Our visit to The House in the Hills was essentially a chance occurrence. We were looking for a holiday cottage within easy travelling distance of both Brecon and Hay-on-Wye that was capable of accommodating us, the kids and both grandmas. We’d left booking very late and were therefore very fortunate to find a week’s availability at the end of August. On the sole basis of what we'd seen on the Brecon Holiday Cottages website, we quickly decided that this property would be ok.
We arrived late. The drive down the M6 from Carlisle had taken much longer than we’d expected and we were all tired and irritable; a situation exacerbated by the rain that had continued to fall throughout much of the journey. The final section of the route, from Three Cocks up into the Black Mountains, involved negotiating a narrow, twisting and steeply inclined road with high sides. As driver, I was mightily relieved that nothing came the other way as that would have necessitated some serious reversing.
The final approach to the property is down a short but steep drive. We parked, and it was at once apparent that The House in the Hills is rather more than merely “ok”. It is superb.
Accommodation comprises a three-bedroomed renovated farmhouse and an adjacent (ten seconds walk across the courtyard) two-bedroomed converted barn. This is a property that has literally been rebuilt from a ruin, and those involved in its renovation are to be heartily congratulated. Design, materials and workmanship are all excellent, and the setting simply stunning; a magical place in which to contemplate the nature of existence, or to knock back the odd G&T whilst lazing in the hot tub.
The bedrooms are variable in size, but all generously-proportioned and comfortable. They're all doubles (or king-size), so the full complement of ten guests does assume a degree of intimacy. For those sensitive to such things, it's important to understand that none of the rooms is en suite. There are separate, large and well-appointed bathrooms on the ground floors of both the house and the barn. Additionally, the barn has a toilet upstairs but, amidst the many very positive things I have to say about this delightful property, I will allow myself this one moan: the upstairs toilet in the barn conversion is not its strongest design feature. It is shielded from the landing by frosted glass walls and entered via a plastic shower curtain! Given the otherwise impressive nature of the property, this seems to me to be a surprising misjudgement. None of us was prepared to use it and, if I owned the property, I would redesign it as a matter of urgency.
Living areas in both the house and the barn are comfortable, well-equipped and impressively featured. The larger and more flexible dining area is in the barn and we used it in preference to the more formal dining area in the house. Kitchens too are well designed and equipped and, for that extra bit of authenticity, those in the house can enjoy the benefits of an oil-fired Aga, albeit at additional cost.
Outside, the garden area is beautifully-designed. We made extensive use of the hot tub and, although we didn't use the barbeque, there's a lovely outdoor cooking area sited on a terrace below the hot tub. Best of all are the views, which no words of mine can adequately describe. The site is simply stunning. We felt privileged to look out on such beauty.
It's worth making a couple of practical points.
The first is that there are many steps to negotiate both inside and outside this property. In particular, the house is built on a number of levels (that's part of its charm). We have disabled kids and, apart from a narrow escape when one of them fell head first down the steps into the house kitchen, we managed very well. However, anyone with greater mobility problems might find this a difficult place.
The second is that this is a fairly isolated location, high in the Black Mountains. We found its setting exquisite, but access is always via narrow, winding roads with some steep or very exposed sections. Having arrived from Three Cocks, we found the road to Hay-on-Wye to be both better and more interesting but, even then, caution is necessary - and that's in summer! In icy conditions, and especially at higher level, these roads would easily become impassable by normal vehicles.
However, these are minor concerns. The bottom line is that The House in the Hills is an enchanting holiday location. Quality of renovation is superb and (as long as you value tranquillity and "getting away from it all"), the location is marvellous. Would we go again? You bet! This is without doubt the best holiday let we've ever had.
I was here for a week with two groups of people. A weekend with a group of lads and the rest of the week with family. The cottage worked brilliantly for both.
The set up of the cottage and barn gives one flexibility and the rooms are well proportioned and nicely kept.
I selected the property due its remote location and proximity to the hills (so we could walk directly from the property) and it did not let us down. It's very near hay bluff and Lord herefords nob. Both difficult but rewarding climbs
The top hot was excellent and the scenery is fantastic
The owner (and family) were exceptional throughout the booking phases (and whilst we were at the property). They reacted quickly when I needed them and were very friendly
I could not recommend this property more highly
Great venue for a gathering of friends. Stunning scenery, quality fittings, open fires and a hot tub. Rooms are spread between the main house and the barn but both living areas fit 10 and add variety.
The booking process was smooth and we were left to our own devices for the weekend which was fab. The last part of the journey is not for the faint-hearted but definitely worth it.
Would highly recommend and hope to return.
Hired this amazing house, in the most idyllic location, for a 40th Birthday weekend.
Couldn't have dreamed of a better location to celebrate and spend uninterrupted time with friends, nor a house (and barn) equipped and furnished so wonderfully.
The booking process was easy, and there were no issues during our stay. Everything was impeccable, and the hot tub (with views across the hills) was simply to die for.
The outdoor areas are well stocked with tables and chairs, and a handy bbq and utility room. The morning view across the brecons from the barn patio doors was breathtaking.
The kitchens in both the house and barn are magnificently equipped, so no need to worry about bring utensils etc.
My only quibble was that with 6 people staying in the house, and showering every morning, hot water seemed in short supply. The barn however had no such issues.
(Perhaps my friends take too long in the shower!!!)
We will definitely be back. Thank you Sian.
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We visited for a friends 50th birthday and stayed for a weekend in the main house. The property is well laid out with good quality furnishings without being ostentatious. The bedrooms were private and very comfortable. The views were amazing and the shepherds huts were idyllic. I would recommend Cae Marchog for a family/ friends gathering of up to 16 people and there was plenty of space to entertain and be together, and I would definitely like to return.
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