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The best country retreats in Britain

Babington House, Somerset

The original cool country house hotel is five years old this year. When Soho House owner Nick Jones decided to open a country retreat for his hip media members, he originally envisaged a typical country hotel. It was style goddess Ilse Crawford who pointed out that there were many of these already and that perhaps his members might prefer somewhere more relaxed and urban.

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Kilimanjaro? Well, it nearly killed me

If the altitude doesn’t get to you the long-drop toilets will. Tim Moore has his definition of a holiday brutally redefined on a gruelling five-day ascent of Africa’s highest mountain

There are two stories about what it’s like to climb Kilimanjaro: the one people tell their friends after they get home, which has the benefit of inspiring others to tackle the world’s highest free-standing mountain, and the one they tell each other at the summit, which has the benefit of being true.

The memory of what is endured en route to Uhuru Peak, 19,340ft above the level more commonly associated with holidays, is somehow expurgated and re-edited, the learning curve of painful experience Tipp-Exed out. The same mental process explains why my wife has been able to go through childbirth three times, and why I have eaten more than one battered saveloy.

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