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Tregulland (known as Twin Tors on i-escapes) Cottage and Barn, Cornwall, Sleeps 22. Split the gang between the beautifully decorated barn and equally stylish cottage - but share the indoor freshwater pool, the steam room, the woodfired hot tub and yomps on nearby Bodmin Moor.
A hi-tech eco-retreat on the edge of Bodmin Moor, sleeping 10, this is far from your typical barn conversion. Part of a small, luxurious complex (you can also rent the adjacent "cottage" and invite another 12 along), it's a lesson in relaxed, contemporary style. The barn's five en suite bedrooms come with specially commissioned art, high quality contemporary furniture, vintage finds and locally made toiletries. With 16 acres of private countryside to explore, many guests don't make it to Bodmin. Others don't even get beyond the walls, thanks to the home cinema, games room, slatelined, freshwater indoor pool, and addons such as private chefs and pilates lessons to keep them entertained.
Big is beautiful! Five holiday homes with room for the whole family - and more
Planning on holidaying in the UK this year? Great weather may not be guaranteed, but in one of these wonderful holiday homes you'll have marvellous accommodation, a fabulous location, great views - and plenty of space for everyone.
CORNWALL - Tregulland Cottage and Barn (Also known as, Clearwater)
From £57 per person for 3 nights Clearwater Cottage (sleeps 12) and Barn (sleeps 10) are two renovated adjacent buildings on the edge of Bodmin Moor. Set in 16 acres, they come with a home cinema, games room, lovely dining areas and state-of-the-art kitchen (each with two dishwashers).
There are several beaches within a 20-minute drive, and one of the outbuildings houses an indoor freshwater pool, as well as a steam room, and there's an outdoor woodfired hot tub, too. Chefs, massages and yoga can be arranged for you.
THE INDEPENDENT HOTEL GUIDE. It's not technically a hotel, but it can be if you want it to be. And if you do (want it to be) your fellow guests won't be a bunch of dodgy strangers; they'll be your nearest and dearest. Gather together a minimum of 10 of them, a maximum of 22, each paying far cheaper prices for their rooms than in a hotel equivalent, and head for Cornwall.
Tregulland is a superlative holiday rental property boasting exemplary eco-credentials. But it's more than that: as well as being beautifully located overlooking Bodmin Moor, superbly equipped (with indoor pool and steam room) and cleverly, amusingly, artistically furnished, it offers elements – from the quality of the beds, linen and toiletries to bespoke concierge service from manager Bonny Shanks – that are normally only found in fine hotels, and that make guests feel as if they are staying both in a hotel and in a holiday house at once. As a concept, it works superbly and might quite possibly be a forerunner amongst a whole new style of flexible, private accommodation – let's call it a 'hometel'.
Five More Cool Cottages
Set in 16 woolly acres of Bodmin Moor, The Barn and The Cottage have been decorated with panache, adding Philippe Starck furniture to period features. There's a shared indoor freshwater pool, steam room and alfresco hot tub.
Ken Aylmer has created a warm but quirky holiday home for his family in the middle of the Cornish countryside
"On-trend slate grey walls and dark wood floors are teamed with exposed brick and ceiling beams; flea market finds provide talking points and fabrics are plush, colourful and expensive-looking."Read More
These striking good looks can be accredited to Rye-based interior designer Marcus Crane, who was commissioned by owners Ken Aylmer and his wife Illona to work on the project. His brief was to create something that was smart, interesting and comfortable. ‘We bought the place as a holiday home with three generations of our family in mind and so it needed to be able to withstand wear and tear,’ says Ken. And, as Ken works as a property developer specialising in eco-builds, it also had to be green. ‘Ken wanted to put the character back into the buildings and keep everything as eco as possible by using old and upcycled furnishings,’ says Marcus, who co-owns McCully & Crane Interiors in Rye, which specialises in items that predate 1970. ‘I started by buying things I liked from auctions and large antiques fairs and the look grew from there – to start with I didn’t know exactly where a room was going but the feel gradually evolved.’ Within the space of six months, Marcus had collated, among other things, a mustard velvet sofa from Watson Auctioneers in East Sussex, a vintage cartographer’s ruler and, most bizarrely, a trio of fungus specimens from Sunbury Antiques Market.
Somewhat understandably, when the time came for his van to be unloaded for the first time at Tregulland, the reception wasn’t entirely positive. ‘There were some funny looks exchanged between the builders and I,’ admits Ken. ‘When the wheatsheaf light-fitting, now in the bedroom was first unpacked I remember thinking, “What on earth…?” But once everything was in situ, it surpassed all expectations. And since we’ve been living with it all, I’ve been put off buying new. Old things are so much more exciting.’ There’s a strong craft ethos too: mismatched chairs are by way of up-and-coming furniture designer Claire Danthois and quirky lampshades by British designer Laura Oakes hang in the dining room (which seats an impressive 24). ‘Laura’s lampshades are my absolute favourite things here,’ says Illona. ‘We asked her to create them using photos taken in the grounds here. They’re beautiful and utterly unique.’
Ken and Illona bought the cottage and barn seven years ago thinking that it would be the solution to their annual searches for a holiday rental for their extended family. ‘We spent so much time hunting for places that were big enough, near enough to the sea and with a swimming pool, that eventually I thought I could create something better,’ says Ken. ‘A holiday home that we could use but which we could also rent out.’ Tregulland took a year to find but when Ken first saw it, he had no hesitations. ‘It was the only property that I’d seen that I had butterflies about,’ he says. ‘It was walking up the outside steps to the barn, jumping over the rotten planks and standing in the semiderelict space that did it. Barns have character but they’re also essentially a blank slate and this one had a great atmosphere.’
