Sitting in the beautiful surrounds of the well-kept gardens at Combermere it’s easy to switch off from whatever stresses you may have in life. Combermere is tucked away in the Shropshire border between Nantwich and Whitchurch, and is the home Sarah Callander Beckett inherited from her grandmother whose father-in-law bought it in 1919. He was the founder of the Crossley motor car. Sarah and her husband Peter are lovingly restoring the Abbey to its former glory with a few designer twists to enhance on the draw and beauty of the original Abbey, cottages and gardens.
We were invited to stay in Cotton cottage for the week and we honestly didn’t want to leave. There are 10 cottages in total and all cater for different sized parties. Cotton sleeps four, with a four-poster double bed in the en suite bedroom and two, very comfortable, single beds in the large bedroom with a bathroom next to it. Downstairs we had a fully equipped kitchen with some extra home luxuries like a dishwasher, freezer, microwave and conventional oven. They had thought of everything for our comfort, including the ‘overflowing with goodies’ hamper on arrival which had fresh home grown tomatoes and mushrooms to accompany the Oxtail & Trotter butcher’s local sausages and bacon. We also found eggs, two types of loaf, a bottle of homemade apple juice and marmalade and a very nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc!
Outside the kitchen at the bottom of the stairs was a back door leading to a cobbled courtyard, which most of the cottages backed on to. In the courtyard there was a small outhouse converted to a laundry-room-cum-honesty-shop stocking wines, jams and honeys, ice cream to die for and some pre-prepared, freshly frozen ready meals by Cheerbrook’s and Chef in the Wood, I recommend the fish pie! Next to the outhouse was a blackboard on the wall with the month written on it and some chalk for you to write up any birds you’ve seen and should you struggle with plant or wildlife each cottage has an easy to recognise pamphlet for your perusal. Other things to enjoy are a DVD borrow service, book a BBQ, or bikes for all the family, and play areas, all complimentary, and for me a big bonus was ‘dogs welcome’ as I like to take my little princess everywhere possible.
As well as being a lovely holiday or weekend out of the rat-race destination, Combermere is also the ideal wedding venue. They have everything covered to make the bride and groom’s special day complete and memorable. On a sunny day the walled gardens are a perfect photo backdrop and the gardens are beautifully kept by the team of gardeners who work tirelessly all year round tending to the grounds at Combermere for all to enjoy.
A short walk from the walled gardens through the woodland sees you down to the picturesque mere which was teaming with wildlife. The local pub, The Combermere Arms, is a short walk from the cottages and has something to suit all tastes and party sizes; they also use local produce.
One of the things I particularly liked was that Combermere has an eco friendly policy with recycle bins in the cottages and a recycle unit in the car park for ease of disposal.
We had such a lovely time and met some interesting friendly locals. It really is a case of haste ye back.
Useful information: The Abbey have a midweek pricing policy which is static for 50 weeks of the year – ensuring that families and groups can enjoy a midweek break whatever the season at the same lower price.
By Lorraine Woolley