Summer is officially here and we’ve already got itchy feet, searching for new adventures and somewhere different to explore. This summer, while the sun is shining, escape the city and explore some of the UK’s blooming countryside – and we’ve found you the perfect spot. 

The Newt in Somerset, who were the official headline sponsor of last week’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022, is the ideal weekend getaway. They’ve launched the Great Garden Escape, a countryside retreat that’s packed with a day of fine food, cyder tours, picturesque gardens and sensory experiences. 

Taking place on Friday and Saturdays throughout the summer until 24th September, this unique countryside day allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of countryside living, from sampling local Somerset ingredients to exploring the beautiful surroundings. 

Interested? Here’s why you should visit this countryside oasis this summer.

The Journey

All aboard! The Great Garden Escape runs in partnership with Great Western Railway, and will see you travelling First Class from London Paddington to Castle Cary. The most picturesque way to travel, expect a scenic journey that’ll see you venturing into the deep West Country, complete with rolling hills and stunning surroundings. 

The gastronomic journey begins as soon as you step afoot the First Class carriage. You’ll be tucking into a breakfast picnic created by The Newt’s Head of Food Alan Stewart, sampling the best of Somerset produce. Delight on buttery estate croissants with seasonal preserves, yoghurt with berry compote and apple and walnut granola and freshly squeezed orange juice. 

A transfer will be waiting for you at Castle Cary station and will take you to the bucolic estate, where a taste of all things Somerset awaits.

The Food

From the breakfast picnic to the three-course vegetable-led lunch menu, food plays a central role in the Great Garden Escape. After you’ve finished banqueting on the breakfast delights, you’ll be greeted with an experience that’s catered by The Newt in Somerset’s team of chefs, farmers, gardeners, butchers, bakers, cheesemakers and cyder makers. 

As soon as you arrive, you’re invited to get hands on, stopped to pick, taste and smell the produce that grows on the estate as you’re guided through the space by one of the gardening team.

Come lunchtime and you’ll enjoy a three-course menu in the glass-walled Garden Cafe. Look forward to dishes such as estate spelt and ale crackers with radishes and wild garlic hang op; roasted spiced cauliflower, with fermented leaves, almond yoghurt, coriander; Somerset strawberries, lavender cream and salted butter crumble. All paired alongside a glass of wine from the orchards of Babylonstoren, The Newt’s South African sister estate. 

Enjoy free-time wandering the estate, stopping by the Farm Shop and stocking up on Somerset specialities from West Country cheeses matured in The Newt’s cheese room to slow-reared meats dry-aged in the Himalayan salt-lined Butchery. As well as stopping by the Cyder Cellar for a tour and tasting session with cellar master Greg Carnell. 

On the train back to London, enjoy an afternoon tea picnic for one last taste of Somerset before you head back to the big smoke.

The Surroundings

After you’ve soaked up the beautiful scenic journey, you’ll be taken to the estate that’s set between the small Somerset towns of Bruton and Castle Cary. Expect a landscape awash with farmland, woodland, orchards and acres of gardens awaiting your discovery. 

There’ll be plenty of free time for you to explore the surroundings, stopping by the nature-focused attractions too. The Story of Gardening will allow you to dig into the history, while the Beezantium exhibition allows you to peek inside the fascinating life of pollinators and their hives.

The Experts

Not only is the experience created by The Newt’s team of experts, but you’ll also have the chance to learn more about the various ways in which the estate’s cogs come together. 

Expect time to chat and explore with cyder makers, chefs, gardeners and farmers, all who work in harmony with land and livestock to produce delicious food for the table. 

The Seasonal Weekend Specials

The Newt will be hosting various seasonally themed weekends. If you’re looking at a July weekend, you’ll be given the chance to spend the day with head beekeeper Paula Carnell to learn more about the hives, colonies and more about the world of bees. 

In August, step back in time for a day of ‘History & Heritage’. Expect an archaeological adventure exploring The Newt’s brand new Roman Villa Experience; an ambitious reimagining of a Romano-British villa, inspired by the unearthing of a settlement on the estate, dating back to 351AD, which sits alongside an innovative and interactive visitor centre. To finish the season will be the Harvest Special taking place on 23rd and 24th September. You’ll spend the whole day gaining access to specialists in their fields, exploring the estate with experts and even head on a tractor trailer tour of the sprawling apple orchards.

The Great Garden Escape to The Newt in Somerset is priced at £335 per adult, £260 per child and will be running on Fridays and Saturdays from May to 24th September 2022. The Great Garden Escape ticket includes First Class return travel from London Paddington to The Newt in Somerset; guided tours, talks and tastings; all meals from breakfast and lunch through to afternoon tea; plus 12-month Newt Membership.

In partnership with The Newt in Somerset

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