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 properties – all ideal for families. They range in size, from cosy 2-bedroom cottages up to sociable 7-bedroom houses that are perfect for get-togethers. But they're all decked out in modern country styling, with pops of colour from throws, sofas and feature wallpapers. Some have hot tubs, others have clawfoot bathtubs, and all have wood-burners for cosy country nights. 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 together in the lounge. Easy does it.
- Set in peaceful rural Somerset, you’ll feel a million miles from busy modern life (the dark skies here are mesmerising) despite being so close to Ilminster
- 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
- You'll need a car to reach restaurants and shops, but it's only a 5-minute drive to Ilminster
Best time to go
Our top tips
If cooking doesn't appeal, a chef can be arranged on request. Or you could head out for a pub lunch; it's an easy drive to The Barrington Boar (or a 40-minute walk), The Dinnington Docks or The Lord Poulett Arms. For a quick bite, there's a handy little cafe called Stuart's, located on the edge of the estate, opposite Apple Loft and Little Bank.
- Boutique Rentals
- 6 houses for 4-16
- Self-catering; restaurants a drive away
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car recommended
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Electric car charger
Houses for 4-10
Atherstone Cottage (sleeps 4)
Semi-detached, two-bedroom Atherstone Cottage sits on a quiet country road near the estate. It has a lovely thatched roof and ancient oak beams. At the front, the master bedroom has a spacious bathroom with an enormous walk-in shower and a duck-egg blue free-standing tub under the window. The sunny second bedroom (double or twin) has an ensuite wet room and garden views.
Orchard Cottage (sleeps 8)
Four-bedroom Orchard Cottage includes a twin room that connects with the main bedroom, making it ideal for a family with small children. Another bedroom is on the ground floor and has an ensuite wetroom, so it's suitable for those with limited mobility (though note there are one or two stairs on this floor). There's also an open-plan kitchen-dining room with exposed beams and a cosy lounge with a wood-burner. Outside is a large garden with apple trees and a hot tub, and beyond is Dillington Park, accessed via a bridleway, which hosts a myriad of trails and cycling routes.
Little Bank (sleeps 8)
Little Bank is where we stayed on our most recent visit. It used to be the office and bank for the Estate’s cash and monthly wages, but now it's a beautiful home with large, open-plan living areas. It has an upside-down layout, so the 4 bedrooms are on the ground floor, and the kitchen/diner and lounge are above. We were particularly enamoured with the sleek 55-inch TV in the living area, which cleverly retracts into the furniture when not in use! The terrace felt very private with cosy seating, a firepit area, a large dining table and chairs, and a wood-fired hot tub.
Atherstone Farmhouse (sleeps 10)
Four-bedroom Atherstone Farmhouse neighbours Atherstone Cottage but is larger and includes a family room with double/twin bed and bunk beds. We particularly like the stunning ground-floor four-poster double bedroom, complete with in-room roll-top bathtub and wood-burner. There's a wood-fired hot tub outside, as well as a lawned garden and a dining table.
Houses for 12-16
Apple Loft (sleeps 13)
Apple Loft is arguably the most snazzy in both decor and layout. It 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 with amazing views of the rolling countryside. The space opens onto a south-facing terrace with fire pit and enclosed garden with hot tub.
Atherstone Houses (sleeps 14)
Atherstone Cottage and Atherstone Farmhouse have an interconnecting corridor so can be booked together, sleeping 14 in total. You get 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 2 kitchen-dining rooms, and a garden with a hot tub.
Dairy House (sleeps 16)
When we first reviewed Dillington, we stayed in the 7-bedroom Dairy House 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. It's comprised of two buildings: the original house and a converted cow shed next door. 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 three sides, giving views of the garden and agricultural landscape beyond. The master's ensuite bathroom is separated by a partition wall but no door - something to be aware of if you like your privacy. There's also another ensuite double/twin bedroom, plus a double/twin room and a bunk room (sleeps 2-3 kids), which share a family bathroom. The converted cowshed has an additional 3 bedrooms – 2 double or twin rooms plus a bunk room.
- Explore the 3,000-acre Dillington Estate: wander through rolling meadows and admire the architecture of the Grade II*-listed main house. If you can, bring your own bikes
- 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. The charming town of Lyme Regis is one of the best spots, plus it's great for fish and chips on the prom (40-minute drive)
- Grab a taste of the West Country at Perry’s Cider Brewery then stock up on treats in their farm shop
- Or, if you prefer drinks of the grape variety, head to Lyme Bay Winery for a tasting and tour (30-minute drive)
- Head to Glastonbury to see its famous Tor, Abbey and quirky high street (30-minute drive)
The self-catering houses are great for families of all ages. Our 3-year-old loved watching the rabbits and sheep from the window, and there was plenty of outside space to run around in. TVs and WiFi will keep screen-obsessed teens happy. 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 Dairy House is the largest, with 4 bedrooms in the main house and 3 more in the converted cowshed (a few metres away). There are bunk rooms in both (with additional trundle bed for a third child), and teens will love the snug's huge sofa, bean bag and gigantic TV.
Apple Loft has 6 ensuite bedrooms including a bunk room and comes with an enclosed garden. Atherstone Farmhouse, Orchard Cottage and Little Bank have 4 bedrooms each so would suit a larger family or a multi-generational stay. Two-bedroom Atherstone Cottage would suit a smaller family (one room can be twin). Note that the two Atherstone houses can be booked together to sleep 14.
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:
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
- Crewkerne Aqua Centre with 25-metre pool
- Haynes Motor Museum in Sparkford (with go-karts)
- Abbotsbury swannery and children's farm
- Wookey Hole caves
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.
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 Crewkerne (15 mins away), Castle Carey and Taunton (30 mins). You'll need to arrange a taxi for the final leg of your journey.
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
- Exeter 72.0 km BRS
- Beach 33.0 km
- Shops 3.0 km
- Restaurant 3.0 km