For a family get-together, you can’t beat the convenience and home-from-home nature of renting a big house. Heather Clark tried out Barsham Barns, just a few miles from the glorious North Norfolk coast.
Nestled in the valleys of the North Norfolk countryside 10 minutes from the coast sits Barsham Barns, a collection of agricultural buildings that have been lovingly restored and turned into holiday lets. And the work they have done – carried out by the award-winning Hudson Architects – has been exemplary. Even as we passed through our gated entrance, we could immediately tell that the barns have been beautifully done.
There are five different farm buildings that have been converted by the owners – some barns, some former stables – sleeping anything from four to 14 people. Our party stayed in Long Meadow, a medium-sized barn which sleeps 8, and which is full of character. Much of the fabric of the building is exposed, and the attention to detail is extremely high: there are beautiful clunch walls with curved corners, and a mixture of contemporary and antique furniture, all chosen for cosiness and upholstered in subtle shades of ivory and blue.
It’s always a relief to get to a holiday let and find everything you need waiting for you: everything we could have asked for was supplied, from towels to barbecue equipment. The kitchen in particular is very well appointed with all utensils, cutlery, crockery and cookware supplied – you could easily spend a weekend baking with the children or grandchildren on days when the weather doesn’t follow the script. Speaking of which, there is underfloor heating and a log burner for cold days and the winter months.
The sleeping arrangements include a king-size room which shares a Jack-and-Jill bathroom with one of the doubles; a further double with ensuite shower room; and finally a children’s room, also ensuite, which has charming bespoke wooden bunkbeds. The children sleeping in those bunks will be delighted to know that there is a games room with table tennis and table football, as well as wireless internet access.
We were lucky enough to pick a weekend of superb weather, and with the coast little more than 10 minutes away we headed along. A boat trip from Morston Quay to see the seal colony on Blakeney Point was delightful – we went with Temples Seal Trips and had a lovely hour’s sailing. Derek, our guide, was very knowledgeable and passionate about seals and we were lucky enough to see both grey and common seals basking on the sand and swimming, as well as plenty of bird-life including terns and oystercatchers.
On one of our nights we had a barbecue in the garden of our barn, overlooking the farmland – the other night we headed out to The Barsham Arms which is the nearest pub at a mile and a half away. It has recently been refurbished and relaunched as a ‘country-pub kitchen’ – the food was delicious, the service very friendly, so as you might guess booking ahead is very wise. But if you’re celebrating a big occasion and want to stay in the barn, the owners have a list of local chefs they recommend to come and cater for you.
More infomation on Barsham Barns is at www.barshambarns.co.uk. During Summer (6th June – 5th September 2017) pricing ranges from £590 for 3 nights at Little Barsham (sleeps 4) to £2255 for 3 nights at The Great East Barn (sleeps 14).
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