The Dorset downlands of the Tarrant Valley sit serenely beyond the sash windows. The giant-flagstone floors are cool in summer; warm in winter. The family games room, indoor pool and sauna await. Sink back in the silence and be a family in a place that unites generations in three properties in stylish, sleek, flexible splendour.
Tarrant Farm sits under huge skies, filled at night with myriad stars and by day with pure Wessex air. Explore the walled gardens, courtyard with vegetable plot, and orchard with its enclosed children’s play area, tipi and tree swings. Relax on the terrace with a tipple and the satisfying smell and sound of sizzling steaks.
Outside, it’s all oh-so-English. The ancient horse chestnuts stare at the gently rolling horizon; the croquet mallets and cropped lawn are an irresistible combination, and only the chewing of the cud breaks the air. Wash off the day in freestanding baths and sleep in soft-cottoned comfort in the bottomless well of rural Dorset’s deepest silence.
The gardens and grounds here are a peaceful haven, with the serene silence troubled only by the beef herd from the working organic farm. Chase the chickens across the lawn, or chill and chat on the terrace with tea and cake as the kids go wild in the orchard, with its play area, willow tipi and tree swings.
The outdoors here is a scene that’s as rustically English as EM Forster. Old horse chestnuts stare dolefully out across the rolling hills, the green wheat and the pastureland. From the near distance comes the low drone of a tractor as you get the kids out on the lawn for croquet and cricket, rough and tumble, or family Olympics.
For pre-prandial pottering, you’ll walk the walled gardens, orchard and former Victorian courtyard – home to the farm’s vegetable plot. You’ll slip in and out of the heated pool and sauna, sip cocktails under starry night skies, and breathe lungfuls of pure country air. You’ll wish it would never end.
Everything in this Georgian grade 2-listed farmhouse is stylish and sleek. Yet the original features that add the authenticity and the distinction are all there: you’ll pad across giant flagstone floors, open huge sash windows onto the Dorset uplands and climb the 19th-century, wrought-iron spiral staircase after your long day.
The rooms here are airy and homely. Tarrant Farm is all open fires and bay windows. Rooms come painted cream with woodwork contrasted in dove grey. You’ll relax among auction-house furniture comprising Persian rugs, ornate mirrors and carved wooden pieces.
In the family room, there’s a TV, plus board games, consoles and toys in abundance for the kids, all to the Sonos soundtrack. In the living room, the smart TV’s ready with a romcom or a drop of Disney. When it’s done, get the fire roaring and end the evening with cards or charades.
It’s the details here that make a home, though: the locally made Bramley toiletries, the fresh flowers and the wooden wedges for the sash windows. Settle back and find your own space and pace.
Eat in, eat out, cater for yourself or be catered for. Opt to be spoilt and enjoy rustic farmhouse suppers complete with steaming bowls of seasonal vegetables grown on site. Tuck into organic beef, pork or lamb (or veggie) served by candlelight in the dining room.
Cook for yourself and discover an inner Blumenthal as you prepare fresh local ingredients on the two-hob Aga. Serve it all up for 16 around the giant dining table with the doors open to the lawn, where the chickens cluck and the boughs sway in the breeze.
In the evening, walk to the village pub past huddles of thatched cottages. The Langton Arms is officially the Best Pub in Dorset, with a playpark, dog-friendly bar and succulent steaks and game sausages. The Museum in Farnham and The King John Inn in Tollard Royal are homely, hearty options.
The Anchor in Shapwick is good for informal family pub grub while, in Wimborne, The Tap House is a micropub next door to its sister, The Gin House speakeasy. Both are primed for a grown-up good time. Down in Dorchester, the Sienna offers a tasting menu that sparkles in the light of a hard-earned Michelin star, while The Pig on the Beach caters for larger gatherings of family and friends as the sea laps away.
The convenience of Tarrant Farm pulls you in and draws you back. The main farmhouse sleeps 12, with every facility in place for babies, toddlers and children.
Beyond that, flexibility reigns across the generations. Any members of your party who would appreciate their own space can take advantage of either of the self-contained cottages, entirely on the ground floor and attached to the main farmhouse. For a couple and baby, a second cottage is completely separate.
Pick from six superking bedrooms, which also double as twins, and two kings. Six of the rooms – four in the main house – come with zip-and-link beds. Every room offers an en-suite, while all eight have a shower and five a freestanding slipper bath. You can also bathe al-fresco beneath the stars in the cottage bateau baths within the private walled courtyards.
Down in deepest Dorset, kids can go wild in the country without even leaving the farm. Before they even get ready to rumble in the rustic two acres, there’s a whole hide-and-seek haven of flagstoned farmhouse to enjoy plus a family room complete with TV, board games, toys, games console and games.
After a stay at Tarrant Farm, the sights, sounds and smells might never leave the nostrils. This is a working organic farm, with the squeal of a piglet and the hum of a tractor around every corner.
Out there beneath the big skies sits the old stable block. Now a sauna and heated indoor pool, it ensures hours fly by in minutes. Backing it up is The Orchard with its enclosed children’s play area, willow tipi and tree swings where kids go free range while you chill and chat on the terrace.
When darkness descends, let the logfire in the living room draw the family together, as the card games or movies rumble on way past bedtime.
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