BIRCH | THE CITY ESCAPE JUST OUTSIDE LONDON
Recently opened and founded by the same guy that was behind the Ace Hotel in London, Birch is the community you want to belong to. This fresh escape, just 10 minutes away from central London is more than “just a hotel”. We had an exclusive look inside the Birch walls.
I am sure we can all agree that London is one of the most electrifying and vibrant cities in the world. However, the city is also fast and furious, which can be overwhelming at times. Fear not, we have found the perfect getaway for you! Are you ready to escape from all the metropolitan chaos without even leaving London? Birch is the answer.
How to get to Birch
Birch is easier to get to than you’d think! You can take the overground directly from Liverpool Street station to Theobalds Grove. The journey takes around 40 minutes. I’d suggest ordering a taxi 5 minutes before getting in at Theobalds Grove station. From there, it is a quick 10-minute ride to Birch. Nonetheless, if you are adventurous enough, embark on a 30-minute walk from the station to the beautiful estate.
Rediscover the fun IRL – activities around Birch
Birch self-proclaims to be a place for explorers. Yet, having been here for even just half a day, I’d say it’s a place for everyone, especially those who live in a city and barely have a chance to relax. At Birch, you can disconnect completely without getting bored. Forget about Netflix, there is no TV in the room. However, there is a 55 acre garden with a tipi, a lido, a wellness centre and many activity rooms for you to discover the fun in real-life activities all over again. Why not drop by the bakery to knead some sourdough? Or pick up a guitar and start a band in the music room!
Birch is also the perfect place to try something new. Have you ever wanted to try axe throwing or wonder how to forage safely? Here, not only can you find all these exciting events to take part in, but they also have teachers and experts guiding you through each activity, making sure everything runs smoothly and the experience is as enjoyable as it can be!
What did we get up to?
To begin with, I attended a session on medicinal mushrooms with guided meditation and breath-work. First of all, why have I never put the two (or three) together? Secondly, I left the session feeling so relaxed and energised at the same time, knowing more about the nutritional side of mushrooms and how to incorporate them into my day-to-day routine. If you are looking for something that is less commonly found in the city, this has to be it!
The next morning, I attended a pottery session in their workshop. This is something I’ve always wanted to try but classes in London can be quite pricey. I had such a fun time learning how to make my own homeware and the teacher was very patient in explaining all the steps. I cannot wait to see how they turn out in 4-6 weeks when they finally fired our creations and send them back to us.
Disconnect and re-connect – everyone is welcome at Birch
Yes, absolutely everyone; whether you are a child or an adult, a human or a pet. Birch is not only a dreamy getaway for grownups, it is also an enormous playground for kids. With several playrooms and many of children-friendly activities, including laser tag and art clubs, parents can rest assured that their kids will be sufficiently stimulated and not be glued to their phones. Adults can accompany their kids to the activities, but also, why not join a wine tasting class and become a wine connoisseur instead?
As soon as you step foot in Birch, you will immediately feel at home, even if it is your first time there. Kids are getting along happily, either watching a movie together in the screening room or playing board games in the library. Pets are also overjoyed at the luxury of space available at Birch. It is hard to come here and not feel at ease. The weekend we visited, there was also the makers market, selling everything from vintage clothings to handmade pottery. We had so much fun browsing and admiring all the incredible work from artists from all over the country.
Replenish from within – eating at Birch
With all the activities going on around Birch, you have to make sure to get plenty of food and liquids in you to keep up the energy level! There are several places around the vicinity to either grab a bit on the go or to enjoy a sit-down meal.
Valeries is an all-day restaurant whose outdoor seating stretches outside the main entrance of the building. However, if you simply want to grab a coffee and a pastry to go, The Store opposite the music room has a selection of coffees and cakes to choose from. You can also grab a bowl of salad or soup there during the day and eat outside on one of the benches looking over the garden. Don’t worry, Birch has blankets and fires to keep you warm on the chillier days. There is a BBQ truck outside cooking up some delicious roasts on weekends.
If you want a more elevated dining experience, definitely head to The Zebra Riding Club for a feast. Apparently, the owner of the estate before it became Birch owned zebras. Hence, the inspiration behind the restaurant’s name. The Zebra Riding Club is a restaurant that is led by nature. What that means is that the menu changes according to what is best at the time from their farm and any surrounding farms. All the ingredients at Birch, not just its restaurants, are sourced locally and as naturally as possible. Whatever your dietary preference, you can expect high-quality seasonal dishes.
Birch in a Nutchell
Being described as a community or even a festival, it surely feels like it. You can become a member for £120 per month which gives you discounts on rooms and activities. Or you come as a guest, which is totally fine. Double rooms cost around £150 per night, pretty reasonable if you ask me. From inside out, Birch looks after your wellbeing. I felt so rested, even having stayed there for just one weekend. All in all, I would say that Birch is perfect for relaxing, escaping the city and recharging. We cannot wait to come back this Summer!
*Chantelle is one of our guest editor from Hong Kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. Having been in England for the past nine years and graduated with a Law degree, she is now living in London. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. You can follow her on Instagram.