When you turn off the lane onto the sweeping drive to Withymans and see this wonderful old farmhouse standing there, you’ll know you’ve made a fantastic choice for your large group holiday in the West Country. Withymans is so gorgeously Georgian, inside and out so there’s plenty of original features – like the marble fireplaces in the reception rooms, the huge sash windows with wooden shutters, high ceilings, picture rails and decorative plasterwork; it’s a smasher.
Staying at Withymans is like having a world of your own, far away from the hecticness of modern life; you can feel the pace slow down, drop a gear – just what you need to completely unwind. The backdrop is of the beautiful Somerset Levels, a unique, flat landscape of moors and wetlands that are a haven for birdlife (twitchers: bring your binoculars); the views stretch on for miles to the ridge of the Polden Hills and the Blackdowns; the Burton Pynsent monument rises from the woods at Curry Rivel in the near distance. Just up the road is Coates English Willow Visitor Centre at Stoke St Gregory, where you can find out more about life on The Levels; cycle along to the community shop for your bits and pieces, stop off at the village pub to try the local brew.
You might want to pack your walking boots when you come to Withymans because right from the doorstep you can set off to explore this wonderful part of Somerset and we can tell you now, there are some delights in store. Stroll along the River Tone, climb to the top of Burrow Mump and wind up with refreshments in the King Alfred Inn at the foot of the hill; head in the other direction to North Curry, have a look at the village church, ‘The Cathedral in the Moor’ and then go to The Bird In Hand for a bite to eat.
Have a mooch around Langport, walk along the River Parret, stroll over to Muchelney and visit the glorious abbey and the Priest’s House (NT). Go out to Low Ham to see the Church in the Field, have a picnic at Turn Hill Nature Reserve – there’s so much to discover! Soak up the mystic vibe in Glastonbury, chill out by the Chalice Well, climb the Tor for panoramic views across the landscape.
Spend the day browsing around Taunton, visit the Museum of Somerset, play on the high ropes at Vivary Golf & Adventure Centre; head over to Wells to see the magnificent cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace and Vicar’s Close, the oldest residential street in Europe. Take in the splendour of Cheddar Gorge in the craggy Mendip Hills, get your fill of history at Montacute House or Sherborne Castle, see how Somerset’s famous brew is made at Harry’s Cider Company. Come back to Withymans and have a soak in the hot tub as the sun goes down over the Levels; it’s another world, it’s perfick, as they say in these parts.