“Arguably the best holiday rental in Cornwall: eco-luxe self-catering Barn & Cottage for 10 &12 (22+ if booked together) with indoor freshwater pool”
Lying side by side, the Cottage and Barn look out across the valley to the wilds of Bodmin Moor. Behind them, across the courtyard, you'll find the shared freshwater poolhouse and hot tub.
Inside, a mix of old and new designs produce a quirky yet homely English feel. Expect stone walls, Farrow & Ball tones and furniture reclaimed from the 50s. It's fresh, comfortable and very well equipped, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies so you can always find enough personal space. Glorious colours are splashed throughout; we loved the orange marmalade velvet chairs in the Cottage's Sunroom, the revamped tubular chairs in the Dining Room and the witty alphabet prints in the Barn's Granary Room.
There are no duff bedrooms. All are ensuite and have individual thermostats to keep you warm. Bathrooms have rainfall showers (a couple have a roll-top bath, too), thick white robes and lovely products from local St Kitts Herbery. Beds are mostly ziplinked super-kingsize, which can be turned into twins if you prefer.
The Cottage (6 bedrooms) has that 'Tardis' effect. You enter through the Snug or Dining Room and the Snug is just that: cosy and warm with a wood-burning fire and comfy tartan sofas. The Dining Room has a big stone fireplace and fabulously long table made from Douglas Fir (seats 24). Striking lampshades designed by Laura Oakes to mimic the surrounding landscape drop down overhead and a wooden dovecote in the corner lights up to give a special ambiance at night. There's also a Sunroom, with more sofas and stunning valley views.
Its 6 bedrooms can sleep 12 (+2 on rollaway beds or cots). Meadowsweet and Angelica are on the ground floor; the latter opens onto the terrace and has a splendid Matthew Williamson pink baubled bedspread. Upstairs you'll find Celandine, Valerian, Saxifrage and Wood Aven. Celandine has a double-ended rolltop bath plus a Juliet balcony with views of Bodmin Moor and the lake. Valerian is the oldest room with ancient wooden beams, a wall of mirrors, a crystal drop lamp and slipper bath. Saxifrage has just a queensize bed but has a cosier feel and fabulous views out to Bodmin Moor. Wood Aven's windows are double aspect. Click here for the Floor Plan.
The Barn (5 bedrooms) has a slightly more contemporary feel. Re-used floorboards have been made into a large dinner table supported by legs cut from an old telegraph pole. You can seat 12 comfortably on stylish Harry Bertoia and colourful Charles Eames chairs.
Step through to the Map Room (or 'walkers' den') to find a little hideway. Upstairs the vast Granary Room provides a stunning chill-out zone. Light the fire, lounge around on sofas, rocking chairs or beanbags made from old coffee sacks. Choose a book, drift off or wind down the giant screen to watch a movie (there's a DVD library).
Its 5 bedrooms sleep 10. Downstairs are Kestrel (with quirky train tickets on the wall) and Goldfinch; upstairs are Peregrine, Kingfisher and Barn Owl (named because they saw a Barn Owl here during renovation). All have pretty colour schemes but with Peregrine you get a navy blue rolltop bath as well as an eco-powered skylight. Click here for the Floor Plan.
We found it difficult to choose between the 2 properties. The Cottage has brighter, slightly larger bedrooms and great views from the Sunroom, while the Barn has the fabulous Granary sitting room with home cinema and cosier kitchen-diner. We strongly recommend you take both together if you can!
Both properties are brilliantly kitted out for self-catering, with all you'd expect in terms of crockery, pots and pans, and all you'd want in terms of equipment (sharp knives, a blender, weighing scales) plus double dishwashers and powerful induction hobs. The cupboards have a few basic essentials, and there's even a wine fridge in the Barn. Out on the terraces are BBQs, and both properties have dining tables suitable for large gatherings (the Barn can seat 12 and the Cottage up to 24).
A shopping service can be arranged if you want the fridge stocked up before your arrival, or there's a Waitrose and Asda (which deliver) plus other grocery stores in Holsworthy (15 miles). Make the most of Cornwall's fantastic local produce for your meals - we recommend a trip to Port Isaac where you can order the freshest lobster and crab cooked to order from Fresh from the Sea. Butcher Philip Warren in nearby Launceston is one of the UK's best and supplies many of London's top restaurants. There's also a local shopping service available for local produce; enquire when booking.
But even if you love cooking, allow yourself a night off. Rick Stein's world-famous Seafood Restaurant offers an amazing bespoke service led by Jack Stein (son of Rick) in the comfort of your cottage/barn. They'll even bring staff to wash up! Meals consist of a 6-course tasting menu (with wines to match) starting with delicious canapes - we had delicate ceviche of brill and a miniature take on a Full English Breakfast. Crab Salad, lobster bisque, seared scallops with Serrano ham and monkfish followed, but our favourite dishes were the tender Cornish lamb with miso wild garlic and cucumber, and the creamy pannacotta with poached rhubarb. Be prepared for eye-watering prices, though. More affordable catering by various local companies can also be arranged: we loved the sound of Cornish Delicacies' meals (sea bass with fennel ratatouille and orange pannacotta with lavender syrup), or you could get a picnic hamper or a Cornish Cream Tea. Breakfasts can also be arranged.
If you'd prefer to eat out, you'll be in foodie heaven but you will need to drive (or ask for transport to be arranged for you). For something casual, the owners recommend The Rising Sun in Altarnun. For something special, this part of Cornwall is home to some amazing restaurants, including Paul Ainsworth's No 6 and the Rick Stein empire in Padstow, Fifteen at Watergate Bay (Jamie O's restaurant), and Nathan Outlaw at the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock, who holds 2 Michelin stars. We also love [l:http://www.outlaws.co.uk:OUtlaw's Fish Kitchen], which offers delicious fresh seafood tapas in a tiny but enchanting old building overlooking Port Isaac's pretty harbour. All are approx 30-45 minutes' drive.
Families are welcome and there is lots for kids to do both indoors and out with swimming pool, cinema, games room, spacious gardens and an imaginative playground
Some of the bedrooms can be made up as twins (3 rooms in the Barn and 4 in the Cottage). Both The Barn and The Cottage can each fit an additional 2 rollaway beds or baby cots (extra charge)
Babysitting and child minding can be arranged with notice. The experienced staff and agencies that they use are NCMA registered, CRB checked and regulated by Ofsted.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The lake (5-min walk from the house) has an electric fence around it