Enjoy a break in the beautiful Test Valley, Hampshire and stay somewhere that offers something unusual or just a bit different. What could be more fun than staying in a treehouse overlooking a vineyard, a converted narrow boat or converted railway carriage! And whilst you’re here, spend time enjoying your surroundings, exploring the area, getting involved in activities and events and visiting local attractions – from historic houses and gardens to nature reserves, theme parks and museums.
The Meadow Glamping is full of surprises including 3 unique glamping units – Wild Billy’s, an authentic travelling gypsy caravan dating back to 1890, Mary’s Place, a boutique bohemian hideaway and new for this year, The Magic Rat, an original 23foot narrowboat moored next to its own mini island on a lake. For non-glampers there are two beautiful newly decorated double rooms – Rosalita’s and Diamond Jackie’s – available to let in the annexe. To add to the magic and mystery Amanda the tarot reader will visit The Meadow for private readings in the perfect setting (for an extra cost). Chalk stream fishing, wine or gin tasting and clay pigeon shooting can also be arranged. Delivery of amazing home cooked fresh meals to your Glamping unit will also be available and, for a special treat The Meadow Glamping can organise a romantic surprise dinner set up for your loved one. Just pop out for a walk or drink at the pub. When you return there will be a table set beautifully by the lake or the brook with fairy lights and candles ready for your meal to be delivered. New for this year is a partnership with local butcher Hogget and Boar for BBQ meats and burgers to be at the glamping site ready for your arrival. If you want a break with a group of friends or family you can have exclusive use of The Meadow for 6-10 people. Why not turn this into a luxury package to include dinner, hampers, wine, chocolates and Prosecco. Plus time lounging in or by the outdoor private pool. https://www.themeadowglamping.co.uk
Or, how about sleeping in a sumptuous renovated railway carriage dating from 1922? The Sprat & Winkle is a beautiful train conversion, just a stone’s throw from the River Test and named after the old Sprat and Winkle Line. The train carriage sleeps 4 and is equipped with luxurious furnishings, contemporary fixtures, and even light fittings direct from the Orient Express, Sprat and Winkle is first class all the way! Positioned on the former platform of Horsebridge Railway Station the Sprat and Winkle is surrounded by the rural charms and sparkling waterways of Hampshire’s beautiful Test Valley. Inside there’s seating, fully equipped kitchen area and dining areas, master bedroom with en-suite shower room and 1 more bedroom with twin beds and en-suite shower room. There’s also WiFi and a TV. Outside is a garden with furniture and BBQ.as well as a play area for children. Table tennis is available on request. The whole effect is a labour love. At the end of the station drive you’ll find the charming John O’Gaunt pub, a delightful place for a drink before or after a stroll along the famous Test Way, which follows the course of the railway line just 100 metres from the station. https://hostunusual.com/categories/host-unusual/sprat-winkle
You can sip wine whilst overlooking a vineyard if you stay in a Wild Escapes treehouse. Wild Escapes create beautifully designed tree houses offering guests understated luxury in unspoiled environments across England and further afield. They believe that sustainable design can lead to exceptional experiences. The truly stunning organic Fullerton Farm is home to four new tree houses. With a location that has views and vistas second to none, the vineyard – Black Chalk – offers an idyllic wine tasting experience on your own private deck whilst you watch the sun set over the vines, unwind with a drink and enjoy one of Hampshire’s best views and biggest skies. With privileged access to the farm, guests staying in the treehouses will be able to savour the best of the surroundings. Explore the estate on foot, following trails that take you through vineyards, along the river and beyond. There are walking paths, wine tastings and seasonal truffle hunting. Everything about the sustainable and stylish treehouses ensures your stay will be the perfect blend of indulgence and nature. Fullerton Farm embraces diversification and a more responsible form of farming. The outstanding vineyard, where vines are nestled upon the South Facing slopes, produces some of the finest sparkling wine in England. www.wildescapes.com
