A gorgeous quirky barn for 4 on a countryside farm, with a shared indoor pool
Barn stays in the countryside are a dime a dozen. But what too few offer is a tranquil natural settings and unique, design-led interiors. This hideaway absolutely nails the combo. Part of a 1,350-acre arable farm, it’s been brilliantly restored by an award-winning architect; you’d never guess it once housed livestock. Rooms flow into one another, ceilings are vaulted and the rustic-chic decor includes exposed brick walls, underfloor heading, eclectic art and towelling robes so you can pad across the courtyard to the shared spa… oh, yes. A pool, Jacuzzi and steam room.
With 2 bedrooms, it’s perfect for a small family or group of friends. Kids will love running free and cycling through miles of golden and green fields, spotting wild hares and deer as they go. If you head out in the car, you’re an easy drive from the Broads for a day’s sailing, or the coast for vast empty beaches and icy dips in the North Sea. Or just save the swimming for back at the barn.
Getting here: you’ll need to drive.
Solar power and a biomass boiler
- The farm stretches for miles. Before your stay, hire bikes and ask for them to be delivered, then explore the peaceful acres on long rides.
- Nearby, Castle Acre is a pretty village with a 12thC castle and the crumbling ruins of a priory. Go for lunch or try a pint of local beer at The George and Dragon.
- Church Farm in nearby Stow Bardolph is great for little ones, with play areas, rare-breed farm animals and lamb feeding in the springtime.
- Older children love Pensthorpe Natural Park, with its nature trails, woodland walks and pond dipping. There are regular events in the school holidays, everything from Viking Invasions to summer evening walks, spotting wildlife.
- Houghton Hall hosts annual outdoor art exhibitions – Damien Hirst and Henry Moore. This year’s focus is Sir Anish Kapoor, who specialises in colourful installations and dramatic conceptual art.
- Over on the coast, Holkam Beach was recently voted Best Beach in the UK. Vast and unspoilt, when the tide goes out it creates a shallow lagoon that warms in the sun; great for kids to play in. Holkham’s woodland park is brilliant for all ages, with everything from sandpits to high-level walkways and a zipwire
- West Acre is a delightful Victorian walled garden, home to sculptor Antony Gormley