The excitement has been mounting in the office since our team went out to see Dustings a few weeks ago and we’ve been working hard to get it ready to show you – and here it is; once a stable block on a working farm, now an amazing large group holiday home for 16 in Somerset. With a hot tub and a games room it’s a great one for all kinds of group stays – it would suit multi-generational families, three or four young families with children, walkers, hen parties and corporate groups for both team building and hospitality. What’s more, dogs are welcome, so bring the family pooch along too.
Dustings is all light and airy and very stylish; the layout lends itself to hours of happy sociable times, with a huge farmhouse style kitchen-diner that has open timbers and a big chunky dining table, and the most fabulous part galleried games room with a pool table and table football. There’s a cosy cinema room and a sitting room/library where you can sit and chat or curl up with a good book. The snooze space? 6 bedrooms (2 en suite, 4 shared en suite); 2 of them can sleep 3 people and the biggest sleeps 4, whilst the others sleep 2. 3 of them have zip and link beds that you can have arranged as superkings or twins, it’s entirely up to you. Outside of the kitchen there’s a patio with a hot tub, garden furniture and barbecue; have a relaxing soak whilst your steaks get sizzling. At the front there’s a walled garden with lawns and a play area for the kids.
Dustings is set in a quiet hamlet amidst glorious countryside in the lower slopes of the Quantock Hills; the views from the front of the house are of miles and miles of wide open fields dotted with little copses, and in the far distance are the Blackdown Hills. The farmland is still worked but these days much of it is used to grow miscanthus, or elephant grass as it’s better known, which is chipped and sold as horse bedding. The owners have their home on site and are on hand to help with anything you need; they don’t mind at all if you want to explore the fields – in fact you can set off right from the doorstep for several good walks in the Quantocks, and just a short stroll away there’s a pond where you can take the young ‘uns to feed the ducks, or just spend the day lazing around, you know, take a rug and a picnic, see what wildlife you can spot.
Get out there, get out and enjoy the marvellous scenery and the fresh air; take your lunch with you or plan it so you stop off at one of the welcoming country pubs in the hills. If you want panoramic views walk to Cothelstone Hill and on to Lydeard Hill or Wills Neck, the highest point in the Quantocks. Stroll over to Triscombe and up to the 2ft high Bronze Age standing stone – they say that if you sit on it and make a wish it will come true. Worth a try! Go to Broomfield and the nature reserve at Fyne Court, then have tea at Pines Café; the bluebells in the woods up behind are a wonderful sight in late spring. For a longer walk carry on over to Aisholt Common and down into the sleepy village – it’s one of nine Thankful Villages in Somerset, where all the men who went off to fight in the Great War came home.
The nearest village to Dustings is Kingston St Mary, nice for a stroll around and a gander at the church, then a bite to eat at The Swan Inn. A couple of miles further is Bishops Lydeard, a much bigger village where you can visit the working water mill and museum, go to Daisy Cottage Tea Rooms and listen to vintage jazz whilst you sip tea from pretty china cups, or tuck into home cooked pub grub at The Lethbridge Arms. You can plan a good day out from here; go to the West Somerset Railway and catch a steam train to the coast, you can even hire your own carriage and have tea on board, quite a popular thing for hen weekends and birthday celebrations. Stop off at Doniford Beach and go fossil hunting, at Dunster where you can visit the castle and the flour mill (both NT), at Blue Anchor or Minehead for family fun on the sandy beaches.
You could take the kids to Tropiquaria Zoo Animals & Fun near Watchet, or head off to Exmoor National Park where you’ll find heather-clad heaths where wild ponies graze, steep wooded hillsides and deep river valleys. Take in Watersmeet, Tarr Steps, or have a ride on the Victorian Cliff Railway at Lynton and Lynmouth; go to one of the attractions – Exmoor Zoo or Exmoor Owl & Hawk Centre, discover Dunkery Beacon, Selworthy village and Porlock Weir, all beautiful places with a timeless charm.
If you fancy a day in the town, Taunton isn’t far at all and has a good mix of shops, both big names and one-offs, and plenty of good places to eat like Brazz, the Castle Bow Restaurant, and the Cosy Club. Have a stroll in Vivary Park, all very traditional with flower beds, a fountain and a bandstand, but there’s also a golf course, mini golf and a high ropes centre. On the outskirts of the town there’s a ten pin bowling alley and a multiplex cinema.
If you’re entertaining a corporate bunch take them to Hestercombe House and Gardens, have a day at Taunton Races or catch a cricket match at the County Ground. If you’re team building there are several ideas for activities nearby – cycling on the Taunton Cycle Trail, horse riding with Quantock Trekking, Cannington Park Paintball, or you could go down to Ilfracombe or Croyde for surfing and watersports. Book up for a round of golf at Enmore Park or Oake Manor, come for game shooting on one of the local estates, round it all off by getting one of our tried and tested caterers in to cook a scrumptious feast, or go to Podshavers Barn or Clavelshay Barn for Sunday Roast.
And that’s another thing – good places to eat; there are several in this neck of the woods. You can’t beat a proper country pub with a warm welcome, good beer and good food. Try the Farmers Arms at Combe Florey, the Rising Sun at West Bagborough, the New Inn at Halse, or the Lamb at Spaxton.
Like we say, exciting times, and the bookings are coming in fast since Dustings went live on our website this week. Well, some things are too good to miss so check availability now – and don’t forget you can reserve it for two days before you book whilst you get the final confirmations from everyone for a fantastic large group holiday in Somerset.