If you are looking for a totally relaxed rural getaway that just exudes luxury and quality, we have been lucky enough to discover that at Pen Hill, Nottinghamshire.
Little did we know how much the self-catering accommodation would have to offer until we arrived with our little dog Bandit. Nestled in The Vale of Belvoir with spectacular views of unspoilt rural countryside 360 degrees, you can see three counties, Nottingham, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire.
We felt as though we could have quite easily settled into this retreat and just wound down for the weekend. With the cosy log burner lit, and the central heating on, it felt like a shame to leave the accommodation at all, which if you wanted to wind down, kick back and enjoy the comforts here you honestly would not need to leave the house at all.
Our last day at The House on the Hill would make a perfect example of the splendour of this place, it was a Sunday morning whilst having breakfast and a morning coffee, we looked out of the window and spotted a couple of Roe deer wandering past, totally oblivious to us as they moseyed along at the front of the property in the morning sunlight, they eventually wandered off into another field and we watched them until they were out of sight.
Later, a beautiful hare came bounding along the path in front of the daffodils. What a wonderful start to Mother’s Day.
We were already acquainted with the area, and we knew there would be plenty of canal walks and public footpaths throughout the area to explore during our stay at Pen Hill self-catering accommodation and we made the most of the opportunity with our dog, Bandit.
He had a great weekend with lots of countryside walking and snuggling beside the log burner in his bed during the evenings. Bandit felt completely settled and at home during our stay, he went into his bed while indoors and behaved very well.
Even after being taken out to the fields for a late evening toilet opportunity, he would run back to the front porch to be let back in and go back to his cosy bed that we placed in the main hall beside the radiator for night-time sleeping.
The House on the Hill has its own dog feeding station with water and food bowls in the kitchen and they supply a couple of dog blankets in the living room if your dog wants to join you on the settee. Our little Bandit was quite happy to snooze in his own bed with his little plush lion toy. Dog sitting can be arranged with the owners when booking the accommodation at a small extra fee.
Evening Sunset Walk
Our first local walk from the accommodation was a sunset walk across a couple of fields and onto the Grantham canal for a while until we came to a quiet country lane that was a short distance back to The House on The Hill where the fairy lights were lit, glowing gently as we walked back up the driveway.
This was a 5-mile walk, an easy going pace and only becoming slightly raised as we came back to the house, it is situated on a little hill which gives it the name and why the views are so spectacular all around with nothing to spoil it, there are no other houses in sight for miles giving total privacy.
The lovely hosts, Jo and Richard live in the adjoining property behind the accommodation and are very welcoming and helpful, they are available for any assistance or fresh towels etc you might need during your stay.
The front porch is a relaxing spot to sit at any time of the day and because of its enclosed space with windows it stays sheltered. We would sit and take off our walking boots here and leave them under the bench to dry them off at the end of the day.
Pen Hill Accommodation is set in the stunning Vale of Belvoir at Colston Bassett, it is a tranquil rural location that is perfect for getting away from it all, the property is set in sixteen acres of grassland, a wonderful base for going for country walks or cycling if you enjoy active days out, and the scenery would make a perfect spot for artists to create beautiful art in my opinion.
There are some quaint little villages in the surrounding area that are worth visiting too. The country lanes are easy to walk along if you are connecting canal walks with field footpaths, the grass verges are wide and walkable unlike some places we have walked before, so there’s never any worry about taking a walk along the lanes until reaching the next footpath.
There are public footpaths directly out the door that connect to a whole network of walks. There are some maps in the information folder at the property for you to follow a few different paths and variations of lengths of walks.
The address for The House on the Hill is Colston Bassett, in Nottinghamshire, but the full address and directions to find the accommodation will be given when booking due to the house being off the main road, Hose Lane and up a driveway. The postcode is NG12 3UU
The House on the Hill
Booking the accommodation gives you full access to the whole house, a two bedroomed property that sleeps 5 adults and an infant. Bedroom one has a king-sized bed and settee, chest of drawers etc, and bedroom two is a family sized room with a king-sized bed, a single bed and has a cot, there is a dressing table and wardrobes too, both rooms are very spacious with absolutely gorgeous views across the countryside.
