A home from home

Imagine you have a friend, a friend who lives in a large country house with stunning grounds and two swimming pools, and a fully stocked bar and fabulous chef. That friend invites you to stay and you can’t wait to hotfoot it out of London on a busy rainy Friday afternoon and head for beautiful Somerset. You arrive and are greeted warmly, shown to your room and made to feel right at home. This was my recent experience at Babington House, and okay, it’s not a house owned by an imaginary friend, but a perfect home-from-home experience guaranteed to lift the spirits.


Babington, a Georgian manor house, is part of the Soho House group, and the same relaxed culture presides here. From the friendly staff, to the comfy rooms and quiet corners to hide away in, this is the perfect spot to escape from reality. We stayed in a coach room that had its own spiral staircase, roll-top bath and carefully curated selection of artifacts and artwork. After a swim in both the indoor and outdoor pools, we were ready for a glass of champagne in the cosy bar, complete with obligatory open fire, cool artwork, velvet sofas and a desire never to leave. Dinner in the Orangery, which offers stunning views of the grounds, involved the most enormous and tasty portions: mushroom risotto and beef ragu gnocchi starters; beef shoulder and pork belly mains; and a shared bourbon pecan tart (we couldn’t manage a dessert each). It was a case of (wo)man vs. food and in this rare instance, the food won. The excellent wine list offered a good choice of wines by the glass and carafe, and necessitated a trip back to the bar for a nightcap.

After a great night’s sleep, we were ready for breakfast, and the excellent selection of healthy, and let’s say, more hearty options meant fruit and then a full English for us. We rounded off our stay with a walk around the grounds in some borrowed Babington wellies. For a low-key yet sumptuous cosy escape, this is just the ticket.

Rooms start from £245 per night (for non members). Babington House, Somerset (01373 812266; babingtonhouse.co.uk/hotel)