Tried and Tested: Treetop Dreaming in West Lexham’s Tilia Treehouse
There's something about the idea of a treehouse that fires up the imagination and brings those childhood dreams flooding back. I've always been a little bit obsessed with treehouses since our first year infant school teacher read The Magic Faraway Tree to our class, so when the opportunity to try one of West Lexham's six fairytale-beautiful treehouses came up, it was one not to be missed!
Tilia Treehouse is one of two new deluxe treetop abodes
recently introduced to the West Lexham estate, which is set within gorgeously
tranquil Norfolk countryside near King's Lynn. Both Tilia and her sister,
Quercus, feature a similar layout. Tilia is the tallest treehouse on the site
(which also features tree temples, which have all the rustic luxury of the
higher treehouses but are closer to the ground for those less keen on
As well as the fabled treehouses, the West Lexham estate itself offers a choice of beautiful bell tents in the warmer months, and a selection of cottages and ensuite barn rooms, all set around a tranquil lake on Site of Special Scientific Interest (we're told that the lake is a breeding ground for trout, and the weed within it has been managed naturally by bringing in carp - but no fishing is allowed - the fish here are happy residents!). The site has truly impressive eco-credentials, running on 95% renewable energy with solar energy, biomass boilers, locally sourced food and materials, and mineral water on tap - supplied from its own chalk stream (not many places can say that!).
We arrived on a rather drizzly Monday afternoon after a scenic drive through North Norfolk, past miles of woodland and countryside. As soon as we turned into the gates, we were immediately taken with the idyllic setting and tranquil atmosphere. The lake in front of us had free-to-use boats waiting to be commandeered, and the chorus of birdsong and the distant sound of the River Nay rushing past made us feel like we'd already stumbled into an Enid Blyton story - and this was before we'd even set foot inside our treetop hideaway!
We were met by Jeanette, who showed us along the path to Tilia. I noticed all the pathways were highlighted with soft solar lighting which was starting to flicker on ask dusk was about to fall. We climbed the staircase which ran along the side of our treehouse, and as we did so, hundreds of tiny solar fairy lights intertwined with the branches adorning the exterior came alive and twinkled as we passed. I'm a big sucker for fairy lights so this really delighted me, but there was more to come!
On entering we were blown away by the rustic luxury, the attention to detail and the gorgeous smell of the wood, which created a really nostalgic and comforting vibe. The open plan space was wonderfully cosy with soft back-lighting, fairy lights strung up the bannister to the mezzanine platform, halved logs decorating the chapel-like high ceiling and charming little details everywhere; vintage tiles, door handles fashioned from branches, quirky shaped window frames, woodburner - and the impressive central table and four poster beds made from tree trunks and branches of green hazel.
Tilia Treehouse sleeps up to 6 guests, but on this occasion it was just myself and my partner so we had plenty of room to spread out. Being February, we were pleased to discover the vintage radiators which kept the whole place nice and warm (though we were determined to use the woodburner anyway just for the fun of it!). Tilia also had a fully equipped kitchen, and lovely treetop veranda outside with large BBQ (but we didn't quite have the weather for that!). Underneath the treehouse, there were tables and log stools making an ideal space for sheltering from the sun (or rain, in our case!).
Being almost 6 months pregnant I was pleased to discover that Tilia also had a very beautiful ensuite bathroom with toilet and hot shower - on the same level as our bed, and equally cosy and warm inside.
We decided to have a little look around outside before
making our dinner, so ventured over to the communal camp kitchen, which would
be the perfect place for a sociable get-together with friends or other guests.
It was very well equipped with all sorts of kitchenware, cutlery, cookware and condiments;
tea, coffee, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and more - plus games, a pizza oven -
you name it! Despite our treehouse having an ensuite we also took a little peek
at the communal bathrooms (picture below) by the camp kitchen and were stunned at how beautiful
and spotless they were - super cosy separate heated rooms with toilets and
showers or baths, decorated with lovely vintage tiles and supplied with sweet
scented soap - it's the little things that matter!
Heading back up to our treetop retreat, we knocked up some rather tasty fajitas on the woodburning stove and then sat back to relax for the rest of the evening, enjoying the peace, tranquillity and wonderfully dark skies from the comfort of our unique comfy super king size four poster bed.
Waking up in the morning in a lofty treehouse to soft
dappled sunlight and birdsong, in a four poster bed made of green hazel
branches is an experience in itself and truly warmed our souls. We spent the
morning pottering around, reading the brochures and local information and
enjoying the guest book entries (there was even a pretty impressive drawing of
Silky from the Magic Faraway Tree from a previous little visitor).
Later that morning we met up with West Lexham's lovely marketing manager, Emily, who talked us through their vision and ethos, and wowed us with some facts about the estate and the treehouses. We were fascinated to learn that all the wood for the treehouse furniture and all the woodchip lining the pathways had been sourced within 3 miles and that some 5000 new trees were in the process of being planted on the site. The treehouses themselves had been designed and built using traditional and eco-friendly techniques, in perfect keeping with West Lexham's ethical principles.
We were also lucky enough to be allowed a little peek inside
two other treehouses - Tinker Treehouse (West Lexham's first treehouse and the
country's first to be made available for overnight stays) and Ash Tree Temple (below) -
each different but with its own personal brand of rustic luxury and charm.
That afternoon we decided to visit the nearby village of Holt, stopping first at Back to the Garden for lunch and a look around their wonderfully tempting farm shop and deli - which as a pregnant person made me want to eat almost everything I saw.
Then on to Holt, where we had a lovely time browsing the
independent shops, a particular favourite being the Holt Vinyl Vault; we always
feel right at home in a village with a record store! I could have spent a good
long afternoon in department store Bakers and Larners too, eyeing yet more
delicious food and sniffing all the lovely organic shampoos!
That evening, we took a local tip and headed to the lovely village of Great Massingham to visit The Dabbling Duck for dinner. We received a lovely warm welcome, and the atmosphere was friendly and laid back - just what we were after! My partner opted for the rather epic looking Massingham Dexter Burger, and I went for the vegetable Rogan Josh. We were not disappointed! Both meals were really delicious, so despite being rather full we couldn't resist sharing the ‘Malt Easer' dessert which featured - as we had hoped - a kind of giant Malteser but better! With full satisfied bellies we rolled home back to our tree for another cosy night up in the canopy.
Being the soppy thing that I am I'm never good at leaving holiday homes, but leaving Tilia was especially difficult. We'd had two days and nights in a fairytale, and with baby on the way and big changes coming these two days had been a wonderful little bubble in which to switch off, hide away and enjoy each other's company in gorgeously natural surroundings. We've promised ourselves that once our little mini-me is old enough to appreciate it, we'll all be back to West Lexham for another amazing treetop escape - and if you like your holidays with an added dose of woodland magic, we suggest you do the same - you'll come away with your head in the clouds...
Take a look around Tilia Treehouse with us.
Video by Adam Wenborn
Music by Ghost Music