Cosy, peaceful, luxurious and beautiful – these are all words that immediately spring to mind when I think back to our stay at Hesleyside Huts for the Easter bank holiday weekend! After a really stressful few months, we were both in need of a break somewhere that would allow us to switch off, relax and just enjoy the simple things in life for once. I must say, we really hit the jackpot with Hesleyside Huts!
The lovely hut that we stayed in at Hesleyside was called Bracken, and it is one of 5 beautiful shepherds huts set in the grounds of Hesleyside Hall, the grand ancestral home of the Border Reiver Charlton family since 1343. Today, the Hall is a luxury B&B and also the family home to Anna and William Charlton and their children – all of whom were really helpful, friendly and accommodating throughout the booking process and our stay. Hesleyside Huts are only a 45 minute drive from Newcastle, and a few miles away from Kielder, meaning getting there was really no problem. We absolutely loved walking around the Estate when we first arrived, taking in the beautiful scenery, tastefully-designed shepherds huts and the tranquillity of the whole area.
The fact that there is no check-in process is fantastic, as it means you can arrive at the huts anytime you like after 4pm and let yourself straight into your very own shepherds hut! I agree with Anna and William that this is a much more personal, romantic way of starting your vintage glamping trip. Walking into Bracken Hut was like stepping into a world of ‘hygge’ – wooden furnishings including a monks bench seating area and a raised double bed, a beautiful kitchenette with a Belfast sink, and a lovely little bathroom (with running water) were some of the first things that caught my eye.
It was then that I started to notice all the little touches that make Hesleyside Huts so special. The bedding was of an extremely high quality (we had a great night’s sleep), the cooking equipment was Le Creuset, Anna and William had left tea, coffee, sugar, sweets, and a big jar of marshmallows for toasting! They really have thought of everything, and we were especially touched by the little welcome hamper left for us, containing lots of lovely treats and postcards to remind us of our stay in Bracken Hut.
One of the key features of the hut was the log burner, which serves the dual purpose of heating the hut and cooking your food too! Although there was a plug-in radiator, we really didn’t feel the need to use it as the hut is well-insulated and the log burner kept us lovely and toasty. It took us a while to get the log burner to a high enough temperature to cook food and boil the kettle, but once we got the hang of it we managed to cook a Thai green curry from scratch! It was great fun fetching the wood and keeping the fire going – we thought it was a great idea to keep that aspect of camping alive, despite the fact we were practically living in luxury!
The cloudy weather and the rain meant that unfortunately we were unable to make good use of the fact we were in the Northumberland Dark Skies Reserve, and the fact that Anna and William had left us some star-gazing equipment in the hut. Maybe next time! Instead we fuelled our fire for a lovely night full of champagne and Monopoly.
We had ordered a breakfast hamper to be delivered to our hut on the morning of Easter Sunday. We had a lazy morning, surrounded by the sounds of lambs bleating in the fields and what we think were a couple of grouse! We heard a knock at the door and answered it to a lovely girl holding our breakfast basket full of goodies, and some gorgeous daffodils. The breakfast basket consisted of: muesli, milk, eggs, bacon, Northumbrian Sausage Co. sausages, croissants, hot cross buns, butter, local marmalade, jam and orange juice. What a feast!
Although we could have quite easily relaxed in Bracken Hut and enjoyed the peace of the Hesleyside Estate all day, we decided to make the most of our time in this neck of the woods. During our stay, we explored Hexham, Corbridge and Bellingham. Hesleyside Huts are also the perfect base for exploring Kielder – the huts are only 7 miles away from the water and forest park, as well as Kielder Observatory. So whether you’re an adventure-seeking family, or a couple in need of a romantic getaway, I can’t recommend staying in one of these beautiful shepherds huts enough.
I feel like I can’t properly put into words how fantastic and memorable I thought Bracken Hut and the whole of the Estate was. Anna, William and their family really are the hosts with the most, and they delivered a glamping experience quite unlike anything I’ve experienced or even seen before!
For more information about the different huts, or about staying at Hesleyside Hall, visit the Hesleyside Huts website: http://hesleysidehuts.co.uk/