GINS BARN, BEAULIEU
The sun glitters across Beaulieu River and small boats bob gently around me as I stretch into a deep downward dog on the end of Gins Barn’s little wooden jetty. Morning yoga is positively encouraged here – also, bringing a book to read on the little bench, or binoculars to birdwatch through the marshes, or simply contemplating, for which this particular spot – with river views on one side, and the Solent to the Isle of Wight on the other – is just perfect.
A converted barn adjacent to a large farmhouse, Gins Barn can also be rather proud of its handsome yet homely design – exposed oak beams and floors, a large living area with a log burner, an impressive, airy kitchen and four good-sized bedrooms with pretty bathrooms, all fashioned in a horseshoe design around a central paved courtyard. The décor is my favourite kind – an artful mishmash of prints and colour that looks thrown together, but totally works. I covet the Fermoie linen lampshades atop old pottery jug lamps, the large upholstered headboards, Persian rugs, Indian bedspreads and Turkish bathroom tiles. I vow to return home and fill every room (including the bathroom) with old paintings and artful knick-knacks.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Gins Barn is the Tithe Barn, which is accessed via the kitchen and can be hired additionally. It seats 30 for dinner, has colossal double-height windows overlooking the lawns and water beyond, and would make a fabulous venue for a grown-up birthday party (kids are not encouraged in here). Alongside the yoga, we do experience a bit of the local area: a gentle walk to nearby Buckler’s Hard, with its maritime museum and charming little pub, and also a trip into Beaulieu, where the Old Bakehouse Tearooms seduces us with magnificent slices of home-made cake, so big we smuggle some of them out to finish off later on beside the log burner. Just another simple pleasure during this idyllic weekend. SARAH TOMCZAK
Rooms cost from £235 a night, including breakfast. Visit adaremanor.com. Fly to Shannon Airport with Ryanair from £46 each way. See ryanair.com