Sleep close to nature in woodland accommodation with luxuries and a hot tub. Chilworth Woodland Retreat near Romsey offers beautiful shepherds huts and a mini log cabin- all with hot tubs outside! Nestled amongst ancient woodland, the site offers guests the chance to relax in beautiful natural surroundings, or get active with a walk, cycle ride, fishing or a round of golf at the neighbouring Golf Centre. Bluebell is one of the shepherd’s huts, equipped with everything you should need including a comfy double bed complete with bedding and towels, flushing toilet, electric shower, log burner, fully equipped kitchen with household essentials, outdoor seating, BBQ and fire pit. The 2nd hut, Ivy, is a more ‘down to earth’ hut but includes similar facilities (see website for details). Its slightly smaller toilet/shower room has an ingenious lifting trap door to convert it from toilet to shower. The new mini log cabin, Oak Lodge, has all you need for a great holiday including comfy double bed with bedding and towels, log burner, fully equipped kitchen with twin gas hob (no oven), microwave and fridge, toilet, shower, household essentials, outdoor seating and loungers, BBQ, chimnea and wood-fired hot tub with lights and bubbles. Golf packages and fishing can be arranged – enquire for details. https://www.chilworthwoodlandretreat.co.uk/
Sample African safari-style glamping or luxury barn conversion living on a working farm. Gambledown Farm’s safari tents have living, dining and kitchen areas, a wood-fired stove, a comfy sofa with high-chairs available to hire for little ones. All the equipment you need for cooking can be found in the kitchen. Sleeping arrangements consist of a master bedroom with king sized bed and a second bedroom with the choice of either twin beds or a bunkbed. A cosy double cupboard bed is tucked into the wall which sleeps two children and has plenty of storage underneath. There are travel cots available to hire for infants. Each tent is fitted with an internal bathroom; a hot water shower, normal flushing toilet and basin and Weber barbecue stationed outside for the true glamping experience. The 3 converted barns include the Hay Barn, which sleeps 8 in 3 bedrooms, The Cart Shed, sleeping 6 in 2 bedrooms and the one-bedroom Staddlestone Barn, sleeping 2. Each is beautifully furnished to the highest standards. Residents on the farm can buy home grown produce from the farm shop, order a breakfast hamper or BBQ box at time of booking and join in Pizza Nights. There are farm tours for those who want to learn more about the work of the farm and its animals and Gambledown also hosts Pilates and Yoga workshops and retreats, healthy cooking courses and supper clubs from time to time.
Stay in a former calf byre on the site of glorious Gardens. The Apple Rooms at Houghton Lodge Gardens, near Stockbridge are in what was once a dormant calf byre, part of the 18th century historic family home – now a bespoke collection of six individually designed boutique en-suite bedrooms named after apple trees growing in the walled garden orchard. Here you can enjoy a self-catering stay in rooms at one of Hampshire’s most beautiful privately-owned gardens. The rooms are perfect for family gatherings and can sleep up to 12 people. Also perfect for romantic getaways, people wishing to explore the area, walkers, fishermen, and families visiting their loved ones. Mahogany and oak Georgian furniture and complementary new pieces have been selected to style the rooms. All guests can enjoy free entry to the gardens during their stay. Guests will also receive a discount for the on-site Honesty tearoom. The rooms have a kitchenette with microwave, kettle, toaster and fridge but no oven or hob. Bathrooms are equipped with automatic lighting, anti-mist smart mirror, heated towel rail and under floor heating. There is free WiFi, linen, Smart TV, hairdryer and ironing board . You are welcome to bring a BBQ and there are local pubs and restaurants, and take away pizza, curry and fish ‘n chips only a short drive away in Stockbridge (5 mins) and a continental breakfast hamper can be pre ordered. Dogs are welcome. See website for exact details of each of the rooms https://houghtonlodge.co.uk/apple-rooms
Try a birdwatchers paradise with pop-up wild camping on a farm. Meadow Tree Farm wild camping is a new and developing, pop up, adult only campsite on the edge of the beautiful village of Sherfield English. This environmentally friendly working farm has devoted one of its fields and a part of the woodland to those (over the age of 21) who wish to share this unique corner of the Test Valley countryside and really get back to nature. It welcomes tents, motorhomes and campervans on select weekends during the year. Surrounded by some of the best of British wildlife, the farm is ideal for watching the local buzzards and kites fight off the mobbing crows or following the progress of the nesting doves. If you’re really lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive Roe Deer. Meadow Tree Farm is also one of the few dog friendly camp sites that allow dogs of any breed to be off lead providing they are controlled and supervised at all times. Meadow Farm hopes to be able to sell produce from the farm this year, too. https://www.meadowtreefarm.co.uk/
