Escape to the country: A Londoner's dream weekend away in Wales

posted on: Wednesday, 2 November 2016

After 14 years of living it large in London, I have finally figured out that the key to continually loving this city is leaving often, as often as possible in fact. That may be why so many of you have country homes. You escape to blissful silence and regain some sense of normal in the world and then return to the hustle and bustle of the city with renewed spirit and wonderment. Last month, I met a cottage that confirmed that this was the way forward. Mr. FFG and I found a fabulous place via Sugar and Loaf,  a website that specialises in hiring out private cottages in Wales. I say a "fabulous place", but really I should call it a "famous place" as I knew all about the property before I read a single word on the site.

If you're a fan of the show Grand Designs, you are in for a real treat here. Years ago an episode aired that showcased the most optimistic new homeowners rebuilding an old stone cottage atop a mountain in the Black Mountains in Wales. Against impossible odds, they created the most beautiful family home and went on to expand on the property in years to come. And recently they've opened up said cottage, now named Points Cottage, for folks wishing to experience the beauty of the site. Nothing prepares you, in fact, for the magnificence that awaits you on the mountain. You'll need a 4x4 to reach the top of this rather intense climb (a mile towards the sky), but not to worry as the lovely owners can loan you a proper vehicle for the weekend or you can simply bring your own. If you've been jonesing to test out your new Range Rover on rough terrain, you'll be in heaven. But, more on that later. The climb up the mountain seems laborious at first, but it all becomes worth it the moment you step out of the vehicle to discover a vista that stretches seven counties, on a clear day. And that's just starting with the view, which, admittedly, is a draw in itself to spending a long weekend here.

The cottage itself is truly a throw back in time. Imagine exposed stone, large oak beams and an enormous family room fire place. You can clearly see how such a space, which has been in the owner's families for generations, has changed over the years, but has also been lovingly restored to honour its history. The kitchen, not surprisingly, is truly the heart of this home. Our first night in the cottage, I sat in the corner of the kitchen, in a most comfortable oversized chair with a view of the night sky, and watched as Mr. FFG prepared a beautiful meal. I was cuddled up, tea in hand and cashmere socks on feet as this beautiful man prepared a meal Gordon Ramsey would rate highly. The cottage comes fully equipped with everything you would need to prepare any sort of cuisine. While you do need to bring your own food for your stay, the hosts provide a rather decadent array of treats for your arrival. There are gin and tonics waiting in the fridge, alongside a jug of milk and some butter. There's a freshly baked Victoria Sponge cake calling to you from the counter, sitting next to a basket of eggs, which have been collected from the hens that roost just 100 feet from the cottage's front door. There's even a cupboard full of miscellaneous things you may have forgotten on your trip up, including hot chocolate!

The two bedrooms upstairs offer complete comfort for sleeping and the bathroom is large enough to accommodate two couples in the house without feeling cramped. You will be sung to sleep as you listen to the Welsh mountain winds sweep over and around the house and you'll awake in the morning to a beautiful and delicate fog clearing from your bedroom window, set to reveal the view that brought you here in the first place.

Over the course of our three days in residence, we spent only one indoors with bad weather. Our days were mostly spent exploring in and around the cottage. There are several famous foodie establishments just a short drive from the cottage's entrance and there are lovely villages, surrounding the landscape, the are begging for exploration. However, there is just as much to do without ever leaving the property by car.  The walks to be had up into the mountains will leave you feeling fit as a fiddle and full of love for the beautiful countryside that surrounds you. But, should you be met with bad weather during your stay, you will find that the cottage provides the backdrop for the perfect duvet day. On our one rainy day we lit the fire, cozied up with blankets, poured some wine and played Scrabble until our brains were fried. It only seemed appropriate to then put on the Grand Designs DVD, which they keep in Points Cottage, to truly appreciate the space that we were calling home.

This was a weekend to remember and Points Cottage is most definitely a property I would recommend to anyone in search of a weekend delight away from the crazy town we call London. Fire up the 4x4, pack a case of wine and some culinary delights and lose yourself in the freshest of air with a view that will haunt you, and call you back, for some time to come.

Points Cottage is available to rent on Sugar and Loaf, for a stay from 2 to 14 days. Get in there, folks.

Fashion Foie Gras stayed as a guest for 3 nights at Points Cottage in the Black Mountains, Wales.