We finally threaded through the last gate, switched off the car engine… and silence fell. As we eased out of the car, I think it’s fair to say we gawped a bit at the grand, stern beauty of Patrishow Farm, the farmhouse imposing itself on the land. When we turned to look down the valley we gawped a bit more. The view really was fabulous.
We stayed at Patrishow Farm as guests of HolidayCottages.co.uk – they invited us to take the teens for a week of remote wildness. Accommodation was provided, all activities, thoughts and opinions are our own.
Usually I’m an obsessive Googler, checking the exact location of a cottage on a map before we leave home. Patrishow Farm defeated me. The directions you receive on booking are long, detailed and very specific… and I totally failed to follow them on Googlemaps. So we did it the old fashioned way, with printed directions in hand (useful when you reach the ‘there are no more signposts’ note, and essential when you lose phone signal way before you reach the cottage).
The roads become lanes, and the lanes become narrower and twistier. Greenery appears in the middle of the lane before you even reach the first of the gates as a hint of what’s to come:
Up the private road you’ll go through four gates (always thankful that holiday gate duty is a teenager’s job), across the cattle grid, over the stream and then climb the steep & suddenly-twisting last stretch across another cattle grid, keeping one eye on the roaming sheep as the farmhouse finally creeps into view.
But seriously – it’s a beauty, and worth every long stretch to get there.
The layout is rambling, and not a little confusing when you first arrive. The ground floor has a snug little sitting room with a woodburner, a further playroom/reading room, a shower room and a ground floor bedroom.
There also happens to be a huge kitchen-diner, with the most fabulous picture windows and resulting view I think we’ve ever experienced.
I’m sure the cosy snug is a draw on winter evenings, but we never really went anywhere but this beautifully bright, airy and open room. Morning coffee, long dinners, card games after dark and finally just sitting at the end of a long day watching the sky.
At each end of the ground floor there are steep stone staircases spiralling through the ancient walls of the house, leading up to the four bedrooms.
The upstairs family bathroom is jack-and-jill on the master bedroom, which the second staircase ascends directly into.
The smallest bedroom is very small, barely able to fit the bunk beds and a chest of drawers – but kids will love the secret hideaway nature of it, and even our 12yr old was happy with her own room with a view (once she’d discovered there was a plug to charge her phone after all).
The other two bedrooms are moderate sizes, one double and one twin – in all there’s plenty of room, and the farmhouse is easily big enough for two families to share.
But you really will find that everyone gravitates to that fabulous Kitchen With a View.
The house might be old, and the stairs scarily steep and wonky, but Patrishow Farm is fitted with every modern comfort. The bed linen is heavenly to slide into, the beds soft and the pillows plump. The endless hot water pours down from the two amazing rainfall showers, there’s a dishwasher big enough for a large family, and the long utility room off the kitchen was perfect for all the boots, rucksacks and waterproofs you need for an outdoors holiday in the Brecon Beacons.
Oh and yes, the American-style double fridge freezer is plenty big enough to hold on to your week’s supplies. Note that you DO need to arrive fully stocked up – a quick ‘pop’ to the nearest shop will take a good 45 minutes round trip, including the four gates, the cattle grids and all the twisty turny little lanes as you head into Crickhowell. Your nearest supermarket is Abergavenny – and no, they don’t deliver! We booked a ‘click and collect’ at Waitrose, and stopped there to fill the car on our way in on the first day.
Mostly, Patrishow Farm is about having everything you genuinely need, and yet a total lack of… anything.
There’s simply nothing.
No neighbours. No noise. We didn’t even hear a rogue dog barking in the valley – just the house martins and swallows nesting in the eaves and chattering, the trees filled with the native birds and the occasional fox barking in the whole week we were there.
There’s also zero light pollution; it’s a good idea to pack some hot chocolate because a clear night sky will draw everyone outside with their faces turned up to gaze at the stars showing off.
What to do with teens when you’re Secluded in the Brecon Beacons
There are good walks direct from the door (we walked the 4km straight up to the trig point on the ridge behind on our first evening, then on our final day we headed back up and just followed the ridge along to Waun Fach, 12 miles in all), though we actually preferred driving into the next valley over and walking a circular route from Mynydd Du Car Park – just 20 minutes in the car (including all the gates!), but spectacular walking all day long.
NB – Even when you’ve climbed the valley and parked your car, there are still steep steps to navigate up to the house itself; a sloped access round the side will avoid most of them but it’s not entirely step free; worth noting for any needing ease of access.
We didn’t turn the tv on once. There’s enough WiFi to keep three teens happy (it’s not brilliantly fast, but it did work well enough for us all to be on at the same time without anyone sighing in frustration), and there’s all the comfy seats and peace and quiet for reading that you could ever desire. If you’re a keen walker, runner or cyclist you probably won’t use the car much at all – and if you’re a keen sitter, reader, painter or a napper you probably won’t want to go far either.
We hiked most days (taking a sunshine day in the middle to go wild swimming – though some of us opted for wild-napping beside the icy cold river), and spent the evenings playing cards together. We ate out a few times (both the Dragon’s Head at Llangenny and the Crown at Pantygelli were great, totally recommended), and stayed in for long slow silly dinners at that fabulous table in the window.
Patrishow Farm is a soothing, calming balm for the soul. It’s filled with a heavy, solid, restful peace which folds itself around you and welcomes you in.
- Patrishow Farm sleeps eight (plus a sofa bed will take two more), and costs around £1500 a week
- You can bring your dog – up to two allowed, and you’re asked to keep them to downstairs.
- Access is mildly challenging – not really for nervous drivers, and suggest 4×4 in winter!
- Bring all your basic supplies of food, even if you plan to eat out – there’s no supermarket delivery up here!
If you’re thinking about a Brecon beacons holiday (and you definitely should) you might be interested in our Brecon Beacons 6-day plan with kids, and our Top 10 Tips for family activities in the Brecon Beacons (and if you’re feeling adventurous, there was always the time we went Caving in the Brecon Beacons – amazing)
For other secluded holiday property suggestions in the Brecon Beacons, see our review of Tyn y Coed, a fabulous luxury cottage in the north of the Brecon Beacons National Park, or Llwyn y Neuadd another beautifully secluded cottage on the western edge of the park.
We’ve also reviewed the renowned Angel restaurant in Abergavenny, and the family-friendly Star Inn at Talybont on Usk.