Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Brooklands Barn - Three Score Years and Ten

Recently my old man reached 70, an achievement we felt couldn't go unmarked and so the clan decided to gather!  My parents still live in the house where we grew up, which while plenty big enough for them, my two brothers and I, it doesn't have enough beds now we all have partners and there are four grand kids in tow. Oh, and not forgetting a dog!
So the search began to find somewhere that could house eight adults and four kids and that's when we came across Brooklands Barn.  It looked perfect, not only did it have more than enough beds - it even had a swimming pool! 
Brooklands Barn is located just outside Arundel in West Sussex.  The complex itself has 3 separate apartments which can be hired individually, the smallest of which would be perfect for a small family or even just a couple. We hired the larges apartment called the Barn and Greystones, one of the smaller apartments.
Papa Owl and I were the first to arrive, the sun had just set and it was a very cold November evening.  While delighted to see it was a traditional Sussex barn, I was worried that the large windows taking up a good proportion of the walls on either side, would mean it would be quite chill inside.  However, my fears were unfounded as the Barn was toasty warm when we entered!
The ground floor of the barn is a large open space which proved perfect for our family gathering.  The open plan kitchen was spacious and had everything you could need - although another large saucepan might have been helpful.  The dining table was big enough for us all to sit together even though there wasn't enough beds in the main barn for us all.  On the Saturday evening we hired in a chef who was recommend by the owners.  It was a lovely way for us to be able to celebrate together, no one had to cook, but meanwhile, we didn't have to worry about Little Owl practicing her vocal chords in a restaurant!  Actually, this was when the open plan living space was brilliant.  The kids had their main course while we tucked into the starter and then they took themselves off to the other end of the room to watch X Factor!  Little Owl thought it was brilliant to be with her cousins but also able to wander back to me and have a bit more to eat!
The upstairs of the barn was equally spacious, with another seating area on the mezzanine floor and four double bedrooms with ensuite, two of which could also be arranged as twin rooms. 
The second apartment we had was called Graystone and was accessed across a courtyard.  We were lucky with the weather, that although it was cold, it was dry.  Even so, I'm glad we decided to keep the kids in the main barn!  Graystones was much smaller then the barn, but it was equally as beautiful with 3 double bedrooms and  its own kitchen/living space. 
All three apartments faced into a central courtyard, but they also faced out to the beautiful Sussex countryside with outside seating in their own private areas.  The above was a secluded courtyard behind the Barn.  As well as this table, there was another that would seat at least 10.  I can imagine it would be perfect in the summer.  You can just make out the table in the picture below. 
Looking at this photo just makes me want to go back to Brooklands in the summer!  The building to the right houses the swimming pool.  Despite the cold November weather, the pool was toasty warm.  Little Owl and her cousins loved splashing around in there, and the adults had some fun as well!  There was a shower room too so you could get changed before going back to the Barn.  It really did make the icing on the cake!
Arundel itself is less than a mile away which makes it walking distance in my book!  It was a little bit sticky in the mud but a lovely walk by the river.  However there is plenty of parking in Arundel if you would prefer to drive in.  Yes that is a castle and a cathedral you can see!  Arundel also has a train station with trains running direct to London which makes it easily accessible. 
It was a fantastic weekend. Its not often our family all get together like this - in fact it was the first time Little Owl had met one of her Uncles as he lives in Australia.  Brooklands Barn was the perfect setting for us all and we hope to go back one day!

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