Rural settings and high ceilings are just a few of the attractions of barn conversions, as well as trussed roofs and wooden beams.
In the UK, planning laws are relaxing to make their adaptive reuse even easier. Landowners can now convert an agricultural building without gaining planning permission, creating up to three ‘larger homes’ with a combined maximum floor space of 465 sq m, or up to five smaller homes (each less than 100 sq m). Exclusions apply, however, such as if the home is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And you may want to maximise the entire space for your own lofty rural retreat…
We’ve scoured the countryside to bring you the best barns for sale in the UK. Some are crying out for conversion – while others are already characterful homes.
Timber barn in rural Sussex
£400,000, via Strutt & Parker
You’ll need to put in some serious elbow grease to convert this creaky oak-framed barn, but it’ll reap rewards. Original plans – which received consent in 1997 – include a double-height living and dining area to make the most of the trussed ceilings, and three bedrooms (two with en-suite bathrooms). Although little progress has been made, the consent still stands, because work began in 2002. Tompsetts Barn is sited in rural Sussex, close to Haywards Heath – a 42-minute train hop to London Bridge.
A 17th-century barn conversion in Norfolk
£275,000, via The Modern House
Lynch Architects have converted this 17th-century barn with a light touch, keeping as much of its original features visible as possible, including its flint walls (now whitewashed) and timber rafters. A white tongue-and-groove wall features a ‘secret’ door, hiding a downstairs bedroom and bathroom, as well as stairs leading up to a further bedroom. You can try barn life before you buy, renting the home for £100 a night via Airbnb.
Stone building in County Durham
£100,000, via Savills
Imagine penning your next book here… This traditional stone field barn previously received planning consent for conversion into a live/work unit in 2008 (later extended to 2015), with views over Weardale, within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. If implemented, the double-height barn could include two bedrooms, as well as studio and office space. It sits in 10.6 acres of verdant countryside, sure to cure writer’s block.
A duo of barns in northern Wales
Some of the work’s been done for you at Nant Farm Barn – close to Wale’s north coast – comprising a converted one-bedroom dwelling and an adjacent structure, with planning permission for a four- or five-bedroom home. Both stone buildings are full of character and are arranged around a courtyard, set down a quiet lane 0.6 miles from the Flintshire village of Pentre Halkyn. The courtyard leads onto a garden, paddock and wooded area.
Timber-framed Victorian conversion in Suffolk
£875,000, via The Modern House
Architects Buckley Gray Yeoman converted two structures – a barn and a cart shed – to create this property on 2.5 acres of land in rural Suffolk. Double-height spaces and wooden beams abound in the main barn building, which holds four bedrooms. ‘The sense of volume within the space was retained and the combination of old and new was brought together through careful planning,’ says the practice. Over in the former cart shed, a one-bedroom apartment sits atop a studio and storage space, as well as a garage.