Starting from scratch as they did, Ken could ensure that the buildings were as green as possible. ‘We began with the boring stuff: insulating the floors (where underfloor heating was fitted) an internal doors, fitting new windows and installing LED bulbs, which use 80-85 per cent less electricity than halogen,’ says Ken. Solar panels and a biomass boiler were also fitted and even the water is provided from an on-site borehole.
The building work was completed only last year, due to planning permission issues but the family – which consists of children Ella, 13, Scarlet, 10, and now Leo, 2 – have been spending weekends and school holidays here since 2005. ‘All the children were disappointed at first not to have slides from their rooms to the swimming pool but they love it now,’ says Ken. The atmosphere is certainly relaxed. This is not a home in which people down a coffee and dash off to work in the morning but one where if there is any dashing to be done, it’s with the aim of getting to the beach in time to catch the best waves. A place for spending as much time outdoors as possible or, if the weather isn’t cooperating, for nestling in the sun room keeping tabs on the local wildlife. ‘I was terrified that it could be a complete disaster but the results are jaw-droppingly beautiful,’ says Illona. ‘We travel from our home in Bristol on Friday evenings in great excitement – there’s always lots of bravado about who’s going to be the first in the sea. It’s a glorious lifestyle.’
"We bought the place as a holiday home with three generations of our family in mind and so it needed to be able to withstand wear and tear"
Stylist’s feature writer Amy Grier braves the wilds of the West Country to track down some fantastic food – and the biggest dining room in Cornwall
I can’t say I’ve ever really been a country person. Far more at home trudging the crowded pavements of London and negotiating the Tube armed with just an umbrella, I only invested in a pair of wellies because my flatmate insisted my Camper mock-walking boots wouldn’t make it through my first UK festival experience.
But when offered the chance to spend a weekend in a luxury self-catered property on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall – complete with indoor freshwater pool, cinema screen and optional in-house chef (of course) – the townie in me leapt at the chance to play the lady landowner for a couple of days.Read More
We arrived at Tregulland, which comprises a converted barn and lovingly restored ‘cottage’ (although I should point out that this is no more a cottage than Buckingham Palace is a simple family home) in total darkness. We’d caught the 7pm train from London Paddington to Exeter and after a half hour taxi-ride, wound our way down the stone-walled lanes that conceal the buildings from the outside world. I started to panic as my mobile signal dropped, bar by bar. “We’re not in Kansas now, Toto,” I mumbled to my boyfriend, who was already lamenting the patchy Wi-Fi owners Illona and Ken had warned us about when we’d booked.
Luckily, it turns out that Tregulland is so comfortable, so expertly decorated, so genuinely fun to be in, the only reason you’d want mobile signal or the internet would be to tell your friends what a great time you’re having. But that’s another area where, again, Tregulland wins: it contains 11 bedrooms and can comfortably sleep 22 people over the two adjacent buildings. If you can’t call your friends, there’s a strong argument to bring them with you instead.
Room Service. After a bottle of pinot noir around the kitchen table, I was aching to see which room we’d get. I had spent the two-hour train journey looking at each of the rooms online and had set my heart on one in particular. As we walked down the upper corridor, I squealed with delight. Peregrine was empty.
Each of the rooms has its own unique character and name (such as the charming Meadowsweet or Barn Owl), but Peregrine was the one I had set my hopes on. Built into the roof of the barn, it has a high ceiling, a deep blue velvet headboard, and reclaimed antique sidetables. The bathroom is also a dramatic affair with grey slate tiling the wall and floors, and a blue roll-top bath. And from almost every aspect you can look out on the limitless, lush fields of the valley in which Tregulland is built. All around the house there are personal touches – antique alphabet cards in the Granary (which serves as the TV, games and cinema room), restored leather armchairs in the hall and a dining table made out of reclaimed telegraph polls that previously spoilt the view from Tregulland’s windows. I could write a thesis on how sympathetic the décor is, but I’ll summarise in this way instead: if I ever get the opportunity to deck out my own house, Marcus Crane, their interior designer, will be the first number I call.
After a leisurely dip in the indoor freshwater pool and a quick sauna, we decided to ‘go for a walk’. After all, that’s what proper country people do, isn’t it?
The map room in the barn has plenty of ideas for the more adventurous wanting to explore the nearby moor but it was sunny so, lured by the prospect of an ice cream and a cold pint of Cornish Rattler (cider), we hopped in the car and headed for the beach.
After a 20-minute drive we reached Trebarwith Strand, a tiny stretch of sandy beach in Tintagel that is a favoured spot for surfers and families – when the weather holds. Unfortunately, the sky had turned grey so we walked the rugged coastal path for the afternoon and finished at the Port William pub, which has great local ales and even better sea views.
Seafood Feast. Back at the cottage, there was just time for a dip in the wood-fired Swedish-style hot tub before we dressed for dinner. In the pale, elegant – and very long – central dining room of the cottage, Jack Stein, Rick Stein’s son and head of the test kitchen at Padstow’s now famous Seafood Restaurant, was preparing a six-course feast for our group complete with wine, canapés and champagne reception. I was giddy with excitement.
