A lone owl hoots over the sound of a crackling fireplace on an otherwise silent night.
It feels a million miles from the noises we’re used to at home: cars, passersby, the footsteps of upstairs neighbours and our TV blaring. And yet we’re only about an hour’s drive away from the hustle and bustle of central London.
My partner, Matt, and I are lucky enough to have had quite a few weekend breaks away together, but these have normally involved flights and fairly packed itineraries. That changed this winter when we experienced our first UK cabin escape together with Re Cabins – a self-contained luxury boutique cabin getaway over eight acres of private, undisturbed meadow.
After taking a speedy 18-minute train from London St Pancras International to St Albans, we took a short cab ride to what felt like a much more rural part of town. We thanked the driver, threw our rucksacks over our backs and navigated an eerie walk in the dark with our smartphone torches as guides.
As we let ourselves into the private plot of land and made our way up the slightly muddy grass, we could see our cabin in the distance lit up at the top of the hill.
From the moment we opened the door and slid off our shoes, we felt our stresses melt away.
The cabin itself was kitted out for everything you’d want for a weekend of powering down. From fresh coffee beans and a handheld grinder, a tote bag with eye masks, treats from local artisan traders and a few beers in the fridge.
It also came with yoga mats, card games, a selection of stunning candles and high-end bathroom products.
After lighting the small wood fire (don’t worry if you don’t know how, it comes set-up and there’s an instruction guide too), we poured some wine and made ourselves a little platter of food to pick at. The cabin came with a small table and wrap-around bench.
Decompressing in real-time, we watched the stars through the large glass windows overlooking the great outdoors. And I experienced the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a very, very long time.
The next morning, I awoke to Matt grinding fresh coffee beans and making us breakfast with the granola that had come in our lovely welcome pack. He’d chosen not to wear an eye mask to sleep, and talked of how therapeutic waking up to the sunrise and the views outside had been.
I preferred a leisurely lie-in until 10am, eye mask firmly in place.
We ate our breakfast in bed and chatted about our plans for the day. Suddenly, the clouds opened and before we knew it, there was incredibly heavy rain around us. This actually made our morning even cosier, so we stayed inside and warm while picking at a bit more food and taking our time with showering and getting dressed.
There was a slight hiccup with the boiler, but after a couple of messages to the owner, someone came round to fix it within the hour.
After our very leisurely Saturday start, we sauntered into nearby St Albans for the afternoon.
A friend of ours lived close by and was kind enough to collect and drive us in and out, and show us some local highlights.
From the cabin, the city centre is around a 15-minute drive.
Our first stop was the food markets, where we sampled a Transylvanian BBQ (referring to the cooking style, rather than the flavour) donut, which is basically a long, hollow, crunchy cinnamon bread.
We then found a Scotch egg stall, complete with vegan and gluten-free options (Matt tried a ‘Christmas dinner’ Scotch egg, which seemed to go down a treat).
After sufficiently lining our stomachs, we took a trip to St Albans cathedral, where a choir happened to be practicing. The building itself is stunning, and there appeared to be multiple tours on offer. It felt completely welcoming of visitors.
Neither of us are church-goers, but as – as every online guide will proudly tell you – it’s the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain, so we wanted to pay it a visit.
To wrap the afternoon up, we found Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, one of several pubs that lay claim to being the oldest in England – and the low ceilings to prove it. After a drink or two, we made our way back to the cabin for another cosy night in.
The next day, the sun was out and casting a stunning light. We took some photos to remember our time there and, before we knew it, had taken a taxi, train and Tube back to the familiar buzz of city life.
And while we might be forever bound to that buzz, our trip to somewhere close and much quieter certainly will not be our last.
Re Cabins have a minimum stay of 2-3 nights, with set check-in and check out days of Mon, Wed & Fri – with prices starting from £360.00.