Discover the perfect escape from everyday stress in these beautiful luxury eco-lodges in Somerset
2020 has definitely been the most stressful year that I can remember. And when I’m so stressed that I can feel knots in my shoulders, all I really want to do is to get away from it all and relax.
But that hasn’t been so easy recently, either through travel restrictions or just because I’ve been feeling too anxious to travel.
Recently I was invited to visit Strawberryfield Park, a family-run holiday park in Somerset. Despite my anxieties, a weekend in a luxurious self-contained lodge with its own hot tub felt incredibly tempting. In fact it was so tempting that I accepted the invitation without hesitation!
The 14 acre park lies on the edge of the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded by the beautiful Somerset countryside. The 23 luxury lodges have been carefully and individually designed to be both beautiful and eco-friendly. Each sleeps either two or four people, and some are dog-friendly so your pooch can have a holiday too.
My youngest son Lyle jumped at the chance for a rare weekend away. I’d like to think that he wanted the opportunity to spend time with his Mom but if I’m being really honest, I think he was more interested in the opportunity to spend time in a hot tub!
How to get to Strawberryfield Park
Although Strawberryfield Park lies in a very rural area, it’s surprisingly easy to get to by car.
It’s around 11 miles east of Junction 21 of the M5, or alternatively the M3 and A303 will take you to the park if you’re travelling across from the London area.
Travelling by public transport is trickier, however, as the nearest railway station is 12 miles away at Weston Milton.
A Covid-Secure break
As I mentioned above, I’ve been feeling a little anxious about travelling during the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, so anxious that I hadn’t left Shropshire since I returned from my last trip to Scotland in March 2020.
But I really didn’t want to miss the chance to stay at Strawberryfield Park, so I checked out their Covid-secure policy. Mike and his team have obviously put a lot of thought into making sure that their guests feel comfortable and safe in the lodges.
Check-in at the lodges is now contactless, and has been moved to the later time of 4pm to make sure that there is plenty of time to clean and air the lodges between guests. After the housekeeping team have worked their magic, the interior of the lodge is sprayed to reduce the risk even further.
There are no shared facilities at the lodges, each has its own private decking area and hot tub. In fact, although I saw cars outside several of the lodges, I didn’t see any of the other guests and barely heard a sound from them either. So it’s very easy to ensure social distancing at Strawberryfield Park!
Guests are asked to play their part as well. You’re asked to always run the dishwasher on a hot wash cycle (plenty of dishwasher tabs are provided) and to strip all beds before you leave.
And then as a final precaution, you are asked to open the doors and windows 30 minutes before they leave the lodge.
There’s a copy of the Covid-19 precautions inside the guest information folder in each lodge. Our folder also included a lovely handwritten note from Mike’s mum, who is the Pamela in the name of our lodge – Pamela’s Meadow!
Comfort and Luxury at Pamela’s Meadow
The October sun was starting to set as we arrived at Strawberryfield Park for our contactless check-in at 4pm.
It’s easy enough to find the park and each lodge has its own parking space for a car outside. If you need any further space for parking, there’s room in the carpark at the top of the park’s driveway.
The key was waiting in the door at Pamela’s Meadow, and we were both very impressed by what we saw inside.
The interior decor of Pamela’s Meadow combines a sleek modern aesthetic with comfort and cosiness in an incredibly relaxing way.
The rooms are bright and fresh with ceiling to floor windows which fill the space with natural light. The wooden flooring complements the modern design, while cosy rugs and cushions and original artwork on the walls makes the lodge feel like a very luxurious home from home.
The open plan living space has plenty of comfy seating in front of a large TV, and dimmable ceiling lights create a cosy atmosphere in the evening. There’s free WiFi, a DVD player and AppleTV to help keep you entertained during your stay.
In the corner of the room there’s a wood burning stove which makes the room feel even cosier. A basket of wood, matches and firelighters is provided and you can buy further supplies if you need them.
Meanwhile the modern kitchen contains pretty much everything that you could need.
If you plan to cook during your stay, there’s a large fridge/freezer and all the usual kitchen utensils. And the dishwasher will handle the chore of washing the dishes after your meal.
There are plenty of provisions for making tea and coffee including an espresso machine.
You can book additional items for your lodge if you wish, such as a local breakfast hamper, flowers from a local florist or even a bottle of celebratory fizz.
Two Comfortable Bedrooms
Once we’d taken a look around the kitchen and living space, it was time to check out the bedrooms. Pamela’s Meadow is a two bed lodge, sleeping up to four people in one double room and one twin room.
I took the double room, which was warm and cosy with the same fresh, modern decor as the living space.
My dodgy back always makes me a little apprehensive about sleeping in a new bed, but I needn’t have worried. The mattress felt like you might imagine a very supportive cloud would feel like to sleep on. I slept incredibly well throughout our visit.
But to make sure you’re perfectly comfortable, there are extra pillows and blankets in the wardrobe. You’ll also find a travel iron, a fan and hairdryer – they’ve thought of just about everything!
The ensuite shower room has a rainfall shower and a large heated towel rail, with soft fluffy towels and slippers and some complimentary Cole & Lewis toiletries. If you’re staying for more than a few nights, you might want to take additional toiletries and loo roll with you.
Whenever Lyle travels with me, he’s always jealous that I take the master bedroom. But at Pamela’s Meadow, he was happy to discover that the second bedroom is just as good as the main room!
Lyle’s room had a similar decor to my room but his room had two comfy twin beds.
