#CocoCountryside: FISHMORE HALL

While there are many options for a couples retreat, especially over a long luxurious bank holiday, no need to jump on a plane to escape the city, Fishmore Hall is closer to home, allowing you to stay in the UK and make the most of the beautiful English summertime (fingers crossed!). So grab your favourite travel companion and prepare to be pampered.

A privately-owned country house hotel offering 15 bedrooms, the atmosphere at Fishmore Hall is welcoming and relaxed, surrounded by peaceful countryside and a short walk to the centre of the market town of Ludlow. Weekly local markets and an excellent selection of restaurants mean that even if you don’t want to wander far, there is a lot to try. For nature lovers, the Shropshire Hills, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are a short drive away allowing excellent access to an assortment of beautiful hiking trails. Feel free to bring any four-legged friends, as the property is dog friendly.

Situated in a location with such excellent gourmet credentials, the restaurant at Fishmore Hall does not disappoint. Restaurant Forelles offers a diverse and intriguing menu, with the option of either a tasting menu or a la carte. Head chef Joe Gould is at the helm, previously winner of the ‘Chaine des Rotisseurs UK Young Chef of the Year’ in 2015. The use of local produce is a key distinguisher throughout both menus at the restaurant and even extends to the bedrooms in the form of tempting snacks from local producers such as The Ludlow Nut Company. Pre-dinner drinks included an excellent gin selection and a relaxed and intimate setting in which to enjoy them. Dinner itself was outstanding, with delicious concoctions including Jerusalem artichoke custard with nigella seed bread and mushroom salt. In addition the main course of red mullet with mussel ravioli and kohlrabi was a delicious combination. The must try for the evening however was the apple tart tartin for two, ideal for sharing and even if you aren’t hungry, sit back enjoy the views through the French windows and then order it, you won’t regret it.

Rather than lingering for an after dinner drink, if you are keen to recharge, one lovely touch at the property was the bespoke box of Elemis products left in the room for bedtime. This little box of joy included delightful sleep-inducing products such as a bath soak, temple balm and pillow spritz. This gave us all the excuse we needed to try out the generously sized bath tub….it’s a hard knock #robelife! With sleep regimes and winding down before bed trending at the moment, this was ideally placed. It also allowed both myself and my very jet lagged other half a wonderful opportunity for a moment of calm before bedtime, something I have been attempting to recreate at home ever since!

For a couples retreat the spa at Fishmore Hall really is delightful, only moments from the main building and set within beautiful gardens showcasing views over the Shropshire countryside, the SPAshell offers a very private and deceptively extensive relaxation area. Through a light and airy reception was my favourite area of the whole property. Boasting a hot tub, relaxation hammock and chairs perfectly big enough for two, this deliciously private area allows uninterrupted countryside views whilst giving a cosy feeling of an intimate space, not overlooked by the rest of the hotel. This is an area to while away the hours in the sunshine or take some time for peaceful contemplation after a treatment at the spa. The dedicated couple’s treatment rooms allow for maximum privacy and the spa menus is focused around the Elemis product line, also mirrored in the bedroom amenities.

I plumped for one of the Lava Shells® massages, which came highly recommended as an unusual alternative to a hot stone massage, combined with Elemis products. Lava Shells® are the world’s first self-heating massage tool, releasing heat throughout a 60 minute massage, helping to release tensions and relax muscles to allow a more effective massage. The heat was soothing on the neck and shoulder muscle tensions from too many hours at the computer, and the experience was extremely relaxing. On reflection, although soothing, I can’t say I personally felt that the tension relief was significantly more effective with the inclusion of the Lava Shells®.

The whole ambience of Fishmore Hall is relaxation in the heart of the countryside, from the helpful yet unobtrusive nature of the team at the hotel to the peaceful surroundings filled with birdsong and the opportunity for long leisurely walks. An idyllic location to get out of your usual routine, relax, recharge and be surrounded by nature and your perfect plus one.

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