Tried and Tested

Tried and Tested: Kingfisher’s Nest at Browning Bros, Essex

29 June 2023

Telling people you’re staying in a wooden cabin for a few days might elicit a few half-interested nods.

But then you add that the cabin overlooks a quiet, beautiful lake on an organic family farm, and it’s got a private hot tub and sauna. Suddenly, you have their full attention!

As you might have guessed, Kingfishers Nest is that very cabin… though to call it a ‘cabin’ is doing the place a disservice really, as my fiancé David and I discovered when we arrived.

Browning Bros.’ website calls Kingfishers Nest a ‘secret escape’, and as we made our way to the end of the farm track, passing grazing sheep and fields on the way, that’s exactly what it felt like.

The emphasis here is firmly on bringing guests back to nature, yet there’s also a feeling of being cocooned in luxury. As we entered the retreat I was struck not only by the simple beauty of the interiors, but how each room had its own soothing scent: woody in the lounge, and forest-spa in the bedroom and sauna.

Then there’s that lake-facing deck, which is just mesmerising. There’s plenty of outdoor seating – and a hot tub, of course! – to help you get comfortable whilst absorbing the sights and sounds of nature: from gorgeous birdsong and swans gliding past, to baby rabbits gambolling on the grassy banks.

This was such a wonderful experience that we found ourselves getting up just before sunrise (at an eye-watering 5am!) to watch the day slowly coming to life. It felt utterly magical.

The weather didn’t exactly play ball throughout our stay: there was plenty of wind and rain that for most outdoor-based holidays, might have been an issue. But when you’ve got floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, a sauna, and a huge lake-showcasing bathtub, rubbish weather isn’t a problem! In fact, relaxing in the sauna as raindrops drummed on the roof was one of the loveliest parts of our stay.

Luckily we’d brought our boots and waterproofs just in case, so we braved a muddy walk through nearby Chalkney Woods, which was full of gorgeous spring bluebells. We returned to a well-deserved glass of wine and a cosy game of Scrabble… the latter thoughtfully provided by our hosts, along with organic toiletries and snuggly robes.

Meanwhile, the local wildlife offers plenty of visual entertainment – on our final morning we even caught sight of a cute cluster of muntjac deer grazing in the fields behind the retreat.

And although we could easily have gone out to eat, or explored Colchester which is six miles away, we decided to stay put and just enjoy these incredible surroundings. There’s a small, well-equipped kitchen to cook in, so that’s exactly what we did.

(I think it’s fair to say we’ll be back).

Find out more about Kingfisher’s Nest at Browning Bros here.

Author: Nina Jervis

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