Going back to school might be painful for some, but you’ll relish the chance to get together with 15 friends, hens or stags just four miles from the heritage spa town of Bath, bursting with top bars and restaurants. Spread the party across three properties, make the most of the wifi, swim in the summer pool.
Together, the School Rooms, the Coach House and the Lodge sleep 16 in rooms far more luxurious than in ancient days of chalk, talk and ink-blotted desks. Five-metre-high ceilings, en-suite doubles, dining for 16 and flat-screen TVs await. Cook in the kitchen or be catered for. It’s your call.
Old Brook School House offers a flexible stay: configure folk how you like around the School Rooms (sleeping six), the Coach House (four) and the Lodge (two). However you cut it, a stay here adds up to an education in the art of good living.
Out beyond the gates, delightful Box wends its way down the main road into Bath. Inside, the pool, in use from May to September, is a generous ten metres by five. Dig out the inflatables or just the deck chairs to laze languorously with a novel on the 200-square-metre pool terrace while the steaks sizzle on the barbie.
Check in, spread out and gear up for a party, celebration or getaway to remember!
The grand lounge that once echoed to the chatter of schoolchildren and the shrill rebukes of the schoolmistress has become a modern classic: light, bright and welcoming, and taller than a double-decker bus.
An L-shaped sofa sits beneath the giant arched windows and heavy drapes. You can pick at nuts or fruit from the table and sip coffee or Cabernet as you dial into the flatscreen Sony TV or tap into the fast broadband. You can even play music from your phone through the TV.
Head over to the Coach House to raid the DVD collection for a film night. Back in the School Rooms, you can break out the board games or shoot a little pool in the living room. When hunger calls, the open-plan arrangement means there’s a smooth flow from aperitif and appetiser to antipasto.
Thanks to the open-plan arrangement, you’ll segue neatly from living-room sofa to pool table to antipasto around the large dining table. Cook up a storm on the two gas ovens (one range-size), and three hobs. Or carry on with your pool or Prosecco and let our chefs take the heat.
Eat around the chunky dining table, with light flooding the room from the giant arched windows. Or head out to the terrace to the gas barbecue and table and chairs to sit in the sunshine with steaks and sausages. After dinner, maybe a dip in the pool beckons?
Head out for a ploughman’s, a summer salad or a steak-and-kidney winter warmer at The Queens Head in Box, take a stiff walk up to The Quarryman’s Arms, or grab some gastro at The Northey Arms, with extensive food menu and great wines. Or try The Birdhouse Café for salads, quiche, Portuguese custard tarts and lovely décor.
Go Indian at The Bengal Bear and take your own bottles, or try The Ivy Brasserie for relaxed yet sophisticated all-day dining, or The Methuen Arms for partridge and chips or broccoli risotto. Head to Mother and Wild in Corsham for hearty food with all the flavour and none of the pretension.
Sumptuous, swish and elegant bedrooms sleeping 12 across the three properties are supplemented by sofabeds in the living area, offering total accommodation for 16.
The School Rooms comes with three bedrooms. The first is an en-suite kingsize, the second a double en-suite, and the third offers twin singles along with en-suite.
In The Lodge, ideal for a couple, you’ll find a kingsize en-suite, while The Coach House comes with beds for four – a double plus a double sofa bed.