After months of planning, our weekend at Swallow’s Orchard in the Glastonbury countryside finally came round. We were lucky to stumble across this place over four years ago when we were planning a farewell weekend retreat with one of my oldest and best friends, who was emigrating to Australia. In organising that weekend, she unearthed a real gem.
We’ve been keen to revisit since but this place has always been booked up far in advance. This time, however, we were extremely lucky that at short notice, and on a surprise trip home for the said best friend, the wonderful Swallow’s Orchard was free.
Swallow’s Orchard is one of a growing number of properties owned and managed by Woodlands Retreats. Their current accommodation portfolio of nine properties ranges from smaller properties, sleeping from four people, to larger properties, sleeping up to twenty people. You can search their accommodation options here.
We chose Swallow’s Orchard as it suited the number of guests in our party, which was six when we first visited and seven on this occasion.
Swallow’s Orchard boasts three en-suite bedrooms, two of which are doubles and one which is a twin. The master bedroom is spacious and airy, with views to the front, across the countryside and towards Glastonbury Tor. This bedroom is stunning, with an open-plan bathroom area, with double sinks, a bath and glazed shower. Tip: If you’re sharing with a friend in here as opposed to your partner, make sure you’re not too prudish or arrange times when you can be alone to shower.
The twin bedroom is the smaller of the three but is beautifully decorated, with plush throws and cushions on the beds, a built-in mirrored wardrobe and a small en-suite. The views from this bedroom also face towards Glastonbury Tor.
The double bedroom, which is nearest to the living area boasts a small terrace with French doors opening out onto it, where you can sit and take in the sights and sounds of the glorious Somerset countryside. We saw deer from this terrace each morning.
On arrival, all bedrooms were beautifully prepared, with crisp white sheets, fluffy white towels and complimentary toiletries from The White Company.
Swallow’s Orchard is an L-shaped, single level property, the bedroom wing contained within the original barn and the open-plan living area an additional extension at a right-angle to the bedroom wing.
There is a well-equipped kitchen, with well-stocked pan drawers and crockery cupboards and a small selection of condiments left by previous guests. There is a large fridge and freezer so that you can stock up on your arrival to save you having to venture too far.
The lounge is cosy and welcoming, with a log-burner, which is prepared and ready for use on arrival. Fresh firewood and kindling is available on request. We just loved lounging on the huge L-shaped sofa or sitting at the large dining table, which more than comfortably seats six.
The living area is faced with bi-folding doors, which look out onto a private garden, which is tucked away within the nook of the L-shape of the building. We really liked how private this property felt.
The garden is equipped with sun-loungers, dining furniture, including a fire-pit with barbecue and a hot-tub which seats six (We comfortably sat seven of us in there though)
Overlooking the garden is a beautiful apple orchard, which I hadn’t noticed on our last visit, but at this time, it was in full autumnal bloom.
All of the Woodlands Retreats properties have exclusive use of the Sedum Spa, but if you stay at Swallow’s Orchard, you’re lucky to be able to dash across the drive to the spa, which is a mere ten metres from the front door.
The spa is extremely tranquil and each time we visited was very quiet. There’s a booking system in place, to allow groups to visit together and to avoid too many people from the various accommodations visiting all at once.
The facilities are superbly maintained, stocked with fresh, fluffy towels, flip-flops and waffle robes. The changing area includes lockers and hair dryers.
There are numerous loungers and settees around the pool, which can often be a problem in other spas, but not here; there are plenty. There are treatment rooms and a sauna, which are all beautifully clean too. There’s also a gym, complete with treadmill, weights, rowing machine and other equipment.
The spa is glazed along the front and side, overlooking the green countryside and out towards a hot-tub. On booking your stay at one of the Woodlands Retreats properties, the spa will contact you to explain about their treatment and booking programme. I’ve linked to the Sedum Spa here.
There really is no beating this setting. The nearby town of Glastonbury is a short ten minute drive away and Clark’s Village at Street is only a little further. There are plenty of walks around Swallow’s Orchard, which take in the breath-taking countryside, including some which pass by local pubs; how convenient.
Whether you’re looking to book a girly weekend, or a cosy weekend with friends and family, this is a place I’d definitely recommend. They are dog and child-friendly and the staff are only too happy to help with extra requests. I should also say that we were invited to arrive at any time on the Friday and didn’t have to check-out until 4pm on the Sunday; this is a real bonus, I think.
Thanks for reading again. I hope you’re inspired to take a look at the Woodlands Retreats website.