When I first announced to my husband that we were going on a romantic break for two, without the kids, and not too far from London, I left out some of the details!
He knew we were headed for the Norfolk /Suffolk border and that the word ‘luxurious’ was in the marketing… but he did look a bit nonplussed when I packed wellies and a torch! It wasn’t until we were well on our way that I told him we would be staying off grid, in a secluded luxury eco cabin set in 6 acres of wildflower meadow.
“So we’re camping?” He looked at me – incredulous that I’d dragged him from his lock down bubble to rough it in a makeshift hut.
“Trust me” I said…and boy did he end up eating his words.
Albion Nights is far from just a camping location. It’s a peaceful retreat in nature where you can literally look up at the stars as you soak in the outdoor bathtub on the deck, surrounded by solar powered fairy lights. (Yes it’s that secluded!)
Helen McGrath-Doherty has always had a passion for design and her husband Pete works in the construction trade, so they combined their ideas and practical skills and put their heart and soul into creating a complete Oasis that is Albion Nights. It’s been lovingly hand built using reclaimed, recycled and reused materials giving it a feel of simplicity and ‘shabby chic’
It’s totally off grid, a completely natural environment, but their system generates plenty of power. Helen and Pete work hard at maintaining and preserving the wonderful biodiversity on site and you really do get to experience the evening birdsong, watch the bats flying around, and maybe even catch sight of their resident barn owl. I didn’t need the wellies by the way, we were lucky with the weather and the cabin is toasty warm, there’s an open-plan living area fitted with a wood burning stove and kitchenette. This opens into a separate double bedroom with a full size double-bed and ensuite bathroom.
Shortly after the project started, Pete was made redundant which allowed him more time to work on the cabin, but had a profound effect on their plans. Helen had the great idea of running a Crowdfunding campaign and successfully raised several thousand pounds towards completing the project.
At the same time, they were given the opportunity to feature on a TV series called ‘Cash in the Spare Room’. The host Sarah Moore, came up with some fantastic ideas such as an outdoor bathtub on the veranda, and the team built the bath whilst Helen and Pete worked on the interior.
The funky ‘en suite’ has a shower and composting toilet, with a style often used in Scandinavian homes, designed so that the user MUST sit down when using it – its body weight on the seat which makes the mechanics of the toilet work!
The cabin’s electricity is provided by a 12-volt solar battery, with a wood-burning stove providing the heat. The stove has a back burner, which provides hot water for the shower and the special outdoor bath.
With a large skylight for stargazing, we were indeed enchanted by the night sky.
The open-plan living area is fitted with a wood burning stove and kitchenette and this opens to a bedroom with a full size double-bed and there’s a large skylight for stargazing, so you can be enchanted by the night sky.
Just before the end of the build, Pete was finally successful in finding himself a new job, which enabled the couple to employ specialists to add the final finishing touches to the cabin.
Albion nights have thought of everything, no need for sleeping bags, matches or other supplies. The bed is divine, high quality bed linen, fluffy towels, and gorgeous eco friendly toiletries are supplied (and much appreciated!). Even kitchen supplies are gifted, such as coffee, teas and raw milk from the farm next door and a fabulous breakfast hamper suited to your dietary requirements, plus there are logs and everything you need to light a fire and have a barbecue.
The ‘luxury’ element wasn’t exaggerated, it’s ‘Glamping’ with actual light switches for the living area and outside light, and even a USB charging point! They have a seriously good solar setup with a Roberts DAB radio in the bedroom which is battery operated, using rechargeable batteries of course!
Helen believes that Albion Nights is an ideal location for couples who need to get away from it all after the trials of lock down. “We’re so hyper-connected nowadays, and while we’ve been self-isolating most of us have been staring at screens more than ever. I think it could provide a really valuable experience for couples to hit the reset button, reconnect with nature and get ‘off the grid’ for a couple of days.”
I have to agree, we had the most magical time, Albion Nights is the ideal couple location, all of us can use a bit of time connecting with nature and this feels like a little slice of home, in the meadow.
If you’re interested in booking a stay at Albion Nights, visit the website at albionnights.co.uk
Follow them on social media @albionnights
Ssssh…though…Don’t tell too many people, I can’t take the risk of not being able to go back there!