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Caroline Sylger Jones
Caroline Sylger Jones

Has been visiting and reviewing spas and retreats worldwide for twelve years.

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babington house

weekends from £720 babington house england

This gorgeous Georgian house at the end of a private lane is a hip but relaxed place to stay, with creative, contemporary interiors and a fantastic walled garden spa.

Hang out on funky loungers by the giant lake, wander into the pretty church, take an early morning dip or amble through nearby countryside. Inside, there are plenty of stylish sitting and lounge areas - the House Bar is our favourite, the kind of place you can dress up to sip a martini or hunker down in your jeans with a mug of (top notch) hot chocolate.

There aren’t any dud bedrooms – most are invitingly large, with original artwork and smooth wooden floors, a mix of sleek design and handpicked homely touches such as old-fashioned lemonade bottles and vintage knitted tea cosies. Many have awesome four posters; free standing baths and walk-in showers. Food is healthy, delicious and comforting, served brasserie-style in a lovely orangery or cosier rooms.

The genius for us is Cowshed Relax, the low-slung brick and glass spa that backs on to a delicious walled garden and boasts views of pretty raised beds with little walkways. Get mucky with a signature Cowshed facial, massage, scrub or wrap, indulge in a pedicure and manicure watching a DVD on a red leather chair or have a private soak in a sunken copper bath.

To pick up your heart rate, Cowshed Active has an indoor and outdoor pool, steam, sauna and aroma room, plus a gym and fitness studio where regular classes include Stretch and Flex and Yoga Boxing. You can book a personal trainer, there are tennis courts in the grounds, a nearby cycle path along an old railway track, bikes to use and easy 3-6 mile walks from the door.


  • The original, creatively-put-together walled garden spa
  • The delicious-smelling and natural Cowshed products (used in the rooms as well as the spa)
  • The ‘do what you want, when you want’ attitude


  • This is very much a hang out for media types, though quietly confident, decent staff cleverly avoid pretentiousness
  • The steam room and sauna are rather small for a hotel of this size
  • There are no steps into the outdoor pool, so it’s not so easy to get into if you’re pregnant – a minor gripe

Healthy traveller tip

For true solace, book one of the three garden rooms alongside the spa and enjoy in-room massages, your own mini steam room and a terrace with an outdoor copper hot tub overlooking the walled garden.

Other fabulous spa hotels in England

If you would rather visit a spa where the sunshine is rather more guaranteed and you’re happy to jump on a short or a long haul flight, we can also advise you on the best spas all over the world.  See all spas worldwide

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Prices quoted are maximum prices, per night.  We can often get you better prices (sometimes much better prices) depending on the season and when you book.

From £360 to £720 per night


There aren’t any dud bedrooms – most are invitingly large, with original artwork and smooth wooden floors, a mix of sleek design and handpicked homely touches such as old-fashioned lemonade bottles and vintage knitted tea cosies. Many have awesome four posters; free standing baths and walk-in showers.  All rooms feature:

  • king size beds
  • Flat screen TV with Sky+
  • DVD player
  • Ipod docks
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hair dryers
  • Complimentary tea and coffee are included in each room in addition to a mini-bar. 
  • The bathrooms feature rainforest showers and come fully stocked with a range of full-size Cowshed products.


Main House Attic Rooms: Located on the top floor of the Main House.

Main House 1st or 2nd floors: The bedroom features a king size bed, and an additiional TV in the bathroom.  The bathroom comes equipped with free standing roll-top baths, some of which are in the bedroom area.  Main House Large Doubles are not suitable for children.

The Coach House Large Double:  located in the Coach House building, adjacent to the Main House. Rooms located on the 1st floor feature mezzanine style bedroom and all rooms come equipped with free standing roll-top baths, some of which are in the bedroom area.  Coach House Large Double rooms are not suitable for children.

The Lodge:  This two-storey cottage located at the top of the driveway is a six minute walk from the Main House.  On the ground floor, there is a cosy sitting room with its original a fireplace. The sitting room leads onto a fully equipped kitchen with a family table big enough for 8.  Two bedrooms also share the ground floor space, one double room that can be made into a twin along with a bunk room. Upstairs is a further double bedroom overlooking the surrounding countryside and a spacious bathroom featuring an antique style roll-top bath.
Guests may order room service to the Lodge, although we are unable to offer an evening turn down service.

Stable Block:  These bedrooms are located between the Coach House and Cowshed spa. These family rooms are built on two levels. The upper floor has an outside terrace, large bedroom with King Size bed and a large tiled bath.  The ground floor comprises a sitting room with a further TV and iPod dock, a bunk room with two beds for children along with a separate wet room and loo.

Walled Garden:  These rooms are adjacent to the Cowshed Relax spa. Walled Garden rooms feature a sitting area with upholstered chairs and sofas.  The sitting area leads onto an outdoor terrace with a private soaking tub made for two. Above the sitting room is a mezzanine style bedroom overlooking the Victorian Walled Garden. The bathroom features a private steam room, roll-top bath and rainforest shower. Walled Garden rooms are not
suitable for children.

The Playroom:  Measures 65 square metres and is located on the first floor of the Main House.  With sweeping views of the grounds and lake, the Playroom features a huge bed custom made for Babington House, flat screen TV with Sky+ and a DVD player, iPod dock and free Wi-Fi.  A complimentary full size bar with a large selection of spirits and wines is available to guests of the Playroom.  Full English Breakfast for two is also included.  The Playroom is not suitable for children.

Restaurants and bar

The House Kitchen: located on the ground floor, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Last orders are at 11pm.  Full English and Continental breakfast is available from 7am until 12 noon. The lunch and dinner menus are available between 12 noon and 11pm.

