As a Londoner, escaping to the country every now and then to reacquaint oneself with fresh air and ‘The Great Outdoors’ is a must. Hencote provides that well-needed space for detoxification and relaxation in the heart of rural England.
With stunning views of the town of Shrewsbury below and the Welsh hills in the distance, the newly opened 65-acre wellness retreat is perfectly serene. Meant for group rental, The Grange, a renovated Georgian farmhouse, has five bedrooms sleeping up to 12 guests, making it perfect for family and friend gatherings, intimate wedding festivities, corporate retreats and the like.
The Grange emanates tranquillity from the moment you enter. Everything from the colour scheme to the tableware is immaculate, yet it still feels cosy and welcoming enough to be your second home. Greeted with steaming peppermint teas, we were shown around the two-floor property. The kitchen and dining room is open-plan so that guests can see talented chef Paul Foster preparing the day’s deliciously balanced meals right in front of them, chatting openly and making meal requests based on dietary needs and wants, of which he is expertly accommodating.
As we waited for lunch, we lounged in the living room drinking cucumber-infused water as a wood burning stove crackled in the background and rain spattered the windows outside. If this is hygge, I now understand the world’s newfound obsession with it.
Now, the bedrooms.I truly believe that one of the main keys to a healthy mind and body is a good night’s sleep and it is clear that Hencote does too. Staying in the luxurious master bedroom, we enjoyed a super king size bed, chaise lounge, large TV and sumptuous white bathrobes, as well as an ensuite with a sauna, walk-in shower, his-and-hers sinks and a pristine white roll top bath. Oh, and there was a TV in there too (complete with waterproof remote). Each bedroom also has individually controlled heating that embraces you in a blanket of warmth as soon as you enter.
As delightful as it is inside The Grange, a stay at Hencote is not just about lounging around. With an aim to nourish and replenish you inside and out, a range of classes and excursions run throughout the weekend, such as hikes, core cardio, nutrition talks, energising yoga and mindfulness. Although non-compulsory, you’ll be eager to try each one as they are led by industry experts who come to the retreat especially for the classes. Weather permitting, the core cardio classes take place outside on the estate’s grounds. On Saturday morning, we enjoyed an hour-long boxercise session in the crisp autumn air that gave us unparalleled views of the gorgeous English countryside. Starting with a warm-up of star jumps, mountain climbers and squats, we then got into pairs and took it in turns to don boxing gloves or pads for a very thorough exercise session that undoubtedly burned off last night’s dinner.
Speaking of food, the meals were incredible. Throughout the weekend, we enjoyed everything from healthy salads, energy balls and invigorating juices to warm comfort food such as homemade carrot and butternut squash soup with freshly baked bread. Another favourite of mine was the lentil ragu with sweet potato mash and seasonal vegetables. To suit all range of dietary requirements, some guests enjoyed vegetarian alternatives for their meals and there were even soy and dairy-free (coconut) yoghurts available for dessert and breakfast.
As the Irish proverb goes, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” Over the course of my weekend at Hencote, I certainly had both and left feeling on top form and ready to return to city life.
Read our interview with Hencote founder, Andy Stevens, to find out more about the estate’s beginnings.