Five picture-perfect self-catering cottages in the idyllic Somerset countryside (sleeping 2-16)”
This beautiful 3,000-acre estate has been in the same family for over 200 years, with grand Dillington House dating back to the 16th century. The Duke of Monmouth lunched here before the Pitchfork Rebellion, and spoke to an audience of 2,000 people under an ancient chestnut tree, whose fallen trunk still lies in the grounds today. Nearby, in the parkland and local countryside, you’ll find more historic treasures, including Grade-II* listed self-catering cottages – all ideal for families. Orchard Cottage (4 bedrooms) sits on the drive to Dillington House and Dairy House (7 bedrooms) is surrounded by its own pretty garden, while thatched Atherstone Cottage (2 bedrooms) and Atherstone Farmhouse (4 bedrooms) sit side by side on a quiet road nearby. Apple Loft has an unusual layout with its 6 bedrooms on the lower ground floor, and a large open-plan loft-style kitchen/diner/living area above. Spend your days exploring the estate, walking or biking in the Somerset countryside with pub pit-stops, or drive to Jurassic Coast beaches for the day. Later, eat alfresco dinners in your garden or play board games in front of the warming wood-burner in the colder months. Easy does it.
- Set in peaceful rural Somerset, you’ll feel a million miles from busy modern life despite being just a 5-minute drive from shops and restaurants
- Each beautiful period property has been sympathetically refurbished in a modern style, retaining original flagstone floors
- The houses are spacious, with pretty, mature gardens and alfresco dining tables for lazy summer lunches (some also have hot tubs in their gardens)
- Friendly owners who go out of their way to help
- Brilliant for families – especially those with pre-schoolers, who can enjoy great-value mid-week rates outside of high season
- Each stay requires a £500 security deposit
- We would have liked a local info welcome pack – something the team are planning to add soon
- In the Dairy House’s master bedroom, the ensuite bathroom is separated by a partition wall but no door
- We have yet to see the latest additions ourselves but all cottages look super snazzy
Best time to go
Our top tips
Day trip to the great British seaside. The charming town of Lyme Regis is great for fossil hunting and eating fish and chips on the prom (a 40-minute drive).”
- Boutique Rentals
- 5 cottages for 2-13
- Self-catering; restaurants a drive away
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Electric car charger
We stayed in the 7-bedroom Dairy House (sleeping 16) and loved the serenity of being in the heart of the estate's parkland, waking up to the sound of sheep bleating in the fields. In the original house you get a master bedroom which has a huge wooden sleigh bed, a separate dressing area (with plenty of wardrobe space to unpack) and windows on all 3 sides, giving views of the garden and agricultural landscape beyond. There's an additional ensuite double or twin bedroom plus another double or twin room, which shares a family bathroom with the bunk room (which can have a trundle added). The converted cowshed has an additional 3 bedrooms – 2 double or twin rooms plus a bunk room which can also sleep 2-3.
The smaller, semi-detached 2-bedroom Atherstone Cottage (sleeps 4) sits on a quiet country road near the estate. At the front, the master has a lovely spacious bathroom with an enormous walk-in shower and a duck-egg blue free-standing tub under the window. The sunny double or twin bedroom has an ensuite wet room and garden views.
Since our visit, 2 new cottages have opened. Four-bedroom Atherstone Farmhouse (sleeps 10) neighbours Atherstone Cottage but is larger and includes a family room with double/twin bed and bunk-beds. We're particularly excited to see the stunning ground-floor four-poster double bedroom, complete with in-room roll-top bathtub and wood-burner. Four-bedroom Orchard Cottage (sleeps 8) includes a twin room that connects with the main bedroom, making it ideal for a family with small children. There's also 3 bathrooms (one with a roll-top tub), an open-plan kitchen-dining room with exposed beams, and a cosy lounge with a wood-burner.
Decor-wise, these four houses share a modern country style of muted grey and duck-egg blue walls, with pops of colour in petrol-blue sofas and bright bed throws. On the ground floor of each, you'll find a comfy lounge and full kitchen.
The fifth cottage sleeps up to 13, and is arguably the most snazzy in both decor and layout: Apple Loft comes with six ensuite bedrooms on a lower ground floor (three are built into a bank) – five are doubles or twins as you prefer, and the sixth bedroom is a bunk with an additional rollaway mattress. Above is a loft-style and light-filled kitchen/diner/living room which opens onto a south-facing terrace with fire pit and enclosed garden with hot tub.