Stein Sr was the man who put this remote corner of England on the foodie map and exclusively at this cottage, you sometimes get to taste his team’s seasonal dishes before they even make it onto the restaurant menu.
We feasted on crab salad, a richly flavoured lobster bisque and scallops with Serrano ham. Then came the fish course, monkfish with a garlic crust followed by rack of lamb with fresh peas and flageolet beans. For pudding, Jack served the creamiest panna cotta I’ve ever tasted, with fresh, bright pink poached rhubarb on the side. The food was incredible and not having to drive home was an unspeakable bonus.
We woke up feeling utterly refreshed and it had only taken 48 hours away from the street lamps and sirens of the city to feel this way. It would seem even the most ardent city dweller could do with a dose of Tregulland life every once in a while.
"We bought the place as a holiday home with three generations of our family in mind and so it needed to be able to withstand wear and tear"
Inside the most lavish rental property in Cornwall
Ken Aylmer has just invested £2.6m in a couple of holiday cottages in the middle of nowhere. It's possible that he has made an expensive mistake, but, equally, it could be a wise move. Perhaps there are enough people prepared to pay more than £1,000 a day to enjoy a life of hotel-style luxury bedrooms, swimming in fresh water and private Rick Stein dinners.The cottages are in Cornwall, a mile from a not-very-main road on the edge of Bodmin Moor. They have far-reaching views across wild terrain. There's not a house to be seen, nor a road, not even a wind turbine. This level of isolation is hard to find, especially when combined with what's on offer inside.Read More
"We have leapfrogged everything in Cornwall in terms of style and facilities," says Aylmer, 41. "The county has been getting away with it for a long time. Despite smartening up over the past 10 years, it's still the only place in the country where the holiday accommodation is usually worse than your own home"
Not so at Tregulland — unless you are a multimillionaire. Even before you take into account the first indoor freshwater pool in the country (kitted out in elegant, ethically sourced slate — no turquoise tiles here), this is a property designed to take green to a vibrant new level. As well as all the standard eco stuff — underfloor heating, low-energy lighting, superefficient insulation, solar panels, a woodchip boiler and a heat-recovery system, the furnishings have a recycled element that has nothing to do with "make do and mend", and everything to do with wit and imagination.
Take the dining table, which seats 24. It's made of old floorboards, "upcycled" from a barn, with legs cut from a telegraph pole that once stood in the garden.
The chairs were salvaged from a village hall and re-covered in nostalgic prints by Claire Danthois, one of Kevin McCloud's "green heroes" of 2011. The huge lamp shades above the table were made to order by the printmaker Laura Oakes, using images from the grounds.
Yet it's the scale of Tregulland that impresses first. From the outside, it looks like a renovated cottage and barn, nicely done, with old rag slates on the roofs and carefully matched repointing, but nothing special for this part of the country. Inside, though, are two huge and luxurious homes — as well as that pool — that sleep 22 in 11 ensuite bedrooms (each has temperature control and a Hansgrohe Raindance Rainfall shower). There's plenty of space for privacy when needed: a hunting-lodge-style snug, a map room with a big old desk, a vaulted entertainment room, a giant conservatory and two dining rooms. Dotted about are little seating areas, with comfy old sofas and big armchairs in surprising colours.
The size is crucial. Aylmer designed Tregulland to plug what he believes is a gap in the market for extended-family holidays and big celebrations. For years, he and his wife, Illona, also 41, have holidayed for a week each year with their respective families. As time passed and more offspring were produced, it became increasingly difficult to find the sort of place they wanted: "Large enough, near the sea, with a pool and no duff bedrooms."
The pool is purified by plant roots. It was with this in mind that, in 2005, he spent £1m on an enclave of ruined barns and old cottages, with 16 acres and a lake full of gigantic carp.
Kingfishers and otters are regularly seen by the river, and Tregulland is on a starling migration path, creating dramatic autumn skies. Cornwall's twin peaks, Rough Tor and Brown Willy, can be seen from the house.
Aylmer has spent a further £1.6m on the restoration. Not only has he left no stone unturned, he has moved many of them elsewhere while he was at it. Slates found in the garden now serve as window ledges, as do hunks of old beams, and smooth new (but sustainably sourced) oak stairs are inlaid with tiny lights.
Everywhere, old and new are combined. Reclaimed floorboards are shaped into nifty shutters for narrow windows, Velux blinds are operated by remote control, and all the outside doors have keypad entry, for keyless holidays.
The attention to detail is impressive — but then Aylmer has been in property all his working life, first with the Notting Hill Housing Trust, then, after moving to Bristol in 2000, building up a small portfolio of rental flats. "I started to get into the eco side of things," he says. "Even when we bought this place, people weren't interested, but in the past five years it has become more attractive. It's no longer just about hippies and crusties and pooing in buckets. It's more about being 'energy smart' than ecofriendly."
In 2008, he started Footprint Building, which specialises in the energy-smart refurbishment of existing properties. "It was good timing in terms of the environmental movement taking off, but a bad time in terms of the economy falling off a cliff, " says Illona, who looks after their three children, Ella, 13, Scarlet, 9, and Leo, 2. She is planning to return to her job in marketing at Cherry D, the charity they set up to help community organisations in Bristol.
If the couple's skills dovetail neatly, so do their businesses. In 2005, when he acquired Tregulland, Aylmer also bought a share, with friends, in the George Hotel, in Rye, East Sussex. It has since been refurbished, winning rave reviews for its decor as well as its food. It was therefore an obvious move, when faced with decorating such a large property, to employ the man responsible — Marcus Crane, of McCully & Crane, in Rye — to help with the interiors in Cornwall.
