Conrad and Karen Allen moved down from London to live the Cornish country dream, and now combine freelance fashion careers with raising a family and running this 3-acre smallholding near Bude, with its three guest hideaways. They began by restoring the bijou 2-bedroom Small Barn before enlisting the help of renowned architects to start the dramatic conversion of the enormous adjacent 4-bedroom Big Barn. Next, they renovated the 16th-century 4-bedroom Farmhouse, where they lived for 15 years, creating a wonderful light-filled space. They now live nearby and are warmth itself; there if you want tips on the area; totally discreet if you prefer to be anonymous. Many guests are young families, and this is an enormous safe haven for kids, with large lawns to kick a ball around, free-range chickens strutting around, even a woodland den. Which leaves parents free to read books, relax in the Big Barn's hot tub, admire the wildflower meadow or do nothing at all. Guests here are perfectly placed for the spectacular South West Coastal path with its sensational views and geology as well as Bude’s beaches and restaurants.
- Deep in the countryside, miles from traffic and crowds; the peace is incredible, yet sandy beaches and the dramatic cliffs and surf of the north Cornish coast are an easy drive away
- Stylish open-plan living spaces accentuate the carefully-chosen décor; bright, fresh interiors with modern zings of colour and lovely details (fresh flowers; great books; tiny plants; quirky art)
- Extremely well-equipped for self-catering; both the Farmhouse and the Big Barn have sociable kitchen-diners opening to private terraces
- Book all three together for a big gathering for your own private space within a large group. Shared facilities include a large trampoline, goal posts, table tennis, pizza oven and hot tub plus the extensive grounds which have lawns for roaming, woods for exploring and a more formal garden for admiring
- The farmstead is a bit out of the way – no pubs or shops within walking distance – and you will need a car to get to supermarkets
- The Small Barn’s bedrooms are a little compact
- Note that the three hideaways are adjacent to each other, all have their own private exterior space however
- We have yet to see The Farmhouse in person
- Cots (2 available, request when booking)
- High chair
- Bottle steriliser
Some equipment may need to be requested in advance
You can book a babysitter at extra cost (the Allens use qualified child-minders from a local nursery)
- Outdoor games and a trampoline
- Chicken to feed and chase!
- Large gardens
- Mini football pitch
- Games, toys, books and colouring pens
- Gorgeous beaches and a seawater pool at Bude
- Good walks with a baby backpack; we loved going up to Baggy Point
- Walk along the Bude valley towpath to Marhamchurch; good bird-spotting and it's pushchair-friendly
- Further afield are Tintagel castle and Launceston Steam Train
- Boutique Rentals
- 2 barns (for 2-9), 1 cottage (for 2-4)
- Self-catering only
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Creche / Kids Club
- Car essential
- Off-street Parking
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
The Farmstead sleeps up to 21 in three distinct buildings (rent one or all depending on your size of party) – Small Barn (sleeping 4), the Big Barn (sleeping 9), and the Farmhouse (also sleeping 9) – cleverly designed to feel private from each other, nestling within 3 acres of rural farmland.
The kitchens are astonishingly well equipped. Besides the things you'd expect (hob, oven, requisite crockery and utensils) we found things like a Bialetti coffee pot and a cake whisk, plus loads of useful extras – baking trays, lasagna dishes, napkins and candles. All hideaways have underfloor heating, wood-burning stoves and private terraces and gardens; Haekels toiletries are provided.
The Farmhouse (4 bedrooms) is set behind the barns, and sleeps up to 8 in four bedrooms – including a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, another kingsize bedroom, a twin room, and a double. Original 16th-century features include a inglenook fireplace. There are three large reception rooms, which flow into each other with plenty of space for all.
There's a fabulous kitchen-diner glass rear extension designed to make the most of the evening sunshine; bi-fold doors open to the terrace with pizza oven and garden beyond.
The Big Barn (4 bedrooms) has seriously great credentials: designed by award-winning architects, cool, elegant styling and views to open countryside. The timber exterior and angular windows hint at the modern makeover inside, where features include bi-fold doors. There's also a hot tub in the garden.
The four bedrooms are arranged across two floors. Downstairs is a large double with tongue and groove panels and an ensuite shower room. Upstairs, a blue-hued double has wide views across open fields, and the third can convert into a twin room. The kids’ room has bunk-beds, teddies and a playful bright-red ladder. These three share a gleaming family bathroom.
The Big Barn enjoys a dramatic double-height living space, where white walls and a sleek kitchen emphasise stand-out pieces like the iconic, rainbow-hued Eames chairs and industrial metal light shades.
The nearest supermarkets are in Bude or Holsworthy. You might also like to take a special trip to Launceston (20-25 minutes’ drive) where you can combine a castle visit with a meat shop at Warrens – one of the best butchers in Cornwall.
The Small Barn (2 bedrooms) is arranged upside down, with bedrooms at the bottom and a loft-style, upper-floor living space, accessed via an enormous lawned garden. A staircase drops to the ground floor where there are 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. Dual-aspect bedroom 2 is designed for children, with a navy-and-white seaside theme. The contemporary bathroom (brick tiles, tongue and groove) has a shower over a panelled tub.
The kitchen for the Small Barn is at one end of the open-plan upper floor with 2 comfy sofas at the other. In the middle, there’s a dining table and 4 chairs.
For an evening out, there are plenty of good restaurants within driving distance. Check out The Electric Bakery in Bude which serves excellent bread, pastries, sandwiches and Saturday lunches. The Rocket Store in Boscastle and The Preston Gate in Poughill also come recommended. For ace Sunday roasts, try the The Smithy Pub at Welcombe or the Farmers Arms. Further afield, we had a fantastic lunch in the lovely garden at the St Kew Inn at St Kew (30 miles), near Trebarwith Strand.
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Do also visit the villages and sights along this dramatic coastline; within 40 minutes you can be in the harbour village of Boscastle, King Arthur’s Tintagel or Port Isaac (home of beach-shanty singers, The Fisherman’s Friends).
The farmstead is midway between Holsworthy and Bude, on the Devon-Cornwall borders. It's down a narrow country lane just off the A3072.
The nearest airports, Newquay and Exeter, are about an hour's drive away. Bristol is 2.5 hours, London Heathrow 4.5 hours. The Allens can arrange a taxi, but you'll want a car for local exploration. See our car rental recommendations.
Trains from Paddington to Exeter take around 2-3 hours. See Seat 61 for more details. Taxis from there take about an hour.
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to the UK and getting around
- Newquay 73.0 km NQY
- Exeter 95.0 km EXT
- Beach 11.0 km
- Shops 7.0 km
- Restaurant 7.0 km