“ Address: Crosby House / Crosby on Eden / Near Carlisle / UK / Tel: (01228) 573600 „
When we decided to go camping along Hadrian's Wall, it was an unspoken but mutually understood truth that we weren't actually going to camp, in the traditional sense. Or any sense, for that matter. After all, we're city girls. For us anywhere without Wifi, Dualit toasters and memory foam is roughing it. We spent two nights at the outstanding Saughy Rigg farm, and at the time I was worried that our final night here would be something of an anticlimax with such a hard act to follow. It wasn't. We had a great time.
Bluebell Camping Barn is towards the west end of Hardian's Wall, in Crosby on Eden and just a 10 minute drive from Carlisle. It is a massive old barn conversion that has been turned into guest accommodation sleeping up to 16 people, but remarkably we had the place to ourselves for the night.
Although only a few seconds from the main road, Bluebell is a world away, set in the grounds of a massive 18th Century country house. There is a large carpark, shared with the house, and a small path then leads round to the secluded barn. We spent some time during the afternoon and evening sitting outside and it felt like we were deep in a forest thanks to the tall trees, subtle landscaping and complete lack of traffic noise.
The house is within walking distance of the village, and you just turn left out of the gates and keep going - you really can't miss it. We headed to the local pub after we'd finished dinner and surprise birthday cake (thanks chicas!) and it was an 'interesting' journey along a pitch black lane, passing various gated mansions that certain bladder-impaired members of our party absolutely did not use as makeshift toilets during the 10 minute walk.
Inside, the barn spans two floors with bedrooms on each. On the ground floor there is a bedroom for 4 (all single beds) with TV, plus a large shower room, kitchen and dining room with fabulous solid wood farmhouse table. Upstairs there are two further bedrooms, one sleeping 4 and the other 8 (with two sets of bunk beds, and 4 single beds). Our room didn't have a TV, but since we had the place to ourselves, we just switched on one of the others to catch the news headlines. The upper storey also had another shower room, plus another kitchen, so it really was the most well equipped of barns. The kitchens in particular were better stocked than most youth hostels or halls of residence I've seen, and we cooked up our Waitrose feast that night without any fuss.
We brought our own sleeping bags, but the beds were equipped with pillows and fleece blankets, and bedding could also be hired if you didn't have your own. Towels weren't provided, but again I think they might be available for a fee. The beds were comfy and the skylights meant those of us who are early risers didn't even have to get out of bed to start reading before the others awoke. The wall lights were quite subtle - enough to be able to see by, but not so much that putting one on would be likely to wake people up if you were sharing with randoms and going to bed at different times.
The barn is comfortable and attractively decorated - the exact sort of decor I emulate in my own home. Even if it were full, you wouldn't feel too cramped as it's everso airy and spacious, though I could imagine fights for the two showers if it were a school group of 18 girls in residence, especially since the bathrooms were where you'd find the barn's mirrors.
The Barn is lovely and private. Though the family live on site, the barn has its own private entrance, and you get a key so you can come and go. Outside there is a picnic bench though this was peculiarly compact and had space for just 4 of us (and then only if we huddled). We brought a dining chair out so we could all sit and play cards but it's the one negative thing I can comment on with regard to the accommodation as everything else was spot on.
We paid £12 per person per night. We got so much more than I was expecting for that money: a very attractive and comfortable property that was supremely well equipped and not 'budget' in the slightest. Highly recommended.
Crosby House,Crosby on Eden,Nr Carlisle
Phone: (01228) 573600