You’ll stay at Owlscombe because of the fishing smacks that bob on the water of Porlock Bay. Because of the caves and sands of Selworthy. Because of the seascape views from the bedrooms and balconies. Because your dog and kids can go free range in the walled garden. Or just because you love the sound of owls.
Owlscombe is a hoot: owl boxes in the trees that blanket the property see to that. In every other aspect, it can only be described as sensational. This is the kind of ocean lookout high above the Somerset coast that defines a childhood, that sets dogs’ tails a-wagging and moulds memories that last a lifetime.
Inside, you’ll be seduced by luxury. By the abundance of glass, light, balconies and eco-friendliness all wrapped in a cosy blanket of family fun. By the huge dining table. And by the six bedrooms with their simple beauty and sumptuous comfort. Light the double-sided log fire, put some sounds on the Sonos, keep calm and watch the waves.
High above the seascapes of Porlock, nature spills over in an abundance of trees and water. Walk the woodlands to find the trickling rill, the ornamental pond and the wildlife pond. Pack a picnic and discover new corners amid the acre of semi-wild serenity. Head out at night in search of the hooting owls.
Bring your kids, bring your dogs. The garden’s walled so you can relax on the terrace up in the salty sky above the crinkle-cut coves of North Somerset. Barbecue some local game, wash it down with Exmoor Ale, then play boules and croquet on the lawns.
Wind up the day toasting marshmallows and chewing the fat around the firepit. Watch the ever-changing colours of the sea and sky towards Hurlstone Point and Bossington Hill. Relax. Recharge your glass.
Make yourself comfortable. There’s plenty of opportunity here, where the sumptuous seduction of the living spaces sits in stark contrast to the wild high cliffs above Porlock Weir harbour and the Exmoor coastline beyond. Wend you way over to the windows and catch it all through the telescope that’s trained on the view.
If the seascapes and moorland aren’t enough, Owlscombe’s family-friendly spaces come with toys aplenty. Settle back with the Sonos, Alexa and a few beats from the Bluetooth. Raid the bookshelves and chill with the doors open to the sound of the breaking waves below. Hit the kitchen for cookbooks.
Fire up a family film on SkyQ or raid the DVDs in the TV room, share your holiday with Mario and Luigi on the PS4, beam up the unlimited broadband, or just watch hours vanish over board games and jigsaws. Play a little pool on the seven-by-four table. Gaze out at the coast between shots.
For cosy evenings, light the double-sided log burner and warm two rooms at once. Find the welcome hamper, tuck in to the local cheese and biscuits, bread, cake and jam. Sip on small-batch handcrafted Wicked Wolf gin from botanicals distilled on Exmoor. Or dodge tomorrow’s woolly head with locally sourced Miles tea and coffee.
This coast is rich in fresh foodie goodness. So make the most of the double electric oven, range and five-ring induction hob. From here, you’ve got views out over the bay – the one that spawned the Porlock oysters you’re grilling. Or tuck into succulent local game, and wash it all down with Exmoor ale or Exmoor gin.
You’ll get a dozen around the dining table. Fling open the French windows out onto the deck and the roar of the sea beyond. Or head out there for steaks and salads on the charcoal barbie beneath big skies. Finish off with coffee from the cafetière, and cheese and biscuits from the welcome hamper.
Fancy a crafty night off? Call Claire’s Kitchen for fresh food from the wilds of Exmoor served direct to your plate. Pack some oriental zing – or great fish and chips – with Ziang’s home chef/party experience or tasty takeaways. Or head out to family-friendly pubs such as The Bottom Ship, The Top Ship or Old Ship Aground.
Try some seasonal Italian with an Exmoor twist at Locanda on the Weir, or how about partridge schnitzel or poached duck egg prepared by a regional Masterchef winner at The Notley Arms Inn? There’s more posh nosh in the shape of pan-roasted guinea fowl chestnut or honey and sesame duck breast at Reeves in Dunster.
You’ve six bedrooms to pick from, plus a sofa bed on the top floor sleeping another two. Whichever you choose, the only thing between you and a night of sumptuous, dozy dreaming is the occasional hoot of an owl. The clue’s in the name.
Let’s start with the master bedroom with en-suite shower. Dual-aspect views over the coast and lookout balcony should be enough to get you out of your kingsize bed. Bedroom two is a luxury double with en-suite shower and bath. Taste the salty air from the balcony.
Bedroom three is another balconied double with modern en-suite shower, while bedroom four comes with double bed and en-suite shower. Bedroom five on the ground floor is a double with separate shower room, and bedroom six on the top floor offers two singles, en-suite shower and bath, and great views.
Your youngest guest will be grateful to see that there is a cot and highchair on hand to make their holiday a seamless home from home experience.
Let the children disappear into the wild garden and explore the garden trails, or feed the fish and spot the owls hiding in the garden. Head down to the beach to build sandcastles, or play croquet and boules back at the house. See if they can wear themselves out before bed and work up an appetite for burgers in buns fresh from the barbecue.
If you can coax them indoors, children will love the games room with boardgames, puzzles and books waiting to be discovered. Buy yourself some peace and let them watch some of the DVD’s, or play a game on the PlayStation. There’s a dolls house for the little ones, whilst older children can play a game of pool.
And of course for the ultimate night in, a movie together with bags of treats is going to be hard to beat. Prepare the hot chocolate and marshmallows, and settle down for a family night in.