Luxury Treehouse Staycation: Sleep in the Treetops
Treehouses are magical. A childhood rite of passage. Even in today’s screen-centric world, they inspire children as much now, as when we were little. It’s the nostalgia that makes them so exciting. Even if your childhood memory of a treehouse is nothing more than a few planks of wood wedged between the branches. They become a den high amongst the trees, creating a world of make-believe and offering early steps of independence at the same time. Maybe that’s why as grown-ups the attraction is still as inviting. Just nowadays they offer a different type of escape. Space to breath, rest and relax.
In the past it was common for children to spend most of their free time outside, but sadly that’s no longer true today. So much so that, according to the Natural Childhood report published by The National Trust, we as a nation (that includes us grown-ups) are exhibiting symptoms of Nature Deficit Disorder. A phrase coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. This isn’t a medical diagnosis, but rather a way to describe the costs on both our mental and physical health from alienating ourselves from nature. Something that is particularly important for children in their early developing years. Yet there is an innate need for nature in all of us, no matter how old we get. The benefits of being outdoors stem from the one important characteristic, that nature holds infinite possibilities.
We are so used to entertainment options being presented in a range of specific and often organised activities, that even as grown-ups it can take us time to readjust, to slow down and appreciate the simple pleasures. Something lockdown may have shown us all. And that is exactly what makes The Fish hotel so special. Perched high upon the hillside, within the 400-acre grounds of the Farncombe Estate, with breath taking Cotswold views, it’s more retreat than hotel. Made up of cosy buildings dotted across the grounds, from the cool Shepherd Huts overlooking a small lake, to the adventurous Treehouses that sit on wooden stilts up the hill and amongst the trees.
There are moments in life when we experience the stomach tingling excitement of childhood. One is the twisting drive up a mountain in search of snow-covered slopes. A feeling that returned as we climbed the steps towards the canopy cabins. As The Fish state on their website “You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate the sheer awesomeness of treehouses”. There are three available, each nestled amongst the trees, and just as we illustrate on our Treetops bedding, the treehouses are accessed via a rope bridge, bringing out the big kid in us both as we ran bouncing across on to the deck which wraps around a large oak tree.
The novelty appeal quickly gives way to luxury woodland living. Outside you’ll find a comfy hanging sofa, and a very cool twin pair of wooden bathtubs, positioned side-by-side where you can slip in amongst the bubbles and soak in steaming water, surrounded by nature with nothing but the sound of birds in the trees and a cooling gentle breeze across your face. Just as inviting for a tired mum as it is novel for little ones. Inside, the treehouse cabins are stylishly wood panelled from floor to ceiling featuring a light-drenched spacious open plan bedroom and living area with all the grown-up perks you need, leading to the bathroom and a second bedroom at the back with two cosy bunk beds* arranged in an L-shape around the window looking out across the woodlands. Sleeping in a treehouse is every bit as much fun as you might imagine as a grown-up. So, spending the night high in the treetops as a family would be a child’s dream come true.
It’s easy for time to slip away restfully as you slow down. We spent ours slowly walking up hills and through fields, across old bridges and traditional stiles. Children’s imaginations can run wild as you explore the woodlands, there’s dens to build, fallen tree trunks to climb, and nature trails to follow past sheep and cows. There’s a children’s play area by The Lodge with frames built from branches and slabs of bark covered lumber. Plus, bikes to hire. For rainy days or if you want something more adventurous, The Fish have a 3-page list of Things to do With Children you’ll be emailed ahead of check-in ranging from activity parks and sweet shops only a few miles away, to wildlife parks, and castles further afield.
Nothing helps children fall soundly asleep at night like hours of fresh air, so too does this work up an appetite for us grown-ups! We’re both very passionate about food. In the years we’ve known each other we’ve spent much of our time searching out great places to eat. So, we are happy to report the food at The Fish is really very good! From the tasty sliders we had in the bar at lunch which are fast building up quite the reputation (they’re more filling than you might think) to our three-course delicious dinner in their laid-back restaurant Hook. The menu has a subtle seafood focus, whilst still offering something for everyone. But if you’re feeling too cosy to move, The Fish team will bring you food such as their trusty pizzas and children’s options from their Tiddlers menu, all delivered to your room. And of course, don’t miss their Cotswold Breakfast for a lazy start to the morning, or to give little ones lots of energy for their day in nature ahead.
Staff are warm and welcoming throughout. The friendly service puts you completely at ease with personal touches to make you feel special. It was lovely to see the team crouch down to talk to children, making the effort to connect with them individually.
As we wandered back from dinner, following the pontoon lights leading up the steps to our wooden Treehouse cabin, it was like being transported to the rustic Kellerman’s Resort in Dirty Dancing, an all-time favourite film. A destination of dreams. We couldn’t recommend The Fish more. An incredible back-to-nature bolt hole and gateway to adventure with a little touch of luxury thrown in. There really is a treetop world waiting to be explored. Go sleep amongst the trees!