A wonderfully festive stay, the perfect winter getaway – cosy up in a log cabin, curl up in front of a wood burner and escape the world at Soho Farmhouse.
Last week, I was extremely lucky to be invited to the one and only Soho Farmhouse for #asohohomechristmas – a festive gathering of bloggers with Soho Home and Pinterest UK. Hidden away in the Oxfordshire countryside, Soho Farmhouse is a members club and hotel with 40 cosy log cabins, a four-bedroom cottage and a seven-bedroom farm house set amongst 100 acres of picturesque farmland.
A trip to Soho Farmhouse is a real restorative escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life – you can swim outside in an infinity pool on the lake, watch the ducks go by from a hot tub looking over the water, indulge in a treatment at the spa, watch a film at the cinema or simply hideaway from the world in your cabin and order room service. On a crisp, cold November day, it felt like a fusion between a Nordic hideaway and an English countryside retreat. In fact I’d say winter is the perfect time to experience this warm, cosy setting away from it all.
Soho Farmhouse is just over an hour’s train ride from London Marylebone station. We arrived on a crisp, bright day as the low light was filtering through the trees and across the shimmering waters of the lake. All the facilities are fairly spread out so even though there’s a lot of outbuildings and a few people milling about here and there, it didn’t felt busy or overcrowded. On the contrary, the ambience was calm and laid-back.
The hotel is clustered around the Main Barn, the tall-ceilinged, central hub where you can eat, drink and relax in comfy armchairs and cosy nooks. There’s even huge indoor sofas dressed with cushions and rugs that spill outside into the Farm Yard. Around this space you also have the Mill Room, where you can enjoy local ales, a shop so you can take a slice of Soho Farmhouse home, and the Cowshed spa.
The original seven-bedroom farmhouse is set in its own garden, opposite the kitchen garden cookhouse and Electric Barn Cinema. Then there’s the Boathouse, which has a 16m indoor pool, a 25m outdoor pool onto the lake, as well as a bar and Japanese grill restaurant Pen Yen. And I haven’t even got to the cabins yet, nor the teepees, tennis courts, horse stables or football pitch! You really need to come for a week to fit it all in…
Our first stop of the day was to the Kitchen Garden Cookhouse where we learnt how to prepare some Christmas canapés with the lovely cook and author Anna Barnett. We made charcoal blinis with creme fraiche and smoked salmon, brussel sprout tops filled with earthy beetroots and toasted walnuts, as well as scallops wrapped in prosciutto and cooked in rosemary butter. Delicious!
We then sat down to a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings – turkey, stuffing, red cabbage and pigs in blankets, followed by sticky toffee pudding and Christmas pudding – what a treat!
Barwell Barn, in the grounds of Soho Farmhouse had been transformed into a wonderfully elegant, festive scene, with tall, tapered candles and rich green and red foliage draped down the table. Cut crystals glasses, Cowshed crackers and personalised menus finished each place setting. It was magical.
Then it was time to head to our cabins! There are 40 in total, in various sizes dotted around the Farm’s lakes. Each one has bicycles outside to easily get around the grounds and their own little porch with logs for the wood burning stove inside.
Inside, you have a little kitchenette with Cabin Supplies and everything you might need for your stay. There’s the usual tea, coffee and mini-bar, but also lovely touches like granola and a small loaf of bread for the morning.
The wood-panelled bedroom has tall ceilings and French doors onto a balcony. The bed is absolutely huge, the comfiest I’ve slept in in a long time, topped with soft, white linen, dozens of squishy pillows and layers of wool blankets.
Everything is well-thought out and considered for the guest, from the fluffy dressing gowns and slippers to the magazines on the coffee table and the radio playing Classic FM. It’s the little things.
The wood burning stove went straight on and I settled in for a wonderfully cosy night on the sofa watching a movie and ordering pizza. You really could easily hole yourself up in a cabin and not need to see another human being – apart from the delivery guy!
One of the best features of the cabins is the outdoor bathtubs – a really unique experience to bathe in the fresh, open air with the birds singing in the background. I thought it would be absolutely freezing, but the steam from the tub quickly warms you up and invigorates the soul.
In the morning it was time for a wander around and breakfast in the Main Barn. I chose from the buffet Farmhouse Table, which had platters of smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, breads, pastries, juices and fresh fruit.
After a peaceful, restorative massage in the Cowshed spa and a few last snaps it was time to tear myself away from Soho Farmhouse and get back to the city. As you can probably tell, I didn’t want to leave at all!
Soho Farmhouse was such a lovely, relaxing experience – the perfect winter getaway. I returned to London feeling revived and in a bit of a dream. I can’t wait to go back again!
Thank you to Soho Home, Soho House and Pinterest UK for hosting me at Soho Farmhouse, it was a truly wonderful stay!