

Babington House Room Coach house Spiral Staircase

Babington House Room Coach House Loft Bed

Babington House Room Coach House Bed

Babington House Room Coach House Loft view

Babington House Room Cabbages and Roses Blue Velvet Dress Knit Bobble Hat

Babington House Room Bathroom Tub White Tile

Babington House Room Bathroom Clawfoot Tub

Babington House Room Robes Big Feet Little Feet

Babington House Room Coach House

Babington House Coach house room Flowers

Babington House Room Fresh Flowers

Babington House Eat Sleep Nap

Babington House Room Tea

Babington House Room Tea Treats

We couldn’t resist a spot of tea before heading outside for an afternoon of countryside pursuits – strolling the sprawling grounds, going for a bike ride, and then a swim.

Babington House Wellies

Babington House Walled Garden Green Grass

Babington House Walled Garden Cabbages and Roses Velvet Dress

Babington House Walled Garden Spa Cabbages and Roses Blue Velvet Dress

Babington House Pond Rear

Babington House Backyard Tree Pond

Babington House Bicycle Cabbages and Roses Velvet Dress

Babington House Bicycle Path

Babington House Bicycle Cabbages and Roses Blue Dress

Babington House

Babington House Chapel

Babington House Chapel View

The outdoor heated pool is a perfect warm-up for these chilly February days.

We raced to see which one of us could shimmy back into their hooded robe the fastest, thick clouds of vapor wafting off our poached bodies like a pair of Chinese steamed buns!

Babington House Pool

Babington House Pool Steam Sun

Babington House Pool Swim Bun

Back in the room, we opened a bottle of champers, but before you could say “Pop, fizz, clink!” I was already in a clawfoot tub full of bubbles, where I had a good long soak before dinner.

The bathroom was stocked with shelves of Cowshed products, so no shortage of goops and creams to daub on.

Babington House Bathtub Clawfoot White Tiles

Babington House Bathtub Bubbles

Dinner was A-OK. Candlelight, dainty flowers on the table, the universal Soho House playlist audible above the din of the orangery. It felt a bit like going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, surrounded by other couples.  But we are far too diffident to canoodle publicly at the dining table. (As my husband likes to chide, “We’re English, not savages, Sarah!”)

Instead, we sipped our Babington martinis (amazing, with Noilly Prat, Tokaji and grapefruit oils, by the way) and nearly choked with laughter piling up a tower of mussel shells, a perilous house of cards of molluscs, which eventually gave way and sent a few shells toppling to the floor!

Most-meal pastimes, such as pool, were on hand, but we found we were happiest in the Study sipping Moscow Mules by the fire.

Babington House Lobby Mirror Flowers

Babington House Games Room

Babington House Study Fireplace Light

Babington House Study Fireplace Drinks

Yes, it’s a chain and not really a country club in the true sense, but Babington House is a great choice for a relaxing and romantic weekend.

I can say I was actually sad to leave. But London missed me, I had to get back! Lots more city adventures coming soon…

Weekend in Cornwall

This weekend we rashly packed a bag and made a break for the Cornish coast!

We arrived in the charming seaside village of Rock and checked in at the St Moritz Hotel. Surrounded by wispy tufts of beach grass, the blanched white Art Deco resort serenely overlooks the headland and Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

St Moritz Cornwall Hotel

St Moritz Cornwall

St Moritz Staircase Winding

St Moritz Staircase

St Moritz Bar

After enjoying a welcome drink in the bar, we whipped on our coats and set off down the hill toward the beach.

St Moritz Beach Cabanas

St Moritz Coastal Path Beach Sign

St Moritz Coastal Path

We followed the coastal path north towards the bay of Polzeath, looking down from the grassy bluffs on those enjoying the beaches at low tide below.

St Moritz Coastal Path Beach

Polzeath View

Polzeath View Grassy

St Moritz Coastal Path Windy Hair

St Moritz Coastal Path Lighthouse

Despite the constant winds battering the coast, this area of England remains resolutely green and brimming with the most delicate little flowers.

Polzeath Flowers

Polzeath Pink Flowers

Polzeath Path

When Polzeath came into sight up ahead, we could see the surf was dotted with hoards of people in their wetsuits hoping to catch a wave. From long boarders to boogie boarders, young and old, it was quite a surprise to see so many surfers braving the cold swells.

Polzeath Bay

Polzeath Bay Surfer

Polzeath Surfboards

Polzeath Surfside Beach View

Even though it’s October and you have to wrap up a bit, it still feels good to walk in the sand and find a cute little beachside cafe to pause for a bit.

Polzeath Surfside Peace Signs

Polzeath Surfside Portrait

Surfside is the coolest beach shack ever with a simple (but classic) menu of tasty surfer grub – every dish equally tempting. I mean, how am I supposed to choose between a lobster roll and lobster mac n’ cheese? It’s impossible! And that’s not even taking into consideration the crab sandwich with chili mayo!

Polzeath Surfside Open Sign

Polzeath Surfside Menu

So we ordered all three – passing the enamel dishes back and forth across the table for “just one more bite.”

Polzeath Surfside Lobster Roll

Polzeath Mac n Cheese

Polzeath Surfside Crab Sandwich

Polzeath Surfside Bite

Polzeath Surfside Table

Polzeath Surfside Orioles Hat

After lunch, we sat for a while watching sand-flecked children and shaggy coated doggies whir by in fits of giggles and tail-wagging. There’s something about the excitement of the beach, no matter the season, that makes you feel a bit like a kid again. So we rounded up our friends for a round of crazy golf.

Polzeath Crazy Golf Stroke

My swing was a little bit rusty but I felt like I’d just won the green jacket when I expertly sunk a hole in one!

Polzeath Crazy Golf Hole In One

Then a few holes on, my opponent battled back with one of his own!

Polzeath Crazy Golf Loopty Loop

Polzeath Crazy Golf Another Hole in One

We love a bit of friendly competition, but this time we actually didn’t keep score.

I think this once it was simply enough to have a cheerful playmate to walk the sandy path back home with after a fun-filled day at the beach.