Farmhouse Farmhouse review
B&B with natural therapies in Dorset
The Quick Read: Farnham Farmhouse is a gorgeous, family-run, ivy-clad 19th century farmhouse B&B set in serene Thomas Hardy countryside. In the grounds you’ll find Sarpenela Natural Therapies Centre, built into the original stables, where a truly holistic range of treatments with expert therapists will help you find a new sense of equilibrium and set you back on track.
Our experience: Caroline Sylger Jones writes ‘I found this to be a very affordable, very peaceful and beautifully relaxing place to stay run by lovely people with integrity. I went for for some head space for a couple of days and felt so much better after long baths, local walks and daily treatments – these included a thorough Indian head massage, and all-over aromatherapy massage and a facial using one of Sarah’s organic home-made concoctions. My room was a warm, terracotta and white, sensibly-decorated room with a comfortable bed and armchair, dark wooden furniture, thick carpet and an ensuite bathroom with a properly sized bath’.
The outside: The house is set in an acre of lawned garden surrounded by countryside. There are wooden benches strategically placed so you can sit peacefully and enjoy the view, and an old-fashioned heated outdoor stone swimming pool that’s yours to use. Walk from the door across Cranborne Chase, a designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The inside: The B&B has flagstone floors, a little sitting room with an open fire that guests can usually use, a traditional dining room with large windows and country views and four comfy, traditionally decked out bedrooms, three with ensuite bathrooms and all with country views over Cranborne Chase.
The treatments: Treatments are given at Sarpenela, a soothing, yellow-painted, candle-lit and tidy therapy space in the converted stables next door to the farmhouse. The main therapist is Sarah Lownds, a reiki master and holistic therapist who spent 11 years managing spas in the Middle East before setting up on her own – her parents run the B&B. Treatments on offer include organic facials, thai-style, hot stone, therapeutic, Indian head and aromatherapy massages and reflexology. Counselling is available, and more ‘out there’ holistic therapies including reiki, colour therapy, chakra balancing and Bach flower remedies.
Food & drink: A decent breakfast is provided. Though it’s not organic, there is fresh fruit, local cereals, and the option of a cooked breakfast. For lunches and evening meals I walked 10 minute up the road for gourmet comfort food at The Museum Inn – it’s best to book supper in advance.
Fellow guests: Anyone, from walkers and tired parents to mothers and daughters on a short break. I felt very comfy here on my own.
What’s queenly: Good range of treatments by Sarah, who has a calm, natural energy about her and is a dab hand at making you feel cosseted and special, all the more so as you’ll probably have her therapy space all to yourself. A genuinely peaceful, rural setting run by friendly, helpful hosts who have integrity.
What’s lowly: Decor is safe rather than sassy. They can’t provide supper, which means you can’t totally hole up here away from the world.
Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones
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