The Orangery: located towards the back of the Main House and with views that extend over the grounds and lake, the Orangery is the main dining space within the House and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It can also be hired privately for larger groups, including weddings. The seating can bearranged in a variety of configurations for up to 80 guests.

The Log Room:  located in the Main House with doors leading into the Orangery, the Log Room can seat up to 38 people.  It is open to members and guests throughout the day and also available for private hire.  With full AV equipment, it is an ideal space to hold a meeting or brainstorming session.

The House Bar: located on the ground floor serves drinks and snacks from 8am to 3am seven days a week.  There is a spacious central bar, comfortable sofas, open fire and two LCD screens for watching sports.

The Study:  a small room which can be booked during the day or in the evenings for informal meetings or dinners for up to 8 people. Presentation equipment and wireless internet access are available.

Cowshed spa

The Cowshed Spa is separated into two areas – Cowshed Active and Cowshed Relax.  Located behind the Main House, Cowshed Active is a place to exercise and regenerate. It is home to swimming pools, steam, sauna and aroma rooms, as well as a fitness studio and gym.

With sweeping views of the House’s Victorian Walled Garden, Cowshed Relax is a place to indulge, relax and pamper. There is a shop, three bedrooms with private treatment facilities and extensive treatment areas separated into Dry and Wet.

There is a vast number and range of treatments.These include facials, massages, manicures and pedicures.
and pedicures.

  • 15.5 indoor pool
  • 18m outdoor pool
  • Floodlit hard tennis court
  • 4 grass tennis courts
  • Football pitch
  • Croquet lawn
  • Cricket pitch
  • Bicycles
  • Gym fitness studio
  • Aroma room
  • Sauna
  • Steam room

Cowshed spa opening hours

  • Treatments open 10am – 8pm
  • Gym and Pools open 7am – 10pm
  • Children’s Swimming Hours 9:30am – 11:30am + 3:30pm – 6pm


Adjacent to the Cowshed, the cinema can accommodate 45 people in raked seating and has fully integrated audiovisual facilities. It shows a full range of films from pre-release screenings and old favourites to themed festivals and children’s films.  Screenings are free for residents and members and take place on selected afternoons and most evenings. The Cinema is also available for private screenings and presentations.

Things to do nearby

  • Ballooning
  • Golf
  • Rock climbing
  • Horse riding
  • Shooting

All off-site activities can be organised in advance or through reception once you've checked in. Babington House also have a number of bicycles available for guests to use and there is a good network of bridle and footpaths in
the area.

Family facilities and services

Children aged one upwards can be looked after in the Little House where entertainment, games and other activities are provided for all ages. There is no charge for hotel residents.  The Little House is located between the Stable Block and Cowshed.

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday: 9am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9am – 6pm

Childrens’ swimming hours are from 9.30am to 11.30am and 3.30pm to 6.00pm. Private or group swimming lessons can be arranged.

Important information regarding children

All children must be signed in and out of the Little House.  You must remain on the premises of Babington House while your children are signed into the Little House.  You must read the Little House’s Rules and Working Practices and the Parents’ Responsibilities.

Please be aware that Babington House and the surrounding land contain various hazards for children including a lake and swimming pools. Children must be supervised at all times particularly in potentially risky areas. The hotel clearly states that it cannot be held responsible for the safety of unsupervised children.

Location and directions

Sat Nav - (for the easy journey!) - the postcode is BA11 3RW, however on some sat nav systems the postcode doesn’t come up as Babington House is on an unmarked and unnamed road which can cause a few problems. The
nearest marked road to is “Hatchet Hill”

From London (125 miles, 3 hours)
Take M3 to junction 8 (A303): A303 to A360 (fork right at Stone Henge) towards Devizes and Through Shrewton; A360 to B390 Towards Warminster and Chitterne: B390 to A36 towards Warminster A36 to A362 towards Frome: A362 towards Longleat and Frome. On the A362 take the turning right into Frome. Straight over the mini roundabout and straight through the first set of traffic lights and at the second set of lights, get in to the right hand lane and bear right. At the mini roundabout, take the first exit, up the hill and get into the right hand lane. At the T- junction turn right and at the mini roundabout turn left towards Mells. Shortly after, at the next mini roundabout turn left and pass the “Ring O Bells” pub.  After 1 mile turn right opposite a large house towards Mells (Please note that there is no sign post here, if you miss the turning and arrive at a T-Junction you have gone too far).  Stay on the road to Mells towards Vobster and Coleford for about 2½ to 3 miles. At the T-junction turn right towards Kilmersdon. Babington House is on the left after 1 mile.

From Bristol (25 miles)
Take the A37 to Farrington Gurney. At Farrington Gurney take A362 to Radstock. At Radstock turn left at the first mini roundabout and right at the second mini roundabout following A362 to Frome. Follow this road for a mile and
turn right at the Fir Tree pub signposted to Kilmersdon and Mells. Follow this road for a mile to the end and bear right onto the B3139 following the signpost to Wells. Take the next turning left signposted to Leigh-on-Mendip and Babington House is approximately a mile along on the right hand side.

From Bath (12 miles)
Head south on the B3110 to Hinton Charterhouse and Norton St Phillip. At the George pub in Norton St Phillip turn right onto the A366 signposted to Radstock. Continue through the village of Faulkland and over the crossroads onto the B3139 signposted to Kilmersdon. After a sharp left hand bend, take the left turning marked Leigh-on-Mendip. Babington House is 1 mile down on your right.

Train:  London Paddington to Bath Spa station 1 hour 20 minutes

Helicopter:  Babington coordinates are N51.15.43 W002.25.41 




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