Halcyon Days at Lyle House
Driving through the idyllic little village of Barrington as the day drew to a close, friendly locals smiling as we passed and glimpses of wild animals skipping through the countryside in the distance, I could tell that what awaited us would be something quite special. With its sweet parish church, traditional pub (The Barrington Boar) and sprinkling of thatched cottages, the village was postcard perfect.
As we approached Barrington Court, the sun was setting behind it etching a dazzling golden outline of the ancient buildings on to the skyline. The long driveway to Lyle House emphasised the property's secluded position within this popular National Trust estate and only fed our enthusiasm to explore this extraordinary 16th century Tudor country house.
Whilst I’ve admired pictures of the property as a winter wonderland scene on the Unique Home Stays website, and dreamed of a big white Christmas here with all my family, a romantic weekend away in early summer proved just as dreamy! The honey-coloured stone façade was garlanded in dozens of ruby red roses, and even the brass lion head door knocker wore a smile!
Inside, the striking architectural features show the age of this unusual family home, whilst the colourful African artwork tells tales of the owners’ personal heritage and travels. We loved learning more about their journey in the property house book too.
After our long drive, a deep hot soak in the clawfoot bath couldn't have more tempting. I made my way up to the bedroom at the far end of the corridor which had been beautifully dressed for us in fine linens and sinkable cushions. Needless to say I slept like a baby.
The amount of entertainment on offer brought back memories of family holidays and my inner child loved the long matches of table tennis and football that kept us amused on our first (typically English) rainy morning, followed by board game marathons and films by the fire in the evening. We spent at least an hour wandering around the beautifully crafted rooms on our first day, admiring how much thought had gone into each one. I would have adored the top floor as a young child, fitted-out with world map cushions, comic book art, toys and stacks of storybooks. I imagined myself and my siblings fighting over the top bunk!
On Sunday we awoke to soaring temperatures and glorious sunshine, so were lucky enough to spend most of the day outside exploring the grounds. A stroll through Barrington Court was the perfect start to the day and The Court House was simply magnificent. Here we were able to learn more about the Lyle family and their involvement with Barrington Court.
After a high tea style lunch on the lawn we enjoyed a game of tennis and a short jaunt to the local market town of Illminster. We popped into the Arts Centre at The Meeting House to pick up a few locally made crafts, and found all our barbecue ingredients between Bonners Butchers and a family run smokery called Brown and Forrest.
A sunset supper in the garden was a fitting end to round-off a fantastic weekend. I cannot recommend Lyle House highly enough to families, friends or anyone wanting a relaxing break away in the country. Thank you so much Julia and all your dedicated team.
Properties featured in this article: Goldhorn