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California Barn


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Very Good 4/5 15 reviews

California Barn with parking courtyard. Parking for 6 cars. Additional cars by agreement

Barn | 4 bedrooms | sleeps 17

Key Info
  • Beach / lakeside relaxation
  • Nearest beach 2 km
  • Great for children of all ages 5
  • Car advised
  • Pets welcome
  • Private garden

The barn and studio has been converted to luxury holiday accommodation (4 bedrooms).

Built of the mellow local Purbeck stone, the mid 19 th century barn provides accommodation for up to 17 people +cots . The large open plan ground floor includes a fully fitted contemporary kitchen, dining and lounge areas. Also on the ground floor is a bedroom and shower room both of which are wheelchair accessible. Two further bedrooms and bathroom lie on the first floor ( family room -with double bed, single bed and another room with double and x2 single beds). Both bedrooms are large enough to accommodate further guest beds. the adjoining studio has a mezzanine sleeping area for further guests, an adjoing 19th century shepherds hut sleeps has a double bed for additional accomodatation and camping is available nearby.

the size of the property and flexibility of the accommodation makes it ideal for larger groups and activity holidays.

The barn is comfortably furnished throughout with many original works of art. Underfloor heating, a wood burning stove and double glazing make it perfectly suited to a break out of season, often when the scenery and wildlife are equally impressive.

In early summer the fields are a mass of meadow flowers and deer, badgers, foxes and buzzards are regular visitors along with the resident horses and neighbours organic Dorset Downs sheep and Hereford cows. The Barn has a south facing patio and garden and visitors have direct access to paths to the cliffs only 2 fields away.

Swanage with its blue flag beach, cafes, shops and family entertainment is a mile downhill.

The adjoining studio, can also be used as a studio/workshop for meetings, exhibitions, family gatherings, corporate events, tutoring activities or parties. The studio includes a small kitchen, shower room with WC and sleeping accommodation for 2-4 on a raised mezzanine area. The large living area is big enough to accommodate guest beds to accommodate some of those staying. if prefered to the mezzanine sleeping area

the studio has access directly onto the garden and has its own decked patio with sea views and access to a japanese garden.

A victorian Shepherds Hut nearby is available for hire as additional accommodation for those staying in the barn / studio. It has a double bed which is best suited to those under 6 foot tall (there is a normal length mattress but there are small beams just above the matress restricting sleeping length).

Those staying in the shepherds hut will share bathroom and kitchen facilities with their fellow guests in the barn or studio.

Size Sleeps up to 17, 4 bedrooms
Nearest beach Swanage 2 km
Will consider Corporate bookings, House swap, Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)
Access Car advised, Wheelchair users
Nearest Amenities 2 km
Nearest travel links Nearest airport: Bournemouth international 25 km, Nearest railway: Wareham 15 km
Family friendly Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility
Notes Pets welcome, No smoking at this property

Features and Facilities

Luxuries Log fire, Internet access, DVD player, Sea view
General Central heating, TV, Video player, CD player, Telephone, Wi-Fi available
Standard Kettle, Toaster, Iron
Utilities Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine
Rooms 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms, 1 En suites and 2 Shower rooms
Furniture 1 Sofa beds, Single beds (7), Double beds (3), Cots (2), Dining seats for 20, Lounge seats for 18
Other High chair
Outdoors Balcony or terrace, Private garden, BBQ, Climbing frame, Swing set
Access Wheelchair users, Secure parking
Further details indoors


the studio sleeps up to 5 either as beds on the mezzanine or guest beds that can be put in the large open plan living area. The lounge area in the studio can seat up to 9. there is a very large dining table and dining seating for up to 12. There are 7 solid/covered dining chairs and 10 folding chairs ideal for talks or workshops.

The lounge includes CD player/radio, vinyl record player, TV (currently indoor aerial with digibox)

There is a separate small kitchen with sink, hob/hotplates, microwave and fridge and a shower room with WC.

