ARRIVING in the tiny village of Semley on the Dorset and Wiltshire border feels very much like stepping back in time. I find a small store stocked with preserves, fresh bread and pies (it also sells single cooked sausages, much to my husband’s delight), a dairy where we can refill our milk bottle every morning, a pub and a church.
We’re staying at the Craftsman’s Cottage, a six-sleeping slate-roofed holiday home made of local Shaftesbury Greenstone and filled with British crafts — most for sale.
No design flourish has been missed by owner Amanda Bannister, a London-based media lawyer. I find a Russell Pinch sofa, a bespoke deVol kitchen, wooden furniture by Another Country, and gilets and capes by Guillotine and Sands & Hall for guests to use. It’s quite simply the house of dreams.
We light the wood burner, crack open the courtesy hamper — wine, local cider, tea, a sourdough loaf, home-made lemon curd, banana and lemon loaf cakes, home-made granola and chocolates from Hampshire — and settle in to a very competitive game of Trivial Pursuit while the rain hammers down outside.
The next morning we stroll five minutes along the lane to the Church Farm Dairy to refill our milk before going on a country ramble lasting a few hours. In the afternoon we drive 30 minutes to the village of Bruton in Somerset to take a turn around the Hauser & Wirth gallery and dine at their great Roth Bar & Grill (mains from £12, rothbarandgrill.co.uk)
As Dorothy says in The Wizard Of Oz, however, there’s no place like home — especially if yours is the Craftsman’s Cottage — so we race back to devour a gorgeous fish pie made for us by The Fishmongers (priced individually, thefishmongers.co.uk) in nearby Tisbury.
USP: If you’re bored of bland ‘repro’ stuff in hotels and want something that feels more personal, this is the place for you. As well as Hauser & Wirth, be sure to check out Messums gallery (free, messumswiltshire.com) in Tisbury.
Who goes there: Chic London elite and the media set. Stella McCartney, Rhys Ifans and Mariella Frostrup all have houses nearby. We spotted David Dimbleby having Sunday lunch at the chichi At The Chapel in Bruton.
Venture out: Bruton is filled with artisan bakeries, furniture shops and crafts but The Beckford Arms (beckfordarms.com) on the borders of the Fonthill Estate is a must for lunch or dinner if you’re in the area.
From £225 per night (dogs allowed with a £40 supplement, thecraftsmanscottage.com