The Bourbon

Beautiful views abound from this converted cottage for couples
IN BRIEF
  • "One of the best views in creation", Geoffrey Moorhouse
  • Beautiful restoration of Tudor barn
  • Sleeps a couple plus a baby
  • Dog-friendly (good dogs only please)
  • Close to excellent restaurants and pubs
  • Superb walking country

The Bourbon is one of two idyllic cottages on the farm of Fair Oak, an amazing place with a sensational, ever-changing view of the Black Mountains. It has transfixed writers and painters; passers-by often stop their cars on the lane above the farm just to gawp. On the 87-acre farm, sheep graze alongside secret woods, beside a brook that babbles or thunders, depending on its mood. It is set in the Golden Valley, a place of remarkable beauty even for Herefordshire, one of England’s least-changed and loveliest counties. The Bourbon sleeps a couple (plus an infant, and up to 2 well-behaved dogs), but can also be rented together with another one-bedroomed cottage (The Two Acres) next-door.

Beamed kitchen View from bedroom Lovely open plan barn conversion

Downstairs, the Bourbon is one spacious, but very cosy, living-space. Part of the original 15th-century farmhouse, its restoration, after years of graceful decay, has been a two-year project and has produced a remarkable and handsome fusion of old and new. The large sitting-area has a staggering panorama of the Black Mountains through the large windows and, as you sit admiring it or watching TV, you can gaze upwards and see traces of the original Tudor wattle-and-daub walls. Three steps take you down to the lovely well-equipped kitchen with doors out onto the terrace. From here, you may see the ponies in the field, the chickens clucking happily as they scratch around; or have a visit from the two very beautiful, rather flighty ewes, Elsie and Doris. A bathroom with both bath and shower is next-door to the kitchen.

Stunning views from dining room of restored holiday cottage in Golden Valley, Herefordshire

Up in the roof space, on a mezzanine, the lovely bedroom with big brass king-size bed enjoys the oak-beamed heights, a leafy view, and the luxury of an ensuite loo with hand basin.

Bedroom Stunning, romantic beamed bedroom
Beautiful light-filled bedroom

Things to do around THE BOURBON

Matthew and Hilary Engel  have lived here for 13 years. Hilary supervised the restoration of the former 15th-century farmhouse with its adjacent barn into these two beautiful holiday cottages. You can be very private…. or relish the life of the farm. In spring, the place is alive with bluebells, daffodils and lambs. In summer, you can dine on the terrace and gaze at the sunset. In autumn you can watch the leaves change, help with the cider-making on the Engels’ newly-restored ancient press. And make your own apple juice. In winter, you can throw another log on the woodburner and snuggle up….or perhaps toboggan down the hillside. You can walk the nature trail through the farm and woods and spot rare trees and orchids; you can walk the rest of the Golden Valley’s vast network of footpaths; you can climb a mountain or two. You can visit castles, churches, cathedrals, delicious villages of black-and-white half-timbered houses, the bookshops of Hay-on-Wye, and fabulous country pubs. You can play golf or lie doggo.

Ensuite bathroom Dresser Bathroom with bath/shower

The nitty gritty

  • Wood burner (logs supplied)
  • Underfloor heating
  • Wifi
  • No mobile reception, but guests are welcome to make or receive calls in the owners’ home
  • TV with Freeview and DVD (plus some DVDs)
  • CD-player/radio/Ipod docking-station (plus a supply of CDs)
  • Electric hob and oven
  • Fridge with ice-box
  • Use of freezer in nearby building
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave
  • Use of washing-machine and dryer in nearby building
  • Store cupboard essentials included (coffee, tea, sugar, s&p, olive oil etc)
  • Bedding, towels and all basics included (soap, loo paper, cleaning materials etc)
  • Elec, heating, hot water and logs included
  • Baby-friendly (ask owner for travel cot, high chair etc), but not ideal for toddlers beyond the cot-stage, as Fair Oak has unfenced ponds and other hazards
  • Ensuite loo with wash hand basin; bath/shower room downstairs
  • Dog friendly (two well-behaved dogs welcome downstairs, but be aware of sheep, dogs, ponies and chickens in the vicinity)
  • Garden furniture
  • Well-equipped kitchen
  • Lots of books and local information, novels and games
  • Incredible views
  • Great walks around the farm
  • Superb local restaurant within walking distance (or 3-minute drive), and excellent pub a short drive away
  • Ten minutes' drive to shops and pubs
  • Close to the ‘book town’ Hay-on-Wye
  • Can be rented with The Two Acres, the cottage next door, thereby creating interconnecting living accommodation for two couples