The studio is frequently used as a functions/party room for the those renting the property (barn and studio). it is also ideal as a lectures/meetings room. making the property ideal for activity holidays for specific groups to date it has been used for arts and crafts activities, exhibitions, yoga and wellbeing holidays, music/dance/performance workshops, storytelling/writing/poetry and puppetry w/s, corporate workshops,

the studio has its own decked area, full length window with double opening doors with seaviews. The studio has access to the adjacent japanese garden viewed from the deck

the barn section sleeping up to 12 plus cots, has 3 bedrooms and 3 bath/shower rooms (dble+single, en suite, but is large enough for 2 additional guest beds/cots), another bedroom has dble+single+bunk beds and there is room for a cot, the 3rd bedroom (groundfloor) is a twin, at a squeeze a cot could be accommodated in the downstairs bedroom.

The downstairs bedroom and shower room are wheelchair accessible and ramped from living areas and parking.

The openplan lounge/dining room of the barn has sofa seating for 10, a large 44" digital television. and dining table seating up to 10/12 but with additional table nearby can accommodate 17, plus high chairs.

The lounge bookshelves include plenty of books inc local history/geology, games. The barn is decorated in a cosy but "contemporary country" style.

The lounge has direct access onto the paved patio and garden path (no steps). The garden is accessed by both the studio and barn lounges. Visitors to the barn also have access to the adjacent japanese garden.

The shepherds hut which can sleep2 is nearby and is accessible from either the barn or studio.

Further details outdoors

Garden with lawn, beds, stone paved patio, timber decking, childs play area with swing/slide frame all overlooking flower/hay meadows and grazing horses. Views to the sea. Fields adjoin an important wildlife/country park (Durlston) and Jurassic coast for walking, climbing, birdwatching and geology. car parking for up to 6 cars is adjacent to the front door/s.

A small basic campsite on the farm allows for extra guests to visit.

A shepherds hut sleeping 2 is available as extra sleeping accommodation for visitors staying in the studio and/or barn. The hut has its own small garden area and wonderful views towards the sea and the Isle of Wight.

access to bridle paths and hacking.

Outdoor activities can be arranged including - climbing, horse riding, guided walks(historical/geological/wildlife) sea fishing, diving, alternative therapies.

Further details

No more than the agreed number of visitors may stay.

Booking is confirmed by a deposit of the third (full week bookings) and a half (short stay) of the total fee with the balance due 4 (short stay)- 6 weeks (full week bookings) before arrival.

The rental fee does not include linen and towels.however these can be hired at a fee of £12 per single set and £22 a double set. The owner requires at least 2 weeks notice for the provision of linen.


The West Country region

Visitors to Purbeck are well catered for when it comes to activities and places to visit. It lies at the eastern end of the Jurassic Heritage coast. The barn lies only fieldsaway from Durlston country park recently designated a national nature reserve and allocated heritage lottery grants to develop a major visitor centre in the castle (due for completion in 2010) The National Trust acquired large areas of Purbeck from the Bankes estate, including the impressive ruins of Corfe Castle and the much visited sandy beach, chalk cliffs and heathland at Studland. Walkers and climbers have easy access to the coast which also accommodates hang gliders and paragliders from the higher slopes. Water sports are particularly popular off the Purbeck coast, including sailing and power boats, waterskiing, windsurfing, board surfing, fishing and diving. The internationally renowned sailing centre of Poole harbour and the Solent lie not far away and Britains successful bid for Olympics in 2012 will include the sailing events to be held at Weymouth further along the coast..

Swanage and Purbeck has a micro climate and has some of the highest sun hours and average temperatures in the country. Its coastline is recognised as nationally important for its wildlife and marine species and the geology is equally important and impressive with visitors coming from around the world to study its fossils.

Its attractive landscape and scenery has resulted in its regular use for film and television locations ( most recently BBc's Tess of the D'urbevilles May 2008),


Popular attractions nearby include the steam railway, Corfe Castle, Studlands beautiful beach, Lulworth with its cove and castle, Thomas Hardy’s cottage, Lawrence of Arabia’s cottage and memorial, Monkey world, Bovington Tank museum and for those needing ‘retail therapy’ the shopping centres of Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth are all within striking distance.

