For my 30th birthday present my lovely other-half showed exactly why I love him by appealing to my love of the unusual. He arranged for us to go for a weekend stay in a tree house in the glorious Chiltern countryside. Located on North Hill Farm in Chorleywood, a small village in Hertfordshire, this family- run business encompasses a number of unique accommodation options – the main lodge-style guest house, a yurt, a shepherd’s hut, and a beautiful tree house, where we were to lay our heads for two nights back in August.
Now I could start telling you how we’d truly escaped from the busy city into the countryside, when in reality it was only just outside of the M25 – But there isn’t anything further from London life than a tree house! Placed 5 metres up from the ground, the tree house sits sturdy with access via a wooden staircase and a slightly bouncy rope bridge! The outside follows you inside, as almost everything you see is made of hand-carved wood; from the shelving, to the light fixture, to the seat on the outside veranda, and even the bathroom window! The walls are simple chipboard, however this lends to the overall rustic feel of the place – especially as the owners have painted murals of trees throughout.
But just because it was rustic didn’t mean we went without home comforts – there was a flat-screen TV with DVD player and a selection of DVDs (which I am sure would have come in handy if the weather turned bad – my favourite being Run, Fat Boy Run). A small bathroom on the side of the room had a fully functioning toilet with sink, complete with drinkable water. The owners also provided a fridge and all cutlery and crockery that we could possibly need. To add to the experience, every morning we received a basket of breakfast at the front door, with cereals, hot toast and pastries, fresh milk and juices (included in the price). Breakfast in bed, in a tree house – I challenge you to find something more unique!
The huge bed faced two glass sliding doors, which lead out onto the veranda with a magnificent view across the Chess Valley. A highlight of the trip for me was laying in bed in the morning (a unique experience in itself), with the sliding doors open, listening to the wind in the trees and the horses in the field below. Absolute escapism bliss!
One question I hear you ask – where is the shower? Now this might be one small factor that might test the hardiest of outdoors people! The hot-water shower is actually on the veranda, in the open air, with a shower curtain and some thin fencing! The water rolls off onto the grass below which is one way to ensure you keep the place private! The owners will show you another bathroom that is available in the main lodge, but we decided to brave the outdoors to its fullest – maybe if you want to go part-way you can wear a swimsuit!
The Chilterns is an area of outstanding natural beauty and consists of beautiful wildlife, chalk streams, farmland, and some ancient landscapes dating back to the Bronze Age. We spent hours walking and biking in the area’s numerous paths and lanes, stopping at some very nice local pubs. Our recommendations would include The Gate in Chorleywood for dinner – a modern gastro-pub with reasonably priced meals and good ales on tap (which pleased the boy!). For a nice stop-off on a walk, try The Cock Inn at Sarratt, where you have an old-fashioned, low-ceiling pub with friendly staff and a large beer garden. These are just some of the places we visited on our weekend but there are numerous other places to see in the area – so why not get away for a weekend and try a tree house?
For 2 nights in the tree house at Chorleywood over a weekend it is £200 with breakfast included – mid-week rates are slightly lower (prices correct as of August 2013).
Would you like the idea of a tree house weekend? And more importantly, would you brave the outdoor shower??