Friday, 22 July 2016

Our mini-break to Wells, Somerset

If you know me at all, then you'll know that I have had a long love affair with the West Country. Bath has to be my all time favourite British city (London doesn't count, that's home). I love Jane Austen country, I love the architecture and I love the romance and history of it. I can totally imagine all these Austen-type characters, parasoles in hand, parading round the Royal Crescent. Love it!

However, just outside of Bath there is a small city (the smallest in England, in fact) called Wells. Famed for it's beautiful cathedral and the Bishop's Palace, I think Wells has to be my second-favourite city and we're lucky enough to have some family there!

Recently, a family wedding took us to this part of the country and when I posted up pics on social media of our holiday apartment I had loads of people asking me about it, so I thought I'd do a quick review. Because when you find a gem of a place, in the right location, at an affordable price, it's almost a crime to keep it a secret (almost!).

This was our first foray into self catering holiday lets as our family has grown and can I say it was the best experience? We're used to staying in large, chain hotels which is generally fine when you're on your own. But we're fast learning that with kids it's not ideal. I mean, who actually enjoys retreating to the en suite at 8pm every evening to sit on the toilet and read a book because the kids are tucked up in bed?

We were looking for an affordable apartment that would be a comfortable base for us, our three year old and our newborn baby. In Wells. Which is actually quite an expensive place. And I have high standards, I want a hotel experience for a hostel-price! Not asking for much, no? (We also only definitely decided at the end of April that we were going so a fair few places were fully booked already).

We happened upon 1 Sadler Street on holidaylettings.com and as soon as I saw it, I knew we had to snap it up for our dates, fast.

The living area

I won't go on too much, because really the pictures speak for themselves. But basically, I couldn't have wished for better. The standard of finish on this newly renovated apartment was brilliant. It was perfectly clean and felt really bright and fresh, despite being a compact space. I would hazard a guess that the owner had some kind of design or creative background because on the blank white canvas was plenty of trendy, bright and fun pops of colour - whether it be the wall art, the accessories or the furniture - I mean, how many places have you stayed in with a pinball machine for a coffee table?

So much packed into a tiny space, but it didn't feel cramped at all!

A lot of the accessories and ornaments doubled up as interesting little toys and trinkets for Ruby to be enamoured with (she loved the display of rubber ducks in the bathroom!). And any problems were foreseen and sorted - it's a compact, renovated first floor flat with the potential to get really hot, so they provide a top of the range air conditioning unit. The bunk beds are in the living area, so they provide a TV in the bedroom.

Bishop's Palace

The location was perfect for us. We don't drive so it's a bit of a mission to get to Wells (we had a relative drive us from Bath Spa train station). But once we were there we were able to use this place as a base and be pretty independent. The apartment is right in the centre of the city and looks out onto the beautiful cathedral square. There's plenty of pubs, restaurants (we went to the local Ask!), coffee shops (try Crofters across the street, Ruby enjoyed their ice cream!) and little gift shops too! The apartment is above a pasty shop (smells amazing!) and a fudge shop too tempting for Jon!

The shower room

Anyway, we absolutely loved it and I think once word gets out, this flat is going to book up pretty fast! Here's a summary of the details:

  • First floor apartment (not wheelchair friendly but we managed by taking the buggy up and down the stairs).
  • 1 x double bedroom, inc. TV
  • 1 x shower room
  • Sleeps 4 (bunk beds in lounge area)
  • Open plan kitchen/living room, inc. Sky TV
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Towels provided
  • Fully equipped kitchen
  • 10 minutes walk from Tesco so you can stock up the fridge

Now, I couldn't find a lot of fault in this place but for the sake of balance it's worth pointing out - this is a small apartment. It's a perfect base for a weekend, but if you're bringing children it could very quickly become noisy and claustrophobic on a rainy day. If you're cool with that, and you're planning on going out, not bringing kids, or if you're pretty used to squeezing a family of 4 into a small space then don't be put off! Personally, I probably wouldn't stay longer than a weekend either, but that's because my pre-schooler is not quite au fait with showers yet so the absence of a bath could prove to be a problem (unless we all trooped down the road to Jon's Nana's house!).

The bedroom

The only other thing was we brought a travel cot for our newborn but there wasn't space in the bedroom to set it up so we ended up co-sleeping. We're fine with that, but if you're not comfortable with that then there's space in the lounge - it's just by that point Ruby had clocked the exciting prospect of bunk beds so we couldn't switch.


In short, though, if you're travelling solo, a couple or a small, young family this is perfect for you. Booking and payment was strightforward, checking in and out was easy and the apartment felt secure and safe. Check it out with all the details and availability here.

And to finish, here's a pic of Mr. D and Ruby at the wedding, just because!

Jon & Ruby

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