The Perfect Winter Retreat

It’s a couple of weeks ago; it’s the end of January. It’s officially Winter. Christmas is over and heating is on full blast. This also means it’s time for layering, new lounge-wear, Pretty Little Liars and avoiding using the new gym membership you thought was a good idea a few days ago.

So Pete thought this was the perfect excuse to go and laze about in a little village called Pluckley (near Ashford) and stay at our favourite countryside retreat, Elvey Farm.

So we jumped in the car on a Saturday morning for an hour or so and the weather was on our side. We were driving through little villages in the sunshine from one field and oasthouse to the next and I have to say – as much as I love being close to London and going to fancy restaurants and being in the midst of it all, there is nothing more calming and grounding than being surrounded by huge expanses nature and places that haven’t changed at all in decades.

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I’m not one for New Years resolutions,  I’m more about looking back at the last year, thinking about what made me happy, what I’d like to do more of and where would I like to go; but I have to admit it is a time I do subconsciously feel certain pressures about what I should and shouldn’t be doing and what I need to achieve, so having some time out to gain some perspective and clarity is always such a good feeling.

We pulled up on the driveway and entered through the huge wooden doors and were happy to see it looked exactly the same as it had done a couple of years beforehand. To the right the restaurant with wreaths hanging from the low ceilings and the to the left the a small living-room style seating area with a log fire and chest-style coffee table and a quaint little bar area in the corner.

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We were so pleased to see that we were staying in the same room that we had done the last time we were here, the Rochester Room which is near the main entrance, the Barn. But there’s a great choice of rooms and you can also stay in a nearby Guesthouse, or the Oasthouse or the Stables which have all had a modern but cosy re-dressing since their traditional use!

I’m not exaggerating when I say this building is old. The doors are about 4 foot tall you feel like your heading into your own little den when you have to seriously duck your head to get through the old wooden door frame. And it’s an odd feeling when it seems your walking downhill to get the other side of the room. But honestly these are the things that just make it such an authentic, farmhouse stay and even though the building is old, everything else is new and homely and you still have wifi and TV and if you don’t want to completely seclude yourself from reality! … and the selection of teas, hot chocolates and biscuits was also really welcoming and I helped myself within the first 5 minutes.

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When we’d finished our afternoon tea with fresh scones and cream we headed out to explore the fields in the sunshine and it was beautiful. All you could see was green and there no distant sounds of cars and people, just the nature around us. Once I’d had enough of walking we headed back and I had huge bubble bath it was the most relaxed I’d felt in a while.

The restaurant downstairs is now Italian and I had the tastiest Squid Ink pasta with King Prawns and I think Pete had Carbonara but it they were both delicious, and we were both so full afterward but managed to squeeze in an almond and chocolate dessert and then headed to the bar area and finished our bottle of wine.

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I have to say I loved the fact that our room was one tiny, thick-carpeted staircase away from the living area downstairs, it was as if it was our own little country house and so much more intimate than the huge a-hundred-storey-tall hotels with long corridors and a million identical doors that you normally find. This place has so much character.

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And after this we relaxed some more and watched a film in bed with a hot chocolate. I truly reached my limit with the amount of food I consumed that evening :’)

But I would thoroughly recommend staying here for a night or two or three. In summer or winter. I will definitely going back again and am already looking forward to it. And even if you can’t afford to stay somewhere else for the weekend, make sure you find time to take yourself out of your busy routine and hold back on refreshing your Instagram every ten minutes. You’ll be surprised by how much calmer you’ll feel.

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Right now I’m back home, refusing to step into the wind outside and googling destinations I’d like to go to next. For some reason I’m thinking hot and tropical….

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