Cranberries Luxury hideaway, Devon

Hills Farm, Whitford Road, Kilmington, Devon

Internet Access Restaurant Spa

From the time we bowled up so excited at the prospect of my sister’s hen get together, to the time that we grudgingly piled the cars back up with our bags, all of the girls had the best time at Cranberries.  Steve and his team happily help to plan your itinerary, down to the last minute if you are that way inclined, equally they are happy to let you be – we did a bit of both thanks to an excellent organizer (Sylvia) and a bit of laissez faire from moi!

Cranberries is located on Hills Farm, formerly an 18th century dairy farm in Kilmington, and sits amidst 100 gorgeous acres of private countryside on the Devon / Dorset border. Nestled high on a hill you will enjoy views overlooking the Axe Valley with the Jurassic Coast in the distance. This is a real escape whatever your reason for a get-together.  

The seven stone barns have been renovated to a refreshingly high spec; they are well furnished, well thought out and well presented.  Sleeping 56 in total in the barns, with a further 9 hotel style bedrooms, including a honeymoon suite and family suite, the farm can easily accommodate a total of 78 of you over-night. A fabulous idea if you are looking for a wedding venue as with a wedding licence, a spacious function room to hire, plenty of on-site activities and a catering service it’s got all you might want. Cranberries also utilize green technology* quietly to reduce the impact on our precious environment, which is always a plus point for me.

We were a ‘small’ hen party of 16 and very excited.  Our drive was anticipatory as we travelled through the lovely countryside; reassuringly Cranberries was easy to find. On arrival the quiet and seclusion sink in immediately and it really very quickly became chill out and relax together time.

Our idea for the weekend was to enjoy one another’s company – some of us hadn’t seen each other for years – over glasses of wine (or Harvey Wallbangers), eating copious amounts of food (it’s amazing how much you can get for £300 in Lidl!), lounging in one of our two hot tubs, or out clay-pigeon shooting and challenging each others groups during blind driving.  Just writing it all makes me grin as we had SO much fun. 

We arrived staggeredly over the Friday afternoon and our weekend began with a tour of our accommodation, The Milking Parlour, which sleeps 16 comfortably and has enough space for all 16 to eat together, sit together and just be together without tripping over one another.  All bedrooms are nicely spaced, all have roomy en-suites, the under-floor heating would keep everyone toasty – we didn’t need it as the weather was glorious – fluffy towels are supplied, beds are made, sofas are ready to flop on.  We took along a portable speaker so that our hen could blast out Prince’s Let’s go Crazy at 7 a.m. in each and every room – it was memorable – hide yours if your hen/friend might do something similar.  The speaker came in very handy for our lounge-disco on Saturday night and because of the madly thick walls we didn’t have to worry about our neighbours.

The kitchen has plenty of equipment and space to prepare – so much space that our food prep teams of four had no problem rustling up various meals and whisking them all away again.  Saying that we only had to look after breakfast and lunches as dinner was out one night and we ordered on site catering for the second – we cook for our families every night and deserved to miss dinner duties!! 

So Prosecco poured and nibbles out many giggles were heard in the small garden alongside the Parlour and the big grassed area above it.  We all looked at the hot tub longingly but felt we’d never get out of it to go out and indeed, suddenly, there was a mad rush to get all glammed up for a night at Hugh’s River Cottage restaurant - I had forgotten the hilarity associated with four girls getting ready in one room!  

Our taxi ordered by Cranberries took no time and we were all soon sat in a trailer on the back of a tractor (in our gorgeous dresses (!)) going down a steep track wondering how the heck we’d ever get back up again (we did!).  We arranged private dining – very expensive, food not amazing – and all sat around in the cottage garden sipping the most delicious elder-flower champagne and enjoying the wonderful views and atmosphere of just being there. 

We enjoyed our night in a very lovely room with excellent company but the service was poor and some food not cooked which was very disappointing.  But anyways this is all about Cranberries and Cranberries delivered on every level. 

Once home we dived into one of two hot tubs and got on with re-acquainting ourselves – 'til some ungodly hour when prune like skin meant it was bed time. 

The next morning heralded our activity day and after snoozing, scoffing, snoozing, sunbathing we were jollied up and motivated by Steve to get our backsides in gear and do something with our day.  After a frank safety talk about the dangers associated with guns and driving blindly (yes really) we split into teams and took part, or observed, each activity. 

I have never laughed so hard as seeing our friend – who has been having driving lessons for over 10 years – drive with a blindfold on through logs with a bucket of water on her roof; there was much, much hilarity during this one. Slightly more serious was the clay pigeon shooting, slightly more competitive too (!) – one of the most frustrating but exhilarating sports I’ve tried.  Mainly because I have no idea why sometimes I blasted the thing to smithereens and others missed by a mile.  Throughout Steve was mildly sarcastic, very safety conscious and very funny and we all came away feeling delighted that all had hit at least one of the darned things, whilst one of us was an absolute natural. 

Cranberries: it’s civilised – it’s easy – it’s completely geared up for making sure you have the best time possible thanks to Steve and Verity and the team.  The grounds are lovely to stroll around, there’s space to just enjoy the weather if it’s fine, you are close enough to the Jurassic Coast  and seaside resorts if you fancy a day out; Lyme Regis is beautiful. We preferred to stay put – maybe next time - which meant we were able to watch the dressage practice in the paddock whilst sipping a glass of champers - I think all of us congratulated Sylvia on such a fantastic find.  Highly recommended.

Cranberries Luxury Hideaway, specialising in luxury self-catering holidays, pampering breaks, weddings, group bookings and corporate events. It's worthy of note that there was one further hen-party and two stag dos at the same time - we did not hear a bean - it may be grownup weekends away but seemingly everyone os really very respectful of other parties which is refreshing. Have fun.


*The Environmetnal Info: With the aim of creating a sustainable holiday development Cranberries has an EV charge point, brand new state of the art bio-mass boilers and all water used on site is from the Farm's own natural springs.

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From £30 per person per night. Special offers and late deals are available, just ask