Front door with timber surround Local sheep! Cottage in beautiful countryside

Live online booking

Changeovers are normally Mondays and Fridays. Weekends are set-priced from Friday 4pm to Monday 10.30am; so you can stay 1, 2 or 3 nights for the weekend price. Check availability and book online below, or check availability for all cottages.

1Select length of stay 2Hover over dates for prices 3Click to book

Location map



Stunning valley views from cottage

From the visitors book at The Bourbon

'We came to The Bourbon last year at this time to celebrate my birthday, and enjoyed it so much we came back again this year to do the same. We enjoyed it so much this year, that next year we will… Thank you for everything. It was great.' Margot and David, Llantrisant

'The Bourbon is the cottage of my dreams… I will always remember the view from the bedroom window across the orchard, and guessing what the weather will do by watching the mountain over breakfast. Can thoroughly recommend canoeing and lunch or dinner at The River Café, Glasbury.' Theresa and Alyson, Bristol

'All the creature comforts of home with the addition of a quirky and spacious conversion, amazing views and hospitable owners: perfect!' Jamie and Elizabeth, Basingstoke

'We thought we lived in a beautiful place, but how wonderful not to hear any traffic noise – just the songs of the countryside… If anyone has a wet day, Matthew’s books will keep you amused!' Anna and Jeannie, Llandeilo

'Even in howling winds and rain, The Bourbon is a haven of peace and quiet. The setting and the views are idyllic, and the cottage is beautifully and sympathetically renovated… We recommend the secondhand bookshops, the Granary café and the tapas bar, Tomatitos, in Hay, and an icecream parlour in Crickhowell, Pavlova – all dog-friendly.' Mark, Ruth, and Jumble the Jack Russell, Gillingham, Kent

'We came here a year ago and got engaged. Now we’re back, married with a bump on the way. We love how quiet and peaceful it is. The dog loved the walks. Thank you.' Jordan, Cassie, Molly the dog and bump, Hampshire

'A blissful weekend! Stunning walks in the woods amongst the bluebells. We’ve returned two years on from our first visit – we haven’t stopped talking and dreaming about it since – and it feels like coming home. Thank you so much.' Emma, Rob and Maisy the dog, Altrincham

'Our second stay in this wonderful cottage, and it was every bit as perfect as our first. This tranquil oasis is a welcome break from real life, and I’m certain we’ll be back again. We ate at The Bridge (hearty and delicious) and at Toi et Moi, which is truly phenomenal.' Alistair, Emma and Tess the dog, Lancashire

'This was one of those rare times a cottage met or exceeded expectations… Beautifully restored/modernised, the The Bourbon cleverly manages to be light and airy while also being cosy, thanks to underfloor heating and a wonderful woodburner. What a lovely place. And of course the views are second to none.' Pam and Chris, Cricklade

'Idyllic cottage in a perfect setting. We came here for our mini-moon, hoping for a nice, quiet place to unwind and enjoy the beginning of our married life together; and this place did not disappoint… The views from the living room are gorgeous! We thoroughly enjoyed the walk around the farm, and loved the sheep who kept us company while we sat outside having lunch. Thank you for letting us pick apples from your orchard: they were delicious…' Ivonette and Ken, Salford