Before we start, I've a confession to make; I'm a massive townie. I've lived in a city my entire life. I grew up in North London and after a four-year stint living in various basement flats in the middle of Brighton, I packed up my bags and hotfooted it back to LDN.
My idea of rambling is stomping round the West End or shopping near Regent's Park. The mere thought schlepping to the countryside gave me the creeps - that was until I discovered Premier Cottages and decided some fresh air might just do me good.
Never one to turn down a road trip - what better excuse for an N'Sync classics sing-along, squashed homemade sandwiches and playing the world's longest game of Eye Spy - a friend and I jumped in my Vauxhall Adam (aka the townie's dream ride) and journeyed out to the great unknown (er, Norfolk).
Three hours north east of London, Hope Cottage was my temporary abode. Imagine a sweet little hideaway tucked neatly between the beach and green fields as far as the eye could see.
Hope Cottage is Wind In The Willows, BBC-period-drama-set-in-the-countryside cute. And after cracking open the complimentary bottle of red I got familiar with the cozy leather couches, the wood burner, the exposed beams and the snazzy wet room. Perhaps country living is a lot more fun than I assumed
Unfortunately the "Spring" weather was not on my side, but I was determined to embrace my inner bumpkin and REFUSED to go into lockdown and button down the hatches (even though I could've happily stayed shut up in Hope Cottage for the foreseeable future).
Anyway, pulling on my old parka jacket, boots and a pair of well-worn jeans, I bounded off into nature. With the wind threatening to run off with my beanie and the fresh sea air whipping me in the face, I have to admit felt a bit like Tess of the d'Urbervilles (before everything went rubbish and she got ditched by Angel Clare, that is).
After a long walk across the meadows, I stumbled upon a teeny tiny cafe and a cuppa joe and slice of lemon drizzle cake later, I'd forgotten all about the office, the tube, multinational coffee chains, my heels and any out-of-London anxiety I'd been harbouring. My new weekend formula for weekend de-stressing? Hope Cottage and red wine. It just works.
Premier Cottages' collection features almost 1,000 four and five-star self-catering cottages in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands. Properties range from small, romantic boltholes to large family-friendly country estates. The collection includes pet-friendly accommodation. It also offers the widest range of accessible properties in the UK and many properties have onsite facilities like swimming pools, gyms, spas, indoor games rooms and children's play areas.
A week's stay in Hope Cottage for two people costs from £490 to £720. To book a stay consult www.premiercottages.co.uk or call 01733 200908