The Raft at Chigborough - Cabin in Essex
Suitable for children aged 8 and over
Not suitable for pets
Children over 8 years old are welcome. We’re sorry, the Raft isn’t suitable for pets .
Drift serenely on a raft Huckleberry Finn would be proud of - one with a two-storey wooden cabin aboard. All you can hear are the splashes of trout (bring a rod if you're keen to fish or get Nigel Angus - see things to do - for some pointers), and the sounds of bird life, including a tame swan family who come and go. The Raft has a pioneer feel, built using hand-sawn pine and larch from the farm and is tethered to the bottom of a small, tranquil lake, surrounded by reeds, woods and fields. From the jetty, a few minutes' walk from the car park - though wheelbarrows for kit are provided - you'll get the hang of a floating ferry platform, which bridges the gap between bank and raft. There's a rowing boat for splashing around as well, or for popping over from the Raft to the wood-fired hot tub by the bank, for a relaxing soak under the sky!
Inside it's cosy and comfortable, with touches of the simple life. The Raft runs on solar, there’s a camping-style gas shower (with a view of the lake!) and high-tech loo. The kitchen has gas hobs, fridge, and a proper barbecue, but your fire pit and log store are on the bank near the tethered hot tub platform, along with a couple of bikes to borrow. Watch the abundant wildlife, stargaze through the old telescope, or pick a book and just choose where to flop: there are teak recliners, a Lloyd Loom chair and squishy bean bags that can be tugged onto the deck. From the living area with its double sofa bed, pop up a level to the mezzanine, where a second double turns into twin beds. The balcony up here has the best view.
Paul & Sam, your hosts, run their family farm and fishery - the smoked fish in your welcome pack comes from their own Smokery. Cooking outdoors on the Raft is a must, or head to the tea rooms run by Tiptree jams nearby; there's a craft shop and yoga room on site too. Blackwater Estuary is in easy walking distance with sea views, sailing and canoeing. Strike out on foot for a pint at the Cricketers, or walk along the sea wall to Heybridge Basin, watch the boats, and visit the seafood shack.