Swanage is the host for several annual festivals including The Blues festival in March, Purbeck and Dorset Art weeks in may/June, the Jazz Festival in July, Swanage Carnival (one of the largest on the South coast) in July/August, the folk festival in September, Film festival in October and Blues /roots festival in October. Local organisation and venues have other smaller events such as beer and cider festivals (The greyhound, Corfe, The Bankes Arms, Studland, The Square and Compass, Worth Matravers). Durlston Country Park regularly organises events related to the heritage and wildlife of the Park and adjoining coast.

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Very Good 4/5

15 reviews Very Good 4/5

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Review 1-10 of 15

18 Jul 2014


"Camping at California Barn Campsite (found in Tiny Campsites book)."

We camped here for a week in July. Although we were told the facilities were sparce (no hot water, no showers), the toilet block was in pretty good condition and there was a standpipe and bins for rub… More

1 Jun 2014


"Website is very misleading"

I wish the owner would have spent some of the money they put towards the website on the barn itself.Useful things for the owner to do to avoid complaints:1) Put a floorplan on your website. We all had… More

24 Apr 2014


"Fabulous for a large group with dogs/children etc..."

We stayed here over Easter weekend with 9 adults, 6 children & 3 dogs. As its a farmhouse you didn't feel concerned with children or dogs running all over the place. There was plenty of room ins… More

16 Apr 2013


"Great location for a large family gathering"

We have just spent a very happy week at California barn celebrating my mother-in-law's 80th birthday. There were 18 of us altogether, 16 adults, 2 young girls and a baby plus a very elderly dog.T… More

23 Sep 2012


"Fantastic setting, lovely host, brillaint time."

This place is fantastic. Near enough to Swanage to nip in for things you need but perfect for that 'getting away from it all' feeling. Lots of rooms and interesting books and decor to look a… More

Its always a pleasure to accommodate visitors who have a good time and appreciate the barn for what it is - a chill out space for friends and family. maybe see you again. karen

9 Sep 2012


"Absolutely perfect location, homely comfortable and well equipped"

We travelled to Swanage as a group of extended family and friends for a sensible whilst enjoyable stag weekend. Everything about the property and location were perfect, from the barn itself to the pro… More

happy to have you stay and really glad you had a memorable stay.
cheers Karen

28 Jul 2012


"gorgeous setting comfortable and spacious"

We stayed in the barn for a mid week break with a range of adults, children and teenagers.The owner was very helpful, it was well equipped and provided everything we needed.the views across the fields… More

I enjoy sharing the farm with all ages, its lovely to know they appreciate as much as I do.
cheers Karen

6 Mar 2012


"Great for young families"

Having spent magical summer holidays at California Farm as children my siblings and I were delighted to find there had been a barn conversion on the farm. We went with our combined 5 young children (… More

You must have seen some changes since you last visited. Its lovely that you found us again after so long and another generation at that.
its great that you could share our love of our horses,
sorry about the spiders, the little blighters get everywhere despite a constant battle and long feathered dusters. I could say they help keep the flies down! but that is the price of being in high species meadows.
maybe see you all again sometime. karen

25 Feb 2012


"Its everything it advertises and more"

I and my Family spent Christmas at Karen's Barn and enjoyed every minute of it. There were 13 of us (4 couples , 3 children in their late teens and 2 under 5 years ) and no one was less … More

christmas is always a giggle in the barn. I have shared it on numerous occassions with my own family and friends so know its great for hide and seek, sardines etc. its amazing how many you can get in the laundry cupboard!. Just don't get shut out on the balcony, it is rather exposed to the winter winds!
lovely to know you will have some happy memories like I have.
cheers Karen

19 Aug 2011


"Uncomfortable and dirty!"

