A B&B that brings home the bacon! The Mail’s hotel inspector spends a night in a converted pig-sty on a Berkshire farm… and doesn’t want to leave
- Run by Joanna Preston, Long Acre Farm is nestled in the village of Lambourn
- There are three bedrooms, each a converted pig-sty, at £120 per night
- Remember… The Inspector pays his way – and tells it like it is…
Just occasionally you meet someone with such boundless energy that it knocks you back. Unsettling, even; highlights one’s own lethargy.
Joanna Preston is a case in point. She ran a successful catering company in London before moving with her husband to what was a battered farmhouse with outbuildings and is now the chic-est of B&Bs (which also offers dinner and cookery classes) in 40 lush acres on the Berkshire/Wiltshire border.
Joanna is a first-rate chef, gardener, beekeeper, owner of ponies, chickens and pigs . . . oh, and she has just bought her local village shop. She also has two young children.
The Inspector was impressed by the lavender on the grounds of Long Acre Farm, insisting it was more vibrant than that of Provence in South of France
When we arrive on a Sunday evening, she skips across the gravel drive as though we’re long-lost relatives and apologises for the effusive welcome from her three dogs.
It’s a gorgeous spot (linked to the Bloomsbury set via one of the house’s former owners, Noel Carrington) north of Lambourn, the garden lined with perfect box and lavender of such intense colour the like of which I have never seen — not even in deepest Provence.
There are three rooms for guests in the converted pig-sties. Ours has an African theme, influenced in part by Joanna’s years working for Robin Pope Safaris in Zambia. But it’s soft Anglo-African, with little jars of sweet pea, decanters of water (drawn from the property’s own bore hole), rows of books and a beautiful bathroom with bare brickwork, a huge Swedish mirror and roll-top bath.
The ‘beautiful’ bathroom in The Inspector’s room had exposed brickwork walls and was decked out with a huge Swedish mirror and roll-top bath
B&B owner Joanna Preston ran a catering company in London before moving to the rural idyll of Lambourn
Long Acre Farm, Lambourn, Berkshire. Doubles B&B £120. For more information call 07815 782518.
In the passage leading to the garden, there are bottles of homemade sloe gin, apricot vodka, cherry brandy.
‘Just help yourself,’ says Joanna.
We head off to a pub for a three-star burger before returning for a five-star night, during which an owl hoots his approval.
Breakfast is taken in a pretty annexe where the table is laden with berries, granola, jars of jam, marmalade, honey, compotes and apple juice from the orchard. We whip up our own fried eggs and bacon and decide we would stay a week, given the chance.
We have everything we need — but then Joanna skips across the drive again carrying some newly baked pastries.
‘Almost forgot,’ she says.
The truth is that nothing is forgotten at Long Acre Farm.
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