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Birch Selsdon

South East England Greater London Croydon

  • 181 Guest Rooms
  • Country House Hotel

Birch's latest addition to their just-out-of-London creative retreat portfolio is Birch Selsdon – this time half an hour south of the capital, and like Birch Cheshunt to the north, it's 'less a hotel and more a playground.'

What this means in practice is a beautiful country mansion set within 200 acres of rolling, green hills and meadows that were once a golf course and are now one of London's largest re-wilding projects. The rooms are gorgeous – medium to large, suite to family – with a very natural feel. There's furniture made from wood from their own grounds, bespoke artwork, and lights enclosed in hand-blown, recycled glass. There are no TVs in the rooms – that's a Birch standard – but families, for example, have their own dedicated hub, where the kids can run free, with gardens, playrooms and activity programmes. Some rooms, meanwhile, are designated as dog-friendly, with beds provided.

As for adults, creatives, explorers and dreamers, Birch Selsdon has you covered, with an extraordinary array of activities, features, events and services. There's a gym, co-working spaces, a lido with a 25-metre pool (opening late summer 2023), HIIT sessions and the rest, if you're into the whole urban-retreat thing. Or, you can go total chill-out – they even have their own pottery studio. Add in foraging tours, plant-dye workshops, re-wilding walks, and Japanese tie-dyeing sessions, and the whole 'escape for explorers' tagline makes a whole lot of sense.

The nice thing about the Birch concept is it's as relaxed or as top-end as you want to make it. Dining and drinking is in two stylish restaurants and three bars, sourcing ingredients and produce for dishes from their own grounds. The spaces throughout are beautiful, but it's very definitely not snooty or overbearing; instead, glossy glamour meets laidback leisure inside, with plenty of al fresco places for drinks and dining if the weather behaves itself. And all this is just a ten-minute taxi ride from East Croydon station. It really is the stress-free city escape you've been looking for.

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