As from November 9th New Year’s Eve breaks in Wales are now possible – but only if you live in Wales. If you do and you’re keen to get away for a few days for the New Year you won’t want to miss an opportunity to stay at The Benches on the edge of Monmouth. This amazing house sleeps 12 in 6 en suite bedrooms and has a hot tub, sauna, pool table and table football.
Now that the firebreak in Wales has ended two households living in Wales can form a bubble and meet indoors or go on holiday. We don’t yet know what will happen when the current lockdown in England ends on December 2nd, but for now we must all follow the guidance which dictates that there is to be no crossing the border other than for essential reasons like work and school. For the latest advice follow this link.
So, live in Wales, holiday in Wales, with the people you live with or your social bubble. It’s that simple. So you can enjoy New Year’s Eve Breaks in Wales and if there’s a group of up to 12 of you, The Benches will suit you well. It’s a lovely house for all kinds of celebrations – on the banks of the River Wye with spectacular views over the waters to the countryside beyond. This time of year it’s absolutely beautiful – you’ll be greeted each morning with the mists rising off the river and swans and ducks coming in to land; a wonderful start to the day.
You could well imagine The Benches standing on a hillside in Tuscany; this beautiful Italianette villa is just as gorgeous on the inside as it is from the outside. It has a fascinating history, designed by the aunt of the poet W H Auden who said of this house: ’My first image of Italy is associated with an aunt whose devotion to the country led her into building her dream Italian house at The Benches in Monmouth….I thought it beautiful.’ (For those of you who aren’t sure who W H Auden is, he wrote a lot of well known verse, including the poem ‘Stop All The Clocks’ that was featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral).
He’s right of course, it is indeed a beautiful house, one that you feel very privileged to stay in. It’s just the ticket for happy gatherings of friends and family, because it’s got such a gentle welcoming feel that you can’t help but relax the minute you step inside. The Arts & Crafts interiors are utterly in keeping with the essential character of the house – leaded windows, latch and brace doors, parquet flooring, and it all goes so well with the eclectic artwork, the very stylish furnishings and all the modern conveniences you need.
The hallway doubles up as a games room with a pool table and a contemporary wood-burning stove – in fact there are three of them in the house and logs are provided so get those lit and with the underfloor heating as well, you’ll be wonderfully toasty. The light and airy open plan kitchen and dining room sets the scene for merrymaking; there’s so much space, and soft seating, and a long bespoke dining table just waiting for your New Year feast. Imagine evenings sprawled on the huge U-shape sofas in the sitting room, watching movies together, playing games, or just contentedly chatting. It’s a dream, this house, we love it and we know you will too.
All bedrooms are en suite, so you’ve all got your own bathrooms; 4 are on the first floor, 1 on the ground floor and the other is in the Riverview Annexe which has full height windows making the most of those incredible river views. The annexe has its own kitchen area too, so it’s ideal for those who like their own space or want to turn in a bit earlier of an evening, perhaps for elderly grandparents or a couple with a very young baby. Bedroom 4 might be the smallest bedroom but what we love are the doors that open onto the balcony where steps lead down to the terrace. Slipping out for a peek at the stars at night, or for coffee in the morning is such a treat.
The views from the terrace are astonishing, stretching far into the distance, hence the hot tub positioned for you to enjoy them while you have a soak – what bliss! A few steps from the house is the summerhouse where you’ll find the sauna and table football, so there’s plenty to keep you all occupied whether you’re 5 or 95. The 1 acre garden has play equipment for the little ones, and lots of little pathways winding between the flowers beds and under the trees; it slopes gently down to the riverbank where a secure gate opens onto a footpath that runs alongside the river. Turn right and it’s only a short walk into town, turn left and take a peaceful stroll to The Boat Inn a couple of miles further on.
There’s so much to shout about with The Benches; it’s not just a beautiful house in a stunning waterside location, it’s also handy for pretty much everything - like family attractions, although of course, most of them will be closed this time of year. Monmouth town centre is only a ten minute walk, or a few minutes in the car, so if you don’t manage to get a grocery delivery for your New Year’s Eve break in Wales, it’s not far to go and get stocked in. If you like wrapping up warm in big coats and hats and scarves and getting out for a walk in the fresh air, you’ll be impressed with the choice of routes – right from the doorstep. Explore Offa’s Dyke and this part of the Wye Valley, or go up to The Kymin in the woods on the hill where on a clear day you’ll have staggering views over no less than 10 counties! If you’ve got the pet pooch with you, there’s no excuse for not giving him his exercise! Think positive – out with the old, in with the new; brighter days ahead. That’s got to be worth celebrating. Be quick though – book your New Year’s Eve break in Wales today!