Looking for places to stay in Herefordshire? Read our review of The Bull Shed bed and breakfast…
What is The Bull Shed’s USP?
In the shade of the Malvern Hills, over the brow of a curly kale field, The Bull Shed is a 150-year-old red brick dairy barn, stylishly converted into luxury accommodation by Amanda and Lee Jay Burningham.
The idea for The Bull Shed was inspired by the cosy, come-and-go ethos of a ski chalet. A ground floor neatly peppered with wooden dining tables, contemporary sofas, bookcases and, on one side of the building, floor-to-ceiling glass framing pristine views of the Malvern Hills is yours to enjoy, whenever you like.
And the general vibe?
There’s a feeling of exclusivity to the place, with its cool, polished interiors. Guests are welcomed by the glow of an enormous, moon-like globe hanging from the rafters. A Scandi-style wood-burner bathes one wing of the L-shaped barn in firelight and a chrome walkway, left over from the barn’s former incarnation as an editing suite, looms above a living area flickering with candles. “I was born to light candles,” says Lee Jay, the self-appointed ‘master of atmosphere’.
As well as lighting, the Burninghams (who live in another wing of the barn, with their son Leo) have embellished The Bull Shed with subtle nods to the building’s history – fresh flowers bloom in milk jugs and Melanie Charles’ quirky cow paintings hang on the walls. There’s also an honesty fridge full of carefully sourced treats, including NomNom chocolate (we’ve raved about these bars before) and chilli-roasted cashews from The Ludlow Nut Company.
Relax with your snacks in front of the fire, take a turn in the pretty, Italianate-style courtyard, soak up the curly kale view, practise yoga on the front lawn (Amanda and Lee Jay know a good teacher), or leave the downstairs area to other guests and chill out in your room instead.
What’s good to drink?
The aforementioned honesty fridge is home to wine from The Three Choirs Vineyard, a 10-minute drive away – try the Willow Brook white, with its rose aroma and smooth texture. Expect local Wye Valley brewery beers, too (our favourite is their citrusy IPA), and bottles of Weston’s Cider.
Which room should I book at The Bull Shed?
There are five chic bedrooms, some with views of the Malvern Hills, others overlooking the gardens and courtyard. Decorated in shades of cream and grey, the focal point of ours was a smooth, egg-shaped freestanding bath, complemented by Cowshed bath products. We loved the homemade stem ginger cookies on our tea tray, too.
What’s the breakfast like at The Bull Shed?
How’s this for a treat? Breakfast is cooked by co-owner Amanda, who reached the quarterfinals of MasterChef in 2010. As such it’s all worthy of Instagram, from the homemade mango and passion fruit compote with toasted coconut shavings to ‘The Full Bull’ (including fat, juicy pork and elderflower sausages, smoked bacon and silky black pudding, all sourced locally), which was presented to us on a cast iron frying pan instead of a plate.
Thick-cut velvety smoked salmon, pressed apple juice, fresh bread and even the granola on top of our compote were also sourced from Herefordshire – as was the sparkling wine that made the morning’s Bucks Fizz. The coffee beans are roasted locally, too.
Any other food experiences I shouldn’t miss?
As well as booking on a B&B basis, The Bull Shed can be hired exclusively. So if it’s just you and your friends, there is the option of arranging a private dinner cooked by Amanda.
Is The Bull Shed family-friendly?
Given the relaxed atmosphere, pristine appearance and luxurious rooms, The Bull Shed appeals more to adults than children and, if you’re booking on a B&B basis, it’s open only to those aged eight and over. If you hire the whole thing yourself, all ages can stay.
What can I do in the local area?
The village of Colwall is a pleasant stroll away (you can catch a train to Malvern and Ledbury from there), and a quick car trip takes you to The Three Choirs Vineyard, one of the country’s oldest and largest. Taste its wines, amble through the vineyard itself, and eat Herefordshire wild boar terrine for lunch at the on-site brasserie. Read our full review of The Three Choirs Vineyard here…
The owner says…
Lee Jay was kind enough to design a foodie trail just for us, starting and ending at The Bull Shed. A delicious day out, including the Pork and Two Veg farm shop in Woolhope (where those elderflower sausages come from), the 500-year-old Green Man pub for a Wye Valley Brewery pint and, just outside Ledbury, The Nest local food shop, cafe and pop-up bar. It’s here that The Handmade Scotch Egg Company is based – choose from 40 flavours to either eat in or take away. Our favourite was the ‘Morgan’, made with free-range pork, fresh chives and goat’s cheese.
This is the place to blow cobwebs away. The views from the crest of the hills directly opposite The Bull Shed (Amanda and Lee Jay can tell you which one to climb) are well worth the trek – and your reward can be a bacon and egg brioche bun from Mac n Jac’s, a jolly, family-run cafe in Malvern.
Double rooms at The Bull Shed start from £135, b&b (bullshedbarn.com).
Words by Charlotte Morgan
Photographs by Charlotte Morgan and The Bull Shed