Cedar Falls is one of the most refreshing places I have been to in a long while – figurativelyspeaking as much as anything else. A beautiful Georgian Manor House in the pretty village of Bishop’s Lydeard in Somerset, it’s a spa-and-stay kind of affair (although day guests are welcome too) with a very exciting and ambitious young chef to boot.
With a gastro-pub background, Chris Berry-Roper has been here for 5 years, all the time looking to reinvent the bland, seen-it, done-it spa food that’s become ingrained pretty much everywhere else. With a dedicated focus on local produce (which , let’s face it, the south west has in droves), an unstuffy willingness to cater for special diets, and a fab wine list (wish I could remember the name of that Sauvignon) it’s one of those places that will appeal to foodies as well as – er – spa-ies.
Good value for money too; they’ve always got a bit of a deal on. Facilities include an indoor and outdoor pool (replete with as many glossy mags as you can shove in your suitcase on the way home), sauna and steam room, gym and fitness classes – and some of the best alternative therapies I have come across (ask for Tom Tingley, Reiki practitioner – truly amazing).
There’s a dedicated spa menu for the blokes too which is a nice touch. Overall, staff are genuinely lovely; the atmosphere is totally zen’ed out and Chris keeps the food on top notch. Having had a (work-related) fortnight from hell, I can honestly say that Cedar Falls put me back together again.
3 hrs drive from London / trains from Paddington to Taunton (2 hrs) then 15 min cab ride.