Is this the year you finally get everyone together and escape to the country for yomps over the hills with the dog, hearty meals from quirky delis, dilly-dallying in a steamy hot tub, and yacking endlessly around a firepit under the stars? Sleeping 13 plus three dogs, Suncrisp House in the thick of rural Somerset could be the perfect destination.
Close to Ilminster, where the villages come with names such as Shepton Beauchamp, Chaffcombe and Haselbury Plucknett, Suncrisp House is part of a huge estate. It feels spacious and special, with a glassy, vaulted kitchen where the wow bounces off the oak and elm beams, in a masterpiece of exposed brickwork and hamstone.
Inside, Suncrisp House has got its party gear on and wants you to join in. The sofas are big and soft beneath the beams and the smart TV’s ready for your Netflix password. Load up the logburner and put the Prosecco on to chill. Max out your sleep with 400-thread-count sheets and dreamy mattress toppers. More of the same tomorrow? You bet.
Suncrisp House is good for family, friends, kids and even three dogs in the fenced garden. With a large lawn and south-facing terrace with views out over the orchards and the Blackdown Hills, it’s the archetypal English country escape.
Take tea out on the terrace in the Somerset sunshine. Sit out under the stars in the four-person, wood-fired hot tub. Get around the firepit to prong your marshmallows and pass the Prosecco. Stay up late. Wake when you like. No one’s counting around here.
Hub of the home here is the loft-style, open-plan kitchen. It’s your cooking, dining, living, socialising, playing, partying space with bi-fold doors that entice you out to the rear terrace and orchards and on to the rolling hills beyond. And all with rather lovely exposed brick and hamstone beneath ancient oak beams.
Slide through from the kitchen to the main living area, where the oak and elm beams are just as lovely and the fire’s roaring in the grate. Lob another log that way and snuggle up on the soft sofas to find a film on the 55” smart TV as the dogs doze at your feet. Don’t forget your Netflix and Amazon Prime passwords.
Make some music with the Bluetooth soundbar in the living room. Sing along to the DAB radio. Pop some pods in the Nespresso. Stream your content on the superfast broadband. Move in, spread out, make yourself at home, reconnect with the people who matter in a place full of wow and wonder.
The kitchen/diner’s the perfect space for steaming, stewing and socialising. Chop and chat: it’s all open plan, so you won’t miss a beat of each other’s company. In fact, sign up our chefs for anything from a finger buffet to a barbie in the garden and you can put your feet up in front of Amazon Prime.
There’s room for 12 around the dining table for long, lingering lunches and bar stools around the countertops for breakfast on the run. Two ovens, an induction hob and a microwave are the tools at your disposal, and two dishwashers will deal with the dirties. Fill the American fridge with meat from Bonner’s and wine from Waitrose.
The Barrington Boar comes with some mouth-watering menus. How about slow-cooked shoulder of Somerset lamb, creamed potato, chargrilled sprouting broccoli, chillis, anchovies and salted almonds? Or maybe meat and game from local farms, south-coast fish and fresh veg from the kitchen garden at the Lord Poulett Arms?
Tuck into ox cheek, pan-fried Creedy Carver duck or baked Somerset Camembert at Dinnington Docks. Try the chef’s tasting menu at Holm or dine a la carte on mackerel, burnt apple and salsify or chicken liver parfait. Or get your chops around Cornish pollock or peppercorn-crusted venison loin from 28 Market Place.
Suncrisp House sleeps 13 in six bedrooms in the shadow of the Blackdown Hills, where the only sounds that ripple the rural air are your own snoring and the snuffling of a badger.
All bedrooms are on the ground floor and come with their own bathroom. Access is good for those with restricted mobility. Older bedrooms feature ancient elm beams, original fireplaces, and exposed hamstone walls.
Bedrooms one to five are all superking en-suites capable of switching to a twin set-up thanks to zip-and-link. Bedroom six can sleep three in a bunk bed with pull-out trundle bed.
You’ll sleep deeply on comfortable, deep mattresses capped with mattress toppers and 400 thread-count cotton bedding. Wake in the morning and wrap yourself in soft bathroom robes, and help yourself to body-wash and shampoos, and separate towels for the hot-tub.