Though I’ve lived in London for nearly half my life, I’m a country girl at heart! Bought up in a tiny village in Buckinghamshire where the local post office and the corner shop were the most exciting things we had nearby. I think that’s why returning to the British countryside always feels like going home… If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know that I’ve found my perfect countryside retreat. I’m totally in love with Soho Farmhouse, a resort-style hotel in Oxfordshire owned by Soho House Group and only about a two hour drive from London. As soon as I arrive at that country retreat, all the stresses of city life melt away and I find myself in a little bubble of happiness surrounded by beautiful scenery and animals and eating good food! I’ve reviewed a stay at Soho Farmhouse fully before so I thought this time I’d tell you my favourite things to do down on the farm!
1. Enjoy your cabin
The accommodation at Soho Farmhouse is some of the best I’ve ever seen at a UK hotel. We’ve twice stayed in the Studio Cabin and once stayed in the one bedroom cabin – the latter is about twice the size but both are impeccably furnished.
If you’re looking to not spend quite so much money, the studio cabin will do you just fine! It’s a split level space with a bed and living area in the same room, a mini kitchenette, beautiful bathroom and outdoor terrace. I really love the cosy log cabin style of this room.
The one bedroom cabin is magnificently spacious with a separate bedroom and living area, a beautiful bathroom and two outdoor terraces.
The living area has a full working kitchen with an aga, large fridge, toaster, microwave, coffee machine plus all the cutlery, crockery and glass ware that you need – even a dishwasher and washing machine and tumbler dryer! The fridge is stocked with wine, spirits and ready made cocktails plus there’s a big drawer of treats. I’m always so impressed with the attention to detail as there’s a complimentary loaf of bread and cheese on arrival, plus milk is delivered fresh every day.
Honestly if you were so inclined you could stay the whole weekend in your room, order room service, drinking fresh coffee and eating cookies by the fire, enjoying the outdoor rocking chairs or taking advantage of the board games, books and magazines in the room. Though it is pricey to stay at Soho Farmhouse, I actually think it’s great value for money as the cabin is huge and costs the same as a small room in a luxury London hotel.
For the most budget-friendly option you can also opt for the Bell tents available during the warmer months.
2. Admire the Animals or Go Horse Riding
You really are on a farm here (sort of!) and there’s plenty of opportunity to interact with the animals. You can pay a visit to the stables and go on a horse ride or a pony hack – there’s even small ponies for kids!
Near to the Teeny Barn – the children’s club – you’ll find a chicken coop where the kids can collect freshly laid eggs.
There’s also two voluptuous pigs that have their home at the back of the field near to the crazy golf! Honestly I don’t think you can possibly feel more countryside vibes on holiday that when you’re surrounded by farm animals!
3. Go to The Cinema
Soho House group own the Electric Cinema, the iconic picture house in Notting Hill. It’s my favourite London cinema so it’s fantastic to see that it’s been exported to Soho Farmhouse too. Just like in Notting Hill, you can book a comfy individual armchair, gets some drinks and snacks from the bar and snuggle under a cashmere blanket as you enjoy the latest releases.
4. Spa Time!!
The Cowshed Spa is another popular brand owned by Soho House Group, and there’s an absolutely gorgeous version of the rustic pamper parlour at this country hotel.
Don one of their snuggly teddy bear bathrobes and just spend all day in the Cow Shed Spa trying their treatments. At Cowshed Relax you can try manicures, pedicures, facials and massages with signature Cowshed products that will leave mind and body feeling relaxed and rejeuvenated!
There’s also the Farmhouse Parlour which I’ve used a couple of times for blow dries but also offer colour and cuts plus styling for gentleman and kids. Though if you’d rather enjoy a pamper in the comfort of your cabin there a full size Cowshed products for use in the shower or bath.
5. Eat and Drink your Heart out!!
If you’re anything like me, you come on holiday in order to eat and drink your heart out! Another great thing about Soho Farmhouse is that there’s plenty of diverse options for food and drink around the hotel. The Farmyard is the heart of the resort and here is where you’ll find the main hub activity including plenty of options of eating and drinking.
The Main Barn is the home to the House Kitchen and I would consider it to be the hotel’s main restaurant. Here you can dine all day – from the Farm table at breakfast to hearty classics for lunch and dinner. There’s comfort food in the form of Mac ‘n cheese and burgers plus wood fire pizzas or you can go for lighter options of salads, fish and grills.
