We arrive in Bath Spa by train – the quick hour and 50-minute journey from London Paddington whizzing us through rolling English fields, bright green in the damp spring air. It feels like minutes before we’re well and truly out of London.
On arrival, we’re met by a beautiful, small city of honey coloured stone, blossoming park spaces and veritable foodie treasure trove of teashops and gastro pubs, serving regional ales. After stopping off for a pasty (obviously) we head to the Thermae Spa to sample the natural thermal water that Bath is famed for. To avoid the queues, I’d booked my boyfriend and I a treatment – 20 minutes in the Kraxen Stove. It’s a little odd to be honest – we both sit, wrapped up to our necks in a paper towel whilst chamomile-scented heat wafts around our bodies, relaxing our muscles. Mine is too hot; Marc’s too cold and we spend a fair bit of time giggling at each other, as we look ridiculous. But it’s only a tenner and it meant we didn’t have to wait in the rain, so after we finish, we head straight up to the rooftop thermal pool which is blissfully warm in contrast to the cool open air. It’s pretty magical to float around in the heat, with the spire of a nearby church in view. Every so often Jacuzzi-esque jets bubble up the water and a waterfall gives aching shoulders a hammering. Our next room contains four large steam rooms, each with a different scented oil wafting through this mist – invigorating ginger, soothing lotus flower, relaxing sandlewood and refreshing eucalyptus mint. It’s intense but amazing and cool showers and an open-air balcony provide welcome relief from the steam.
Spa-ed up and blissed out, we stock up on food and wine for the evening and head to our accommodation for the night– Home Orchard Cabin, a short drive from Bath but miles away in terms of seclusion. Home Orchard Cabin, created and run by Daniel and Christabel, is a lovingly-built wooden cabin, surrounded by trees and flowers. Staying in it makes me feel a little like Sleeping Beauty, tucked away in the forest with her three fairies. Except of course that instead of fairies, I’m accompanied by Marc and it’s a terribly romantic place to spend our eight year anniversary. The cabin is a homage to everything beautiful about wood, unsurprising given Daniel’s career as a tree surgeon; a little table sits on the decking, adorned with tea lights in sweet lanterns floating in the trees. The table is next to an outdoor wood burner, fuelled by a large pile of chopped firewood and there is a leafy canopy overhead. Inside is just a fantastic, with gorgeous, kitsch décor that is homely and cute – from gingham ribbons on the cooking utensils to a kettle that perfectly boils water for two. Perhaps the best surprise lies in the fridge, which is stocked with wine, bread milk, croissants and homemade Victoria Sponge cake with fresh cream. Yum. We do our very best to finish the whole thing in the one night that we there.
After feasting, we curl up next to the wood burner inside the cabin and pour through the selection of DVDs and books the cabin has to offer. The bed is gloriously comfy and we sleep incredibly well and are only sad we can’t be in the cabin for longer.
On Sunday we make a pilgrimage to the King William pub, which – according to Giles Coren – does a lunch worthy of the trip alone. And, Giles Coren is not wrong. We chose the two-course menu, opting for the ham hock terrine starter with a gorgeously complimentary piccalilli. The terrine is peppered with herbs and is salty and sumptuous, the piccalilli tangy and vibrant. My main – roast beef with Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings is perfectly pink with lashings of gravy and buttery, yet crispy roast potatoes. Sunday roast heaven. Marc’s pork belly with caramelised apple was even more delicious.
Full to bursting and suitably relaxed, we head back to the train and back to busy London, but now we know of a lovely little cabin to run away to when it gets too much…