"It was like asking a top chef for roast beef," Aylmer says. "Not only do you get the best roast beef, it comes with the perfect wine and the perfect starter. He just takes it that much further. His skill is jaw-dropping."
While the kitchen and bathroom have top-of-the-range fittings, much of the furniture is inspirationally second-hand. Crane has contacts who scour the markets of Paris and beyond, arriving on scooters at 5am to nab bargains. Other finds come from auctions and reclamation yards — and even TK Maxx, for fancy bedspreads. Everything bears his mark: a chaise longue is covered in hessian sacking, old London-Bodmin train tickets are blown up and framed, and the bean bags in the vaulted former granary are made of old grain sacks (all the more fun for watching HD television projected onto a cinema screen).
Some of Crane's finds have to be seen in situ to be appreciated. "He called to say he'd found the perfect sofa for the conservatory," Aylmer says. "He said it had the red of the bracken and the yellow of the sunshine, and looked like an old pub carpet. He really wasn't selling it to me." The sofa works a treat though, in a room kitted out like a slightly bonkers men's club, with plaster casts of animal prints in a case, including two labelled "The Beast", and glass walls on three sides to capture the wildness beyond.
The fourth wall leads to a kitchen as sleek and elegant as any in Chelsea, with a wine fridge, a pull-out freezer drawer and an induction hob. When Aylmer called Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant, not far away in Padstow, to see if his chefs would be interested in catering for house parties here, they were wary. That's not the sort of thing they do.
They changed their tune once they saw the place, though, and now private Stein dinners are just one of the added extras offered at this bizarre hideaway holiday home, along with massages, riding (they'll bring horses to the door), beauty treatments, concierge service and balloon rides. The pool is a big draw: the water starts pure, from Tregulland's own borehole, and is kept clean by the action of plant roots. It's like wild swimming without the cold — the biomass boiler takes care of that. There is also a separate children's pool, a steam room and an outdoor Dutch tub, heated by burning wood in a bucket.
It's taken Aylmer two and a half years to get Tregulland to a level where he feels he can charge £10,000 a week in peak season (£6,000 at this time of year), but it's been a labour of love. "I've been coming whenever I can get away, quietly picking things off — and suddenly, in September, it was done," he says.
Even Illona, who needed some persuading at the outset, says it has been worth it. "Apart from slight collywobbles about the price, it's been really good fun," she says. "Ken always had a dream of doing up a house environmentally and elegantly. Now he's done it."
Already, the signs are good: Tregulland has hosted 30th, 40th and 50th birthday celebrations, as well as Christmas and new year. If it really takes off, though, the family are going to be back where they started, with nowhere to go for their own holidays.
Aylmer has thought of that. His next project is a smaller conversion: he has just bought himself a VW camper van. At £2,000, it cost considerably less than Tregulland, but he plans to spend as much as £15,000 on fitting it out. The man who has just built one of the most luxurious holiday homes in the country likes nothing better than camping.
Fiona Duncan reviews the best and worst of Britain's hotels and bed and breakfasts, from boutique to budget, countryside to city centre.
Tregulland is a new holiday rental house (or rather two houses, side by side, with an indoor pool and steam room in a third timber-framed building, all boasting exemplary eco-credentials).
Our lot had a ball. The ancients occupied the five-bedroom converted stone barn, while the youth, all now in their twenties, occupied the six-bedroom farmhouse. We hardly saw one another, except to meet for ping pong or croquet, or in Britain's first freshwater indoor pool, or dressed as slugs on the surfing beaches (the youth standing elegantly on their boards to ride the waves, the ancients clinging horizontally to theirs for dear life).Read More
On one memorable evening, the youth cooked for us all, superbly, and then did all the washing up. What a change: for years we couldn't even get them to clear their plates without a storm of protest. Another bonus: when the youth stayed in the hot tub until 4am, us ancients didn't hear a thing, such was the effectiveness of the window glazing.
Like many of the best things in life, Tregulland came into being out of necessity. Ken and Illona Aylmer couldn't find a property in Cornwall in which to take their extended family on holiday, so they built one themselves, letting it to others when they aren't using it.
Ken is co-owner of the excellent George in Rye; hence the hotel influence at Tregulland.
All in all, Tregulland, stylish, practical, homely and full of quirky personal touches, is made for fun. We had it, in spades.
It's not a hotel, but it can be if you want it to be. And if you do (want it to be), your fellow guests won't be a bunch of dodgy strangers; they'll be your nearest and dearest. Gather together a minimum of 10 of them, a maximum of 22, each paying far cheaper prices for their rooms than in a hotel equivalent, and head for Cornwall.
This Cornish barn and cottage complex is one of the UK's most luxurious holiday rentals
THINK SELF-CATERING COTTAGE, AND an image probably springs to mind of a cosy, slightly ramshackle property, maybe with a romantic 'Kate Winslet's place in The Holiday' feel about it. Lovely, yes. Five star, probably not. Well, you haven't stayed at Tregulland. This Cornish barn and cottage complex is one of the UK's most luxurious holiday rentals and it doesn't come cheap. Book the barn and cottage together in August, and you're looking at a whopping £10,000 for a week. It may sleep 22, but that's a lot of money. Wait until September, however, and you'll save yourself £2,500. Do the sums and it's less scary - £7,500 for 22 people, that's about £340 per person per week, or around £48 a night. Suddenly, five-star luxury is looking more achievable.Read More
Tregulland is two renovated properties, set on 16 acres of wildly beautiful Cornish countryside. Bought as a derelict cow shed and cottage in 2005, both are now unrecognisable. With five double bedrooms in the barn and six in the cottage (all 11 with en-suites), it can be rented as a whole, or each building separately. Either way, it's the perfect getaway for a family holiday or big birthday celebration.
