An age-old farmhouse, thoughtfully redesigned as a cosy hotel, buried in the heart of the magical Forest of Dean. And there are chickens. I loved the Tudor Farmhouse, a welcoming retreat in the village of Clearwell.
It’s not surprising that the Tudor Farmhouse has a long list of admirers (Tatler and Conde Nast Traveller are amongst its fans). This boutique beauty is the perfect combination of friendly charm and easygoing luxury. Once a 13th-century working farm, the hotel has kept its ancient beams and warm stone walls and added modern dashes to the mix, most excitingly enormous, pillowy beds and equally massive roll-top baths both begging to be luxuriated in. The same attention to detail runs through all of the hotel – my favourite touch was the row of green Hunter wellies waiting by the front door for guests to borrow.
The hotel is very proud of its reputation as a culinary hotspot, and the kitchen’s ’20 mile menu’ means almost everything you chow down on has been locally sourced from the forest. Even if you’re staying elsewhere you can pop in to try the lengthy tasting menu, although my highlight were the huge breakfasts – a huge pot of fresh coffee, eggs from the hens in the garden and creamy porridge laced with honey can’t fail to make your morning.
The Tudor Farmhouse has twenty unique rooms spread between the main house and the cottages and outbuildings in its courtyard, which is unashamedly cute and complete with little pond, wooden bridge and resident cat. Behind the yard stretch the hotel’s garden and grassy fields, home to some satisfied sheep and very inquisitive chickens. It’s a blissful place for a stroll in the sunshine.
The farmhouse sits in the middle of the pretty village of Clearwell in the heart of the Forest of Dean – even before you’ve checked in, the peace and quiet makes you feel like you’re shedding the real world for a place where life moves at a slower, easier pace. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to explore nearby – the ancient forest is on your doorstep, with magical caves to clamber down, maze-like woods to walk in and rivers to canoe along –read my full guide to exploring the forest here. Clearwell doesn’t have a shop, but it does have two lovely pubs – clearly a village with its priorities in the right order. Even if you do head off for a day of adventures, make sure you’re back in time for a cocktail and a laze in the bath – it’s what the Farmhouse is all about.
Rooms at the Tudor Farmhouse Hotel cost from £130, with a minimum weekend stay of two nights.