I enjoyed the natural light from the large windows, and I could easily look at those country views from the bedroom for hours, I would bring binoculars next time so that I could identify birds and spot the deer and hares further across the fields.
They provide an excellent quality hairdryer which I found especially useful on our visit.
On the ground floor there is a generously sized kitchen diner with all facilities, such as a dishwasher, washing machine with washer tablets and a hob and oven plus a microwave, a kettle and toaster.
There is a large fridge freezer in the kitchen which would be useful for stocking up for your stay, especially if you were stopping for a full week.
Jo and Richard provide a very delicious welcome pack which will be set out on the kitchen table when you arrive, it consists of a tasty home baked loaf of bread, six free range eggs that are sourced from a local hen keeper. We visited the hens ourselves and bought a dozen eggs to bring home at the end of our stay, they are happy hens indeed.
There is some delicious jam and marmalade from a local producer in Belvoir, Barlows of Belvoir. there is plenty of fresh milk in a jug in the fridge and a large pat of butter in a butter dish in the fridge.
Olive oil and seasonings are available in the kitchen cupboard and there’s a variety of different teas, filter coffee and instant coffee, so we had everything we needed to start our break without needing to venture outside.
All the major supermarkets will deliver to the property if you want to stock up on food for the rest of the duration for your stay, or you could maybe do a little shop before arriving and bring it with you, the village shops are not as well stocked and we noticed that on a Saturday they close early, before lunch time.
The large lounge area contains an amazingly comfortable settee, a large coffee table a wide choice of family boardgames under it and two leather chairs with foot stools.
There is a very cosy log burner that is supplied with logs and kindling for your stay and more available if you should need it. There is a writing desk in the living room that you can work from if you need to continue working while you are away, the Wi-Fi at the property is strong too if you wondered, so there is no problem connecting with family or colleagues during your break.
The T.V has lots of options available from sports through to Netflix, Sky TV and so much more on. Again, downstairs the windows are big, and they let in lots of natural light which I really enjoyed. We left the curtains open to watch the night sky as it changed from sunset to starry evening. Throughout the house the ceilings are high giving a very spacious feeling.
There is a downstairs toilet and shower room supplied with full sized quality shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toilet rolls and towels.
Upstairs there is another bathroom with a shower and a bath, the bathroom is also supplied with excellent quality hair and body products. It was lovely to have a bath available, on the Saturday we walked a lot of miles in the rain, and sometimes it is good to have a soak at the end of the day.
The large bath sheets are exceptional quality, comfortable and soft and perfectly warm when you drape them over the heated towel rack in the bathroom before using them.
There are a lot of toys and books at the house, there is something for all ages including a play kitchen. Lots of the toys are learning tools and everything is high quality.
I noticed that there is a baby changing mat and wash bowl for babies available. It would be a wonderful place to bring families together for some quality time.
Jo can babysit for you if you want to go out in the evening, and she has 35 years’ experience with pre-school age children and has an enhanced DBS police check. It is worth noting because I have rarely seen this available, especially with self-catering holidays.
Heated Outdoor Pool
During the summer months between June and September the outdoor heated swimming pool is open for up to four hours of uninterrupted personal use.
This might be extended to cold water swimming if requested at the time of booking from around April time, ask when making a booking.
Personally, I love the idea of the heated outdoor pool in the summer months, I’m not a fan of cold-water swimming, but plenty of people are braver and more adventurous than me.
Places to visit and things to do
When we came to stay, we had some walks planned and a choice of walking boots or wellies to choose from, we chose to wear walking boots for our walk on the Saturday.
We visited the village of Long Clawson first, known for its delicious blue vein cheeses from the Long Clawson dairy, it is a small quiet village, and we do recommend that you try the local cheese.
Soon after we walked the public footpaths to the tiny village of Hose followed by a walk along the canal tow path towards Harby, we came off the tow path and walked the last mile by road and into the village of Harby where we dried off in front of a log fire at the Nags Head Inn, Bandit warmed up and fell asleep.
The Nags Head Inn do serve a good range of tasty looking food there and it smelt delicious, but we had just missed the lunch time service. It is a very warm and friendly, welcoming pub.
