The Stables, amid the sprawling greenery of Herefordshire, offers a stay like no other. Restored to an impressive level of rustic chic as part of The Barns complex, The Stables is all flagstone floors, wooden beams and exposed-stone walls. Get together, load up the log fire and let the merriment begin.
Open-plan spaces are big here. The Stables sleeps 13 and you can all live, love and laugh together in the log-warmed sitting room with its expanse of glass. On the other side of it, the private hot tub bubbles invitingly in the courtyard. Pop the cork off a bottle of champers and pile in.
The Stables is seriously chilled. There’s an iPod dock here but, on the edge of the Offas Dyke, you might prefer the bleat of the sheep or the lowing of the cattle as the soundtrack to your stay. Eat well, open the wine, kick back and put life on pause for a while.
The rustic Englishness continues outside. There’s a classic lawn for kids to race and chase, and plenty tables and chairs for accommodating a party round the barbie. Set the steaks to sizzle, open up a bottle or two and hit the hot tub. If it’s an occasion, make it memorable with al-fresco cooking from our chef beneath the big rural skies.
The luxury is laid on thick at The Stables. But not in an opulent, showy way. The Stables is rich in natural textures. Interior walls are exposed local stone, floors are flagstone and pleasingly tactile to the toes when heated. Wooden beams are exposed and the woodburner’s ready for fireside tales and happy bookworms.
The Stables seems to be built from the warp and weft of Herefordshire itself, the limestone and sandstone that define its sweeping uplands. The owners have fashioned a rural retreat that’s short on stress and long on homeliness and heartiness.
There’s space here to spread out, too – 5200 feet of it is yours to come together for movies or merriment. But there are places to escape, too, with a novel and a nightcap. On sunny days, open up the glass walls to the courtyard and head out to the private hot tub with a full glass and a fluffy robe.
The Stables might be rustically chic, but the technology’s fully switched on to 21st-century living. Wifi floods the space, there’s an ipod dock for sharing your sounds and the smart TVs sit ready for family film nights.
In your authentic country kitchen, the aroma from the freshly baked bread and the newly ground coffee is tantalising. You must have been inspired by the fully equipped range kitchen. And now it’s time for dinner. Prepare it yourself or put in a request for our chef, who’ll even dispense with the dirty dishes when you’re done.
With flagstone floors and granite worktops, this is a pleasant place to be. When your plates are empty, sidle over to the sitting area for mints, coffees and conversation. If the sun’s playing ball, head out to the courtyard for the sizzle of steak and sausages.
Out and about, the pubs come thick and fast in Kington. Pick from The Bells at Almeley for real ales, log fires and homemade food, The Tram Inn for hearty hot stuff, or The New Inn for snacks by the fire.
If only a restaurant will do, head to Pembridge for The Cider Barn’s pan-fried brill with bourride or venison haunch steak with persillade. Pushing the boat out? You won’t have to push too far. The Stagg Inn in Kington cooks stunningly from scratch and is the top eatery in the local area.
There’s no shortage of accommodation here and the bedrooms lay the simple luxury on thick, with throws and rugs, exposed-stone walls and low beams. Décor in the shape of one-off gems from around the farm dots the rooms and farm-life-inspired artwork reminds you you’re deep in the rural dream.
Five spacious bedrooms come with stylish brick-tiled and tongue-and-grooved en-suites. The ground-floor master bedroom is a kingsize en-suite. On the first floor, you’ll find two superking-size rooms with en-suites and another superking offering access to a single on the mezzanine level.
Another mezzanine room provides accommodation in four single beds under the eaves that share a bathroom. Younger members of your tribe will go ballistic for these vaulted bedrooms and are the best choice in any case, as grown-ups and low ceilings tend to be incompatible.