Review: Nest, County Durham

Nicole Wood escapes to the countryside to experience a moment of calm at Nest, a new rural retreat near Durham…

Do you ever find yourself feeling stressed, burnt out and overwhelmed, just longing for a moment of calm without distraction from your busy thoughts and chaotic schedule? Introducing Nest.

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind recently, throwing hurdle after hurdle, so when the opportunity to completely relax and unwind presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity.

A short drive off of the A19, meandering a few country bends on the way and we arrive at our destination. This little slice of paradise is nestled within the peaceful location of Red Hurworth Farm. Meticulously designed with love and care by Claire and Hugh Carter, the family-owned business presents a wide range of accommodation to cater to diverse guest preferences.

Couples can indulge in the luxury one- bedroom lodges and elevated treehouses and larger parties can book to enjoy the more spacious five-bedroom property, with a children’s play area if booking with little ones.

After purchasing the property in 2016, what started out as a plan to lease out the farm’s bungalow was soon snowballed into a passion project, and in 2019 the idea of Nest began to hatch.

Photo credit: Roam Photography

Arrival At Nest

With a handy and simple to use online check in, we arrive and follow the signs to Kingfisher, our humble abode for the weekend. Both Claire and Hugh have deep roots in County Durham, where they farm and raise their three children.

Inspired by the farm’s beauty, awe-inspiring landscapes, and abundant wildlife, they embarked on the mission to diversify Red Hurworth Farm. The avian theme throughout the business pays homage to the surrounding wildlife, with lodges aptly named after low nesting birds such as Kingfisher and Sandpiper, and treehouses as high nesting birds like Nuthatch and Wren.

As we pull up and step out of the car, I’m in awe of the surroundings. Not a single soul, sound or distraction is in sight. Far into the distance, we catch a glimpse of a neighbouring lodge, but it’s safe to say that if peace and privacy is what you require from your staycation, you’ve certainly got it.

We step into our waterside lodge and before we can even admire the sophisticated decor, our jaws have dropped to the floor with the breathtaking views beyond the bi-fold doors.

A peacefully still reservoir glistening in the afternoon sunshine sweeps across as far as the eye can see, with rolling hills, enchanting trees swaying in the breeze and animals in their natural habitat making up this picturesque backdrop.

Photo credit: Roam Photography

The surroundings

Myself, my partner and our little pooch Rosie head straight outside to explore and admire. Only one of the four Nest’s are dog-friendly, making Kingfisher the perfect spot for us. Exceptional views aside, the outdoor area is kitted out with decking, on-trend outdoor furniture, a super stylish hot tub we can’t wait to sink into and a perfectly manicured lawn with natural shrubs and wildflowers outlining the lodge’s perimeter.

As well as looking aesthetically pleasing, every treehouse and lodge at Nest has been carefully designed by the Carters, utilising energy-efficient SIPS panels and adorned with larch or cedar cladding. Sedum roofs grace the lodges, creating havens for butterflies and bees.

Photo credit: Roam Photography

Interior At Nest

Back inside, the decor is simply stunning. The interiors showcase the vibrant colours of the birds they are named after, expertly crafted with the assistance of the Barnard Castle based interior designers, Niche Living.

These chic and stylish spaces feature the most luxurious details, including Atlas Concorde Italian tiles and Lusso fittings in the bathrooms. Deep blues, muted browns, mustard tones and added greenery make up the colour palette.

A stylish mustard sofa with a matching footstool facing toward the iconic view takes centre stage in the living area and is complemented by a striking, yet subtle on the eye wallpaper on one wall and dark shades of blue on the others.

A suspended log burner, which comes equipped with wood and firelighters is a homely touch providing ample opportunity for cosy evenings. A fully equipped kitchen, Nespresso coffee machine, dining table, underfloor heating, inbuilt music system, board games and a smart TV ensure a home away from home stay.

Through to the bedroom and the decor and amenities continue to impress. A super king bed and plush furnishings guarantee a comfortable night’s sleep, while the skylight continues to highlight the countryside in all of its natural glory.

A Blissful Evening

Come nighttime, stargazing from the comfort of this cloud-like bed is an experience everyone must try. The ensuite is a real stand out for me and is going straight on to my Pinterest board for our new bathroom plans at home.

Neutral tiles adorn the walls and floors, with hints of greenery and matte black finishes dotted throughout. If that wasn’t enough, the double sink, rain shower and divine-smelling toiletries make it the ultimate bathroom goal.

After a long walk tiring out pooch, we retire to the hot tub. Complimentary towels and slippers are a lovely touch we take advantage of. Kitted out with built-in speakers, lights, dedicated head rests and massage jets to relax tired muscles, we slip into the 40 degree bubbles and soak for an hour or two.

Our evening is filled with good food, even better wine and a competitive game of dominoes; oh-so wholesome and fuelling our old at heart spirits.

There’s plenty to see and do nearby. Castle Eden Walkway on the opposite side of the reservoir, offers picturesque walks while Durham City, a mere 20 minutes away, beckons with sights to explore.

Photo credit: Roam Photography

The Perfect Getaway

Local pubs and eateries in nearby villages provide further options for dining and relaxation. But for us, this weekend is all about hibernating away from the rest of the world, simply relaxing without pressure or distractions.

So a lazy start, followed by a mid-morning stroll and more soaking in the hot tub is what’s on the agenda. As we soak away our worries, the only sights and sounds to be aware of are those of natural beauty.

Sheep, cows and horses take up residence in nearby fields, birds soar across the sky and staring out at the reservoir and swaying trees never tires. My only invasive thought is ‘I wish I could paint as this would be the perfect spot to sit and capture its beauty’ and well, that’s not a bad thought to have.

If you’re looking to completely switch off, forget about the rest of the world for a moment and be at one with the peace and tranquillity of nature without compromising on luxury, then resting at the Nest should be top of your ‘to do’ list this autumn.

Prices start from £270 per night for midweek stays and £295 per night for weekends.