“Let’s book a last minute break starting this Friday” suggests Mr B one sunny Monday morning in August………..Four days slaving over a hot Mac, searching for our “perfect UK summer break” proved fruitless. Despite the casual nature with which Mr B suggested our last minute break, we are by no means “casual” about where we stay and the pressure was on to find a property loved & approved of by all the family for both location and the property itself.
By 1am Friday morning (yes, the same Friday we had been hoping to leave) the “perfect UK summer break” gods smiled upon me and presented me with Hare Farm Hideaways. Exhausted and a tad emotional, I emailed them to ask if there was any chance their Availability Calendar was up to date and if so could they please save me from certain insanity and let us book it.
Three missed calls, two actual phone calls and several texts later Family Boeken were busy packing buckets & spades and the kitchen sink and finally en route to East Sussex.
I’ve travelled enough to know that brochures and websites are not always, shall we say, “accurate” in their representation of a place. The term “rustic charm” becomes “dark & slightly musty”; “stunning sea views” becomes “if you stand on top of the loo seat, leaning dramatically to the left of the window whilst balancing on one leg….”
We were thrilled to discover that not only was Hare Farm Hideaways website accurate, it far surpassed our expectations.
The Oast is set within a working sheep farm in Brede – a small village 15 minutes from Rye and 25 minutes from the beach at Camber. It certainly isn’t “rustic” as defined above……it is a beautifully renovated property: a perfect balance of modernity & heritage. Smooth white walls and wood flooring juxtaposed with exposed brickwork and original beams. A traditional woodburner in the centre of the living space and underfloor heating throughout the ground floor. Whilst it is as immaculate as a show home it certainly doesn’t feel like one. You feel welcome and at home from the minute you step through the front door.
The open plan sitting room & dining room comprise the largest space on the ground floor. With large bi-fold doors and comfy sofas, it’s a great spot to relax and watch the sheep/rabbits/birds/foxes & even the moon go by. There is plenty of room for little ones and adults alike to spread out & enjoy the space. The supply of toys in the house is good & varied and leaves you in no doubt that despite its high spec, children are very much welcomed here. There is a second sitting room which would afford privacy and/or peace & quiet if staying with a larger group. The Oast actually sleeps 12 so we were very spoilt in having the entire property to our small family of 4.
The kitchen is situated within one of the roundels of the Oast. We found a “welcome basket” of local wine, beer & preserves, together with a gorgeous bouquet of homegrown sweetpeas (which Annie thoughtfully refreshed during our stay). The “kitchen sink” we had packed was completely unnecessary since the kitchen at the Oast has everything you could need not only for everyday but for special occasion dining too. The website lists everything you will find here……I didn’t notice it when I looked…….because, as I said, it was 1am…..
A separate, large utility/drying room & spacious wet room got plenty of action during the week thanks to two boys rediscovering the joy of non-gadget based entertainment. The wet room is perfect for showering off little ones after a day at the beach in particular, meaning sand doesn’t get trailed up the stairs and into bed.
My boys were totally bowled over by their bedroom which was in the roundel on the first floor. Imaginations fuelled by Harry Potter and other fantastical stories, the concept of sleeping in a round tower-esque room was totally magical for them. I’ve never seen them so keen to go to bed…….even though they stayed awake for much longer staring at the stars through the skylight.
And speaking of being “bowled over”…….we had been given a choice of either a “regular” room with wonderful views and ensuite (we had a quick nose around – it was lovely) or the roundel at the opposite end of the house to the boys. We took the roundel (nothing to do with being further away from the little stargazers). It was like walking into a boutique hotel – soft lighting, sumptuous bedlinen, and the whole thing topped off by an amazing chandelier casting patterns around the white walls, which I still covet.
All the bathrooms are fitted to a high spec with the welcome addition of luxury natural products. There is a plentiful supply of fluffy white towels and constant hot water so there’s no need to plan on getting up extra early for a hot shower when staying with a larger group.
The outside space is great: a small enclosed garden, complete with terrace dining area & bbq. The raspberry canes at the bottom of the garden provide both useful employment for the children & pudding! Through a small sidegate, there is access to a much larger play space – ideal for football games and blowing off steam.
Our usual preference on holiday is to explore the local restaurants in the evenings. However, the house was such a lovely space that we ate “at home” every evening except one (we went to The Plough in [LINK]. If you don’t feel like cooking or going out to eat, Annie & Stuart can arrange a private chef service for you.
The Oast is a very special place in a very special setting. It a taste of luxury without any of the pretension. Everything has been thought of – from the practical to those extra special touches. Whether you are looking for a long weekend, a family reunion, or a place to enjoy time with friends, this place fits the bill. I would return every weekend if I could.