Learn about farming while staying on a Medieval farm. Michelmersh Manor Farm is a family run mixed arable, dairy and sheep farm situated in the heart of the Test Valley countryside and surrounded by fields and livestock. The farm also has chickens, guinea fowl, peacocks and horses. The 3 self-catering properties are steeped in history – ‘Bluebells’, ‘Foxglove’ and ‘The Manor’ – offering the ideal base for families or couples wishing to experience farming life and explore the local area. The farm also has 2 new shepherd’s huts positioned together to accommodate a family of 4. The first one has a double bed, cooking facilities, hob and microwave, sink, shower and toilet. The second has a king-sized bed with enough room for a table or travel cot. There’s outside seating, a BBQ and even a fire pit. For those keen to learn more about farm life there’s plenty on offer. Holiday guests can take a tour around the farm with Fran Drake, seeing the calves and the cows being milked on the robotic milking machines.https://michelmershmanorfarm.com
Or enjoy the best of a thatched riverside hideaway with onsite art tuition and other activities. Riverside Cottage has exposed beams, flagstone floors, open fireplaces and roses round the door – a refuge from the stresses of everyday life and comprises a thatched cottage and lodge – both properties having their own unique qualities. There is also a Studio on the River. This home from home offers a cosy environment presented to a high standard and with all mod cons. This wonderful setting lends itself to small gatherings through to larger get togethers. The old cottage provides charm while the contemporary conservatories and dining room are spacious and light with views to the expansive garden. Art classes for groups or 1-2-1 sessions can be arranged in the specially designed studio by the river https://hampshireart.studio/) Highly skilled professionals lead the courses, workshops, summer schools, retreats and other events. Yoga, classes in cookery, jam-making, cake decorating, making the perfect G&T using Riverside’s lavender gin. flower arranging and pampering sessions can also be arranged. https://www.riversidelifestyle.co.uk/
Sample country sports at 2 historic hotels in the delightful town of Stockbridge. The Grosvenor Hotel has recently undergone an impressive refurbishment, along with the creation of a stunning English walled garden. The mixture of colourful contemporary fabrics and lighting, paired with original antiques, artwork and artisan pieces, give the hotel a timeless established feel. Choose from the elegantly decorated bedrooms, full of colour yet restful, or the historic Tap Cottage, adjacent to the hotel, with its three double bedrooms, all en-suite, a kitchen and a and a sitting room, once a drinking establishment known as The Tap Inn in the 19th Century. Enjoy The Garden for al fresco dining or drinks. There is even a separate dining courtyard with ‘cocktail corner’ and bread oven for non-residents to enjoy. Why not stay at the hotel and enjoy traditional sporting activities popular in the Test Valley – fishing (the Test was the birthplace of fly fishing as we know it) Whether you are fishing for the first time and need some expert tuition or are an “old hand”, the hotel can arrange everything you need for a wonderful experience. There is nothing better than stalking a trout in the morning and then outwitting him after a glass of champagne and a delicious lunch by the river in the late afternoon rise. The hotel can offer Kingfisher hampers for guests spending days on the river. The Grosvenor also offers pheasant and partridge shooting, clay shooting and deer stalking.www.thegrosvenorstockbridge.com The Greyhound on the Test is on the River Test with gorgeous rooms, riverside casual dining area and restaurant. In the rooms quirky 16th century character meets contemporary chic. There are walk-in drenching US-style showers and charming baths, flat screen televisions with freeview – all perfect for unwinding after a long day indulging in boutique shopping, sightseeing or country pursuits before your leisurely dinner. Naturally, you can help yourself to a variety of hot and cold refreshments in your room. What’s more, there’s an honesty bar on the landing, stocked with favourite tipples, snacks and extras. Seven en-suite rooms are upstairs above the restaurant and parlour. A further three rooms are in the leet cottage, two of which are on the ground level – ideal for people who prefer easy access. Enjoy outdoor pursuits such as fly fishing, game shooting and clay pigeon shooting, or simply enjoy champagne and charcuterie and cheese plates to share in the riverside garden bar. thegreyhoundonthetest.co.uk
For further information about visiting the Test Valley, including a range of places to stay visit http://www.testvalley.gov.uk/communityandleisure/tourism