Hello Explorersaurs! It has been far too long since my last post here on Explorersaur – for a few reasons really. This year has been a whirlwind of rubbish, and December was honestly a crap-storm of a month to top it all off for me. (Including my family getting Covid – thankfully they’re okay, but it’s not an ideal time for any of us really is it.) Amongst (well, before,) all the rubbish, we managed to get away to a gorgeous private home in Surrey in honour of my sisters birthday.
We had originally booked for November to be closer to her birthday, but when the new lockdown rolled around it was pushed back to December. We foud the house on Sleeps12.com – which is a website for HUGE UK houses to rent for holidays. It’s a really good option for planning big group breaks without needing to hop on a plane. (Obviously as goes without saying – Covid permitting.) It was a really lovely house and a beautiful break, so I thought I’d give you a round-up of the house, what we did there, and what booking through sleeps12.com was like.
The exact property we stayed at is called Garden Court – which you can view here on the Sleeps12 site. There are lots more properties dotted around the UK with the same specs so have a look through the website if you’re after something similar. Lots of these places accept hen and stag parties, along with fitting to your group requirements and needs. If you occupy less than the full amount of bedrooms you often get the place a lot cheaper, so enquire with the owner to find out.
We stayed in a seven bedroom (we used four of them) house, with an indoor pool, games room, two living rooms and a massive garden. I mean how lavish can you get? It cost around £2000 for us for 5 days, but prices obviously vary depending on how many rooms you use up and what is going on with the world. I’m pretty sure most houses have cheaper prices during all the covid rules, as you couldn’t have more than 6 people on a break away when we booked anyway.
My favourite room within the house was the kitchen/diner – I mean technically two rooms that were joined by a massive archway. The dining room was an absolutely giant conservatory style area, and was the best room to chill in. Whilst perfect for having food, it could have been even better with some sofas in there as you could really spend all day there. We ended up watching TV in the kitchen a few times on the wicker chairs as the room was just lovely (and it was a little warmer in there – thankfully between us we did bring some heated blankets!) I bet in summer it would be even better.
The kitchen was beautiful with a huge kitchen island in the shape of a grand piano – the perfect backdrop for laying lots of food out. (Dominos in our case a couple of times!)
The coolest parts of the house and the reason you could (SHOULD) easily spend a week or so there without leaving, was the indoor pool and the games room – which was based in the garage. The pool is heated so not too cold, however it’s been heated to a good swimming temperature, meaning it’s still pretty damn chilly when you first get in. As we went in the middle of winter it took some courage to properly get in each time, but as soon as you were moving it was fine. We swam every day here and brought some pool floats/games with us. There is also a basketball hoop propped up on the wall which is lovely. In summer you can also open the sliding doors here to let the fresh air in.
The garden around the pool is absolutely giant, with a football area complete with some goals, a koi carp pond and some lovely plants. The garden has been split up into the football area, another hilly area at the back, a plant/canopy area and the lawn leading to the back of the house. You have to walk through this lawn to get to the pool which is a nippy walk in winter, but also adds to the fun!
The games room was particularly chilly as it was based in the garage, but with some decent socks/slippers/winter boots (haha.) it made a lovely environment for some games. It was equipped with a small sizes pool table and air hockey table – which we loved using. (I definitely did smash a few fingers attempting air hockey, pool is definitely better for me!)
All the decorations are pretty muted, clean, beige with little pops of colour. (Red and blues mainly,) it’s a really calming aesthetic and whilst you might jazz it up a little more if it was your home, it makes for a great backdrop that blanket-suits everyone. The rooms are all really decently sized – all with double/king beds, and a few bedrooms that can hold two singles or a king beds when joined together. The main bedroom is bloody HUGE with wardrobes along a whole wall, a massive bathroom with a bath and shower, double sinks, and a dressing table. There were 4 bathrooms upstairs and another toilet room downstairs.
What we did there:
So we generally just stayed in the house over our time here – pretty expected over Covid times and to be fair, something you should do if you’re spending a big chunk of money on a stay somewhere! There is a pub just down the road and supposedly some really gorgeous walks nearby (which I believe as the garden backed on to some beautiful tree lined hills,) so there are some things to do outside of the house if that’s your game.
We mainly spent our time eating (A LOT) swimming in the pool, playing games and lounging and watching TV. There is a booklet with the house info and all the takeaway information in the kitchen, with a few good options nearby. We opted for dominos twice(!) and cooked up some delicious meals over our stay. As the break was pre-Christmas we watched some Christmas films and binge watched Malcolm in the middle. An oldie but a goodie indeed.
Honestly, there is so much to do all within the walls of the house and we could easily fill up a few weeks here! There is space for everyone to do their own thing, and also rooms plenty big enough for everyone to get together. I would recommend bringing lots of games and LOTS of food/drinks if you stay somewhere like this. The beauty of UK breaks is being able to pack everything you could need in your car so you never go without. (A tip – as the pool is not connected to the house you should definitely bring pool sliders!) Most of the houses on sleeps12 offer a list of things you should bring to get the most out of your stay.
How we found sleeps12.com:
Well firstly I can safely say the most important thing – the stays are all legitimate. You enquire to book rather than spend money straight away, so you’re in touch with the property owner from the start. The website essentially helps you find the properties and check through the pictures, and the rest is very hands-on. Sleeps12 say they work closely with all their property owners so you can trust they are all verified.
We checked a few things that were not described on the listing before booking – that the pool was heated, that we could book with 5 people in total etc. After this the whole process was really swift and the listing owner let us know the rules for the property, things we should bring ourselves (for example pool towels, as their towels were purely for in-house usage,) etc. It was all really simple and we were kept up to date. As we initially booked for November which had to be cancelled due to Covid, we easily rescheduled the dates and were offered a refund if we would rather.
Overall you can get some really amazing deals on Sleeps12 – if twelve of you did share a house for £2,000 for a week, that works out £166 per person which is amaaaazing for the amenities you have access to. It’s worth checking out if you have a big celebration on the horizon, or really want to get away but travelling abroad is not yet an option!