One sunny August day we set off to the historic market town of Higham Ferrers, situated in the Nene Valley in East Northamptonshire. Our reason for travelling was to stay at No 1 Hind Stile, a new B&B for Naturists. It is co-owned and hosted by BN Member William and his partner Simon.
On arrival, William greeted us and welcomed us to his boutique accommodation, which he describes as an, ‘eclectic collection of colour and pattern’. It’s amazing and feels as if you are stepping into rooms more suited to a stately home. There are two unique bedrooms, both with king size beds - one with a four-poster - and beautifully appointed en-suite bathrooms. Each bedroom has Lavazza coffee and tea-making facilities along with a smart TV including Netflix. Wi-fi is free. There are all the other little luxuries associated with a quality stay, such as 100% cotton linen, 'duck n down' duvets, and exotic Penhaligons toiletries for you to pamper yourself with. It’s sheer luxury.
During the warmer months there is a beautiful private garden which is a sun trap. At one end is a dining table and chairs under a metal lattice gazebo, and at the other, a small pond with a fountain, with sun loungers to relax on the lawn. The garden is very lush with carefully chosen shrubbery and planting and white blooms throughout, running along each side of the garden and the full length of the old high wall on one side.
On those winter days when it’s bitterly cold outside, the guest lounge with its open wood fire is the perfect place to relax in comfort. The breakfast room is just over the hallway from here, and is where you will be served a full cooked English breakfast, as well as plenty of cereals, juices, yoghurts, and home-made bread for toast, alongside coffee and tea. There are many restaurants in the town for eating out, but this room is also available to you in the evening if you choose to order a takeaway. As the property is not licensed, you are welcome to bring your own drinks - you could say it really is home from home, but perhaps not, as here William will prepare and lay out the dining table for you to enjoy your dinner, and clear it all away afterwards!
Higham Ferrers means ‘high homestead/village’ and it is steeped in history with the Grade 1 listed St Mary’s Church built in 1280, Chichele College founded in 1422 by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bede House which was built for 12 men of over 50 years old to be looked after by one woman!
Central to the Nene Valley is the Nene Wetlands nature reserve, a square mile of both wild and man-made habitats that can be reached on bikes with many walking opportunities. Rushden Lakes can be reached on foot where you can walk extensively, and we were told you can even go canoeing. There are also some beautiful open gardens to be found in the Northampton area at Coton Manor, Deene Park, and Kelmarsh Hall. If you time your visit to Higham Ferrars for the end of the month, there is a Farmers’ Market on the last Saturday, and for those who like a little retail therapy, the Rushden Lakes retail park is a short drive away with a plethora of branded shops.
No 1 Hind Stile is a little Naturist haven, and is perfect for an escape where you can relax and feel completely comfortable. William will disappear into the background into the other side of the house where he and his partner live, but appear quietly to service any requirements or to deal with any needs. He is calm and welcoming, and looks after you well. He is the perfect and most professional of hosts. Each morning when you come down the stairs you will find the dining room is beautifully laid for the delivery of your sumptuous breakfast that is included in the price, and at only £65 for a single person or £85 for a couple per night, this particular little escape is not only exceptionally good but it is exceptionally good value as well. This is a great retreat and could be the ideal place for two couples wishing to take a break together.
William and Simon do take bookings from the general public, but will always ensure that when a Naturist booking is made, you will be free to be nude throughout the house and garden. Just mention British Naturism when booking.
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