Thirty Six Hours at Babington House to Celebrate Cowshed’s 15th Anniversary

by Sasha Wilkins on July 11, 2013 · 9 comments


I’ve been in Somerset, at Babington House, for the past thirty-six hours, as a guest of their spa business Cowshed, to attend a dinner to celebrate its 15th Anniversary. Back in 1998 Soho House opened Babington as their first hotel, with a small spa in the, literally, old cowshed. The spa clients loved the products that had been developed using herbs and botanicals from Babington’s beautiful Walled Garden, and so the complementary Cowshed products range was born.


I set off from Paddington Station yesterday morning to take a train to Bath Spa (about an hour and a half west of London), and thence by car to Babington House in rural Somerset (about half an hour).

Babington church


I arrived just in time for an early lunch on the lawn, family style, with the other six magazine editors, including lovely Joanna McGarry from NeverUnderdressed, and Sali Hughes. We shared platters of antipasti and salads.


before heading off for our anniversary treatments in the Cowshed – for me a Double Cream Massage with therapist Alice (magic hands!). I floated off afterwards to my duplex room in the Coach House to write copy for a few hours.

Babington coach house duplex room

Later we all walked down to the Cowshed Spa.

cowshed spa babington house

We convened in the spa garden to drink Pimms

babington house

and hear about all the launches in August and in September to celebrate the fifteen year anniversary (of which more later.) Here are two of the new products:


Then a swim in the pool.

babington house

And drying off on a bed in the meadow afterwards – with my tablet, to catch up on emails and write outlines for a couple of upcoming client projects. (A constant theme. It would be so lovely to go away and not work, but I’d probably go all twitchy at the thought of a jammed, unread inbox.)


I washed my hair before dinner with Cowshed Shampoo and Conditioner, and really loved how my hair both felt and looked afterwards.

sasha wilkins
(Please excuse the grumpy face. I always forget to smile in selfies.)

Then we had a wonderful birthday dinner for Cowshed, with ten or so of us in a private room. There was also cake.


I was so pleased that I could attend for two reasons: Cowshed Spa Director Christina Russillo is a friend, (and an incredible role model – businesswoman, mother and all round good person), and I stayed at Babington during its launch back in 1998, and then shot a fashion story there in the same year for Conde Nast Traveller, so it felt fitting to be back there to help celebrate the anniversary.

This morning was supposed to be dedicated to travelling back to London, but a last minute work issue came up which meant I needed to write all morning rather than travel, so I decided I might as well stay and work at Babington all day in the sunshine, as write in my office in London. (I’m a member of Soho House, so have member’s access at Babington.)


Epic EPIC scrambled eggs this morning in the Orangery. Possibly best in show.  I then headed to the meadow behind the swimming pool to settle in for the day. As external offices go, this was most satisfactory. Ten out of ten to Babington for its phenomenally strong WiFi signal, which reached all the way down to the meadow. (I know the Soho House Group caters mainly to media people who demand such a thing, but just because it seems obvious to provide free, strong wifi doesn’t mean hotels catering to this market do so.)



babington house


I had a late lunch. Flat breads with dips, and a salad of brown rice, avocado and cheese.


Before sadly heading back to London at 1730. (Mind you, given that the pool, meadow and surrounding area was overrun with an army of very active shouty children from about 4pm, this was probably sensible.)

Huge thanks to Christina, the girls from Beauty Seen PR, Nick Jones, everyone at Cowshed and Babington for a truly glorious break from London.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy July 11, 2013 at 07:01

Sounds like a lovely place to work!

Lucy x The New Northerner


Sue July 11, 2013 at 10:54

You look very well in that photo. It must be hard to be working most of the time, but you manage to make it sound fun – no mean achievement.

I’m looking forward to reading your next post about books we have loved in our childhood or books that have had an impact upon us at different times in lives.

Warmest good wishes to you.


Rose July 11, 2013 at 11:38

this looks like actual heaven. I’ve wanted to forever- I really must try this year!


A Spoonful of Style July 11, 2013 at 16:36

It looks fantastic! I’ve been to Babington twice – last time was in February last year (with lots of snow) – but your pictures make me want to visit again in the summer.


Fran July 11, 2013 at 17:55

Babington House is the absolute BOLLOX. I’ve only been once but it was utterly glorious and I will never forget the divine freestanding bathtub where I had a very hot Knackered Cow bath. N broke a table and we were terrified that they would charge us but they were LOVELY.


Fran July 11, 2013 at 17:59

LOVED this post btw – photos are fantastic


Helena Halme July 11, 2013 at 20:26

Oh, you’ve made me miss ‘the Babington Bubble’ as we used to call our visits to our ‘local’ Soho House! We lived about 20 minutes’ drive away so you can imagine how often I ‘worked’ in the garden or swam in that fab pool! We were involved in the renovation of the estate into Babington House too, so I do feel very emotional about the place. Thank you for the lovely pictures and blog!
Helena xx


Sylvia July 14, 2013 at 18:36

Oh goodness, your hair (and the rest of you) looks fabulous in that picture. So glossy.


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