PROSECCO on ice, a panoramic coastal view, and what I thought was a toasty outdoor bath.
But jumping into my not-so-hot-tub, it was all I could do not to scream across the peaceful Essex landscape.
In a rookie glamping gaffe, the wood-burning tub, which had felt so warm on the surface, hid layers of icy water beneath.
If I’d soaked in a sustainable Scandinavian-wood tub before, I’d have known that they need 90 minutes to heat up, followed by a good stir with a special wooden paddle.
The DIY hot tub was an add-on — “£60, logs included” — to the impressive new camping accommodation at Lee Wick Farm that my partner Ali and I were staying in.
A working potato farm on the edge of the village of St Osyth, Lee Wick Farm offers a diverse selection of cottages and glamping accommodation, the newest of which are the Slovenian-made Lushna cabins.
It’s the only UK venue to offer the wooden eco cabins, made from untreated Siberian larch and featuring floor-to-ceiling windows to maximise the big-sky views of the Essex countryside and coast.
The insulation is shredded wastepaper and electricity comes from the farm’s solar panels.
Rustic on the outside, ingenious inside, the compact space includes a double bed with a sleeping platform above for two kids.
A clever kitchen space packs in a folding table that clips to the wall, while one cupboard contains glasses, crockery, kettle, induction hob, fridge and microwave. They’ve even snuck in a wardrobe.
We arrive on a Saturday afternoon, just as summer slips into autumn. Not quite warm enough to sit out for long on our decking, we head to Clacton.
The town’s award-winning pier (it was voted 2020 Pier of the Year by the National Piers Society) draws a million visitors a year with its landmark red and white striped helter-skelter and other attractions including an amusement arcade, aquarium and tenpin bowling.
Once grand Victorian hotels are now less than lovely but the town is buzzing and there’s a long stretch of sand you can walk along for two hours all the way to Frinton-on-Sea. Palm trees and ornamental flower gardens offer a space to sit and watch wind turbines whirring in the distance.
We lose money in the two-penny slot machines and enjoy a drink watching the sun set before driving back via St Osyth.
A quaint village on the edge of the farm it offers a slice of rural life and narrow streets lined with beamed medieval buildings.
The handful of places to eat include The Balti House, an Indian restaurant on Spring Street, which offers delivery if you’re feeling lazy. Started 30 years ago, it serves up the sort of food that makes you wish for an extra stomach.
We overeat tandoori chicken, orangey-red and black as it should be, fragrant biryani packed with tender mutton and soft paneer with an amber and green sauce.
Driving back, we pass the most famous sight in the village, the 12th-century St Osyth Priory — a Grade II-registered historic park and heritage buildings.
We pass an obstacle course bobbing on the lake — one of the activites on offer at Curve Water Sports — and make a note of the 50-strong combination of blue and white inflatables so we can return with our daughter.
Re-installed in our cosy Lushna cabin, we catch a few bars of 4G and listen to some comedy on my iPhone (there’s no router) before drifting off to sleep.
When we wake and pull back the curtains, the view is lovely — a wide expanse of pinky-blue sky unspoilt by modern intrusions.
The cabins are bookable year-round, meaning you could hop across snow-covered decking to your hot tub or bask in the heat of the summer sun.
Whatever the weather, remember to put that hot tub paddle to good use first!
STAYING THERE: One night’s room only in a two-person Lushna cabin at Lee Wick Farm is from £40pppn including bedding and towels, based on two sharing.
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