The barn is situated at the end of a very bumpy track, ok if you drive a 4x4 - not so good in a fully loaded family car! An old derelict caravan dumped at the entrance didn't give a great first … More

Such a response suprised me (the owner) as despite the water pressure problems we encountered and the comments made in the review, the visitors seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves during their stay and seemingly left after having a good time.
The caravan belongs to the adjacent farm and the holiday let owner tends to agree with the comments made concerning its condition at the time, but has no control over its appearance or position. The caravans owners have recently pressure hosed it clean and cleared other items nearby improving the situation. however it must be remembered that the adjoining building is a farm and consequently visitors must expect vehicles and equipment of a certain nature. The adjacent farm also has a number of working and pet dogs, who twice a day are walked or taken to work in the fields. the excitement/noise is very apparent but short lived and the dogs soon settle/quieten on leaving the premises. the holiday let owner has no control over this issue and sympathises with visitors as she lives with it on a daily basis but finds it a minor inconvenience. The holiday let owners dogs are generally quiet, no threat to any visitors and get on well with any dogs brought to the property by visitors.
Following the problems with the water pressure a new shower was purchased (mistakenly thinking it was the shower) and the owner requested a pressure test for the property and her own home which was was having similar problems during the high season (as do other properties in Swanage which lies at the end of the main system). Wessex water have recently carried out tests and have confirmed the pressure is low and accordingly put it on the "at risk register", but say they will not/cannot do anything about it. the owner is looking into ways to improve the situation . meanwhile the pressure seems to have improved(post summer)and the problem alleviated. It was a temporary and irregular problem and could not be foreseen. with 4 bathrooms and x2 water systems there were always alternatives and as mentioned the main problem lay with some 16 people trying to wash/shower/bath at the same time. the owner has identified the problem and will if in her control deal with this issue.
During the stay the owner made every effort to deal with the issues she was made aware of during the groups visit and will be rectifying those highlighted by the review ie after the visit. However some unfortunately are out of her control -the road is a private road not owned by the property. It suffered considerably from the incredibly rare freezing weather before Christmas and run off/ heavy rain afterwards. The owners of the adjacent properties (the roads owners) have no plans to carry out or pay towards repairs as they see little need, however the holiday property owner is making enquiries as to what she can do to improve the situation. It should be noted that the owners daughter owns a small peugeot 306 which has used the road several times every day for 2 years and has yet to suffer the consequences of doing so. It is made clear to visitors to take particular care especially when arriving or leaving loaded with passengers and luggage.
It should also be noted that the property was thoroughly cleaned by several trusted cleaners prior to the visit (as it always is)and many visitors who return comment favorably on aspects other visitors find questionable ie the mezzanine which some liken to being in a tent. The owner herself used the mezzanine as her own sleeping area for a year and found it incredibly cosy. others find it claustrophobic. In every party that has stayed, there has always been people who are willing and enjoy the space. it is made clear prior to the visit in various websites, that the mezzanine is just that and no more ie a sleeping area in the roof space part of which you are able to stand full height in but with a higher level with limited height. it is not a standard bedroom. the fee for the property reflects this and it would be higher if it was a normal room. photographs also highlight this.
As regards needing a clear out. the property is used throughout the year for a wide variety of uses and by various visitors. the owner endeavours to offer the widest range of facilities to satisfy this need ie all ages, specific interests, workshops/tutorials, weddings/parties, use during winter months, longer periods indoors require entertainment and games etc and large groups having events need sufficient crockery, glasses, food heating/serving equipment. so what may seem as to clutter and excess to one group is gratefully used and appeciated by another. The owner prides herself on making an extensive library, personal art collection and unusual/individual items of furniture available to visitors for their own enjoyment and regularly gets favorable comments regarding this issue. personal recommendation and returning visitors imply the positives outweighs the negatives regarding the decor and what is provided on site. It is unlikely to change to any great degree in the near future (sept '11) although some items of furniture may be removed or relocated within the property prior during the quieter winter season and some of the art materials(provided for visitors use) may be used . However there is adequate additional storage space ie wardrobes, chest of drawers, cupboards etc to accommodate visitors items/ needs.

Review 1-10 of 15

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Karen D.

  • 2 Years listed

85% Response rate

Calendar last updated:01 Jul 2014

Based in United Kingdom

Languages spoken
  • English
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