One of most incredible things about having a child is reliving your childhood through them … I love ‘sharing’ mini pizzas or fish fingers with Oscar, hanging around in playgrounds or visiting the zoo… It’s just so wonderful to have an ‘excuse’ to do all those things again. One thing I’ve been wanting to do for ages (for Oscar of course… you understand…) is to stay in a treehouse! I’d been eying up the treehouses at The Fish Hotel, and these current travel restrictions meant that this was the perfect time to book! The current huge popularity of UK staycations meant that I booked months and months in advance… but it was certainly worth the wait.
The Fish is one of three hotels on the 400 acre Farncombe Estate in the Cotswolds, one of the most beautiful areas of England. The other hotels include, Dormy House – a boutique hotel and spa – and Foxhill Manor which is a luxury hotel in the style of a private home. I chose The Fish mostly based on the treehouse rooms but I loved the family friendly look and cosy vibes of the place. And if you’re wondering about the unique name it comes from the location on Fish Hill, so called as it’s where Medieval monks were said to the store their fish.
Did you ever read the Enid Blyton book, The Magic Faraway tree? That childhood tale came to my mind straight away as I saw the treehouse located in the forest up a winding staircase! Totally magical! But I do warn you, not great if you have mobility problems, even I was huffing and puffing as we made our way to treehouse 2, also known as Stumpy.
Now that’s what childhood dreams are made of…
And the wooden exterior looked so beautiful covered in the autumn leaves…
You know you’re in for an adventure when you cross a rope bridge… and that’s how the entrance to the room is marked.
The outdoor terrace is the best bit!
There’s a swing chair for hanging around with your bestie…
Twin wooden baths…
And a place for outdoor dining.
On our second day, we waited until Oscar was taking his nap and we filled the baths with water, ordered a bottle of champagne and lay in them for the best part of an hour!
It was seriously heavenly on a warm autumn day watching the leaves drift into the bath…
The beautiful interior follows the wood theme, being entirely panelled throughout. Though the room itself is narrow, there’s a sizeable sleeping and living area, they’ve made great use of space with extra storage under the bed, under floor heating, and tea and coffee facilities in the wardrobe. A free mini bar contains a few beverages but you can request to be filled with a bottle of wine or champagne prior to your stay.
Another thing I loved about the room was that there were very few hazards and it’s completely baby safe!
The development of the hotel’s three Treehouses was part of a four million pound renovation in 2015. Styled by Hannah Lohan they have been inspired by nature and the shapes of the environment, the floor to ceiling door and terrace wrapped around an oak tree is a representation of embracing nature.
Perfect for families, there’s a bunk bed room – which my sister and I would have loved when we were little! Which had room for a cot for Oscar too.
There’s also a conventional bathroom if you don’t fancy the al fresco option. I would have preferred a separate shower but that’s a minor complaint in an otherwise lovely room.
The hotel has a mini village type feel as it’s broken up into different parts that have been converted from the original coachhouse, farmhouse and stables. At the heart of the hotel is The Lodge which includes the restaurant, bar and lounge. Continuing the fishy theme, Hook is the name of the main restaurant at the hotel and you guessed it, it’s a seafood restaurant.
As part of the renovation, Hook was made over in a gorgeous Scandi style, also inspired by nature.
Buffets are off the table of course but guests can graze on a continental platter of croissants, yogurt and fruit and order hot food too. Mr S had the Full Fish while I opted for smoked salmon and eggs.
Open for lunch at the weekend and dinner every night Hook serves sophisticated seafood in a relaxed setting. The Farncombe Estate’s culinary direct Martin Burge is at the helm and the menu is an absolute dream! As a seafood lover, I personally could have ordered anything on the menu.
We had dinner here both nights of our stay with my favourite dishes being gambas Prawns “Al Pil Pil” with chilli, garlic, lime, sourdough, mussels and in white wine and Bouillabaisse ‘Hook style’, scallop, king prawn, mussel, bream, rouille, croutes. There’s also a Tiddlers menu for kids which includes fish fingers and pizzas. We actually got a babysitter for Oscar on both nights and I’d highly recommend Sonia from Cotswold Angel for anyone looking for someone in the area.
Adjacent to Hook you can find the hotel’s cosy bar with it’s gorgeous circular fire place built by Robey’s of Derbyshire. A casual menu of delicious sliders is served here as a lunch option – diners can choose from fish, beef, crab and more for the filling.
And next is the lounge and games room where guests can have relaxed lunch or choose a board game.
Feasting on the Deck is a gorgeous spot for Private Dining too, the chef can even fire up the barbecue.
After all that food, we needed a bit of playtime to burn off some energy, and the children’s adventure playground is perfect for that!
It’s made from reclaimed materials so it’s eco friendly too!
Another thing to note is that The Fish is dog-friendly. There’s little doggy stations around the place and dogs are welcome in the bar (but not the restaurant) and several of the rooms are dog-friendly, a doggie bed is provided. There’s also a dog agility course in the grounds.
One of the things I love the most about The Fish are the unique room types, just opposite the Treehouses are the Hilly Huts…
Converted shepherds’ huts featuring all the mod cons, I can imagine these as a super romantic retreat, especially with the outdoor hot tub. There’s no glamping here though! They have ensuite bathrooms, under floor heating, a small lounge with fireplace and a mini bar.
On the other side of the hotel near the lake in a secluded area are the Hideaway Huts. There are fairy lights everywhere and it feels like a midsummer night’s dream!
These huts are double in size for even more space and a larger lounge area.
One of the huts is even more special, nicked named ‘Boaty McBoatface’ it comes with it’s own rowing boat and private area of lake – you can even pop across to your own private island. Eat your heart out Kim Kardashian!
Those looking for more traditional accommodation will find it in the coach house and stables where rooms are modern yet cosy. Don’t expect super luxe here, that’s not what The Fish is about but the Scandi-chic rooms are perfect for relaxation.
The Farmhouse is another option, great for groups, it’s available for exclusive hire! I had a peak inside and there’s a shared lounge area and outdoor dining space too.
There’s no spa at The Fish but guests are welcome to use the facilities at nearby Dormy House. Elsewhere, we didn’t get to see it but there’s a cinema for hire too plus lots to in the local area.
You may have noticed I’m loving these cute rustic stays in the UK and The Fish ticked all the boxes for me!
Great For Kids
Great for Parents
Top quality seafood menu
Secluded and relaxing environment
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