Get away from it all at this country retreat on the Somerset Levels where you’ll have your very own private spa to use whenever you want. It doesn’t get much more relaxing than this, we can assure you! Where else would you have a heated swimming pool, a steam room, hot tub and sauna at your disposal, all for considerably less than the price of a good hotel with the same facilities?
Walnut Arbour’s had a bit of a nip and tuck recently and the results are amazing. The chaps have been over there working hard, primping and preening throughout the house and what they’ve done to the pool room is astonishing! It was fab before but now it’s gobsmackingly stunning; the pool’s got a lovely Roman Bath feel about it and is utterly sumptuous, but wait for it – they’ve put in a steam room!! What a luxury!
And don’t forget that outside beneath a glass-roofed gazebo there’s a big bubbly hot tub, so whilst it’s sheltered, you can still gaze up at the stars whilst you relax and chat. Tucked away in a secret courtyard is a fabulous barrel sauna; it’s a dream, this place, you’ll be so chilled out you’ll be able to float home! The health benefits of steam rooms and saunas are well documented and there’s plenty of evidence to show that they’re great for all manner of ailments; easing joint and muscle pain, improving circulation and congestion, and they can provide much relief for those who have trouble sleeping. They just make you feel so darned good, so clean and wholesome, that’s the thing.
Sleeping 12 plus 2 and dog friendly, Walnut Arbour is perfect for so many occasions – family and large group holidays, hen weekends, girly breaks, and let’s not rule out the lads – after all, everyone likes a bit of pampering. The point is, everyone’s happy here; as well as all the spa stuff, there’s a big games room where you can play pool or table football, or catch the latest match on the big screen TV. There’s an enclosed play garden with swings for the little ones, and the garden isn’t huge, but it’s a delight; cottage flowers tumble together, vines and a passion flower scramble up the old stone walls. Inside it’s all light and airy, with commodious sofas to laze about on, the kitchen’s well equipped, and there’s a big pine dining table you can all sit round for a happy feast. The bathrooms and bedrooms have something of a New England feel, all fresh and crisp, painted white with vaulted ceilings, and they all look out over the garden to the hill that rises across the lane. In the summer leave the windows open, let the night sounds and the fresh country air waft in…. bliss.
If you don’t know much about the Somerset Levels that’s all the more reason to come and stay at Walnut Arbour; you can go off and explore this beautiful watery landscape of flooded moors and fields edged with wet ditches known as rhynes (‘reens’). This is the only part of the country where willow is still grown for commercial use, and in a former existence Walnut Arbour played its part in this centuries-old industry, being used for the storage of withies used to make baskets and hurdles. Just up the road in the village of Stoke St Gregory is the Willows & Wetlands Centre where you can find out more about this country craft, see art in the gallery and have a fat slice of cake in the café.
The Levels are an oasis of wildlife with tranquil nature reserves where you can see butterflies flitting about, spend time birdwatching, or wait for the tell-tell plop of an otter slipping into the water. One of the best reserves is the Cattcott Lows Complex, but if you want to see the famous starling murmurations in the winter you should go to Westhay Moor or Ham Wall for the best displays. Just across the road is the River Tone where you can stroll along the banks for a bite to eat at the Bird in Hand at North Curry; in the other direction is Burrow Mump with the King Alfred Inn at the bottom of the hill, perfect for a laid back pub lunch.
And you have to sample traditional Somerset cider! We recommend Bere Cider Company or Wilkins Cider Farm; you’ll feel the pace of life slow down. Go to Langport for a stroll along the banks of the River Parret, walk to Muchelney and explore the abbey ruins; whilst you’re there have a look round the Priest’s House (NT) and the little parish church where if you look up you’ll see a barrel ceiling painted with colourful angels. It’s not far to Glastonbury with its kooky shops and colourful streets; climb the Tor and return to the town for a bite to eat at the Who’d A Thought It Inn. Potter round the antiques centre in Somerton and have lunch at the White Hart; spend a day in Wells seeing the splendrous cathedral and the moated Bishops Palace where swans pull the bell when they want to be fed.
Shopaholics should head for Taunton or Clark’s Village, neither are far. Beach lovers should go to Lyme Regis on the Jurassic coast, less than an hour away; stroll along the historic Cobb, get some fish and chips and watch the boats come and go in the harbour, book up a mackerel fishing trip. For good old-fashioned seaside fun go to Weston-Super-Mare on the Somerset coast; two miles of golden sands with donkey rides and heaps of fun to be had on the pier. When you come to Walnut Arbour, one thing’s for sure; you’ll be going home refreshed and invigorated, fresh as a daisy.