This world is a big place and there are endless things to see and do, but sometimes you visit somewhere and as you leave, a little of your heart remains. This happened to me when I visited Croatia a few years ago (I would love to go back) and it also happened at the end of March this year when Ben and I went to stay at Bishops Castle Barn in Shropshire.
As it was only converted in recent months we were lucky enough to be the first people to stay there which was really exciting! It felt like such a privilege and – being our first time away together as well – it made the whole thing seem so special, I couldn’t wait to get there!
Upon arrival I was lost for words. It truly is “in the middle of nowhere” with the odd house dotted along the valley but not a sound to be heard except birdsong, the neighbouring sheep and the wind in the trees.
I mean, just LOOK at that view out of the kitchen window! Breathtaking!
Internally, the barn is equally as stunning as it’s surroundings, finished to a high specification with oak flooring and balustrades, a docking station to play your music from your phone, wifi, TV with FreeSat and even bluetooth bathroom mirrors so you can stream your music through them and have a sing-along in the shower!
The hosts have truly thought of every single detail here, from the living area being on the first floor so you can see the beautiful views to the automatic-closing windows upstairs that detect rainfall. There is also a selection of books, DVDs and video games for guests to use, plus a map mounted under the glass on the coffee table in the living room showing you the location of various landmarks so you can find your way around.
On the ground floor you find the bedrooms, both of which have huge and ridiculously comfortable beds in them, plus a door leading into connecting bathroom and shower room. I think all the ladies reading this will understand when I say I felt utter joy to find a plug socket next to the mirror in the bedroom too – it’s such a bugbear of mine when I stay somewhere and I can’t plug in my hair dryer or straighteners close enough for styling!
One thing I have to tell you about is the sheer luxury of having a hot tub right next to the barn! I have to admit, I am partial to a bit of hot tubbing, but who isn’t, right?
Situated on a raised deck it makes the most of the amazing views and we spent both nights we were there drinking Proseeco and chatting within the hot bubbles . Because of the remote location it’s completely pitch black apart from the natural light of the moon and stars. – living in Essex there’s quite a lot of light pollution so when I see a totally dark night sky it never fails to leave me with a feeling of wonder and an acute awareness of just how small I am in the grand scheme of things. I always find it very grounding.
When we went it was lambing season so we were greeted outside by an abundance of cute wooly little bundles. I spent a huge amount of time trying to work out how I would be able to smuggle one home without anyone noticing but Ben was having none of it so I had to leave empty-handed. Grrr.
As I mentioned earlier, this visit to Bishops Castle Barn was the first time Ben and I had been away together (as we were still very new to seeing each other) and the first real considerable length of time spent together, so it could have gone either way, but we had such a good time and got on brilliantly thank goodness, otherwise that could have been awkward haha! We spent our time eating, drinking, walking through the countryside and went out for dinner with our hosts on the second night we were there which was lovely – they really are such nice people I don’t think anyone would ever fail to get on well with them!
Since I came back I can honestly say not a single day has gone by that I’ve not thought about the barn. It truly has got under my skin and I can’t wait to go back and visit – Ben and I are discussing dates for a return later this year and I can see it becoming a regular long weekend break of ours in the future.
I left part of my heart at Bishops Castle Barn – book yourself a visit and I bet you do the same.