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Barsham’s extremely tasteful, highly versatile accommodation comprises five immaculate barn conversions swaddling a central courtyard. You can rent the lot for a celebration for 48 guests, or mix and match the five properties that each sleep between 4 to 14 guests. These former granaries and stables, with spectacular river valley views, have been alchemised into light, bright, wide-open contemporary spaces with underfloor heating and wood burning stoves – a warming antidote to those brutal North Sea winds. Extra flourishes include a spa pool, steam room and games rooms. All combinations of accommodation have been cleverly designed by the architect owner to offer communal areas for group dining and activities, as well as smaller spaces for private escapes. Bigger parties can call upon a local chef to deliver meals or provide high quality in-house catering.
Four of the best homes for house parties
“In a river valley near the north Norfolk coast, The Great East Barn is one of five farm buildings – in this case, a cavernous 19th century granary – surrounded by the protected lands of Walsingham Priory, converted by the owner-architect into beautiful self-catering retreats, where rustic clay walls are offset by crisp linens. With six doubles and one twin room (all with ensuite bathrooms or showers) The Great East Barn is the largest of the five barns. The layout is ideal for socialising; at its heart is a vast open-plan living room with massive sofas to sprawl on, dining room and well-equipped kitchen with a central island. There is also a large terrace for outdoor dining. A Jacuzzi with adjoining steam room on the estate can be hired for exclusive use and there are two games rooms with table tennis and table football. Extras for babies – from cots and high chairs to booster seats and sterilisers – are all available on request.”
“These two clusters of beautiful barns sleeping 4-14 are perfect for families. Older children will like the games rooms, baby gear can be provided for young families and the gardens are great for running around in. The owners provide a long list of trips for kids, from zoos and steam trains to a dinosaur park and riding centre. With various sizes of barn available, it’s a great spot to visit with another family or the grandparents in tow. “
“We were staying at a complex of converted barns in a tiny hamlet called North Barsham. There is not a great deal of holiday accommodation in this part of Norfolk and most of the rentable properties tend to be pokey, old-fashioned places, but our Barsham Barn had high ceilings, resin floors, plasma screens, a massive picture window overlooking a field with tubby little sheep, and swallows living under the eaves, which would spend the evenings shooting around the outside of the building.”
Quakerhall Barns, Norfolk
“Hall Barn and Quaker Barn are set in the grounds of Quaker’s Hall – a Grade II listed farmhouse built at the turn of the 17th century – are a perfect combination of old and new. Both are open plan and mix period features, such as exposed beams, an inglenook fireplace and antique furniture, with contemporary details such as marble resin floors and granite worktops. The straw-bale insulation will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter, and the oak dining tables, which can comfortably seat eight, are ideal for intimate entertaining. Alternatively, dine outside on the terrace as the south-facing gardens look out across acres of farmland.”
“With its private garden overlooking fields and a little flint church, the barn is a deeply relaxing place to be.”