Winter’s fast approaching and really, our little one bed flat isn’t quite cutting it. All we really want to do is hibernate in a cosy country farmhouse. Is that really too much to ask? Well, thanks to Dorset Cereals B&B Awards, that’s exactly what we got when we visited Hay Barton in Cornwall. Read on for our third and final visit to the shortlisted three B&B’s for the ‘Breakfast Like No Other’ category….
Dorset Cereal’s ‘Breakfast Like No Other’ Shortlist – Hay Barton B&B
Located down a discreet farm track and surrounded by fields, beautiful Hay Barton looks so inviting we nearly forget our bags. Jill is there before we’ve even turned the engine off to give us one of her infamous greetings and get us settled in. At Hay Barton that involves a fresh pot of tea and a homemade lime sponge cream cake in the communal living room. We’re the first guests to arrive (it sleeps up to 6 over three double rooms) but each of us gets the same warm welcome. Blair gets the maps out and explains the local area to us, pointing out coastal walks and local pubs, while Jill makes us a reservation for dinner that evening.
The rooms here are just gorgeous. Tastefully decorated in feminine florals, this is the kind of décor you’d never get past the mister back home, but is simply perfect in this setting. Not only was our bed huge, it also came complete with FIVE blankets – it took all of our self-control not to dive in before dinner. We weren’t so restrained when it came to the bathroom. Featuring a spectacular standalone bath and generous selection of The White Company toiletries, Jill and Blair had provided everything we could possibly need and more. We can report that the bath comfortably fits two adults, plus bubbles.
Still full from cake, we begrudgingly left the warm embrace of Hay Barton to locate the local pub grub we’d been craving. There must be something in the water around here as Niki from The Kings Head lovingly talked us through the impressive menu with the same warmth we experienced at Hay Barton – when the local produce is so incredible, it’s only natural you want to show it off. If you’re in the area you must pop in for their signature’ dish – the Ruan Duck – served completely off the bone with a crispy skin.
The clocks helpfully went back while we were staying at Hay Barton, giving us a glorious extra hour in bed. Not that it matters – breakfast is served family style, whenever you’d like it. We quickly chucked our clothes on and popped downstairs with bare feet, we were really starting to feel right at home.
Sat around the communal table in the flagstone dining room our first course consisted of a selection of cereals, muesli and homemade granola made on Jill’s beloved Aga. Fresh fruit included slices of juicy orange and sprinkles of raspberries made all the more delicious with the addition of thick, creamy homemade yoghurt. Now THAT is going the extra mile. Not normally one to advocate drinking before 9am, but we made an exception for Jill’s Whisky marmalade. It was like an Old Fashioned – on toast!
Now, everyone likes their full English customised don’t they? Extra tomatoes for us but no mushrooms please! At Hay Barton, crispy thick bacon is served alongside the most perfect sausages, cute mushrooms, and herby tomatoes so you can help yourself to exactly what you want. All the meat is from their neighbours farm shop, and you can taste it. Their own chickens provide the eggs and are served however you like (we went for poached and you guessed it, perfect again!). We were told the baked beans were homemade (from a Leon recipe), we added the cookbook to our Amazon wishlist there and then. Faultless, they were really making it hard to leave.
With a real character to write home about, Jill and Blair make Hay Barton the warm, friendly home away from home that it is.
We are dreaming up excuses to return with friends and take over all the rooms.