Dillington Estate

near Ilminster, Bristol, Bath & Somerset, United Kingdom Book from Book from £120 per night

Four picture-perfect self-catering cottages in the idyllic Somerset countryside (sleeping 2-10)
We may not have had the most relaxing journey to south Somerset - with the rain lashing down on our car as we drove west - but as soon as we pulled into Dillington Estate we felt our shoulders drop. Its rolling green fields filled with bleating sheep were an instant antidote to city life and frustrating traffic jams.

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 (4 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. 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.

Highs

  • 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
  • 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

Lows

  • Dairy House will close for renovation during 2019
  • 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

Best time to go

This is a lovely spot all year round. In warm dry weather, there are acres of rolling green estate to explore and the houses have lovely mature gardens to relax in. There are also wood-burners for the colder months.

Our top tips

Bring bikes to explore the estate and countryside.

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).

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Rentals
  • 4 cottages for 2-10
  • Self-catering; restaurants a drive away
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room: Atherstone

Rooms

We stayed in the 4-bedroom Dairy House (sleeping 8) 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. There are 2 ensuite bedrooms plus 2 double or twin rooms, which share a family bathroom. The light master bedroom 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.

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, the 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.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • TV
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

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 doors out onto the garden and a big island with 2 stools for sous chefs. The long wooden dining table seats 10, 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.

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.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
  • Basic ingredients
Eating:
Activity: Jurassic Coast

Activities

  • 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:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

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.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

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.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs are available to borrow.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Gardens
  • WiFi
  • TV

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Pack a picnic and go walking
  • Go Jurassic Coast fossil hunting at West Bay
  • Sandy beaches at Lyme Regis and West Bay
  • Weymouth's Sea Life Centre
  • The Fleet Air Museum in Yeovilton
  • Bugspot at the Kingcombe Wildlife Centre
  • Fishing and boat trips
  • Haynes Motor Museum in Sparkford (with go-karts)
  • Abbotsbury swannery and children's farm

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.

Distances:

  • Airport: 45 minutes
  • Doctor: 5 minutes
  • Shop: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

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.

By Air:
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.

By Train:
The nearest train stations are Taunton and Yeovil, but you’ll need to grab a taxi from there (approx. 30 minutes).

By Coach:
Berrys Coaches run regular fast coaches from London to Ilminster.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Exeter 49.0 km EXT
  • Bristol 72.0 km BRS

Other:

  • Beach 33.0 km
  • Shops 3.0 km
  • Restaurant 3.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We stayed at Atherstone Cottage for 4 nights at the beginning of May and it was wonderful. A beautiful cottage which has been decorated and presented to the highest of standards, all mod cons and just a lovely space to spend some time in. It's located outside of the main town of Ilminster so this is ideal if you are trying to relax and get away from it all but you will need a car to get anywhere. We were met by Wendy at the cottage which was a nice touch, as well as the basket of goodies from the local area which we devoured during our stay, everything in it was yummy! Although a bit remote the location is in a great position and we were able to use the cottage as a base to explore parts of Dorset, Somerset and Devon during our stay....with a little bit of driving. A perfect break for us, thank you!

9/10,

A perfect idyll. Atherstone Farmhouse and Cottage are stunning – the decor is the perfect balance between traditional detail and luxury finish. It was all immaculate.
14 of us stayed here and we had one of the best weekends ever. Everyone commented on how comfy the beds were and, of course, the fact that each room was an en-suite also made it popular. I wish I owned a house like this! For those whose like to cook, the kitchen was brilliantly well stocked with almost everything you could want, and there was plenty of tableware and glassware. The welcome hamper was a gorgeous touch. Finally I just have to say how wonderful the Dillington Hall Estates team were - so helpful and communicative in the weeks leading up to visit, as well as very flexible. Knowing that we were going to be cooking for a large group, they set up a huge dining table in the living room of the cottage. It was really special. Needless to say, we will be back for a longer stay this year.

10/10,

We enjoyed a delightful mid-week stay at Atherstone Farm Cottage. This newly refurbished two bedroom part-thatched cottage is very comfortable, spacious, furnished to a high standard and extremely well-equipped with all appliances you could possibly want. Its situated on a quiet country lane close to some very pretty Somerset villages. There is much to see in the area. I would recommend to anyone wanting a country break away from the stress of city life.

10/10,

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