If you’ve been following the BBC series ‘Interior Design Masters’, hosted by comedian Alan Carr, you may already inadvertently know about the site of our latest short stay review. Brook Cottage Shepherd Huts consists of five shepherd’s huts (well, technically, one shepherd’s hut, two gypsy huts and two poachers huts), each with their own unique design and character, situated along a short stretch of water on the Llŷn Peninsula.
This newly-opened three-acre glamping retreat has been quite a brave lifestyle change for co-owners Mark Barrow and Jonathan Gooders who were previously involved in a fine art framing business in London. Despite not having a background in tourism, they have successfully pulled off an idyllic rural retreat of the highest quality.
I confess to knowing very little Welsh besides what I’ve seen on various road signs – “croeso” (welcome), “araf” (slow) and “ysgol” (school) are the few words that spring to mind. The former greeted us as we drove up the lane that runs parallel to the huts and the wildflower meadow and private lake they overlook.
Our arrival time had been communicated via text and co-owner Mark was there to greet us and show us the basics of how things worked. A reserved parking bay outside each hut, but separated by some fenced screening, makes loading and unloading your luggage easy.
Each hut is named after celebrated women from the time of Llywelyn the Great, King of Gwynedd and, following the signing of the Magna Carta by King John in 1215, the eventual ruler of Wales. Our hut, Joan, was named after Llywelyn’s wife (and John’s daughter). This shepherd’s hut is the largest of the huts at Brook Cottage Shepherd Huts and big enough to very comfortably accommodate two people and with space for a dog if you should be traveling with a four-legged friend. (Dogs are encouraged, and the owners even ask that you send them pictures of your pooch, but this is the only hut that can accommodate one.)
The site is a great place to unwind with each hut offering a truly five star experience, but in a relaxed, rural setting where you can switch off and connect with nature.
Inside, the hut has been very tastefully decorated with earthy tones – subtle, brown-based tones and natural greens, complimented by beautiful wooden units, rich floorboards and crimped Hessian blinds. A compact, cozy double bed and seating areas both inside and out, provide you with everything you could need in an area where the use of space has clearly been given a great deal of thought.
And don’t worry… if you did watch BBC’s ‘Interior Design Masters’ and were concerned about some of the designers’ more unusual contributions (such as the taxidermy magpie named Malcolm), such additions have been discretely removed. In fact, one hut design that really didn’t work at all in the show, was given a complete re-design.
Joan also has an en suite shower room, complete with shower, flushing toilet, hand basin and heated towel rail. Towels are provided and an Ariston 30L rapid heat water heater ensured we were never short on hot water.
There are even some complimentary handmade organic goats milk soaps, from The Clean Goat Soap Company based a little closer to Caernarfon, provided.
The huts all have fully working kitchens with cooker and fridge/freezer. The oven is complimented by a two-ring hob concealed beneath the work surface, as well as a baby Belfast sink.
An Anker SoundCore mini bluetooth speaker and radio means you can enjoy some music as you cook.
The kitchen is also equipped with a kettle, toaster and cafetiere, Fairtrade tea and coffee, and of course saucepans, frying pans, utensils, crockery, cutlery, glasses, chopping boards, knives, etc.
A wood-burning stove inside the hut ensured that we were warm and cozy throughout our stay, despite the evenings still being quite chilly outside. There is no WiFi at the huts but, cloud cover permitting, a good 4G signal. This meant I could easily tether by laptop to my phone’s hotspot and do a spot of work in front of the fire. But I’d recommend you don’t do what I did, have a digital detox and just enjoy the peace and solitude of the site.
Should you prefer to be outside, why not enjoy a glass of wine and cozy up to the chimney? There is one outside each hut.
Located on the glorious Llŷn Peninsula, just a few miles from Pwllheli and close to the border of the Snowdonia National Park, the huts are located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with uninterrupted far-reaching views to the Yr Eifl mountains. The popular seaside resort of Abersoch is just a 20-minute drive away. This AONB is also a dark sky area, thanks in part to the area’s clean air quality, and close to the Snowdonia International Dark Sky Reserve.
Other nice touches
In addition to the aforementioned tea and coffee, we were also supplied with hot chocolate, Welsh cakes, lacto free milk and half a dozen free range eggs. A generous supply of logs, kindling, firelighters and matches which is supposed to cover your first night or two, was in fact enough for the four nights that we stayed.
Stays at the huts start from £115 per night, with a minimum stay of two nights
Joan, which is the largest of the huts, is priced at £145 per night
the best bit
For me, the best bit about Brook Cottage Shepherd Huts is the quality of the finish and the attention to detail. No corners have been cut and no expense spared in the pursuit of excellence. It might sound trite but it’s the little things that can be really noticeable sometimes, whether it be the quality of the appliances, the cutting knives (which are truly sharp) or simply receiving a non-intrusive text to make sure we were happy and still had enough logs for the wood burner. The owners are on-hand should you need them, but offering all the privacy you need should you prefer to be left be.
The final verdict
Brook Cottage Shepherd Huts is a gem of a find in a part of the Llyn Peninsula where accommodation of this quality is not easy to come by. Recently featured in The Times list of ’25 Best Glamping Stays in the UK’, I have every confidence that it will be a deserved success.
Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Brook Cottage Shepherd Huts.