Now picture yourself settled on a sun lounger, allured by scenic woodland, wondering whether it’s time for a dip in the hot tub, a stroll along the river bank or a spot of fishing right beside your lodge.
Awash with wildlife, enveloped in greenery, when the closest thing is a curious squirrel, it’s easy to see how enchanting Otter Falls offers memorable breaks at one with nature, away from the crowds.
A haven of red pine lakeside lodges and charming restored farm cottages overlooking pretty courtyards, this hidden gem in the idyllic market town of Honiton, East Devon, is the perfect pick for tip-toeing out of lockdown.
Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty with an abundance of pretty walks criss-crossed over its 40-acre estate and beyond, our break at this elite hideaway was just the tonic after months cooped up indoors.
After meandering winding rural roads, on arrival at reception we felt blissfully reclusive, whilst our sanctuary for the weekend – a stunning newly-refurbished Signature Lodge – dazzled like a mirage on the water’s edge.
Charmed by a paddling of ducks as we unpacked, we were enamoured by the lodge’s lake-hanging veranda and south facing patio with inviting hot tub, loungers and steps leading to the lake.A clever blend of contemporary style and rustic charm, these elite two-bedroomed lodges boast a full modern kitchen with dishwasher, plus living area with additional sleeping for two, flat screen TV and DVD player. There’s also a dining table and feature log burner, whilst the snug bathroom has a walk-in shower.
The ultimate wow factor is the main window, running almost the full length of the lodge to showcase unrivalled panoramic views of the lake and rolling flora and fauna.
Heavenly for a night cap, the veranda is the ideal viewing gallery for forest animals and water birds – including the rare pair of Muscovy ducks who befriended us – plus badgers, foxes, squirrels, rabbits and if you’re really lucky, the occasional basking otter.
Attracting returning guests, wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers, in addition to its animal magic, Otter Falls boasts a climate controlled indoor swimming pool, currently operating private session times with cleaning in between for complete peace of mind.
Fabulous for foodies, the Tickled Trout family-run bar and bistro serves a tasty homemade menu in a relaxed, informal indoor atmosphere, or by a babbling brook in the bistro garden should you prefer to dine al fresco.
Add to this tennis courts, complimentary bike hire and popular fire pit evenings with free marshmallows for roasting – and it’s full marks for a friendly welcome and warming little extras at this captivating child and pet-friendly park.
A hotbed of antiques, pottery and lace, Honiton sits on the banks of the River Otter and is lovely for a potter around or a leisurely pint at an authentic country pub.
Just 10 miles away facing Lyme Bay is Beer, a pretty, historic village that sprang up around a smugglers’ cove and caves, now a popular tourist attraction. The quaint village also boasts a picturesque beach, quirky shops and a colourful array of restaurants and eateries.
Further afield, just half- an-hour’s drive and well worth a visit, is West Bay, where golden sands are flanked by striking cliffs made famous in popular TV series Broadchurch.
Or, why not pull on your hiking boots and walk the dramatic cliffs of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site – the scenery is spectacular and the bird’s eye views just breathtaking.
Mid-season autumn prices for Otter Falls’ Signature Lodges are from £827 for a weekend, or £1,597 for a one week stay. Accommodation for 2021 is already proving popular and guests are advised to book early to avoid disappointment. To book call 0330 024 0522 or visit www.otterfalls.co.uk