We think we live somewhere special, we hope you do too?
Whilst only being an hour from London by train and an hour and a half by car, our little corner of Essex remains remarkably tranquil and unspoilt, we think mainly to due to the M11 motorway by-passing Saffron Walden and its environs.
This has left our community to be still very much a rural farming based one, which while still attracting London commuters it has to all intents and purposes managed to retain its identity.
The historic towns and villages that lie all around us, offer fantastic architectural and cultural gems, art galleries, museums, stately homes and castles and of course our proximity to Cambridge and to Duxford Imperial War Museum offer great days out.
However, what many discover when booking to stay at Piglets, is that we are much more than a B&B, as you may have read from the many kind reviews we have received. What we have tried so hard to create is a little oasis of luxury where one feels relaxed enough to wander around in a robe and slippers or lounge by our natural swimming pond and treat our place like your place.
We hope we have been able to make our home feel as if you are at yours in the country – we believe the facilities here rival many of the world’s top hotels and the attention to detail we have included in our rooms and public areas we hope will delight.
Our cooking is home based although we receive many a compliment worthy of restaurant fayre. We hope we have tapped into comfort food items which will entice you to put your feet up, enjoy all the offerings from our honour bar and most of all relax and make Piglets, just as much part of your holiday or stay as the original reason for you choosing us.
We look forward to welcoming you.
Max & Chrissie
ABOUT YOUR HOSTS
We wanted to open a B&B that we would like to stay at. It meant a great deal of thought was given to what this might look like and the overall experience of guests who came to stay. What are the touches that make a good stay into a memorable stay?
Both of us have run successful businesses but wanted a new challenge – one we could do together – and Piglets B&B was the result. Both of us enjoy meeting new and interesting people and this seemed a great way of doing this while having a fantastic home to live in and share.
After over 40 years of running my family’s luxury games business, now being run by my son on site, I decided it was time for a break and a new challenge with my lovely wife Chrissie.
After years of travel and disappointing hotel stays, I wanted to bring to Piglets many of the things I feel bigger hotels missed despite classing themselves as 5 star and ’boutique’ and then combining this together with the personal touch that can only be truly found within a home.
I believe we have gone some way to achieving this – it is always a work in progress as we strive to make your stay as best we possibly can.
Piglets was originally an old Essex tithe barn and was part of Hodges Farm (which is situated just behind Piglets) which Max’s mother and father bought whilst serving in the RAF in 1944.
To keep themselves going during the post war years, the barn was converted into a Piggery, with pigs upstairs and down and free ranging across Hodges small holding and eventually growing to around 450 Wessex Saddle Backs and Large Whites.
In 1968 the remaining pigs and farm equipment were sold (see poster opposite) along with “Billy Bembo” our Large White boar as seen on the left looking over his gate from the ‘Stockade’ which is now our games room.
From then the building housed the luxury board gaming business of the Parker family with up to 25 locals producing the Company’s hand made goods.
Then in 1994 the building was converted yet again, and this time into Max’s home (the current blue building known as ‘Old Piglets’) and then following his marriage to Chrissie, the home was extended in 2019 to encompass the B&B accommodation you can enjoy now.
Here are some of the facilities that await you...
Taking over a year to conceive, our swimming pond is gradually increasing its eco-credentials by the day as the plants grow within our regeneration zone and their friendly bacteria start to perform their magic to produce a crystal ‘gin clear’ natural swimming experience without chemicals where one can enjoy a unique swim.
At the deep end it is 2.02M (6.62 ft) deep and half way it reduces to 1.30M (4.26 ft) . It is built for those who like to train so it is 14.55M (47.74 ft) long by 5.45M (17.88 ft) wide and has straight sides for tumble-turning if so inclined!
Or alternatively you could just laze on a lounger sipping a G&T from our gin library or perhaps a Bellini, buried deep in the latest thriller and with bird song as background music while soaking up the sun (our pond is strategically located for sunny mornings and a simple move around allows one to continue sun bathing in the afternoon).
This we hope will be a tranquil space with no children bombing and no footballs thrown!
To help you keep your fitness levels up, we have built a small gym which has all the essentials one needs to tick over…there is a Concept II rower, a cross-trainer and exercise bike. A Bodymax multi-gym rig with numerous weights/pulleys and bench. Interchangeable bar bells, gym balls, kettlebells, Yoga mats and a punch bag dummy with gloves. As the surrounding countryside is so beautiful and our roads quiet, we decided that running in the fresh air was preferable to being on a gym treadmill. You will also be asked to fill in a brief health check form for insurance purposes.
There is a mini fridge with complementary purified water, towels, a DAB radio with Bluetooth so you can play your own tunes and a USB charging point, Alexa and a TV.
The gym is air conditioned and heated in the winter. The walls are adorned with Max’s old boxing fight bills, tickets and memorabilia.
Why not take a quick shower before refreshing yourself in our natural swimming pond.
The gym can be reserved from 7am until 9pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 10pm weekends – just book a slot with Chrissie or Max..
In the interest of hygiene and our Covid 19 policy, we ask guests to use the wipes provided to wipe down the equipment used before leaving the gym.
