Saturday, 11 January 2014

Mediaeval home-from-home

Mr Robot in the Mediaeval hall
My husband had to work over Christmas, so we didn't get to see any relatives (though we did have friends over for roast goose and much feasting on Boxing Day). Because of that, this week we dragged his mother off to Herefordshire for a break.

The place we stayed in is owned by the Landmark Trust. If you've never heard of the Trust, it's a charity that takes small, historically significant buildings in poor condition - the sort of thing that's too small for the National Trust to run, and too expensive for most homeowners to restore - and repairs them and uses them for holiday lets. The lets pay for the maintenance of the properties, and the Trust has regular appeals to raise money to buy and restore new ones. It's a lovely way of ensuring these beautiful, character-packed little places are looked after, plus more people can enjoy them than if they were in private hands.

Shelwick Court
There's everything from traditional Welsh farms to a lighthouse on Lundy Island,  Scottish castles that'll accommodate at least eight people to gothic follies perfect for two. As you'd expect, properties are priced according to the number of people they hold, so if you can get together a bunch of civilised chums, you could rent one of the larger places for under £25 each per night at this time of year. There are a few Landmarks in Italy and France. There's also an independent organisation run with the same principles, The Landmark Trust USA, in the United States.

Because my mother-in-law is disabled, we had to pick a property very carefully, and eventually settled on Shelwick Court in Herefordshire. She's able to shuffle for very short distances, and we enquired about the stairs before booking. At Shelwick Court they're replacements for the rotted old ones, so not worn and not too steep, and with a bathroom on both floors we knew she'd only have to get up and down the stairs once a day. If you have disabilities, or are travelling with a person with disabilities, I'd recommend discussing things with the Trust before booking as they can advise you on facilities.

The house doesn't look much from the outside, a nice enough eighteenth-century house but nothing special. However, it's a bit of a Kinder egg house as there's a treat upstairs in the middle: a mediaeval hall. This large room, complete with squashy sofas and a long dining table, was a great place for whiling away the dark evenings, though we did desert it for day trips to Hereford and Tintern. We took plenty of books and jigsaws, and my knitting, and we have a lovely time. The kitchen was fantastically well supplied (I don't even have a dishwasher at home!) and I loved the British-made blue-and-white china the house was stocked with. The house was warm and free of draughts, with no lack of hot water or heating.
Landmark Trust properties are beautifully furnished.

This was our first stay in a Landmark, but it won't be our last. It was fantastic!

Looking at the hall from the other end - note the beautiful beams!
Note: we paid for this trip ourselves, in full.

7 comments :

  1. Oh wow, those pictures take my breath away! What a beautiful, historic place to stay, I bet it was wonderful.
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    1. It was gorgeous, and they have such a range to choose from - definitely recommended.

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  2. It looks lovely. I have looked at Landmark Trust houses before, nice to hear a first hand account.

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    1. This one was even better than we expected from the website - the furniture was gorgeous, I loved the china... I could have moved in for good!

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  3. That looks amazing, what a lovely building.

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    1. I look forward to trying lots more.

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  4. This house is amazing, what a great get away! I love the idea of holing up in an historic old place for a week or so, sure beats most hotels!

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