To his delight, there was also a flatscreen TV on the wall and even an ensuite shower room. That’s not something you often see in the second bedroom on a self-catering holiday, but it shows the thought that has gone into the design of these lodges.
Your own private space to relax
While Lyle settled into his room, I went outside to look around. Each of the lodges at Strawberryfield Park has its own private decking area surrounded by trees and bushes. This gives you your own secluded space to relax in.
Pamela’s Meadow has a particularly pretty garden, which was planted in a very natural style by Mike’s mother, Pamela.
The little table and chairs outside would make a lovely spot for breakfast on a sunny morning.
And at the rear of the lodge is the private deck, complete with sun loungers, a barbeque and of course the hot tub!
The team at Strawberryfield Park check the water quality in the tub each day. You’ll need to shower before you go in the pool as creams and toiletries can cause problems with the water.
We didn’t waste too much time before trying out the hot tub. Even through it was quite a cool October evening, it felt incredibly relaxing in amongst the bubbles.
I even treated myself to some bubbles of a different kind, with a glass of chilled Prosecco while I soaked in the hot tub!
Evening at Pamela’s Meadow
Strawberryfield Park is the perfect base for exploring the beautiful countryside and towns in Somerset. And at the end of the day, it provides an ideal place to return for a relaxing evening.
We decided to eat in the lodge each evening, so I brought food with us for the first night. Then we had a fantastic takeaway curry from Spice Cottage on the second night, and excellent pizza from the nearby Cider Barn for our final night in Somerset.
Lighting the log burner makes the lodge feel especially cosy – I couldn’t get over how much heat it generates!
And the decking is even lovelier after dark, with twinkling lights decorating the roof of the porch.
I live in a fairly rural area, but even I was struck by how quiet and dark Strawberryfield Park is at night. There’s very little artificial light and the guest information folder gently reminds you to keep noise levels down, because the remote setting means that sound will travel very easily.
But there’s something particularly wonderful about relaxing in a hot tub, cold drink in hand, gazing up at the stars in a cloudless sky. For a while, all of the stresses and worries that 2020 has brought with it were just a distant memory.
Things to do near Strawberryfield Park
You could easily spend all of your time at Strawberryfield Park simply relaxing in your wonderful home from home. But with so much to do in the local area, that would be a bit of a shame!
You’ll find a comprehensive list of suggestions for things to do in your guest information folder, with something to suit all tastes.
If you’re the outdoorsy type, the Mendip Hills and surrounding countryside offer masses of walks and hikes to choose from. You might like to explore the Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole or take a trip over to Glastonbury Tor.
The nearby village of Cheddar has cute independent shops to explore, and of course it’s where the famous cheese originates from.
Or if you fancy venturing further afield, you could travel by steam train on the West Somerset Railway.
The city of Wells
We spent part of our weekend visiting the nearby city of Wells. It is the smallest city in England with a population of just 10,000, and has a charming market town vibe.
If you visit Wells on a Saturday or Wednesday, you’ll find a bustling market in the main square. It has everything from independent food stalls to gifts, clothes and homewares, and when we visited most people were wearing masks and observing social distancing.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from, many of them with outdoor seating. Alternatively you could just grab a snack from the market if you prefer!
As you explore Wells, you can’t help but notice Wells Cathedral towering over the surrounding buildings.
Construction of the cathedral began in 1176 on the site of an existing church and was completed by 1450. It’s considered to be the earliest example of Gothic style architecture in an English Cathedral.
The cathedral is open to visitors and provides a peaceful refuge from the busy chatter of the city outside. Masks must be worn indoors and there is a pathway for you to follow around the building. You can venture off to explore areas of the cathedral, but the path helps to keep a general one-way system flowing.
Inside you’ll find the Wells clock, which is thought to be the second oldest clock in England still using its original mechanism. It dates back to 1390 and when it chimes every quarter hour, jousting knights rush round above the clock.
And the cathedral also has beautiful display of stained glass windows, especially in the Lady Chapel.
There’s no charge for admission to the cathedral but donations are welcome. You can make a contactless payment at a number of donation points around the site.
Current information for visitors is available on the Wells Cathedral website.
The Bishop’s Palace
Next door to Wells Cathedral, you will find the Bishop’s Palace. This has been the residence of the Bishop of Bath and Wells for the last 800 years.
You can explore inside the house including the lavishly decorated Long Room, and see the ruins of the Great Hall. As you wander around the beautifully planted gardens, you will also find the springs which gave the city its name.
And if you fancy a break after all that walking, there’s also a cafe serving light meals and snacks.
Full details including entry prices and opening times can be found on the Bishop’s Palace website.
Strawberryfield Park: Our Verdict
Under any normal circumstances, I would be raving about our stay at Strawberryfield Park.
I loved the style of our lodge, from the modern architecture and decor to the incredibly comfortable bed. The facilities inside the lodge are fantastic, and of course I absolutely loved the hot tub. Lyle did as well, he’s still trying to convince me to install one in our garden at home!
And the location is beautiful, with ample opportunities for relaxation as well as plenty of activities to keep you occupied. It’s just the perfect setting for a luxurious UK holiday.
But under these most unusual circumstances, Mike and his team have risen to the challenge. They have managed to create a Covid-secure environment that settled even my frayed nerves. The sparkling-clean lodge, attention to detail and contact-free check-in procedure made me feel very welcome, safe and completely stress-free.
Our stay was complimentary but a weekend at Strawberryfield Park starts from around £669 for three nights in a single bedroom lodge.
If you’re in need of a few days away from it all, this is the perfect escape!