- Central heating
- Tumble dryer
- Washing machine
The modern kitchens have everything you need to self-cater, including ovens, ceramic hobs, a whole host of pots and pans, masses of utensils, basic ingredients and dishwashers for the dreaded washing-up. If cooking doesn't appeal, a chef can be arranged on request.
The Dairy House’s kitchen has a big island with 2 stools for sous chefs and opens to a garden room or conservatory with doors out onto the garden. The long wooden dining table seats 16, so there’s plenty of space for big family meals. In Atherstone Cottage, the light double-height kitchen has a breakfast table in a cosy nook and a separate dining table for 6 in the living room. Both houses have outdoor dining areas for alfresco meals. Atherstone Farmhouse has an enormous kitchen with an induction hob and two ovens, while Orchard Cottage has a lovely open-plan layout with a bright kitchen and dining table for 10. There's also a separate utility room / larder with a fridge-freezer with ice-machine, and a washer-dryer. Apple Loft has a huge kitchen/diner with dining table for 10 plus a breakfast bar and comes with two ovens and two dishwashers; bi-fold doors open onto a dining terrace with seating for 10.
You’re a 5-minute drive from Ilminster, a traditional market town with a big supermarket, a bakery and an award-winning butcher - great for stocking up before you arrive. The town’s vegetarian restaurant f.east, also comes highly recommended. If you want a pub lunch, it's an easy drive to The Barrington Boar (or 40-minute walk), The Dinnington Docks or The Lord Poulett Arms.
- Coffee / tea making
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Restaurants nearby
- Basic ingredients
- Explore the 3,000-acre Dillington Estate: wander through rolling meadows and admire the architecture of the Grade II*-listed main house
- Head out on a country walk via one of the local inns; The Barrington Boar is about 40 minutes' walk away in Barrington
- Hole up at home - relax in the gardens or cosy up next to the wood-burner when the weather turns chilly
- There are a handful of National Trust properties nearby, including the atmospheric Barrington Court and Elizabethan Montacute House
- Go fossil hunting along the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site (40 minutes' drive)
- Grab a taste of the West Country at Perry’s Cider Brewery then stock up on treats in their farm shop
Activities on site or nearby include:
The self-catering houses are great for families of all ages. There's plenty of outside space to run around, plus TVs and WiFi for screen-obsessed teens. Most of the beds can be set up as twins and there's lots to do within an hour's drive.
Family friendly accommodation:
The largest is Apple Loft which has 6 ensuite bedrooms including a bunk room and comes with an enclosed garden. Dairy House, Atherstone Farmhouse and Orchard Cottage have 4 bedrooms each so would suit a larger family or a multi-generational stay. In the Dairy House, teens will love the snug's huge sofa, bean bag and gigantic TV. Our 3-year-old liked running around on the lawn and watching the rabbits and sheep from the window.
Two-bedroom Atherstone Cottage would suit a smaller family. We loved the bright second bedroom and the free-standing tub in the master bedroom's ensuite.
Kids Activities on site:
Families Should Know:
You'll need to bring books and toys. Families with younger children should be aware that the Atherstone buildings are set on a (quiet) country road.
- Airport: 45 minutes
- Doctor: 5 minutes
- Shop: 5 minutes
The houses are part of the picturesque Dillington Estate, in Somerset, close to the A303 and the M5. Dairy House and Orchard Cottage are within the estate grounds, while Atherstone Farmhouse and Atherstone Cottage are on a quiet country road a few minutes away. They are a 5-minute drive from Ilminster town.
The nearest airports are Exeter (49km / 45 minutes) and Bristol (72km / 1 hour). From the airport, it's worth hiring a car so you can explore the area once you're here. Taxis are available from both airports but they're expensive.
The nearest train stations are Taunton and Yeovil, but you’ll need to grab a taxi from there (approx. 30 minutes).
Berrys Coaches run regular fast coaches from London to Ilminster.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- Exeter 49.0 km EXT
- Bristol 72.0 km BRS
- Beach 33.0 km
- Shops 3.0 km
- Restaurant 3.0 km