Drive out of London and it’s always a surprise how quickly the suburbs melt into a far more pleasing landscape.
Roads open out into fields and woodland, pass through small towns and give a fleeting snapshot – a historic pub, the thriving high street, walking trails every-which-way – of how delightful it must be to live there.
Haslemere is such a place. Just over an hour’s drive from London, with the Surrey Hills to the north and South Downs National Park to the south, it’s a handsome Georgian town of timbered buildings and tile-hung cottages, served by a parade of independent shops and buzzy pavement cafes.
Community seems to be at the heart of Haslemere’s The Georgian, one of the small, independent chain of 12 Coppa clubs, mainly set in (or within easy reach of) London, and all membership-free.
Each is designed as a sociable space to eat, drink and join organised activities ranging from paddleboarding to mindful drawing. Three of the clubs also have rooms and The Georgian is the newest.
Grand entrance: Jennifer Cox checks into Haslemere’s The Georgian, one of the small, independent chain of 12 Coppa clubs, mainly set in (or within easy reach of) London
The hotel is a striking, Grade II listed building on the high street. As we head into the hotel, up the steps and through the columned porch, the double-height hall with its sweeping wooden staircase literally makes a grand entrance.
But when you reach the lounge (filled with bright velvet sofas) and walk past cosy snugs, dotted with plants, roaring fires and armlow-slung armchairs, the feel becomes modern and welcoming.
Upstairs are 12 rooms (the road-facing ones are quite noisy), with an accessible 13th at ground level by the car park.
They range in size from compact to large, the rooms are simple but well-appointed in a soothing Georgian colour palette of duck-egg blue walls with oatmeal accents.
We’re in room 12, where there’s a large wooden writing desk, computer ports both sides of the comfy, super-king bed, and good coffee. There’s no bath, but there is an excellent rainforest shower.
Rooms at the hotel are simple but well-appointed in a soothing Georgian colour palette of duck-egg blue walls with oatmeal accents, Jennifer reveals
Jennifer says sitting down for a meal in the dining room is ‘like eating in a stylish terrarium’. The hotel also features a large terrace and garden
The Georgian Coppa Club, Haslemere. B&B doubles from £120 per night (coppaclub.co.uk).
Downstairs, we join a crowd of locals at the bar before heading into the restaurant, the glass doors opening on to a large terrace and garden. The room is a botanic delight: its ceiling an airy lattice of skylights hung with funky geometric shades and plants, it’s like eating in a stylish terrarium.
All Coppa clubs feature the same menu of seasonal, healthy dishes (though possibly not the truffle and pecorino fries).
The ribeye steak with porcini sauce, was impressive while grilled trout on a bed of herbed freekeh was both virtuous and delicious, so no shame in polishing off the chocolate cake, sticky toffee pudding and creme brulee ‘pudding plate’ combo.
The next morning, after a breakfast of smashed avocado on sourdough toast and a full English, with fresh juice and lashings of coffee, we cross the road straight on to the Serpent Trail.
This is a glorious 64-mile footpath through rare heathland and pastures, winding from Haslemere to Petersfield.
We explore a wooded section where we are serenaded by warblers, before looping back via the award-winning Blackdown Ridge winery.
If you think Haslemere sounds like the perfect weekend break location, join the club.