Norfolk dream rentals with Flora Soames interior

Barsham Barns is based on six 19th century farm buildings (Barsham Barns)

Sitting serenely on a 3,000 acre estate which has been in the hands of the Soames family (descendants of Sir Winston Churchill) for three generations, amid sprawling meadows, rolling farmland and the flint cottages of the North Norfolk countryside, Barsham Barns offers a slice of country life in modern terms.

Two decades ago, the collection of six 19th-century farm buildings was sold to a local architect, but in 2020, the Soames family put them back in their hands again, and with a renowned interior designer in their ranks, who better than oversee Barsham’s beautiful new building? transformation?

Now they are truly something very special. Traditional brick and flint walls hide Flora Soames interiors infusion of jewel box motifs, with chic living spaces designed for families and groups of friends who want to hang out with a five-star hotel level of comfort. Here’s a utopian bubble you never want to burst.

Where is it?

In the wilds of fens and dunes of north Norfolk, a land of vast open countryside dotted with rickety windmills, sleepy flint-built villages and jumbled pubs. Unsurprisingly, royalty have such an affinity for the area, it’s one of the most serene places in England, with a spectacular stretch of coastline that’s been named an Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Barsham Barns offers 3,000 acres to explore (Barsham Barns)

Barsham Barns offers 3,000 acres to explore (Barsham Barns)

Barsham Barns is located in North Barsham just outside the picturesque village of Walsingham, a place of Christian pilgrimage where kings and queens regularly stopped to visit its shrines, holy wells and priory.

You’ll want to bring your wellies because Barsham’s 3,000 acres are all yours to explore. From 140 acres of restored ancient woodlands to family-friendly cycling trails (you can rent a bike locally or bring your own), a visit means getting lost in nature, trudging through fields, strolling through meadows and playing Pooh-sticks on the River Stiff . Here, the good old-fashioned adventures of the Famous Five await you.


With six self-catering barns, sleeping between four and 14 people, and the seven-bedroom Meadow House (where Flora and her family grew up), Barsham makes multigenerational holidays a breeze.

Long Meadow, the former milking parlor which seats eight, is an oasis of modern and rustic style. With its exposed walls, high ceilings, and open-plan design, it would be easy for this space to feel a little sterile, but it’s far from it. From the oversized blue striped lampshades to the Ikat footstools, modern wood burning stove and freshly picked flowers springing from jugs in every nook and cranny, there’s a real playful warmth to the place.

Bedrooms offer cozy tents (Barsham Barns)

Bedrooms offer cozy tents (Barsham Barns)

There’s a soft and pretty palette in every room. Beds are decorated with pastel upholstered headboards, striped pelmets, and coral wool throws with tacky drapes and gray furniture. Even the kids room features a vibrant circus striped tent along the bottom bunk. It’s the home your Instagram feed has always wanted.


You’ll be greeted with a hamper full of some of the best produce in the area – local jams, Walsingham honey, Barsham Brewery ale (more on that later) and Fakenham sourdough, while the bathrooms are stocked with beautiful Holt-based Norfolk Natural Living products .

There’s a cupboard crammed with board games, pretty china for afternoon tea parties, plastic cups for beach picnics and piles of books on the area and wildlife – every aspect of your Norfolk stay has been carefully considered .

Interior designer Flora Soames designed the interior of Barsham Barns (Barsham Barns)

Interior designer Flora Soames designed the interior of Barsham Barns (Barsham Barns)

If you want some R&R, the barns share a mini spa complete with a hot tub big enough for 10 people and a steam room that you lock in for two-hour sessions.


There is so much at your fingertips here. Wells-next-the-Sea, famous for its sherbet-coloured beach huts and talc-soft sands, is just 10 minutes’ drive from Barsham and perfect for a spot of kite flying or there’s the wild and unspoilt Holkham Beach, a scenic setting for picnicking in the dunes, digging for clams and wading streams.

North Norfolk offers something for visitors whatever the season (Barsham Barns)

North Norfolk offers something for visitors whatever the season (Barsham Barns)

While you’re there, don’t miss a tour inside the impressive 18th-century Holkham Hall, still privately owned by the Earl of Leicester, and one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in the country, where the rooms are lined with paintings by Van Dyck and Rubens.

Spend an afternoon wandering the nearby cobbled town of Burnham Market, a genteel Georgian oasis of manicured greens, lifestyle shops, delicatessens and a fishmonger named Gurneys famed for his potted prawns and fish cakes.

Less than 30 minutes from Barsham is the charming coastal village of Blakeney, full of fisherman’s cottages and traditional pubs. This was once a busy trading port until the estuary began to silt up preventing access to all pleasure craft, leaving behind a vast landscape of marshes, sandy hills and mudflats. It’s also home to England’s largest breeding colony of gray seals, and more than 3,000 fluffy pups are born each year at National Trust-owned Blakeney Point. Take a boat trip off the dock, even better if it’s during the winter calving season.

Food beverage

Whether you just want to play house for the weekend and engage the restaurateurs (they’ll send you a guide to the best local private chefs in the area before you arrive) or want to cook your signature Bolognese for the whole brood, they’ve got it all what you need here.

Stock up on supplies at nearby Walsingham Farms Shop, where the shelves brim with eggs laid that morning from the farm across the road to vegetables and meat from locally raised cattle. Seafood lovers will want to make a detour to Cley Smokehouse, a traditional smokehouse offering hand-smoked fish and meats (kippers and smoked salmon should definitely fit in your basket).

Local produce can be prepared in the spacious kitchen (Barsham Barns)

Local produce can be prepared in the spacious kitchen (Barsham Barns)

Don’t miss lunch at The Victoria, a stone’s throw from Holkham beach, where muddy boots and dogs are welcomed with open arms, plus you’ll find a menu packed with estate produce – from Holkham pheasant, sausages and venison to Wells-next-the-Sea. A gentle 30 minute stroll from the barn door brings you to local watering hole The Barsham Arms where you can drink proper ales and wine from the nearby Cobble Hill vineyard beside roaring fires.

Of course, the great thing about Barsham is that it rather conveniently has its own on-site brewery. Barsham Brewery creates award-winning craft beers using estate-grown barley, local malt and water from Barsham’s lodge. Book a tour with manager Rob and you’ll see the entire brewing process, with plenty of tasting opportunities.

The best for…

This is a get-away-from-it-all escape in the North Norfolk countryside, whatever the season. Whether it’s a weekday in July, when wild river swimming and barbecuing under an apricot-tinged sunset await you, or in the crisp blue skies of a blustery February, Barsham Barns offers a pampered retreat away from the madding crowd.

The details

A three-night break to Barsham Barns at The Loose Box (sleeps four) starts from £550;

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