I firmly believe that if a tourist visits England and focuses only on London, they are seriously missing out. Personally, I’m totally in love with the Great British countryside and for me it’s the real heart of England. And when staying in the countryside I’d really recommend opting to stay in a quintessential country house… I’ve stayed in lots of UK hotels but Babington House has to be one of my favourites. Having not been for over six years it was definitely time to revisit…
Regular readers will know I’ve stayed several times at Soho Farmhouse … well Babington House is actually this sister property in Somerset. As both are owned by Soho House, you know you’ll receive the signature service that’s absolutely top-level whilst still being relaxed and informal, making you feel right at home. Located around half an hour from Bath, it was an easy journey of an hour and half for me from Paddington station followed by a taxi organised by the hotel. The ideal choice because Babington House is only a forty-five minute drive from my friend’s Theresa’s Bristol home and therefore the perfect place for us to meet. Theresa is now smashing the events business after setting up her own company Hummingbird Events.
Babington House actually have quite good availability for mid-week stays and if you’re a member and you book ‘last minute’ you can pay the Spontaneous Stays rate. You don’t even have to book that lastminute.com, I booked a few weeks before we stayed and there we lots of room categories available at really good rates. There are 33 rooms split between the main manor house and the coach house (which lies a few step away from the main house) as well as a cabin by the lake and the lodge house which is a self-contained cottage. We opted for a Coach House room some of which are ground floor, some first floor or like ours, split level.
Our room was totally gorgeous the scrumptious squishy sofas, piles of books to look through and plump cushions to snuggle up to.
A stylish spiral staircase leads up to the bed area and you can look down on the room from the mezzanine gallery. The bed was a cloud-like dream! So so soft with about a million pillows… I honestly got a better night sleep here than at home!
And there’s a gorgeous deep soaking roll top bath in the room.
I’ve stayed in a few Soho House properties now (Soho House Barcelona, Berlin, Soho Farmhouse and this is my second time at Babington) and I’ve discovered several things that come as standard. That’s the great thing about staying in a branded property that meets a certain standard whilst at the same time isn’t a faceless corporate chain. There’s always a full bar with ready-made cocktails, a top-level coffee machine, a drawer full of snacks and a fully stocked fridge. That ultra-comfy bed is also something I’ve noticed at all their properties.
As well as that there’s always a good supply of Cowshed products (Soho House’s branded beauty range) included full size products in all different scents in the shower. They don’t just provide a hairdryer but go the extra mile with straightening irons and spare phone chargers too. As well as all those gorgeous products, the shower is absolutely huge and I always find Soho House has great water pressure. One thing I will say to be aware of is that Coach House rooms don’t have separate bathrooms so the shower and bath are in the living area which I hadn’t quite appreciated when I booked, this set up is definitely more for if you’re with your partner than if you’re with a friend!
Overall, the room was exactly how I described the hotel service utterly luxurious and the finest of quality whilst at the same time, relaxed, cosy and informal with that feeling of being at home.
As I’ve mentioned before, Soho House hotels and properties are also private members clubs and therefore photos are banned in public areas. I don’t think they’d take too kindly to me whipping out my DSLR in the public spaces but I still wanted to tell you as much as possible about the place using the photos that I did get.
Inside the Manor house there’s plenty of places to relax and have a coffee or cocktail, play a board game and catch up with a friend! There’s a beautifully designed bar which facilitates all day dining and before or after dinner drinks, a cosy library to find some thing to read, and a study to have hot chocolate by the fire.
In the Games Room you can have a game of pool or choose one of the board games…there’s also a cinema room which screens new release films and Teeny House for kids. Food-wise, the main restaurant is the Orangery and as we were here for a relaxing break we ate here for every meal as we didn’t feel the need to venture out a find somewhere new. The menus are seasonal and the cuisine is British with a slight Mediterranean influence. Dinner is from an a la carte menu and there’s nothing too fancy… for starters we tried asparagus, veal ragu, mussels and croquettes and for mains Theresa loved the venison while I had cod on the first night and on the second night we shared a roast chicken and chips. For breakfast you can order a la carte or there’s a farm table of delicious fresh fruit, meats and cheeses, cereal, yogurts and pastries. I had avocado on toast with smoked salmon and poached egg… obviously.
The lunch menu isn’t too different from the dinner menu but you can also order from the bar menu too. Here you’ll find some Soho House classics such as the sausage roll, scotch egg and Mac & cheese. There are also delicious pizzas and though I didn’t try them I saw some delicious looking burgers, toasties and fish and chips coming out of the kitchen. It was the end of March but we had brilliant sunshine and ate outside on the second day, starting with a mountain of antipasti and parpadelle with sea bream for me for main and mac & cheese for Theresa. On the first day we shared one of the famous pizzas.
The hotel grounds are set across 18 acres and are absolutely gorgeous especially on our lucky sunny day! There’s a beautiful lake with ducks, tennis courts, a cricket pitch, there’s also a stunning indoor / outdoor pool which was put to good use in this weather!
If you’re trying to choose between a stay at Babington House and Soho Farmhouse, I will say the two are vastly different. Soho Farmhouse is a vast resort with mostly freestanding cabins for the rooms, multiple restaurants and facilities whereas Babington is much smaller with one restaurant and most of the same facilities but on a smaller scale. Both are around the same distance from London by car or train. Another question I often get asked is can non-members book. The answer is yes they can though they will certainly struggle to book a weekend. A member will pay the lowest rate, then there is a friends and family rate (ie a member can book a special rate for friends) and then for the non-members rate is the highest. I have been told that non-members can no longer book into Soho Farmhouse but that friends and family still can. Usually the member has to be present during the stay in another room though.
Like many of the hotels in the Soho House Group, Babington House has a Cowshed Spa which includes a treatment area for relaxing and a gym for er… not relaxing. The hotel’s gorgeous walled garden can also be found just behind the spa.
Treatments include the usual manicures, pedicure, facials and massages both individual and couple. What I also found innovative was that at Cowshed they include the Jennifer Young treatments that have been especially formulated for people living with cancer and beyond. I had the most amazing massage using the signature Cowshed products, which left me feeling totally brand new!
Our time at Babington House sailed by seriously quickly and all too soon I was back in Bath catching the train to Paddington… but feeling seriously relaxed with fresh air in my lungs, fresh food to nourish, the most comfy bed and a fantastic massage.