The Bull Pen is a fabulous couple’s holiday retreat surrounded by gorgeous Cotswold countryside in the village of Dyrham, just 8.5 miles from Bath. This converted barn has a light and spacious open-plan kitchen-dining-living area, with full length bi-fold doors that open onto a patio with outside seating. The super-sized bedroom features a king-size bed with an open-plan, wet-room-style shower room. The owners have renovated the barn in a unique, architectural-chic style with exposed stone walls, raw wood and stone flooring, with natural textiles and colours softening the feel and look. Guests are invited to explore the 500-acre farm and 70 acres of private woodland, collect eggs, meet the farm animals, walk the owners’ dogs, go wild swimming, fish for crayfish and have fun in the play area. Outdoor and art experiences can be booked separately.
Turn down Sands Hill off the A46 – the main road rolling across the Cotswolds from Bath to Cheltenham - and you’ll quickly find yourself in a stunning rural landscape, with a view down to Bristol, the River Severn and the Mendips stretching away into the distance. A farm track leads you into Sands Farm courtyard where you’ll find the owners’ family home and their two fabulous holiday barns, The Bull Pen (sleeps 2) and Middle Barn (sleeps 6), separated by a large farm courtyard.
Outside, the Bull Pen’s patio area overlooks a large farm courtyard, which leads to an enclosed garden, with a BBQ, and a children’s play area. Guests are invited to explore the farm’s 500 acres of land and 70 acres of woodland, go hunting for chicken’s eggs for breakfast, walk the owner’s dogs, swim in the freshwater pond and sign up for on-site art and outdoor experiences. Just a short stroll down the farm track is the entrance to one of the Cotswolds’ most beautiful National Trust properties, Dyrham Park a fabulous late 17th-century mansion, garden and deer park – perhaps recognisable to many as the filming location of several films and TV shows, including Poldark, Remains of the Day and Sanditon.
Step inside the Bull Pen and you’ll instantly be impressed with the space. This may only sleep two, but there’s room to really spread out and even invite another couple over for a drink or meal – perhaps family living close by. Step through the front, bi-fold doors into a double height barn with exposed stone walls and original A-frame timbers, which have been beautifully combined with a stylish, modern kitchen, dining area and living area that looks out over the courtyard and is bathed in light and sunshine. Slide back a thick oak door and you're into the equally spacious and stylish bedroom furnished with a king-size bed. Directly behind the bed is a custom-built, three-quarter-height wooden wall concealing a fabulous en-suite wet room-style shower room.
The Bull Pen is on one level, with no internal stairs and a walk-in wet room-style shower, so it is ideal for guests with limited mobility. (However, please note that is one step up from the parking area at the front onto the patio.) The property has underfloor heating throughout, beneath a beautiful, polished limestone floor.
Step through the double, bi-fold doors into the beautiful, open-plan living-dining-kitchen area, with its double-height ceiling, exposed stone walls and original A-frame timbers. Light pours in through the length of this south-east facing room, making it an uplifting space. This lovely retreat’s living area is furnished with a smart TV, three-seater sofa, armchair and high-back church pew. The dining area is beside the kitchen and has a square table and four chairs. The fully equipped kitchen runs along the back wall of the barn and features a Carrow Phoenix stone sink, oven/hob, dishwasher, fridge/freezer, microwave, washing machine, Nespresso coffee machine, and all the kitchenware needed to prepare delicious meals.
Slide open the impressive, oak door in the living area and step into the stunning studio-size bedroom where there’s room to workout, stretch, relax, and accommodate a baby in a travel cot too! This dual-aspect bedroom has a stable door with a window to one side, overlooking a grassy knoll and the patio, and a very high window (with a blind) to the far side from which all you can see are clouds scudding by or the stars at night.
The bedroom is furnished with a king-size bed with bedside tables and reading lights, a double wardrobe with shelves and hanging space, and a full-length mirror. Just behind the bed is a custom-built, half-height wooden wall, concealing a toilet, and a three-quarter-height wooden wall concealing a fabulous en-suite wet-room style shower room, featuring a shower with rainfall and hand-held showerheads, a hand basin with a pretty, ornate mirror and shaver’s point, and a heated towel rail.