A lock up bike shed is available if you are bringing your precious machines to enjoy our country lanes which in 2014 the Tour de France passed just a mile down the road!
We are afraid we do not loan bikes out due to insurance restrictions.
Please ask Max or Chrissie to unlock the shed for you.
There are two distinct sides to Piglets, dictated by the sunshine.
THE SWIMMING POND DECKING: The decking surrounding our swimming pond offers numerous positions both morning and afternoon to catch some rays and enjoy a cool drink with a good book. Just ask Max or Chrissie for a bathing towel.
We have plastic glasses available in the boot room which we ask you to use when taking drinks outside rather than the glass ones in the bar.
You will find green planters divide areas up to comply with our Covid 19 social distancing policy, so we ask that you do not move these unless you are in a social bubble.
THE MEDITERRANEAN PATIO: This comes into its own on the afternoon when it becomes a sun trap and in the evening if one wants a quiet drink or perhaps one of Piglets’ evening meals?
Painstakingly laid with tiny marble pieces and mosaics there are three adult olive trees which set the tone for other palms and flowers whilst also providing us with fresh herbs for the B&B. A unique twisted chimneyed pizza oven will occasionally spring into action weather and Max willing!
Rather than offer a ‘bus shelter’ type of affair for those who enjoy a smoke, we have created a weather proof gazebo we call the Havana Cabana where you will find velvet cushioned seats, a DAB radio with Bluetooth to play your own tunes, a heater in winter, plus some reading material and matchbooks from our travels.
The Havana Cabana is located just down the steps from the Mediterranean patio past the guest lounge – don’t forget we also have Romeo Y Julietta Churchill Havana cigars for purchase in the lounge.
Un petit coin de France (or our French patio)
To get you in the mood for a Provencal game of Péntanque, we have created a little corner of France where you can enjoy a glass of pastis as well as puff on a Gitanes or a Gaulouises without disturbing others.
This private area is decorated with vintage metal French signs to evoke the inner gallic in you – we have stopped short of demanding you wear a beret or have a string of onions around your neck.
We just hope you will enjoy watching a game of boule or gaze upon the croquet green in the distance.
HONOUR BAR: A particular favourite is our honour bar, which is stocked with an extensive array of tipples; be it cold lagers, beers and stouts, to a huge selection of branded and craft gins can be found in our Gin library together with other spirits, digestifs and aperitifs.
We also have a great selection of house wines in red, white and rose with plenty of choice of soft and non alcoholic alternatives.
Nuts, crisps, chocolate and even local ice creams are there for your enjoyment.
For those seeking something extra special, we have our fine wines from our cellar along with Grand Cru Champagnes and desert wines.
GUEST LOUNGE: Here there is plenty of soft seating to enjoy a drink (it is just next to the bar) or a good book or chat to other guests. At around 4 o’clock Chrissie will unveil one of her fabulous cakes and complimentary tea or coffee is offered to guests on their first night, thereafter cake can be taken back to your room to enjoy with a beverage of your choosing or you can purchase a hot chocolate, latte, cappuccino, espresso or a pot of tea for two, just seek out Chrissie or Max who will be pleased to make it for you.
In Max’s previous life of making the world’s finest board games (which are still made on site) one would be surprised not to find a few examples of his family’s work so you will find championship Backgammon, Chess, Scrabble and Bridge. We also have jig-saws available on request.
TV ROOM: Located at the end of breakfast room is a TV lounge area with a 55″ flat screen smart TV. If sitting watching the rugby in one’s bedroom doesn’t quite cut it or delving into our collection of 200+ DVDs is more your thing, then you are welcome to watch ‘the box’ here with friends/other guests and partake in a libation or two!
GAMES ROOM: Located next to the gym and swimming pond, our games room includes full size snooker/billiard and table-tennis tables, a darts board and a Foosball/table football.
A large screen smart TV, Alexa and DAB radio is provided to keep you up-to-date with the latest match while you play your own.
Drinks and snacks from the honour bar can be brought in, but please be careful not to put these on the tables. Smoking is NOT permitted (please use the Havana Cabana for this, see above).
There will be seating provided for those who prefer to spectate.
If more than one table is being played at the same time, please respect each others space and enjoyment.
Coming in the autumn of 2021:
SAUNA: Within in the Games Room will be a private two person infra-red sauna to relax in.
A private changing area will be provided and we expect the sauna to be installed by autumn 2021. Sauna sessions can be booked by appointment to ensure your privacy at £10/45 min session.
Towels will be provided.
Perhaps after a work-out in our gym; a nice relaxing sauna followed by a cooling off dip in our natural swimming pond one would be all set for a well deserved tipple from the bar and a Piglets platter?
In summer 2021 we hope the following will be ready for play:
CROQUET: We are creating a Croquet lawn for you to enjoy a quintessential English summer game.
Nothing quite matches the sound or mallet on ball as the chink of a glass of Pimm’s does (available from the bar).
PETANQUE: Just through the hedge from the swimming pond is our competition size Péntanque piste & our French patio.
Enjoy the juxta-position to our soon to be created English croquet lawn lying alongside.