I recently stayed at the Soho Farmhouse for a short break – it’s always lovely to get way for a few days over Christmas. There’s something about driving to the countryside during the Christmas season that puts you in a festive mood. The whole property is tucked away in the scenic landscape of Oxfordshire.
I arrive at the gatehouse to be greeted with mulled wine and a cosy fire, and am then taken to the main area in a little green milk cart. There are a series of barns and log cabins dotted around the property. The first thing I do is head to the Main Barn and have a hot chocolate by the fire place.
The Main barn is where you can have breakfast and lunch. For brunch they have amazing buttermilk pancakes. It’s nice simply to sit by the fire here and read a newspaper. In the main barn, if you really want some quiet, head to the upstairs area to curl up one of the many cosy sofas.
Pen Yan was one of my favourite eateries at the Farmhouse. It’s a Japanese restaurant looking out on to the lake; I would definitely suggest you get the Ebi ten maki – it was delicious! The Hay Barn has a very relaxed atmosphere, where you can order yummy little Italian dishes.
In the Farmyard you can play pool or outdoor ping pong, whilst keeping warm drinking mulled wine next to (yet another) roaring fireplace.
You could never get bored with an impressive choice of activities such as horse riding, clay pigeon shooting, borrowing one of the boats to row around the lake, not to mention a tennis court. If you’re in the mood to watch a film, there’s the Electric Cinema, which shows new films as well as old classics like ‘It’s a wonderful life’. There are also bikes to use to get around the whole property (bikes with stabilisers are thoughtfully provided for the more cautious cyclists!).
You can also walk to a number of delightful villages if you want to venture off the property. And after a nice long walk it’s good to wind down at the spa, which is stocked with Cowshed products and also offers a hair salon. To really relax, pay a visit to the indoor/outdoor swimming pool right next to the lake. Immerse yourself outside, watch the steam gently rising from the pool and let the cares of the everyday just drift away.
Shoppers are spoiled for choice – the Farm shop and Deli, where you can take away or eat in has a tempting selection of yummy salads, cheeses, pastries or even some truffle pasta! There’s also a cute little flower shop where you can choose a beautiful hand-tied arrangement. If you’re smitten by all the interiors at the Farmhouse, you can even purchase some items from Soho Home, located above the reception. And if that isn’t enough to soothe your ‘inner shopper’, head to ‘The Store’ which has a curated collection of clothing, accessories, candles and gifts.
The houses are dotted around the property, people can either have a cottage, log cabins or ‘piglets’. All the interiors are by Soho Home with a rustic minimalist feel to them. The houses are designed to make you feel completely at home equipped with an old record player with records, a log burner, homemade granola (as well as a number of other foods and drinks) and books dotted around each room. Each morning a glass milk bottle is left at the door of each house. On the houses they had festive wreaths on the doors to give that more personal touch to your stay. The house even gives you wellingtons to go on a walk as well as a charming picnic basket.
You leave the property wanting to stay longer, wondering if the whole thing was a dream.
Thanks for reading!