Short stay: Barrow Hill Barns, near Petersfield, The South Downs, UK

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It is easy to see why these eight ultra-luxurious detached cottages are given five stars by Visit England. These brick and flint barn-style cottages quietly nestle on 10 peaceful acres at the heart of the South Downs National Park.

Barrow Hill Barns are part of the Premier Cottages collection, where a selection of property owners combines to offer an all-inclusive service. Typically, of Premier Cottages, Barrow Hill Barns’ owners live on site. For over a century, the Luff family has worked a beef and arable farm. The farm is named after Barrow Hill, a Bronze Age burial site.

Each of the eight cottages takes its name from one of the farm’s fields. Our spacious property, Pump Meadow, has three large en-suite bedrooms. The large lounge, with tall windows and a glass door, looks out to sunrise over the South Downs. Antique furniture coalesces with contemporary. Throughout the property, water colours, celebrating local birdlife and the rural environment, build a sense of place. A patio, with furniture and BBQ, is carefully secluded to provide privacy.

The welcome

Owner Rob sends an e-mail prior to arrival with a code for the key box, giving guests instant access to their chosen property. Each property has adjacent parking for two cars. The kitchen is well equipped with milk and apple juice in the fridge, numerous coffee pods by the coffeemaker, tablets for the dish-washer and washing-up liquid ready for action.

The rooms

Three en-suite bedrooms are equipped with super-king Hypnos beds that, on request, can also be configured as singles. Two ground-floor high ceilinged bedrooms have light fresh decor and underfloor heating. Timber doors provide a farmhouse feel.

A sturdy wooden chaircase leads up to a third bedroom on the first floor. Two built-in wardrobes provide plenty of hanging and storage space.

The bathrooms

Each of the bedrooms has a light-tiled en-suite bathroom. One downstairs bathroom has a shower whilst the other has both shower and bath.

The upstairs bathroom has a free-standing roll-top bath. All bathrooms have generous provision of Ren toiletries.


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The facilities

A light sage kitchen is supremely well-equipped. Amongst the cupboards there’s a slow cooker. Construct a casserole before taking a leisurely country walk and return to a simmering meal. As well as a hob and oven, there is a microwave for more instantaneous meals.

There are glasses for beer, red wine, white wine and flutes for sparkling wine. This is a kitchen for life, not just a holiday stay. A separate utility room provides a washing machine and ironing board.

A spacious lounge has two three-seater sofas and a 55-inch Smart television. For a break from self-catering the Seven Stars pub is within walking distance. Five miles away, The Bat and Ball pub, a true museum of cricket, celebrates the beginnings of the modern game.

Location

For a break from self-catering the Seven Stars pub is within walking distance. Five miles away, The Bat and Ball pub, a true museum of cricket, celebrates the beginnings of the modern game.

This part of Hampshire is widely known as Jane Austen country and it is just a short drive to Jane Austen’s House at Chawton. There in an age of male chauvinism, she furtively wrote her novels on a table no bigger than a tea tray. More history lies twenty miles south amongst the ships of Portsmouth’s historic docks.

Even closer is Winchester, once England’s capital. Wine aficionados will enjoy a two-hour tour at Hambledon Vineyard explaining the processes involved in making English Sparkling Wine before enjoying a tasting.

Hinton Ampner is an elegant National Trust property with Manor House and four miles of parkland and woodland for rural walks. Uppark is another splendid historic house. Superbly located on the South Downs ridge it gives views as far as the English Channel. Currently, the gardens are being restored to their original 18th century design.

Other nice touches

Each cottage has a folder providing illustrated routes of a variety of Ramsden Rambles. They begin with a gentle 1.5 mile leg-stretcher through to a 13 mile round trek to Hawkley Inn. These are dog-friendly properties.

Pump Meadow can host up to three well-behaved pets. At the end of a muddy walk, a warm dog-wash is available by reception.

Cost

A week’s stay at Barrow Hill Barns’ Pump Meadow for six starts from £1045 and a three -night break from £737.

The best bit

Unlike many of the very large holiday rental websites, Premier Cottages does not add a booking fee to the price of its holidays. This means guests can save 15% or more by booking with Premier as their prices are “all inclusive” with no hidden charges, cleaning fees or service costs.

With Premier you book directly with the cottage owner rather than through a central reservations number and all properties have been inspected and rated 4* or 5* by the national tourist board.

The final verdict

Contemporary comfort in a beautifully designed barn-style cottage. Plenty of space, indoors and outside, for families or friends to gather for a sociable get together at the heart of one of England’s most scenic National Parks. Although there are numerous attractions within a short drive, many guests put on their walking boots to explore the beautiful walks through meadows and valleys and onto local pubs.

Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Barrow Hill Barns and Premier Cottages.



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