The interiors are gorgeous, a skilfully blended mix of shabby-chic buys and the latest gadgets and technology. And there's plenty of space for everyone to get away from each other - my prerequisite for a group holiday. In the cottage, a 10-seater table sits alongside a kitchen to keep even the fussiest of chefs happy (there's a second kitchen and dining room in the barn). And proof that it's chef-suitable, Tregulland has teamed up with Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant in nearby Padstow. It's the only private house in the UK that enjoys Stein's home-catering service. For £170 a head (no September discounts, sadly), the chefs will come and prepare a pretty special meal, including champagne, canapes, tasting menu, wine, coffee and petits fours. Not cheap, but an amazing experience.
Elsewhere on the property, there's a huge granary-turned-living room, with a drop-down cinema screen (try getting the kids away from that), and a west-facing sun room complete with squashy sofa. Lie back and watch the weather roll in across the green hills - mesmerising. The owner, an eco-build specialist, has backed up the luxury with innovative eco technology: a state-of-the-art biomass boiler, low-energy lighting and Tregulland's own borehole are just a tip of the eco iceberg.
The final mention has to go to the star of the show - Tregulland boasts the UK's first indoor freshwater pool. With a steam room and outdoor hot tub, the 12-metre pool is a truly special place. As the sun sets and reflects off the pool water, it's clear that Tregulland really is a rental like no other. Absolute luxury self-catering for a large group holiday, and, in September, not scarily expensive. Now I just need to find 21 friends to make a return trip with me.
By SASKA GRAVILLE
Tregulland, Cornwall, England
A seriously smart, eco-friendly hideaway for the country home-less, with a reed-filtered freshwater indoor pool, a bright-orange outdoor hot tub and a private cinema with hessian bean bags and a reclaimed Philippe Starck sofa residing under a canopy of oak rafters. There are purring solar-powered skylights, shiny contemporary country kitchens (plural!) and one very long table that seats all 22 guests. It's an awesome, active, outdoorsy weekend waiting to happen, with hikes up Rough Tor, afternoon surfs and cliff walks from Boscastle to Tintagel. Those in the know call upon chef Jack Stein (son of Rick). He'll rustle up a feast of Cornish lobster salad and melt-in-your-mouth monkfish washed down with chilled Chablis from the EuroCave wine fridges.
Tregulland, on the edge of Bodmin Moor, took two years to perfect its components: a Dutch hot tub, dream kitchens, underfloor heating, steam room, cinema room, Britain's first indoor freshwater swimming pool. Sleeping 22, this is house-party territory, with a cottage, barn and pool house for hiving off generations (though the cottage and barn, for groups of 12 and 10 respectively, can be booked separately). Marcus Crane's reclaimed interiors are elegantly bohemian, and despite the size and sprawl, nothing but cosy. A bespoke concierge arranges fitness programs, chefs, yoga, massage, wine tastings,walks and more (tregullandblog.co.uk/archive; from £2057 for a three-night weekend in the barn to £10,000 for a high-season week in both properties).
Home to english antiques and cosy snugs, experience country living at its most stylish at a newly restored pub or country pile.
Cornwall: A 15 minute drive from the coast and set in 16 acres of private grounds on the edge of Bodmin moor, Tregulland is a luxury holiday rental with some very big ideas - namely the country's first indoor freshwater swimming pool, a Dutch tub and a cinema room. Rent the six bedroom Cottage or five bed Barn or both Tregulland sleeps 22 in total. Upto £7500 for a week in both properties in mid season
A smart holiday home in St Clether marries size with green principles (Cornwall Today April 2012)
Ken Aylmer sits at a handsome timber table in the renovated barn at Tregulland, Cornwall's latest and smartest eco-holiday home. With its top made from offcuts of oak flooring and its base fashioned from an old telegraph pole, it epitomises the green principles of the development. "We re-used everything we possibly could," says Ken, "even an old mangle found on the site, which we turned into a stand for the television."
Overlooking a steep and deeply rural valley on the edge of Bodmin Moor, Tregulland exists because Ken, a property developer who also runs a sustainable building and joinery firm in Bristol, noticed there was a shortage of large properties that could be hired out by large groups - we're talking around two dozen people at a time.
"In 2000, my wife and I started going away for long weekends with our extended family," says Ken, "and we found it hard to rent a house that would sleep everyone comfortably - especially one that was near the sea and had facilities such as a swimming pool. It was an obvious gap in the market.
After two years searching throughout Wales, Devon and Cornwall, Ken viewed a dilapidated cluster of farm buildings at Tregulland back in 2005. "It just felt right from the moment we looked round," he remembers. "And it was the only property of its kind that had given us that feeling. I was especially glad it was in Cornwall, though, as my father's family were Cornish."
It was perfectly placed, just two hours drive from Bristol and 15 minutes by car to remote north coast beaches such as Crackington Haven and Widemouth Bay. But the building itself was in a sorry state, with concrete floors, rotting beams, smashed windows, serious weather damage and a host of resident jackdaws.
