by Helen Finney
In May this year we went to stay for two nights in one of the fabulous Living Room Treehouses in Machynlleth, Wales. My husband had been given some Red Letter Days vouchers through work and I’d spotted the ‘Treehouse Experience for Four’ on the website when we were looking to redeem them. I’d seen things like this before and been somewhat disappointed to discover that your treehouse was just an added playroom next to a more Centre Parcs-like cabin, but this was the real deal. An actual treehouse to sleep in!
What you actually get
The treehouses are located up on the hillside outside Machynlleth, on a working sheep farm. The lanes are not for the faint-hearted reverse driver when you come face to face with a tractor but easily accessible in a family car. When we arrived we were met by the owner and his wheeled trolley to take our luggage and then guided through the fields of sheep to our treehouse.
We’d made the decision not to tell our two sons where we were going, so the looks on their faces were perfect when they realised that we’d be staying up in the trees! The treehouse is about 20 feet up in and access by a wooden spiral staircase – ours had a gate at the top to stop our 3 year old wandering off! A large raised deck greets you outside the treehouse – perfect for outside eating. Aand then the treehouse itself. It’s one room with curved walls! A log burner heats the room and there’s a two ring hob to cook on along with a sink and fold-down table. The interior is modern Ikea eco style with basic crockery and cutlery provided. There’s even an eco bucket-fridge outside.
There were three BIG bonuses for me (I’m in no way a camper of any variety!) and was only a few weeks pregnant when we visited.
- A proper bed! A double for the adults and bunkbeds for the boys. Proper sheets and a lovely quilt!
- The compost toilet. Outside for the loo, but still, it was just outside the main treehouse and clean.
- A hot shower – located under the treehouse itself, with water heated by the log burner and a view of the fields.
Inside the treehouse there were a selection of books and board games and a book suggesting walks and places to visit. There’s no electricity so everything is candlelit in the evening.
When to go
This decision was taken a little out of our hands as, confined to school holidays, we had to wait some months for availability to come up at a time we could make. We were offered two nights in June, just after the Jubilee Bank Holiday. Perfect timing for some Welsh sunshine – or so we thought! We were lucky with the weather, but only in the sense that Machynlleth and the surrounding area flooded on the day we left. But nevertheless, being holed up in a treehouse with your log burner, listening to the rain outside is pretty up there on the magical experience scale.
What to do when you’re there
We pretty much didn’t want to leave the treehouse! We did however venture out to the local towns and for a couple of walks on the beach too. Our treehouse was over a substantial stream so the boys fished with nets and played on the rope swing too. We ventured out on one of the slower-paced walks around the area but the rain combined with a 3 year old with a radar for anything remotely dangerous meant it was a short walk! The boys were content to play in the treehouse though and it’s wonderfully peaceful for holing up with a book and a mug of tea.
There are three treehouses but we didn’t see another soul for the whole time we were there! Your children will need to entertain themselves as there didn’t seem to be much scope for making friends.
- Take easy-cook meals with you. Two cooker rings are very limiting so a certain level of planning was needed to make sure that we had something edible. There’s a Co-op in Machynlleth that’s great for stocking up when you get there.
- Be prepared for lots of wet and muddy clothing, and the fact that you have to carry everything a fair walk from your car. Wellies are an absolute must.
- Candlelight is surprisingly limiting in the evening – we discovered that it’s pretty much impossible to tell the difference between blue and green UNO cards in the semi darkness!
The shock-factor was just what townies we all actually are! From the total lack of mobile signal to my eldest ‘Mummy, what are those chunks?’ as we walked through the sheep field, to the absence of a lock on the treehouse door and the weird woodland noises in the night!
Amazing. Even in the rain. With the sheep taking cover under the treehouse! The boys loved it and so did we – definitely an experience not to be missed.