A visit to The Bull Pen is as much about exploring and being immersed in the immediate natural surroundings as it is about the stunning interior. There is a patio directly outside with seating, overlooking a large courtyard, which leads to an enclosed garden, with a BBQ. Beyond that guests may explore the farm’s 500 acres of land and 70 acres of woodland, collect hen’s eggs, interact with the farm animals (donkey, goats and horses), walk the owners’ dogs, go wild swimming in the pond, and even fish for crayfish. As a security measure, please ask for the owner’s or farm manager’s permission before heading into the woodland, collecting eggs and visiting the animals.
A short stroll up the farm track to Sands Hill brings you to the rear entrance to Dyrham Park, a late 17th-century mansion, garden and deer park, one of the Cotswolds’ most beautiful National Trust properties. To enter the Park this way (rather through the main entrance on the A46), guests should go through the gate and head to the shop and let the Park staff know they are on the premises. National Trust members can sign in here and non-Members can buy their entry tickets at the shop. (Check before going for any entry restrictions).
Full List of Facilities
Sleeps 2 in 1 bedroom with a king-size bed
1 ensuite shower room with wet room-style shower, toilet, wash basin
Parking for 2 cars
Garden area with BBQ and play area (shared with the Middle Barn holiday rental)
500 acres of farmland and 70 acres of private woodland for guests to explore
Activities on site (bookable directly with the owner): Art Classes with Kate; Woodland Discovery with Kevin (bonfire making, marshmallow toasting and more); Pond Fishing (crayfish) and Wild Swimming; Clay Pigeon Shooting; Dog Walking (the owners’ 4 dogs); Chicken Egg Collecting; Animal Petting and Feeding (donkey, goats, horses)
All bed linen, bath towels and tea towels provided
Cleaning starter pack: dishwasher tablets, scourer, cloth, washing up liquid, bin bags
Bathroom essentials: hand soap, toilet paper, shampoo, shower gel
Heating and hot water via underfloor heating with individual thermostat controls.
Fully equipped kitchen with toaster, kettle, coffee machine (Nespresso), utensils, crockery, cutlery, glassware (champagne flutes, tumblers and wine and water glasses) cafetiere, bakeware, food preparation (grater, jug, sieve), saucepans, bread bin, kitchen foil, kitchen paper
Ironing board, iron, clothes airer
Baby/Child Equipment: highchair, travel cot (cot linen not supplied) – on request
Outdoor patio/seating area
Garden furniture – seats 2
BBQ (charcoal) – please provide your own charcoal
Safety equipment: fire extinguisher, fire blanket, carbon monoxide monitor, smoke alarm, First Aid kit.
Points of Note
Parking: There is parking for 2 cars at the front of the barn
The Bull Pen is on one floor, with no internal stairs and a walk-in wet room-style shower room, so it is ideal for guests with limited mobility. However, please note that there is one step up from the parking area at the front onto the patio. A ramp can be provided on request
The Bull Pen is on a working farm providing fantastic farm experiences for all ages. Please note, however, that the farm has some machinery/vehicles, a pond, play area, animals (including four dogs) and can be muddy and farm-like at times – so please always keep young children under supervision and bring appropriate footwear
Walking & Cycling Guides
Walking & Cycling Guides
Dyrham is a tiny village in a Conservation Area on the south-west side of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The national 102-mile-long Cotswold Way walking trail runs through the village (at the bottom of Sands Farm). The village no longer has a pub or shop but does have some very pretty homes built with Cotswold stone, several of them Grade II listed. At the heart of the village is the National Trust’s magnificent Grade I listed Dyrham House. The nearest pub is The Bull at Hinton, 1.5 miles away, a 25-minute daytime cross-country walk. The Tollgate Café is at the top of the farm, on the A46, walkable in 10 minutes along the footpath. It serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and is licensed. It's evening Stonebaked pizzas are excellent. It is a wonderful place to watch the sunset over the Black Mountains of Wales over 70 miles away. On request, it will deliver locally sourced breakfast boxes and their evening menu.
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