The treehouse holiday has become a popular choice for solo travellers looking for some peace, or families hoping to rediscover the magic and wonder of the woodlands and get the children off their phones.
With so-called ‘restorative travel’ set to be key trend in 2020, it seems we’re looking for something more from our weekend retreats than a simple change of scene. From forest bathing to wild swimming and silent retreats (of which Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is a fan), increasing numbers of us are swapping the technology-centric daily grind for a chance to reconnect with the great outdoors.
And why not? Switching off your devices and spending time in nature is scientifically proven to be good for you.
Taking the fast train from London Paddington to Bristol and onward to the small town of Yatton, I made my own mini pilgrimage to the Uplands treehouse. My chosen rural retreat was set on the hill with views stretching out over to the glittering lights of Bristol to the right and the smoking chimneys and church spire of the village of Wrington to the left.
The outdoor shower was surrounded by the tree canopy, with the odd Alpaca peeking through from the field below. An outdoor shower is a prospect I know many find a little unnerving, but one I’ve always thought gives you the same sense of liberation as skinny dipping.
Small jars of homemade jam from the hosts David and Tricia are left on the coffee table that was made from off-cuts from the treehouse itself, and a forest beyond the large decking area is basically your own to explore.
After a storm that whipped around the treehouse on my dramatic first night, I woke up to the morning light streaming in through the floor to ceiling windows at the front and the wonderful vista of the Mendip hills.
Treehouses can offer the kind of intimate and solitary interaction with wild animals that have become increasingly rare. I felt very much surrounded by the activity in the canopy. From the owls that conversed next to my bed at night, their talons scratching against the wood, to woodpeckers and acrobatic squirrels that used the branches brushing up against the walls and steeple structure of the house, frantically darting to and fro.
Apart from the lights of Bristol and the very occasional plane flying above, as time went on, the news, shouts of social media and the modern world gently slipped further away.
Treehouses to try
For solo-travellers or couples: The Uplands Tree House, Wrington, UK
Is there anywhere better to take the kids than a treehouse? Many are also dog friendly, and are situated in places that have great walks and outdoor activities to get small hands stuck into. This tree house in the Dordogne, France has three bedrooms and a proper kitchen to help feed the family, it was also built with the look of castles in mind.
For a Hotel Experience:
Head to the Treehotel in Sweden. They have six different treehouses on site (with a sauna in the centre) including this one which, like something out of Ex-Machina or a Bond film, looks like a reflective glass box suspended in the trees.