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Orchard View: High on a Hillside far, far away ….

That’s where you’ll find our latest addition; set on a working farm, with far reaching views over the beautiful landscape of the Somerset Levels. Orchard View is the perfect large group getaway for families wanting a generous helping of country life as the main backdrop to a holiday or happy celebration.

This old Dutch barn had certainly seen better days so it was given a new lease of life with a dramatic transformation into a spacious Somerset holiday home; light, airy and modern, it sleeps 12 people in 6 generously sized bedrooms, plus there’s room for an extra person at an additional charge. There’s a big kitchen-diner, and a vast sitting room that opens onto the garden at the back of the house, with a lovely little orchard beyond; what a treat, apple blossom like candyfloss in the springtime, an old tractor resting under the trees, and right down the end a ramshackle old chicken shed; add a few sheep contentedly grazing and you’ve got unsurpassable pastoral charm; seeing that every morning is bound to start your day with a smile. Take your breakfast out there, set the table up for a big family lunch, fire up the barbecue, sit back in the hot tub and take in the lashings of bucolic loveliness.

Let’s do the maths a moment; there’s a tendency to think that big luxury holiday accommodation is expensive, but when you split the cost between everyone in your group, it’s actually very good value and less than the price of a stay in a decent hotel. A week in mid August at Orchard View is £3,500; divide that by 12 and that’s about £292 each for a whole week in the equivalent of 4 star luxury. 7 nights for £292! That’s just under £42 a night!

Orchard View has something for all ages; just over the fence are some gorgeous miniature ponies with long shaggy manes, and they’re very friendly, so you can take the smaller children to say hello to them every day. Teenagers will be happy chillin’ over a few games of pool or table football, or out in that big bubbly hot tub; grown ups will just love the space, the up-to-the-minute facilities, and the views. Oh those glorious views!

The nearest town is Langport, just a mile and a half away; you can browse around the independent shops, take a stroll down through the town garden onto the paths around the field, or there’s a lovely walk along the banks of the River Parrett. Pick up some freshly baked bread and country pasties, or go to Kitchen which has a very good reputation for food. Spend a few hours in Somerton where there’s a delightful antiques emporium, and have lunch at the White Hart, or venture over to Wedmore where there are some surprising shops, boutiques and tea rooms; have a bite to eat at Nanny Ida’s, The George, or The Swan.

Pootle around the lanes and explore the local villages; visit Wilkins Cider Farm or Bere Cider Company where you can sit outside and put the world to rights whilst you sample the golden brew, still made to time honoured methods. Spend some time amidst the flora and fauna at Turn Hill or Eastfield Nature Reserves where you’ll be taken in by the utter tranquillity and the views that stretch for miles and miles across the Somerset Levels. At Low Ham you can visit the church in the field; at Mucheleny you can see the ruins of the former Benedictine Abbey, the charming thatched Priest’s House (NT), and whatever you do, you must allow time to pop in the parish church where the colourful angels painted on the barrel ceiling are a sight to behold.

If you fancy lunch at a rustic country pub, go to the Halfway House at Pitney, or to the Railway at Meare where they have live music in the garden on summer Sundays. The Duck at Burtle is also well worth a visit and the Sheppey at Godney is a quirky surprise; at the back you can watch fish swim lazily in the river from the terrace. Take a trip to Wells where you can stroll about the streets and take in the splendour of the cathedral, the serenity of the Bishop’s Palace and the medieval cobbled street of Vicars’ Close with the tall-chimneyed cottages on either side. Have a mooch around Glastonbury, famous for it’s historic and spiritual connections, climb to the top of the Tor and take family snapshots with the panoramic backdrop of spectacular countryside stretching across to the Quantock Hills and the Bristol channel.

Have a day on the golden sands at Weston-Super-Mare on the Somerset coast, or go over to Lyme Regis on the Jurassic coast where you can go fossil hunting or take a mackerel fishing trip from the harbour. If shopping is your thing head up to Clark’s Village or to the county town of Taunton where the whole family can catch a movie on the big screen, go ten pin bowling, or have a whole load of fun on the high ropes at Vivary Adventure Centre.

And do you know what has to be one of the nicest things of all? Getting back to Orchard View, sitting down to a table full of food with your nearest and dearest and then taking a drink out onto the patio and relaxing and chatting as the sun goes down over the orchard and one by one the stars come out above you. Dream days, happy memories.

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