Work began in 2008 to convert the old L-shaped cowshed and granary into one unit, now called The Barn, which sleeps 10, and to update and enlarge the old farm cottage to accommodate a further 12 people. Surprises lay round every corner: renovating The Cottage revealed a 15th century inglenook fireplace that had been hidden behind render for many years. It also uncovered a wealth of ancient building materials that Ken lovingly salvaged and re·used in other areas of the project; the window seats and the lintels in The Barn are fashioned from 200-year-old timber joists, and it is features like these that give the new structure copper-bottomed integrity.
The design was a collaboration between Ken and Trewin Design Partnership in Holsworthy, and the whole project was brought to life by Barkwills, a local building firm well known for their sympathetic barn conversions. "I had a clear vision for the whole place," says Ken. "I hope I am good at seeing the potential of a building, make it feel nice as well as function efficiently as a living space." This efficiency includes a number of green initiatives, including massive amounts of insulation, a heat recovery system and LED lighting. The plot also has its own bore hole, septic tank and reed bed, making it off-grid for water and sewerage. Heating and hot water are supplied via a wood·pellet boiler, wood burning stoves, and solar panels; an array of photo-voltaics, plus plans for hydro-electric installation and a wind turbine, mean the property should soon be carbon·neutral, too.
There's plenty by way of luxury at Tregulland, too, and the jewel in the crown is its heated freshwater swimming pool, which is filled by its own spring. The water is treated and filtered naturally, without the need for chlorine, and the pool is the first indoor one of its kind in Britain. "Swimming here is unbelievably refreshing," says Ken. "It is a whole new way to experience the water."
To help guests relax further, The Barn's sitting room which was once the granary and has a dramatic high-90 Cornwall Today gabled ceiling - accommodates all Tregulland's guests at once. Seating comes courtesy of designer sofas (by Philippe Starck and B&B Italia, no less) and there are numerous cosy corners in which to read, relax or play board games. There is also a huge HD cinema screen that descends from the ceiling to turn the whole room into a private cinema. "We felt it was important not just to be able to sleep large numbers, but also to provide the communal spaces in which people can socialise together," says Ken.
For this reason, he designed another table for The Cottage, even larger than the one in The Barn, which seats 22-plus for dinner. This is made from three giant planks of Douglas fir, providing hospitality on an enormous scale.
Another note of indulgence comes from the interiors, which are a mix of top-notch designer furniture and fascinating retro finds. Ken enlisted the help of Marcus Crane, owner of a beautifully quirky shop in the Sussex town of Rye, to dress all the rooms. "We had a two-day brainstorming session to establish what would work," says Ken. "Then Marcus went out to trade fairs and auctions and sourced everything; 90 per cent of the furniture and accessories are either vintage or upcycled."
Designer furniture is here, too, and includes a mix of vintage and new Bertoia chairs in The Barn's dining room, plus iconic seating by Charles Eames. The old-school dining chairs in The Cottage are upholstered by Claire Danthois, one of Kevin McC loud's Green Heroes, using fabrics that were left over from upholstering the headboards.
The first guests came to stay at Tregulland last summer, entertained not just by the house and the pool, but also by its 16 acres of grounds (not forgetting a fishing lake that is home to Doris the famous 23lb carp). Extra activities can be laid on, too, from massage and physiotherapy for the grown-ups to bushcraft and foraging workshops for the children.
New for 2012 is an exclusive private dining service courtesy of The Seafood Restaurant at Padstow; Rick and Jill Stein's son Jack will come to Tregulland and prepare your very own six-course taster menu with wine.
"We are going for a higher level of service here," reveals Ken. "While everything inside The Barn and The Cottage is pretty bombproof, it's also comfy and designer and it all fits in with our environmental remit."
Ken's favourite place is, he reveals, the sun-room. "It looks down over the valley towards the stream, and you can't see another house. On a hot day, you can open the doors and spill out on to the terrace and lawn. If the weather comes in, you can curl up with a hot chocolate and watch the weather. It's really hard to beat."
Tregulland sleeps 22 (12 in The Cottage and 10 in The Barn) is available to rent for short breaks in the off-season and for weekly rentals in high season (July, August, Christmas and new year). The Cottage and Barn can also be booked separately for smaller groups. For more information, call 01566 770880 or visit
Cornish Magic at Tregulland
The name Tregulland rang bells from the start - it had a place, somewhere in the distant depths of the 22 years of my Cornish memory. As it turned out, I knew exactly where the place was. That rusting signpost, either half buried into the hedgerow or standing starkly on its own - depending on the time of year - on the lonely stretch of road between Launceston and the north coast.
In fact, I can't even count the number of times I've driven past that signpost, blissfully unaware of Tregulland's tiny hamlet - we're talking every Christmas, Easter and summer holidays forever. Totally unaware too, of the three year project undertaken by Ken and Illona Aylmer to transform derelict barns and a crumbling cottage into a state-of-the-art ecological haven, now managed perfectly by Bonny Shanks to make a true Cornish gem, nestled in a quiet corner of Bodmin Moor.
Tregulland is nothing but impressive, both in its size and its detail. Together, the barn and cottage now sleep 24, in a luxurious self-catering hotel, with big rooms and big views. So too, each tiny nook is uniquely attended too, with no wall untouched, no corner unconsidered. Curios are delicately placed throughout, creating a delicious mish-mash of antique shop crossed with a museum of natural history, painstakingly pieced together by vintage designer Marcus Crane.
