Howgills Barn Blog

written by Claire Donkin from 

'stuff their eyes with wonder' 

You cannot beat a weekend filled with friends, food and ridiculous fun and a bunk barn in the countryside provides the perfect opportunity to get everyone together and enjoy just that. It is in no way an easy or relaxing break, with up to 36 of us in one big house and the adults being outnumbered by 20 feral kids, but these really are the best times and the moments I want my kids to remember and cherish, I know I always will.

So back in October we headed to the town of Sedbergh for a weekend stay at Howgills Barn. Sedbergh is a small market town nestling beneath the stunning Howgill Fells and just within the western boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park – although weirdly it is actually in Cumbria. It is also close to the Lake District National Park and perfectly positioned for exploring this beautiful area.

Howgills Barn was pretty special in terms of bunk barn accommodation; a traditional but well renovated stone barn, offering good value yet comfortable group accommodation. It was warm, clean and with plenty of space for a large group. The quality of accommodation definitely exceeds expectations over the usual bunk barn and everything is provided to the highest standards.

The sleeping accommodation is laid out in 8 en-suite bunk style bedrooms, (there are 32 separate beds sleeping up to 35 guests as a couple of the bunks had double beds with a single above). Each bed came with a freshly laundered mattress protector and a pillow, you just need to bring your own base sheet and duvet or a sleeping bag, as you prefer, and your own towels.

On the ground floor is also a handy drying room, a games room with table tennis and a couple of individual cloakrooms with a toilet and wash basin. ​Upstairs there is a lovely spacious open plan lounge and dining area, with fell views, flagged floors, beams, and underfloor heating. The dining area leads into a small but well equipped kitchen with a large range cooker (there is also a much bigger commercial kitchen downstairs, if required). Above, on a safely enclosed mezzanine, is a TV lounge with Sky TV.

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Everything has been provided – apart from walkie talkies, which are essential for effective communication between the two kitchens when cooking a full English breakfast to feed a crowd. “Rubber Duck, this is Mother Goose, are the eggs ready?”

The main living area opens through a porch onto a lovely outside terrace with wooden picnic benches and bbq. There is also the all important hot tub, complete with fairy lights; a real luxury in a bunk barn! You pay an additional charge for use of the tub but plenty of towels are provided and it was huge, clean and luxuriously warm – a great addition to our weekend.

A short walk down the winding farm track leads directly onto the main street of the attractive old town of Sedbergh. Known as England’s “Book Town”, offering a treasure trove of second hand and collector’s book shops along with other independent shops, pubs and cafes. It is also renowned for it’s posh private boarding school, set in magnificent parkland on the edge of the town.

There is a great children’s playground in the town and a short walk beyond this an ice cream farm, where we enjoyed a fantastic range of ice cream and sorbet from an extensive menu served by the friendly farmer and his family. Situated at the bottom of Winder Fell, the farm enjoys panoramic views over the surrounding hills. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to continue up the fell to the summit – it was early afternoon before we even made it out of the barn, after everyone had been fed two breakfasts and got their shoes and coats on. Winder fell provides a magnificent backdrop to the town and does make an excellent family walk though, if you have the time.

Howgills Barn is probably the best, most luxurious example of a bunk barn we have stayed in to date and provides the perfect space for a large group of friends to get together and have fun!

To read Claire's full blog go to stuff their eyes with wonder