The Barn at Roundhurst

West Sussex, South East England, United Kingdom Book from

Reviewed by Helen Arnold
A small, tranquil hotel in a converted 17th-century barn, hidden on an organic farm in the South Downs National Park
You’ll need a map to reach The Barn at Roundhurst, as it’s tricky to find. But it’s more than worth the navigational challenge, as a warm welcome awaits at this stylish little hotel, set on a working 250-acre farm and surrounded by the rolling green hills of the South Downs National Park.

Inside, the 17th-century barn certainly has the wow factor, with a lofty double-height ceiling, a curved staircase sweeping up to a glass mezzanine, and a sense of space and airiness that makes it feel like a luxuriously furnished church. Comfy sofas are arranged around a log-burning stove, embroidered cushions and throws add a layer of cosiness, and quirky original artwork is dotted around. In the evening, subtle lighting casts a gorgeous glow over the dining area, where organic produce is served up for delicious dinners 4 nights a week and daily breakfasts. Converted outbuildings house the 6 lovely bedrooms, all with comfy beds, bathtubs and rustic décor that showcases their golden stone walls and ancient oak timbers. They overlook a plant-filled courtyard, with tiny private patios for an evening drink. Complementing it all is a relaxed and informal vibe, which makes unwinding easy, and leaving as difficult as locating the hotel in the first place.

Highs

  • A peaceful location on the stunning Sussex/Surrey border, with great walking, biking and horse riding nearby, and historic towns within day-tripping distance
  • Lots of in-room extras: coffee machines, homemade shortbread, fresh milk for your tea, even yoga mats for morning stretches
  • Sophisticated fine dining, including taster menus and a Chef's Table experience once a month
  • A lovely couples’ hideaway (there's no surcharge for breakfast in bed), and great for friends or small groups
  • Smiling staff go the extra mile to make your stay wonderful

Lows

  • You’ll need a car, as it’s a few miles from the nearest town (and make sure you take detailed directions, sent when you book through i-escape)
  • No restaurants within walking distance, and dinner is only available Wed-Sat, though light bites are available on other nights
  • Bedrooms are fairly small and ours got very hot; the thermostats are tricky
  • Dodgy mobile phone reception (a blessing if you want to escape from it all!)

Best time to go

The Barn at Roundhurst is a great rural escape at any time of year. The South Downs National Park and nearby gardens are particularly lovely during spring and summer, but the log-burning stove, lovely lounge and wonderful food make the B&B a cosy retreat in the depths of winter, too.

Our top tips

  • Even if you’re not a walker, it would be a crime to stay here and not get out and about in the gorgeous South Downs, so grab a guidebook and map from the library and head off to explore
  • Much of the farm’s produce, including organic meat, is available to buy. Order during your stay and staff will have everything packed and ready for your departure

Great for...

Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 6
  • Breakfast + dinners Wed-Sat, cold platters Sun-Tues
  • 12+ year olds 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
  • Honesty bar
Room: Superior Room

Rooms

The 6 bedrooms are clustered around a sunny courtyard. There are 3 different categories, ranging from small Deluxes to larger Superiors and Executives; none are particularly big, but they’re well equipped and extremely comfortable.

All are decorated in a rustic-chic style, with muted natural hues on the walls, Avoca woollen throws on the beds and textured rugs on the wooden floors. Each has a couple of French antiques, plus original charcoal drawings of farm animals by artist Shelagh McNicholas (owner Moya’s sister) - you can buy prints at reception. Kingsize or twin beds covered in crisp Egyptian linen and goose-down duvets guarantee a good night’s sleep, and luxurious bathrooms come with bathtubs, excellent walk-in power showers and Gilchrist toiletries. You also get bathrobes, an iPod dock, and lovely, local drinks in your minibar.

All rooms have an armchair or 2 for relaxing in comfort, and outside all but one (a Superior Room) you'll find a little patio with a table and a couple of chairs - ideal for soaking up the morning sun with a cup of coffee, or relishing the perfect peace with a glass of wine in the evening.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron (on request)
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet
  • Wine glasses and corkscrew
  • Yoga mat

Eating

The chefs have real flair in the kitchen, and ingredients are sourced locally, some straight from the farm: fresh eggs for breakfast and organic meat at dinner.

Fine dining evening meals, available Wednesday-Saturdays are a real treat. The a la carte menu features surprisingly sophisticated options, given the rural settings, and attracts a local crowd. We loved our smoked eel croquettes. Sunday lunch is also available, as are light bites Sunday-Tuesday evenings (eg sliders with homemade brioche; sausage and truffle mash; club sandwiches). Once a month there's a 10-course Chef's Table experience; enquire for details.

Breakfasts are a hearty affair, with full English fry-ups (organic sausage and bacon from the farm), smoked salmon on toasted rye with onion cress, and homemade jam, croissants and pastries. There are healthier options, too, including fruit salad, juice, yoghurt and granola.

Afternoon tea is available on request - best enjoyed in front of the log-burning stove or out in the gazebo. Staff can also make up picnics to take on day trips - perhaps sausage and apple rolls, beef and horseradish sandwiches and a quiche.

Features include:

  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Organic produce
  • Picnics and afternoon tea on request
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • There are miles of footpaths leading out from the farm, and staff can recommend walking routes through the beautiful countryside of the South Downs National Park. You’ll get views of 3 counties (Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire) from Blackdown, the highest spot in the south of England
  • Cycling and hot-air ballooning can also be arranged locally
  • There’s great shopping in nearby historic towns. Guildford, Winchester and Petworth (the antiques centres of southern England) all offer rich pickings, and the lovely market towns of Midhurst and Haslemere are only a short drive away
  • For a flutter on the horses, head to Goodwood (half an hour’s drive), which also hosts motor-racing. There are more equestrian pursuits to be had at Cowdray Park, where polo players battle for the Veuve Cliquot Gold Cup in June and July
  • Brighton, with its famous Lanes, beach and pier, is only an hour away
  • Those with horticultural interests can visit beautiful gardens. Arundel Castle is close, and Ramster Garden is particularly lovely in spring and early summer. Petworth Park, Winkworth Arboretum and RHS Wisley are also within easy striking distance

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse racing
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Motor racing
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children over 12 are welcome, and outdoorsy kids will enjoy seeing the farm animals and going hiking. Really, though, this is a place of relaxation for adults.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms have bathtubs as well as walk-in showers, and can be set up with twin beds on request. The Executive Rooms can accommodate an extra bed.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Books and DVDs to borrow
  • Farm animals
  • Garden

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Cycling
  • Adventure playground at Queen Elizabeth Country Park (35 minutes’ drive)
  • Arundel Castle and Winkworth Arboretum (both 30 minutes’ drive)
  • Brighton Pier and beach (1 hour’s drive)

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour (London Gatwick)
  • Shop: 10 minutes (Haslemere)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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