Illona tells me stories of how Crane would disappear for weeks, hunting his way through vintage fairs, and Parisian flea markets, and antique auctions, and appear at Tregulland by the lorry-load, with every thing from armchairs and animal skulls to tapestries and tables. Looking totally mismatched, the team would question Marcus' logic, before watching him place pieces perfectly next to each other - each one part of his unique vision for the vintage luxury that defines the whole place, and unites each part of the buildings. "Tregulland makes history too: it is home to the UK's first indoor freshwater swimming pool which runs on water recycled by the eco-operation in place. The experience is sublime, with a steam room to match, and a Dutch tub just outside."
Back inside, the barn and cottage are both excellently equipped for big dinner parties and long evenings lingering over cheese platters and red wine. A custom made dining table is phenomenal in its size: big enough for twenty five, and made out of continuous lengths of oak - quite some tree went into the making of this in Ken's Bristol joinery workshop.
A table this large needs food to match, which is where Tregulland's biggest luxury strikes gold. This is the latest outpost for Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant - a partnership that means you can enjoy a sumptuous Stein feast without leaving the house. Led by Rick's son Jack, a seamless chef-waiter-sommelier team arrives for a sumptuous five courses, matched perfectly to smooth wines. We sipped local Camel Valley Champagne, and dined on lobster salad with Foie Gras, and sea bass accompanied by a chilled Pinot Noir, the table buzzing with every new course that appeared. "Hazy with too much food and solid sleeps amid the silence of Bodmin Moor, Tregulland defies the outside world - it is a dream destination regardless of time or weather."
In the winter, tucked deep into sofas under tartan blankets as a squall squirrels down the valley from Roughtor and out to shiver King Arthur at Tintagel, you are smugly safe from the elements - and time is plentiful for catching a movie on the big screen, enjoying a massage courtesy of a local therapist, or fighting over monopoly money. So too, Tregulland is made for living al-fresco in the Cornish summer, surrounded by fields and space and sky, and only fifteen minutes from sand and surf.
If you do manage to coax yourself from these luxury environs, you'll explore the Cornish coast with a knowing smile - a smile guarding the secret of Tregulland and all that you will retreat to come sundown.
Time For A Stylish Staycation? Introducing Cornwall's Most Luxurious Holiday Home
Cornwall is jam-packed with hotels, B&Bs and holiday homes, but until last year, if you were looking for a luxurious self-catering property that slept up to 22 people, you'd struggle to find one. Which is why, when Ken and Ilona Aylmer started renovating an abandoned barn and cottage on the outskirts of Bodmin Moor, they knew they had a one-of-a-kind project on their hands. Two and a half years later, the hard work paid off and the beautifully restored Tregulland opened its doors for the first time last Autumn.
The USP: Holiday homes don't get more stylish than this. The attention to detail during the restorations of both the Barn and the Cottage is visible everywhere you turn, from wooden telegraph pylons as table legs, flagstones as steps and carefully selected, original artwork all over the house. The use of light and space throughout the buildings is breathtaking, which means that uninterrupted views of the surrounding rolling hills can be admired from every nook and cranny. It's also energy-efficient with underfloor heating, LED lighting and recycled furniture. And did we mention the pool house? Britain's first freshwater pool just happens to be a 10-second walk from your bedroom.
Book it now if: You and a crowd want to escape Cornish paradise and relax in five-star luxury. Suitable for large families or groups of friends, the two properties can be booked together or separately, depending on party size (the Barn sleeps 10, the Cottage 12) and each comes with its own kitchen, as well as the perfect dinner party dining room.
Bedding down: Interior designers McCully & Crane are to thank for Tregulland's bedrooms. Each and every one is cosy, comfortable and quirky, with huge double beds, iPod docks and showertime goodies from the local St. Kitts Herbery in the bathrooms. It's hard to pick a favourite room but Valerian stands out in the Cottage (where the rooms are named after flowers), with its mirrored wall and beamed ceiling, while the beautiful blue Peregrine is the perfect bedtime retreat over in the Barn.
Feed me: Both kitchens are fully equipped to tip-top standard (a chef wouldn't feel out of place here), with Robert Welch knives in the draws, as well as a woodburning stove and a wine fridge in the Barn kitchen. However, if you fancy taking off the apron for a night or there's a special occasion to celebrate, Tregulland has teamed up with Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant in Padstow to provide the ultimate in-house catering experience. Rick's son Jack will come and cook a six-course tasting menu, including seasonal treats such as seared scallops with Serrano ham and rack of lamb. The bespoke service also includes wine to accompany each course and staff to serve it up. Seafood heaven? Of course, and even better, it can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own dining room.
Easily bored: There are 16-acres to explore within the grounds. A pathway from the house will take guests down to the hidden, fairytale-like lake at the bottom of the lawn, where local birds and flowers can be spotted in abundance or if you fancy getting out and about, head to the Map Room in the Barn to study the nearby coastal walks and the best surfing spots (the nearest beach is a 15-minute car ride away). And if it's a rainy day? There's only one place to be: the Granary welcomes guests with an HD projection screen and plenty of DVDs, not to mention the Philippe Starck sofas, an extensive book collection and a fire to snuggle up next to.
