This is the story of a girl, her trusty steed and a journey far far away from London, England. Slight exaggeration there. I didn’t ride a horse all the way from London to Exeter for a hotel stay. I may have an old school 18th century heart, but I am forever thankful for 21st century transportation. For one weekend, Keanu (yes, I’ve named my car and you can read all about our special relationship here) and I drove three hours southwest of London, to explore The Pig at Combe for the first time. I was invited as a guest of ZenAuto, who are the folks responsible for me finding the love of my life – Keanu! They wanted us to have a romantic weekend away together. Just me, Keanu, and the open road in front of us. I couldn’t have asked for anything better to celebrate six months of a relationship that’s been nothing but insane happiness and joy. No, truly, I’ve never had a better car experience and that’s down to ZenAuto entirely. So I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again and again – ZenAuto are simply the best when it comes to everything car leasing in the UK. I’m already planning my next lease with them and I’m only six months into this one! But, enough about that. Let’s get hotel talking. The Pig – where to start? There are Pig Hotels dotted all over England and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to have my first experience in one. But, I can say, heart on hand, it won’t be my last. I am a solid fan. When people ask me where to stay outside of London, I now point my finger in the direction of the nearest Pig. One look at the pictures below and you’ll totally see why. But, let’s dive a little deeper before we make this solely a picture book experience.
Upon arriving at The Pig, it seems I was a bit too eager and arrived two hours earlier than check-in time. Normally, this would annoy the daylights out of me. Waiting around for two hours in a corporate hotel is a nightmare. Waiting around in one of the many little nooks at The Pig is heaven. I found myself a room next to the library, took out a book and got completely lost in the pages as I snuggled into an old club chair. A mere moments after I sat down, a handsome gentleman approached and asked if I wished for a fire to be lit, to warm the room. Heaven just became another dimension entirely. A cup of tea arrived five minutes after that and I found myself wishing I had arrived even earlier to enjoy this relaxation therapy. Before I knew it, my room was ready. I was staying in The Laundry Suite – a beautiful room that used to be the laundry facilities for the house. I walked into a room that was 100 times more comfortable than you’d imagine an old laundry room could ever be, but complete with a selection of antiques hinting to this space’s old purpose. On the ceiling of the now living room, there was a drying rack that looked as if it were drying laundry for a family of fifty. Next to the antique mirror there was a cast iron fire place covered in old irons. And in the bathroom there was a copper tub so large it would fit four people. This is the charm of The Pig.
But, many people travel to The Pigs across the country for an entirely different reason. Sure, the charm of the hotel is wonderful. The staff are simply spectacular. Oh, and the locations are storybook perfect. But, it’s the food, people. The food is actually the main draw. People come from hundreds of miles away just for a lunch or dinner at this farm to table establishment. I’m pretty sure all I have to tell you is that the dinner starts with a selection of pork scratchings and pork’s belly smothered in honey and you’ll have your dinner booking fingers at the ready. My dinner was candlelit only, so sadly no pictures were taken. I can, however, assure you that this was one of the most flavourful meals I’ve had in the UK. I ate and drank by myself, working hard to meet a deadline on a piece that was due the next day. So, I didn’t look so much like Billy No-Mates as I sat taking notes and jotting down ideas. I actually quite enjoyed sitting back and watching the clientele roll in. There were large parties that were jolly and full of noise. Then there were couples, enjoying the candlelit room and delicious wine placed before them. My favourite, however, were a pair of ladies, in their seventies, that made the most beautiful sounds of delight with each and every bite they took of their food. They made my night and I left my table only after they had polished off the last sip of their espressos. Lord knows what kind of trouble they had planned after caffeinating so late in the evening. I nearly went over and invited myself to the after party.
I finally returned back to my bed, hell bent on waking with the sun the next morning. Then I remembered the copper bath. This delayed me by a few hours, but guaranteed the coziest of sleeps. The next day I was straight out of bed. I made a Nespresso coffee in room and ran out to greet the cows in the pasture ahead of the hotel entrance. A heavy fog sat over the valley and, with a steaming cup of coffee in hand, I sat and watched as the sun peaked through and melted the surrounding clouds away to reveal the most beautiful sunrise. Every hour of daylight here is magic, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with being present for every second of it.
My new goal for 2020 is to visit each and every Pig. If they are all as magical as this first experience, my year is going to be better than a Harry Potter film…. or whatever other comparison you’d like to make when it comes to magical experiences. I’m in!
Now, for a look at my stay….
For more information on The Pig Hotels visit: https://www.thepighotel.com/
For more information on leasing a vehicle with Zen Auto, a la Keanu visit: https://zen.auto/
My Room at The Pig – The Laundry Suite:
What I wore while in residence: