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

'This place is magical…  from enjoying the mesmerising view whilst eating breakfast, to board games and Prosecco by the fire, staying in this beautifully restored cottage was just as special as long walks around the picturesque farm, feeding carrots to the ponies, and dinner in the country pubs.  Two problems though…  firstly, the bed was so comfortable and sleep so peaceful, it made it hard to get up at all.  Secondly, it’s been so delightful, we don’t want to go home!' Scott and Fay, St Albans

'We’ve had a wonderful time here celebrating a birthday.  The cottage is beautiful and the surrounding area stunning.  Idie the black Labrador must be mentioned as a particularly welcoming host!  Had a brilliant walk ‘On the Black Hill’, and down Crib y Garth in the snow – one of our favourite walks of all time.  Had a great pint in The Bridge in Michaelchurch.  Toi et Moi surpassed our high expectations: the food was sublime, service exemplary…'
Tracey and Richard, Bishopston

'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

'What a wonderful few days we’ve had, watching the lambs gambolling in the field, listening to the wind creaking through the beams, and breathing the air of spring.  We’ve been fascinated by the Mappa Mundi in Hereford, spent far too much on books in Hay-on-Wye, and stuffed ourselves with excellent food at The Walnut Tree, near Abergavenny.' Nicola and Steve, Birmingham

'A long journey from Stirlingshire, but well worth it.  We’re well travelled, and had wanted to spend our honeymoon, along with our three-month-old baby Iona, somewhere neither of us had ever been before.  We loved the cottage.  It was perfect for the three of us, plus our black Labrador, Louis.  An incredibly relaxing location, and wonderful weather to compliment it.  Breakfast on the terrace has been a magical start to each day.  We enjoyed walks around Llanthony Priory and up into the Black Mountains, as well as visits to Hay-on-Wye and Crickhowell.'  Sylvi and Gordon, Thornhill

'We felt very close to nature in this beautiful cottage surrounded by exquisite countryside in all its spring glory.  We did some lovely walks, on the Offa’s Dyke Path, and some straight from the door of the cottage.  The Bridge at Michaelchurch does wonderful food, and it also has a garden next to a brook which is perfect on a sunny day or evening.' Trish and John, Nottingham

'Every moment has been magical.  We loved the cottage, loved the sheep, the view and the farm. We really enjoyed our walks around the area: particular highlights were Tor y Foel, Llanthony, Abbey Dore and Hay…. Thank you to the Engels for a wonderful stay and their warm hospitality.'
Mel and Tom, Windsor

'We absolutely love the barn and the décor, and the facilities provided are excellent.  The location is ideal as a base for walking or just sitting outside on the terrace.  The hottest week for years meant we didn’t walk as much as planned, but with fab views and a good book it wasn’t a problem.  The Bridge at Michaelchurch is great for food, fish and chips and the Temple Bar Inn in Ewyas Harold very good too.  We watched a squirrel in the tree one morning as we were lying in bed…' Jackie and Mark, and Bryn the dog, Newcastle

'We’ve had a marvellous time!  What a spectacular setting for a beautiful cottage.  We loved meeting the animals and spotting the wildlife.  Hay-on-Wye was fabulous, and we enjoyed our lunch at the Temple Bar Inn; but our favourite moments were spent simply gazing at the stupendous view.  It was so romantic that Neil was even prompted to pop the question!  (I said yes…)  Thank you so much for a truly magical holiday: we’ll never forget it.
Jenny and Neil, Portsmouth

'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

'What a beautiful and peaceful spot.  Hard to believe there is still a corner of England so unspoilt.  It is quite extraordinary to go for a 15-minute drive and not see another car.  We much enjoyed walking round your farm, munching your apples…  The barn is stunning both in its aspect and quality.'
Emma and Christopher, Clare

'The weather has not been kind to us … but it hasn’t mattered one bit.  As the rain and wind battered the barn it just made us feel even more warm and cosy inside, with the log fire burning and all the comforts of home.  And as The Bourbon is so spacious and comfortable we never felt ‘shut in’.  The scenery is fantastic and it was a pleasure to watch the Black Mountains live up to their name as the colours changed moment by moment with the shifting shadows of the clouds….' Vittorio, Joy and Marco, St Austell