“ Address: Whitton Farm / Ludlow / Shropshire / SY8 3DB / England / Tel: 01584 890234 „
I usually like to go away for New Year and this year also coincided with a friend's 40th birthday. She arranged for a group of us to stay at three of the Cottages at Whitton Farm, in the hamlet of Whitton, near Ludlow in Shropshire. I was in Oakwell Barn and also viewed my friends' cottages, The Parlour and the Wain House. All of these cottages sleep 6, although I understand that one of the others sleeps 8 and another only 4. Getting to Whitton is fairly straightforward, apart from the last 2-3 miles. We pretty much followed little signposts once we came off the main country lane (i.e. one that actually had a number, although it was a B number) but it was dark and had started to snow so we were worried that we may have missed a turning. Fortunately not, but in the dark country lanes with no streetlights it is not easy to tell. Luckily there is a big sign outside the farm properties so we were able to spot that relatively easy. There is quite a bit of parking opposite the cottages, but when they are full this is not enough and we parked further up, but still on the Farm's lands. Although we couldn't tell when we first arrived in the dark, the front of the cottages are well landscaped with rock gardens, planters and small gardens and an interesting large stone with a hole in the middle! The cottages were lovely. Our bedroom, on the ground floor, was well decorated in a 'country house' theme - plates on the wall, that kind of thing - with matching furniture and adequate storage for hanging and folded clothes. The bed also had a throw and lots of cushions, which gave it a welcoming feel and more homely, rather than the functional room you get in so many other places. All the rooms I saw, were nicely done out and all original, but within keeping of the cottage style. None of the furnishings were shabby in anyway, and all the appliances were modern. All the cottages had different layouts also. As it was New Year, there was a small Christmas tree with white lights and a few tasteful decorations around the house. Bed linen and towels (hand and bath) are also provided. The main living area in Oakwell Barn was open plan - the kitchen in one corner and included a dishwasher, microwave and washing machine. However the fridge was quite small for a cottage of six, and there was only an ice box type freezer compartment. It was well stocked with pots and pans and crockery although we did seem to be short on cereal bowls and some cutlery, but it turned out our friends (who arrived a few days before us) had 'borrowed' some of our crockery and cutlery. By the end of the stay and various get-togethers in each others' cottages, the glasses and plates were completely muddled - hopefully the owners have sorted it back out by now! Across from the kitchen was the living area which included a TV, DVD player and a CD stereo unit. There were two sofas, an armchair and rocking chair as well as a large pouffe type footstool and a coffee table. The dining table has six seats and was a good size, we didn't feel cramped. There were also patio doors opening out onto a small private garden at the back with garden furniture. This would be lovely in the summer; unfortunately Shropshire in January is not the best time to be outdoors! However the cottage had plenty of radiators and we could whack them up as high as we liked, there was no meter. In our cottage two of the bedrooms were on ground level with a communal bathroom which had a toilet within, bath and integral shower. If I was being picky I would prefer the toilet to have been separate as there were four adults using this bathroom at night or in the morning. We were in the room next door and could hear people using the bathroom; the walls were not particularly thick. We could also hear voices from the room immediately on the other side of us - a different cottage - not actual conversations but enough to break the silence if you are trying to sleep. One of the rooms - a twin - had an en-suite bathroom but this was upstairs. The stairs were steep, almost like a ladder, so this would need to be taken into consideration if you didn't like heights. I would say this room wouldn't be suitable for small children, the elderly or those with limited mobility. They would need the ground floor rooms. I know for a fact that The Parlour has proper stairs, and one ground floor bedroom. The Wain House is upside down and accessed by steep steps from the outside, where you enter the living area and then go down to the bedrooms. I can't comment about the others but this is something to bear in mind. The cottages welcome well behaved dogs and can supply a cot and highchair if necessary. They were very clean, but not serviced whilst you stay in there (although I am sure something can be arranged). The Cottages have a four 'star' rating under the Self -Catering category by the English Tourist Board. The cottages are located in the Shropshire hills, just a few miles from the picturesque towns of Ludlow and Tenbury Wells. It will cost you about £8-10 to get a taxi to one of these towns, depending on how many of you and when you travel. You do really need a car as the cottages are remote, through winding country lanes. Both towns have a range of pubs and eating places, plus there are pubs in some of the other larger villages in the area. Mobile phone reception is erratic; I am on O2 and probably got the best reception in the house. The area is good for walkers and cyclists and there are a number of English Heritage places not to far away, including Ironbridge (a world heritage site). Plus, other attractions such as Ludlow Castle and the West Midlands Safari Park. I do recommend a stay here as it was good value (split between six of us it was about £200 per couple and we could have used it for the full week). Other times of year would be cheaper, and different cottages have different rates. The cottages are modern and clean, and if you don't mind the remoteness, offer a lovely place to stay in this beautiful part of the country.