Point me in the right direction: Tregulland is approximately a 45 minutes drive away from Exeter and Plymouth and 15 minutes away from the North Cornwall coast. Tregulland Cottage and Barns, St Clether, Launceston, Cornwall, PL15 8QW, telephone: +44 (0)1566 770880,
Tregulland Cottage and Barn make it onto the 2011 Guardian Green Travel List.
The 2011 Guardian Green Travel List, in association with greentraveller.co.uk, is a guide to companies worldwide that have shown evidence of commitment to community, place and the environment. The Green Travel List are looking for innovative projects, such as hotels that provide their own renewable energy, visitor centres and attractions that have significantly cut their carbon emissions, low emissions transport initiatives, and authentic community projects worldwide that genuinely contribute to the livelihoods of local people and contribute to biodiversity conservation.Read More
This annual list is a guide to 25 travel and tourism initiatives worldwide that have shown evidence of commitment to community, place and the environment.
For more information on the kinds of projects that made it onto the list, see: Richard Hammond's introduction to this year's annual Green Travel List.
Tregulland, the impressive new luxury self-catering property on the edge of Bodmin Moor, has taken holiday home rental to a new level with the announcement of an exclusive partnership with Rick and Jill Stein's Seafood Restaurant. Guests staying at the property, which opened September 2011, will now be able to enjoy a taste of the world famous restaurant without leaving the comfort of their own (temporary) home. No nominated driver or late night taxis to organise when The Seafood Restaurant comes to Tregulland. Rick and Jill's son Jack Stein and his team will produce a tasting menu for guests exclusively designed to showcase the best local and seasonal produce, which will offer a unique gourmet dining experience for a special occasion – the best bits of dining at a top restaurant without the journeying, and the best bits of a self-catering holiday without the washing up.
The evening will start with a glass of champagne and selection of canapés followed by a six course tasting menu which will include dishes for spring such as Crab Salad with Asparagus and Samphire, Lobster Bisque and Monkfish with New Season Garlic - accompanied by a choice of Rick Stein wines. Wine pairings and cheese course are available at a supplement.
The product of an extensive renovation, Tregulland is a luxury property boasting first class eco credentials and a host of facilities including the UK's first indoor freshwater pool and a decadent outdoor wood-fired Dutch Tub.
The property comprises a cottage, barn and pool house and lake set in 16 acres and sleeps 22 + guests in eleven en-suite bedrooms. The Cottage and Barn are both stylishly furnished throughout, with contemporary influences alongside more eccentric, vintage touches and with each bedroom so individual and magical, you'll want to return again and again, just to try them all out.
The Seafood Restaurant at Tregulland experience is priced from £170 per person, including a glass of champagne, canapés, tasting menu, wine, coffee and petits fours. Prices at Tregulland start from £2,057 for a weekend in the Barn (sleeps 10) in low season, up to £10,000 for a week in the whole property (sleeps 22+) in high season.
With luxurious sustainable accommodation, Tregulland in Cornwall offers the perfect guilt-free getaway for a gathering of friends or a family celebration
Finding somewhere that will sleep large numbers and also suit all requirements is sometimes hard. The luxurious Tregulland Cottage and Barn, just outside Launceston, should appeal to most. Ideal for a large gathering or a celebration with friends and family, it sleeps up to 24 people across two buildings.
Tregulland is set in 16 acres of private land in a valley on the edge of Bodmin Moor. You could hardly get further away from it all, yet it is no more than a 15-minute drive to the dramatic north Cornwall coast.
The owners, Ken and Illona Aylmer, spent two and a half years turning a cottage and barn into a luxurious and sustainable living space and the result is stunning. Both buildings have huge, airy kitchen and dining areas as well as lots of living space. The barn, decorated in a modern and contemporary design, has a vast gabled lounge with drop-down cinema projection screen while the cottage, rich with heritage features, has a sunroom where you can relax and take in stunning views across the valley.
This is a place that combines a homely feeling with luxury – each room is en-suite and equipped with high-quality fittings and furniture, the king-size beds have gorgeous linen, and toiletries are from St Kitts Herbery. Amenities in the living areas include LCD TVs, iPod docking stations and computers with internet access. The landscaped lawn and terrace are perfect for eating al fresco when the sunshine reappears.
Across the courtyard you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the freshwater pool, which uses natural filtration rather than chlorine and chemicals. There is also a children's pool, a steam room and a wood-fired hot tub.
There's plenty to keep everyone busy at Tregulland, but if you fancy venturing further afield property manager Bonny Shanks is on hand to give insider tips, ensuring you make the most of your stay. You might fancy a trip to historic harbour town Boscastle or enjoy a bracing coastal walk along the cliffs at Crackington Haven.
As a self-catering property, Tregulland is unusual as it offers a whole range of add-ons to make a bespoke break. If you don't want to cook or fancy something special to eat, a local restaurant can come in to do the catering. Tregulland has teamed up with several restaurants, including Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. Cooking and waiting staff are sent to take care of everything including preparing the menu, cooking the food and cleaning up afterwards.
Other options include picnic hampers, wine-tasting sessions as well as fishing lessons for children and yoga sessions in the house. Total relaxation.
Cornwall is the county for self-catering innovation and Tregulland, a new holiday rental near Tintagel, is no exception. It is the first in the UK to offer a freshwater indoor pool. No chemicals, just clear, sweet depths in an atmospheric pool house. Add in a wood-fired Dutch tub, and steam room and you have the sort of blessed out experience that should catch on else where, fast. Tregulland sleeps up to 22 in two separate houses.