There are two mezzanine levels to the Main Barn. On one side is the Fancy Farm which offers a tasting menu of more refined food. Mr S and I love it here as it feels like a romantic date night and if ‘fancy’ food isn’t your thing you can still sit here and dine from the Main Barn Menu. On the other side the Mezzanine level is the Comfy Farm – think deep sofas, fireplaces and somewhere to relax, chat, read or play Scrabble.
The Mill Room is Soho Farmhouse’s country pub – it’s relaxed and rustic and perfect for a pint or glass of wine during the day. By night there’s DJs, live music and a dance floor to party the night away.
The Hay Barn is a more recent addition to the food and beverage offering as it wasn’t in use the first time we went last year. Now it’s in full swing and offers weekend brunches, feasts and roast dinners and is the family-friendly lunch time choice.
Pen Yen is my favourite of all the restaurants and is open for lunch and dinner serving delicious Japanese food made from the British ingredients. Pen Yen is located in the Boat House where you’ll also find a bar serving delicious cocktails wine and beer.
Take a stroll around the Kitchen Garden and greenhouse and you’ll see some of the fresh produce actually used in the House Kitchen. There’s also Cook House – a cookery school for members and guests where you learn things like pasta making, butchery and knife work.
If you don’t fancy eating in one of the restaurants you can head to the Farmshop and Deli where you can eat in or take away fine fresh produce to eat in your room or take for a picnic. I recommend the chocolate chip cookies plus a visit to the cheese room!
They also don’t do room service by halves. If you don’t fancy heading to the Main Barn in the morning, you can order the breakfast float and have your bacon and eggs cooked right by your room. Alternatively there’s the cocktail float – order this in the evening and the mixologist will rustle up anything that you can imagine from negronis to porn star martinis!
6. Take a Dip!
The Boathouse is home to the resort’s indoor / outdoor swimming pool which appears to float on the lake.
Heated to 30 degrees year-round it’s the perfect places to do some lengths – though I personally recommend ordering a cocktail and enjoying the views over the farm from the comfort of the pool. Or if you want to heat things up even further head to The Island which includes the steam room, sauna, hot tubs and ice room.
It’s located just between the Boat House and the Cow Shed spa.
Though not to worry – even though you’re on an island – a glass of champagne is never too far away!
7. Mess About in Boats
Though I’ve been to Soho Farmhouse three times now the weather has never been good enough or we’ve run out of time! But one day we’ll get the chance to have a row on the boating lake.
8. Get Some Exercise
There’s plenty of ways to work up a sweat whilst staying at Soho Farmhouse. Cowshed Active is the place for working out with a full techno-gym with machines, classes and personal training if you’re feeling particularly energetic head to House Ride for a Spin Class! Otherwise there’s tennis, swimming, five a side football or horse riding. All the rooms are provided with a bike per person so you can always leap on to one of those and get peddling!
Though if like me you’d rather take it a little easier, how about stretching your legs with a game of Crazy Golf?
9. Go Shopping!
There are several beautiful boutiques on site at Soho Farmhouse – and honestly as I want my flat to look a Soho House club, I’m pretty addicted to the Soho Home store. Here you can buy glass ware, towels, blankets and cushions – all the homeware that you see about the houses. You can even purchase the sofa and bed frame (I’m trying to convince Mr S).
There’s also Farm Flowers for beautiful hand-tied bouquets and arrangements as well as The Store which features beautiful fashion and design.
Don’t forget to pop into the aforementioned Deli for local produce and also the Wine Cellar. At the spa you pick up all the Cow Shed products under the sun! It’s basically like a mini village with shops to meet all your needs!
10. Countryside walks
Rolling hills, lush greenery, lakes (all be it man made), flowers and trees…it’s the perfect scenery for taking a long stroll in the fresh air. They even provide you with wellington boots in the exact right size – found in your room on arrival.
I think everyone goes wild for those beautiful exotic images of The Maldives, Santorini or the Amalfi Coast on Instagram. But there really is nothing quite like the great British countryside…after all there’s no place like home!
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Have you ever been to Soho Farmhouse? Have you stay on a farm? What do you think that you would enjoy the most about staying at Soho Farmhouse?
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