Eat. Adventure. Stay.
Welcome to Tough Mudder Half London West 2017, aka Tough Mudder Regatta Get Tough to Tackle Tough, aka Tough Mudder Cold n’ Dreary, aka Tough Mudder Mud So Chilly You Want To Quit, aka Tough Mudder Henley on Thames, Mudders Got Game.
Thick mud, dark tunnels, icy water – just another day in Britannia, right? Well, not quite. Your Tough Mudder and Tough Mudder Half London West weekend is bound to be one of the toughest on the 2017 slate. But it’s also an opportunity to check out one of the best destinations the Tough circuit has to offer. Culden Faw is a Tough Mudder venue unlike any other. Really, how many venues can boast a real castle? Very few. But Culden Faw isn’t an amazing destination just because of that. It’s got beautiful terrain, steep hills, and the muddiest forest trails the mad minds at TMHQ have ever seen (that’s really saying something, since they’ve seen just about every brand of muddy tough the world has to offer).
To help you prep for your jaunt to the Culden Faw Estate, we’ve put together a helpful guide on some of the best places to eat, stay, and adventure, good for whether you’re looking for something to keep you loose before race day, or basking in the afterglow of another event well run.
This is what cheat days were made for.
One of the best things about finishing an obstacle course race like Tough Mudder (ya know, besides the overwhelming sense of accomplishment and the lifelong friendships forged in the mud) is that it leaves you with a serious hankering for some epic vittles. Now, not all post-race meals need to be cheat day-worthy, but if you’re gonna get your grub on after miles and miles of mud, might as well do it right. Right?
Luckily, there’s a pub just down the road from Culden Faw with food to fit just about any need. Whether you’re looking to fill up on some traditional pub fare, hit a few appetizers before you head out for a day trip, or just want to try your hand at some bangers and mash or fish and chips, The Stag & Huntsman is a good place to refuel without breaking the bank.
Mudders always need to keep their body in the best shape possible, and while that doesn’t always mean cold-pressed juices, it’s good to know where to go to get your locally-sourced fruits and veggies. True Food Co-Op and Garlands Organic & Natural are grocers offering organic and natural foods to keep you in tip-top shape before and after event day.
Looking for something on the fancier side of things? Luscombes At The Golden Ball is a Michelin-recommended restaurant not far from course offering lunch, mains, and a buffet (if you’re up for sticking around until Tuesday and making a week of it, that is).
Another benefit to being out amongst the green grass and rolling hills of Fawley, is all the amazing opportunities at outdoor adventures you’re afforded. It might be a bit dreary, but make no mistake; there are still things to be climbed and sights to be seen.
A short drive from course is Henley-on-Thames, a picturesque town snuggled right up against the River Thames, considered one of the most beautiful in England. It offers a relaxing array of streets for walking, restaurants and cafes for snacking, and shops for shopping. This’ll be one of those days where you grab a lawn chair and just stare at the water as it flows past, picturing all those obstacles you overcame and all that mud you crushed.
For some Mudders though, relaxation isn’t the name of the game. Well that’s where the adventure comes in. Aston Rowant National Nature Preserve offers wildflower fields and trails for hiking. Nothing major though – the main trail is only 2km (about 1.2 miles) – so feel free to bring along the Minis. But boy, is it beautiful out there.
And if you’re after adventure of a more serious kind, take a trip to North Wessex Downs. At North Wessex, you’ll find hiking, biking, and just about all the nature you can handle. Feel like renting a boat? Or having that boat drawn by a horse? Head to the Kennet Horse Boat Company. Seriously.
Ok, so maybe the coolest thing about Tough Mudder London West is the fact that you’re not going to find any tired hotel chains like a Ramada or a Motel 8. Nope, all the Culden Faw-adjacent hotels are awesome, unique little homesteads where you’re sure to feel like you’ve been transported to another century, mud and all.
At Danesfield House Hotel & Spa you can get a mani, pedi, and blast your glutes at their fully equipped gym. Oh, yeah, and you can also fall asleep in one of their 79 rooms, all completely distinct from the last. Book a room for a night or two and take advantage of the 65 acres of parkland surrounding Danesfield, or book a package and make the most of your trip to Tough Mudder London West with a post-race massage.
For a particularly relaxing stay, try out The Flower Pot Hotel. When your body is as sore and soaked as Mudders tend to be, sometimes there’s nothing nicer than a quaint hotel with soft beds and Egyptian linens. Plus, with a full bar and restaurant downstairs, you can save all your eating and drinking for homebase if you’d like.
From the Mouth of a Mudder: