This beautiful 2-bedroom barn conversion, in the heart of rural Dorset, may have a past as a home for farm animals, but it's present incarnation is pure, sophisticated boutique hotel luxury, complete with gorgeous Ren toiletries and sumptuous White Company robes and towels. Plus, there's a family-friendly gastro-pub or two, and an alternative therapies centre, within a short walk, so whatever your preference, relaxation is high on the agenda.
Grown-ups will love the cool, minimalist décor, stylish modern bathrooms with drench showers, vaulted ceilings, wooden floors, and wood burning stove, not to mention and all the latest high-tech entertainment extras, including Wi-Fi, IPod Docking station with CD and radio, and 32” Flatscreen TV with DVD and Freeview. There's also a TV in the main bedroom for holiday' lie-ins! Plus, the ability to pre-order delicious home-made ready meals from local company 'indulge' really puts the icing on the cake!
Junior guests will be similarly enthralled by a plethora of toys and books inside, a sandpit and teepee in a pretty garden, safely enclosed by a willow fence, and the fab playground with swings, slides and roundabouts a short stroll away through the picture-perfect village of Farnham.
Baby and toddler needs are catered for too with high and booster chairs, baby baths, bouncers and bottle sterilisers, potties, socket covers, plastic cutlery and crockery and sippy cups.
The building itself contains two gorgeous bedrooms, one with a kingsize bed, ensuite bathroom with walk-in shower and doors to the garden, another with bunk beds and a wooden cot. The slick state-of-the-art kitchen comes complete with induction hob, eye-level oven, integrated microwave/grill, fridge freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer, and a table that sits six people, plus an indulgent Nespresso machine to make mornings all the more enjoyable!
Guests may find it difficult to tear themselves away from the sheer, relaxing luxury of The Cowshed. But those who do find lots to amuse them. The rolling Purbeck hills invite exploration by foot or bike, full of ruined castles, stately homes like Longleat and Cranborne, and, less than an hour away, are the long, unspoilt beaches of the Jurassic coast and the shops, bars and boutiques of Poole and Bournemouth. This is prime country pub territory too. Perfect for lazy lunches with the little ones, of course, but if a child-free evening for two is called for, then owner Claudia can recommend a local babysitter that she has has already tested out on her own young sons.
This part of Dorset has the ability to be all things to all people. Bask in rural isolation in the stunning countryside close to The Cowshed, admire the architecture of Salisbury and the mystery of Stonehenge, shop til you drop in Poole and Bournemouth or run free with the kids on the beaches such as nearby Studland Bay – all without spending more than an hour in the car.
It's tempting to eat at home in the evening when staying somewhere as lovely as The Cowshed and you've got children in tow. No problem – you can pick up all the makings of a feast at the string of artesian bakeries, butchers and farm shops within an 8 mile radius.
But should the lure of eating out prove impossible to resist there are two outstanding pubs within walking distance, the award-winning Museum Inn and the recently-renovated King John Inn, and fab restaurants such as Castleman's Hotel at Cranborne Chase a short drive away.
Guests are spoilt for days out. Cranborne Manor is just down the road, as is picturesque Shaftesbury with that cobbled hill made famous by a series of Hovis ads. A 30 minute drive away is Salisbury, whilst an hour away are kid-pleasers such as Stonehenge, Longleat Safari Park, the beaches of the Jurassic Coast and Brownsea Island, made famous by Enid Blyton.
If the sun shines, the children will also love Honeybrook Farm, six miles away, with it's large playground and array of outdoor activities, and the forest and adventure playground at Moors Valley Country Park, 11 miles away.
When the weather gods send rain, guests can pack the small people in the car and head for Manic Monster Indoor Play area, eight miles away, and the water park or bowling alley, 15 miles away in Poole. In addition, there is enough walking, cycling, golf, horse-riding and watersports to keep the whole family smiling. And, if that leaves guests feeling exhausted, they can always head off for a spot of pampering at the Sarpenela holistic therapy and massage centre in village.
Nearest Medical Services: Good local GP 3 miles away, A&E Salisbury 16 miles. However, the Cowshed's owners are qualified GPs and on hand in an emergency.