Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break. Mine seemed to fly by in a flash but was exactly what I needed. Lots of time was spent relaxing (and eating!) and I’m now feeling fresh and rejuvenated ready to take on 2019.
January is a funny old month. The dark, often dreary days, and Summer seeming like a lifetime away, often gets us all a little down. However, January is the ideal time to start planning a break or holiday. We all feel better when we have something to look forward to.
Most of us gravitate to breaks abroad, somewhere with plenty of sun and sea views. But you don’t have to get on an aeroplane to enjoy a fantastic and unique escape. The UK is home to secluded coves, dramatic mountains, villages and towns seeped in history and quirky places you can call home for the weekend. And you don’t have to spend a fortune either, which quite frankly is very welcome in January!
Canopy & Stars is the place to go if you are looking for something a little different. Their collection of unique, creative places to stay in the great outdoors gives you a genuine experience of a life more wild. From Shepherd’s huts to Safari tents, there is something for everyone. For the wild souls, there are tents and huts in the woodlands and meadows, with campfires and hikes on your doorstep. For those who like a little more luxury, choose from fairytale treehouses perfect for stargazing or secluded cabins within the unspoilt beauty of woodlands or parks.
The demands of modern day life often have us staring at a screen for a large part of the day, whether that’s a computer, iPad or phone, I’m guessing a day doesn’t go by without several checks of that screen. Sometimes we need to switch off, but to really do that you need to switch off from everything, yes this means the digital world as well! Treat yourself to a digital detox break and book somewhere with no Wi-Fi. I can hear most of you screaming “what? Are you actually crazy?” but trust me, it will do you wonders. Leave it all behind and embrace nature and be uncontactable for a few days. Choose one of Canopy & Stars Digital detox stays and go back to a time when life was simpler.
Here are my top picks from their extensive collection:
For a Cosy Cabin break:
The Saltbox – Elmley, Kent
With windows for walls, wake up to glorious sunrises and views across Elmley’s wild meadows.
“The Saltbox is modern with vintage touches like the copper piping in the beautiful dark blue bathroom and industrial splashbacks in the kitchenette. The star of the show is the fully glazed wall at one end, with the luxurious king-sized bed looking out from the huge window – it even opens fully to really bring the outside in! Or if you want to bring the inside out, you can opt to shower under the stars. Extra comfort comes in the form of cosy wool throws and bespoke textiles, whose prints were inspired by Elmley’s saltmarshes. And what better way to admire these beautiful marshes than with marshmallows toasted over the firebowl!”
For a Digital Detox:
Laverstock’s Everdene hut – Dorset
Go to the top of the Jurassic Coast’s loftiest cliff, then return to your cosy shepherd’s hut for a campfire supper in the woodlands.
“Laverstock Farm is a family estate where Everdene and Herdwick Hut have found quiet stretches of the Woodland Walk to settle down. You are perfectly positioned for day trips to Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast, long hikes up Dorset’s highest hills, Lewesden and Pilsdon and days of gentle meandering through the quiet countryside.”
On a budget:
Shaggy Sheep – Drover’s Rest, Herefordshire
Only five minutes from Hay-on-Wye, you can shop for books, canoe the river, then finish off with a cocktail back at the farm.
“Through a tunnel of trees and past the pretty stone farmhouse, you’ll find your meadow-dwelling safari tents – African in looks, but Welsh in spirit. Far enough away from each other to be private, but neighbourly enough that you can handily borrow a box of matches for the campfire. Your first tell-tale sign of the comfort and luxury is the chimney of a log burner popping out of the top of each tent and the rattan sofa with huge cushions on the porch. Beyond the farmhouse-worthy kitchen and living area padded out with sheepskins and cushions, there are two bedrooms; a twin and a double each with cast iron beds, welsh blankets and black sheepskin rugs. Unzip a flap in the twin room wall to go out onto the deck where you can sit at a bistro table and enjoy the sun all day long. All tents have their own hot monsoon shower and flushing loo in a fully-heated, no-expense-spared stable block, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the tents and torches are provided for night time trips.”
With a Hot Tub:
Prothero – Herefordshire
A romantic couples’ retreat in a starlit woodland – explore the nearby Black Mountains then seek out the cosy hot tub.
“A stay at Prothero starts with the sound of birds in the morning, ringing out from the trees that surround the beautifully furnished shepherd’s hut in the 4 acres of the owners’ garden. There are woodpeckers and pheasants, the occasional owl, and the resident chickens, although they tend to hang out next to the outdoor washroom 100m from the hut, where you’ll find the loo and shower. You can get some feed from Reuben and Martha if you want to charm them and their fresh eggs are usually on sale. A breakfast hamper of fabulous local produce can be arranged and evening meals can be delivered too, but there are a host of great places to eat, from the classic local of The Yew Tree, a family favourite just a half hour walk away, to the magical riverside setting of The Bridge Inn in Michaelchurch Escley.”
For some Luxury:
Black Wolf Treehouse – Devon
Step off the path and over the bridge to a secluded place of relaxed, woodland elegance with views of the Devon woods from the bathtub.
“Listening to the stream, the wind in the trees and the hooting owls at Black Wolf Treehouse is a wonderful way to relax, but doing it from the outdoor jacuzzi bath on the deck, or the wood-fired sauna, adds an irresistible layer of decadence. Every care has been taken over comfort, but only to allow you to fully appreciate the wilderness. The bed faces the huge folding doors, meaning woodland views without even getting up. The wood-burner makes for a cosy stay whilst keeping environmental impact down with a plentiful supply of wood from the forest on your doorstep. There’s even a bunk room for the kids to crash in, so when you’ve tired them out in the countryside, the peace of Black Wolf Treehouse is all yours again.”
Inspired? You can find more information on the Canopy & Stars website here.