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Muddy Review: Fair Oak Farm Retreat

Peacocks, Pilates and plates of delicious food is this the loveliest retreat in Sussex?

The grade II listed farmhouse

THE LOWDOWN

Ditch preconceived ideas of a ’’hippy’’ retreat at Fair Oak Farm, this idyllic rural estate in Sussex close to the Kent border is stylish and comfortable. Set in 12 acres of stunning countryside the luxurious yet homely hideaway has a eclectic mix of accommodation from tree houses to shepherds huts, plus a modern fitness studio, infa-red sauna and even a small cinema barn.

One of the quirky shepherd’s huts at Fair Oak

THE EXPERIENCE

There’s no mung beans here – this is boutique hotel does peaceful pastoral retreat. With a grade II listed farmhouse at its centre, the accommodation is cosy and chic. Rooms are nestled amongst ancient trees and hidden beside a crumbly vintage caravan and treatment huts. There’s no slumming it – rooms are luxe yet rustic, with insanely comfortable beds made with plush Egyptian cotton topped with artisan throws. With wood burners and gorgeous Fair Oak branded products in the rooms it has an instantly relaxing feeling, that is warm and welcoming.

Accommodation includes eco-lodges and treehouses

THE ITINERARY

Busy but not exhaustive thankfully! I experienced the Relax and Restore retreat which entailed yoga or fitness at 8am, a wholesome breakfast followed by nutrition talks and consultations, free-time, lunch, Pilates or a PT session plus a beauty treatment before dinner in the farmhouse. Other retreats will differ so look at the itinerary beforehand.

THE LOCATION

Near the sleepy village of Mayfield and about 15 minutes from Tunbridge Wells, Fair Oak is set in quintessential Sussex countryside. Expect uninterrupted views of gentle rolling hills which make you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere (but actually its just over an hour from London.) Fair Oak is peaceful and friendly and just what I needed after the craziness of covid.

The sleepy village of Mayfield nearby

SCOFF & QUAFF

The food here is simply wonderful. I was admittedly slightly concerned I’d be starved on lettuce and lemon juice, but the private chef Lottie does the most amazing things with vegetables! I was served Herb infused polenta with smoked peppers, hazelnuts & dill for lunch and Baked Squash with Figs for dinner – I was even allowed a glass of wine. This isn’t a boot camp, its relaxed and non judgemental. Food is plentiful and delicious and I wasn’t left craving a Mars Bar afterwards (unlike certain health farms I’ve been to which were lets be honest fairly miserable).

TREATMENTS

Fair Oak treatments are provided by therapists from the Beauty Bar in nearby Wadhurst, an award-winning local salon. Facials, massage and nail treatments are available, but need to be booked in advance.

ANYTHING ELSE?

There’s an Oak framed games barn with ping pong table, Play area with trampoline, intimate terraces and patios with outdoor seating, fire pits and BBQ. There’s even resident roaming alpacas and peacocks giving the whole place a quirky bucolic feel.

He’s behind you! Muddy meets one of the resident peacocks

HOW TO GET THERE

Fair Oak is 10 minutes drive from the A21 or A267 with access to the M25. Fast and frequent services from London to Stonegate station in about an hour (you’ll need to pre-book a car to deliver you though, don’t expect a bustling taxi rank!).

THE DAMAGE

Three day, 2 night retreat fully inclusive of accommodation, food, yoga, nutrition workshops, massage and beauty treatments start from £565 per person (sharing a room).

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Anyone needing time out to really focus on themselves in relaxed countryside surroundings with excellent on-site well-being experts.

Not for: If you go on your own, you have to be comfortable with joining in as mealtimes are group affairs. Don’t expect spa facilities – there’s no pool or jacuzzi as relaxation is centred around the lovely grounds.

Find more ideas here

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