Travel

Into the Woods: amazing tree houses for the perfect weekend break

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I never used to like autumn. It always seemed to feel like the beginning of the end, the slow, cold march towards a long, dark winter. But then, children came along, and quite frankly, I didn’t have time to dwell on it anymore. And then, without even thinking about it, I found that I actually rather liked the season. The changing colours, snuggly knits, crunchy leaves, bunkering down inside when the wind is whipping up outside and of course, those bright blue autumnal days that are just so beautiful because they are so rare. With all this in mind, I’ve also grown fond of autumnal breaks. This year we’re off to CenterParcs and I’m actually really looking forward to cosying up in a cabin in the woods, but where I’d really like to be staying is a treehouse. A lovely, luxurious treehouse which makes you feel like some glorious bird of paradise nesting up in the treetops…And oh, I’ve found some beauties…

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The Luxurious One

Let’s start with the all-out, knock-your-socks off one, because why not? I visited Chewton Glen several years ago and fell in love with its old-school loveliness, New Forest location and completely amazing spa. At the time, accommodation was restricted to the hotel, but these days you can stay in a beautiful tree house suite in the woods. More Grand Designs than Tarzan Goes Ape, the suites are fabulously contemporary with large private decks, full-length windows and curved walls. Very private (breakfast hampers are quietly delivered through a hatch), some suites have pod bedrooms accessed via walkways, others are all self-contained. There’s 130 acres of grounds to romp through, brilliant baby facilities and of course, that fab spa. Heaven.

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The Get-Away-From-It-All One

Nestled in the woods in a valley in remote Wales, the six tree houses at Living Room are about as authentic as it gets. Built into the trees (no stilts) and blending seamlessly into the natural environment, the open-plan treehouses feature wood-burning stoves, a gas hob, a double bed and bunk beds. There’s no electricity, so staying here really is all about getting back to nature, with lanterns, lamps and candles flickering and the sound of babbling stream outside. If you want to take a break from 24/7 internet access and really get away from it all, this is the one for you. From £379 for a 2-night stay for 2 people. From £399 for a family of 4 for 2 nights.

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The Safari One

You don’t have to head to Africa to go on safari. At Port Lympne, the Aspinall family’s safari park in Kent, guests can stay in one of 10 tree houses designed by It-interiors expert Tara Bernhard. Whilst not strictly tree houses (more suites on stilts), the rooms are gorgeous with sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors, an open-plan living space, mid-century furniture and fab wallpaper. Add to this the chance to go on ‘safari’ and see animals such as rhino, giraffe and zebra, and you have a brilliantly unique weekend away. From £300 per suite, per night.

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