Earlier this month, I had a weekend away with friends in the quintessentially English village of Fernhurst. Nestled between the borders of West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, there is a village hall, two pubs, a few shops, a post office, a cricket pitch, a green and a Church. For us girls used to London city-life, it was a totally idyllic escape to the countryside.
We stayed at The Cottage, a rustic 18th-century converted barn. The owners had taken care to maintain the original features – exposed stone walls, wooden beams and flagstone floors. The gorgeous fireplace with wood-burning stove made our cosy evenings complete…once we got the fire going.
It really was the perfect place for a girls weekend.
Sometimes you just need some good old-fashioned time with the girls – playing games, laughing until it hurts, eating chocolate and gossiping. A break from reality and a chance to recharge your batteries!
The kitchen had everything we needed – an Aga, large oak dining table and plenty of space for wine/junk food we’d all brought with us. On arrival we had a complimentary bottle of wine and carrot cake waiting for us.
The bedrooms were full of character, cosy and comfortable.
Drizzly cold weather on the Saturday gave us the perfect excuse to have a lazy day – lounging around in pyjamas until midday and munching on biscuits. Some of the girls braved the rain and explored the village. I made the most of the peace and quiet to take a nap. Napping is after all one of the few perks of pregnancy.
We spent the afternoon wandering around the nearby market town of Petworth, browsing the charming furniture shops and all fawning over the country interior style. We saw some gorgeous things – woollen blankets, amazing artwork, stunning painted furniture and wooden mirrors. I just love little independent shops and sadly they hardly exist in London.
One of my favourite things to do in country towns is to sample the local deli. The Hungry Guest Food Shop didn’t disappoint. Voted UK Delicatessen of the Year in 2015 & 2016 and as one of the top 100 shops outside London according to Vogue magazine, it is a real gem for foodies.
With its amazing range of jams, marmalades, chutneys, hand-cooked crisps, homemade pestos etc, it took huge self-control not to walk away with a basket full of goodies.
Then of course there was the compulsory pub stop at The Angel Inn. The girls sampled a few varieties of gin while I got adventurous with an Elderflower…
On Sunday, we planned a 5 mile ramble, called The Temple of the Winds, to reach the highest hill in Sussex. Alas, a lie-in and pub lunch called us so we settled with a gentle stroll for an hour instead.
A thoroughly enjoyable country retreat! Thanks to our lovely hosts as well – they even provided a fire-starting service when they found out we were struggling.
To book your own cottage in the country, go to English Country Cottages for inspiration.