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You watch George Martin’s Amazing Spaces so you’ll already have seen Five Acre Barn. You don’t? You haven’t? Well, suffice to say it’s not just a B&B, it’s a B&B of architectural interest. And not just architectural interest but somewhere cool and comfy and cosy and lots of other things that begin with the letter ‘c’ and are positive.

It all started as the brainchild of gay couple Bruce and David, who thought it would be nice to sell up their south London home and relocate to the countryside, nice for Lola and Ruby, their dogs, at any rate. And not just any old countryside but the bit of Suffolk near the coast that was a favourite of gay composer Benjamin Britten and which still attracts very much the right crowd. An art crowd, a gay crowd, an arty gay crowd.

Having found a spot in Leiston near enough to Aldeburgh – the Britten-centric spot in question, a darling little spot right on the beach – that you could walk into town, they roped in architects Blee Halligan (and if you watch George Martin’s Amazing Spaces you’ll know all about how cute that particular operation is) to create something altogether unexpected.

At the centre of Five Acre Barn is the original farmhouse, as picturesque as any around these parts, but that’s just the start of what has been created here. The original barn, a huge airy space as barns tend to be, has been modernized in just the right way. It still feels like an older building, especially with the huge log-burning stove in the middle of things, but the materials are contemporary, the furniture mid-century modern and the windows punched out to let views of the wood right in. Sit at the refectory-style table for breakfast and you won’t know whether to gaze at the fire or the birds jumping around outside. Or Lola and Ruby.

So, that’s the communal bit, with a kitchen up one end (they’ll cook your breakfast for you but you’re on your own the rest of the time so be ready to eat out or order in) and the seating area up the other, where guests can just flake out with a book or laze in the sun surrounded by cushions and plants and cheeky artworks and magazines.

As for the rooms, there are five of them, back out of the barn door, sharp right, sharp left and along a gallery in clean, Nordic ply with pictures and ceramics, even gifts, all beautifully curated. From the outside it looks like something a child might have drawn: strange angles, big windows and simple, simple, simple.

Your regular room goes over two floors. You enter into your sitting room, huge windows with a deck to sit out among the grasses in almost perfect privacy and inside, furniture, TV, kettle and the rest. Then up some wooden stairs – it’s all about wood here – a bed, a skylight and a balcony so you can look down into your sitting area. Sheets are pure cotton, products are big-name and your bathroom a sweet wet-room-style spot with a place for everything.

The Garden Room, at the end of the gallery, is over just one floor but is bigger, big enough to count as accessible, with a walk in/roll in wet room and a second bathroom with a big egg-shaped bath looking out over those grasses. Again, it balances design with cosiness: the latest word in lighting sits alongside cosy throws and country-elegant furniture while the concrete floors are heated.


And while you’re thinking you might not want to leave this space – and why would you when it’s so relaxing? – you wouldn’t want to miss the pub down the road with its great menu and you’d be mad not to walk or jump in your swish Jaguar F-Type from THE OUT (see above. Nice, right? They also do electric cars so your eco credentials won’t suffer) down to Aldeburgh for seafood and a walk along the beach. Time it right, and you might find yourself at the middle of one of their cultural happenings.

And once you’ve tested it out, we will bet our bottoms that you won’t be able NOT to think about getting together five or ten friends and taking the whole thing over for a party weekend. They’ll even bring in a cook to do your meals for you. We’re planning it as we speak. Coming?