Once rested and dried off, we headed back towards Colston Bassett along the road until reaching the next section of canal and we arrived at the accommodation at dusk, a 12-mile circular walk.
Walking to Hickling basin and through the area is somewhere I would recommend. If you walk from Hickling to Kinoulton this is another beautiful area where we have enjoyed family walks along the tow path for many years, there is a lovely tearoom at Hickling Basin and the Plough Inn beside the canal.
While in the Vale of Belvoir it’s a fantastic opportunity to make a visit to the splendid Belvoir Castle which dates to Norman times.
The castle opens at the weekend only until the 1st of April when it reopens fully and the gardens and lake open 11am – 5pm. The kids Adventure playground area opens daily 9.30am till 5pm.
There is a lovely shopping area called The Engine Yard Shopping Village with a nice variety of shops, each with individual opening times.
At The Engine Yard there’s the Fuel Tank Café that you will find open 10am – 4pm through Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm at the weekend.
The postcode for getting to Belvoir Castle is NG32 1PE
St Mary’s Church Colston Bassett
The ruined church is peaceful place to visit, not only is it of great historical importance but also a calm place to admire.
The development of the site spans eight centuries and the very oldest part of the building dates to the Basset family and the Norman King Henry l, it is the walled in north arcade. I feel it would be a perfect place to sketch and paint.
The Dirty Duck Pub
The Dirty Duck Pub is walkable from the accommodation if you like a good long walk, 12.9 miles there and the same milage back.
Walk along the Grantham canal, via Harby, Plungar, Redmile and Muston. But if you don’t want to walk that distance it is equally nice to drive to The Dirty Duck Pub for some beautiful walks along the canal or the Viking Way, and a lunch at the pub or tearooms.
The map to do this walk is available in the information folder at The House on the Hill.
Pen Hills accommodation is close enough to a wide range of attractions within a short driving distance because it borders these three counties giving good access to lots of places to explore, to shop or to have adventures. One of my favourite places is Wollaton Hall and Deer Park in Nottingham.
If you have a day to spare in Nottingham, I advise you to book tickets for The City of Caves whilst you are there, it is well worth a visit and the tickets can be booked through The National Justice Museum.
The county of Leicestershire has plenty of attractions to offer too if you don’t mind a little drive to have a fun day out.
If you enjoy bird spotting and nature, a drive to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Attenborough Nature Reserve is just the ticket, I can personally recommend it there, I walk there regularly. The Attenborough Nature Reserve has a café and visitor centre and accessible paths around the lakes and river Trent.
Lincolnshire too has many fun and interesting attractions worth visiting in fact within the surrounding areas you could fill more than a week’s worth of fun locations to visit. I enjoy visiting the beautiful county of Lincolnshire often.
Pen Hill Framing
Richard runs a bespoke picture framing service from his onsite workshop where you can also book a personalised experience for a morning learning session on framing using a very wide range of materials.
You will also be given expert interior design advice on matching your framing materials to your personal décor. Visiting the workshop is by appointment only and whether you want to book a morning learning session or you would like Richard’s expert framing advice for that special memory or artwork, I highly recommend you contact Pen Hill Framing to get the quality for your framing.
We really enjoyed visiting Richard’s workshop and seeing how he works, discovering the multitude of materials available and seeing how art glass makes a substantial difference when framing a special art piece, there is no glare whatsoever and in fact it looks invisible, we hadn’t heard about it before or course, but we found it fascinating.
To book a morning’s one to one framing course just go to the Pen Hill Framing website and enquire about availability.
We have enjoyed our visit to Pen Hill Accommodation immensely, I feel it is the perfect retreat for a luxury rural getaway or to bring a family for some quality time together.
Being dog friendly accommodation also makes it much easier to relax and unwind without the worry of arranging dog care, and our Bandit had such a wonderful time as we did, going for country walks and being able to return to a superb and cosy home to settle down for the night.
The king-sized bed was also extremely comfortable, and I slept incredibly soundly. The owners, Jo and Richard made us feel very welcomed. We cannot thank them enough for such a wonderful, relaxed break.