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When I’ve taken staycations before I’ve usually gone further from home. But when an email from Visit Newark and Sherwood dropped in my mail box it got me thinking about how I should explore closer to home sometimes too!

Bracken Xcapes

It was a last minute opportunity that lead me to Bracken Xcapes but it was exactly what I needed. It also timed perfectly with my friends 40th celebrations and so we decided to spend a girly night in The Fern accommodation on site.

The Fern is a brick built tiny house with a kitchen/diner, bathroom and lounge on the ground floor and double and twin bedrooms on the first. We arrived to a girls night in hamper which contained everything we needed for just that. Face masks, snacks, bubbly and more. When staying you can book a few different types of hamper as an add too.

The owner also has a board game cafe and escape room in Newark and there was a golden chest in the lounge waiting to be opened. I have to say it was so much fun! It would be great for ice breaking if there was a mixed group of friends staying. (The Fern sleeps 5 with a sofa bed in the lounge.) Or just good as an activity to do and have fun with! We were buzzing more than we should have been when we finally opened it.

My friends unlocking the gold chest

After the excitement we then retreated to the TuffSpa hot tub which I could’ve spent all night in. There’s an extra charge of £60 per stay for this as the hosts will clean, fill and test the water daily during your stay to make sure you’re staying safe. We celebrated with a few bubbles and put the world to rights whilst looking at the stars in the clear sky. We even spotted Mars! I mean how cool is that? Once our fingers has significantly pruned up we retreated to the sofas in the lounge and had a snuggly evening. The kitchen has under floor heating and the lounge has a tall fan/heater which made it really cosy.


Location wise Bracken Xcapes is just off the A1 in the village of North Muskham. I’ve driven through South Muskham quite regularly for work and trips but had never ventured to its neighbouring villages. The A1 is visible from the top bedroom as is the Trainline. There’s a crossing close by but when inside, or, in the hot tub you don’t tend to notice it. They do sound their horns too but this stops at night (in the main!) It’s a great location for exploring the Newark and Sherwood area. Or just for choosing as a half way meeting point for friends too.

Further into the site is another tiny house but built with wood. Two pods and space for Glamping tents which they have in summer. The owners are currently rewilding some of the area. They’ve planted a small orchard for cider making and even have some bee hives on the property. Their aim is to get the space back to nature vs the sugar beet fields it had become. I love that and you can already see how it’s progressing.

Exploring Newark

The next day we swapped guests. Luke joined me for a romantic night away and we decided to go an explore Newark. Now what I’m about to say is sacrilege as I’ve never actually been to Newark town centre and it’s under half an hour away from home! It was under ten minutes away from Bracken Xcapes though so we had no excuse not to.

Lucy walking along the river with Newark castle in the background

We were both pleasantly impressed. I knew Newark could be difficult to get in and out of and there was traffic but we parked with no issues in the Castle House car park which was a 5 min walk to the castle at most. The Green Olive Cafe is a Mediterranean cafe with a focus on Greek food thanks to the owners heritage. We stopped for a late lunch and had the meze sharer which was perfect. Sitting outside with a little afternoon tea style platter felt very cosmopolitan and if the weather was a little warmer we could have been abroad.

We then wandered around the independent shops and took in the sights of Newark. Some of the old buildings are so beautiful!

Meze platter

We then finished our date night with some snacks back at The Fern and another dip in the hot tub under another clear starry night.
Unfortunately we had to leave pretty early the next day as I had to pack for my trip to Bali. But we stopped by The Pantry in South Muskham for a Bacon and sausage Cob. (As we call them in Nottinghamshire!) which was just a couple of minutes away from Bracken Xcapes.

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