Travel back in time in this out-of-the-world rental. (Upcott Roundhouse)
If your ideal vacation destination is less West Indies and more Westeros, then we might have found the perfect accommodations for you.
Set in the beautiful rolling hills of Devon, England, is the Upcott Roundhouse — a hand-constructed replica of an Iron Age home that gives guests the option to really go back to basics and live life like a Stark for a night or two.
This remote, 8th-century-style hut was dreamed up by local farmer Charles Cole, who was inspired as a teenager by a 1978 “Living in the Past” documentary about the re-creation of an Iron Age settlement. He constructed the rustic but impressive structure by hand, using materials readily available on his family farm. Cole, his wife, and their four adult children spent a total of 2,500 man hours on the construction.
The land on which the hut sits was once home to the Dumnonii people, who lived throughout the Iron Age and into the early Saxon period.
The roundhouse itself is 30 feet in diameter and consists of a single room. The walls were constructed using a sand and lime mixture and then topped with an incredible 14-inch thick thatched roof made from water reed, which weighs six tons, to protect its brave inhabitants from the elements.
Not exactly your ordinary roof (Upcott Roundhouse)
The floor has been carpeted with woven matting and simple rugs. Thick woolen drapes cover the immense wooden doorway to keep out the drafts. Don’t expect light or heat … at least not the electric kind.
The room’s main feature is an open stone fire for both cooking and providing warmth. The fire is surrounded with rustic log benches where guests can relax while stoking the flames, toasting marshmallows or warming a stew in the hanging pot. Unlimited firewood is provided. All that is missing are some bearskins. They really should get some bearskins.
A good old-fashioned home-cooked meal. (Upcott Roundhouse)
Despite the obvious pitfalls of having a raging fire in the middle of your bedroom, the building is well ventilated due to the enormous vaulted ceiling. Plus it gives the ravens plenty of room to fly around. Winter is coming after all.
Lighting in the hut is also primitive and comes solely from atmospheric candles, which are spread around the large room and lit before your arrival.
The main focal point as you enter the giant space is the gargantuan four-poster canopy bed, which sits several feet off the floor and is draped with a natural and homey canvas material stacked princess-and-the-pea-high with a plump duvet and cushions to keep you snug and warm.
If only Ned Stark had lived to see this. (Upcott Roundhouse)
For those who require a few modern luxuries, the owners provide a box of board games, a guitar, and modern cooking equipment to make the campfire cooking process a little more straightforward and manageable.
Out the back of the roundhouse, and accessible by a torch-lit pathway, is the rudimentary bathroom, which consists of a gas-powered shower and a compost toilet — amenities that even a Lannister would fight over.
At least there’s a bathroom. (Upcott Roundhouse)
For the adventurous guest, there is plenty to do nearby in keeping with the Iron Age theme, including local blacksmith courses, fabulous hikes (or treks) and trout fishing. There is even a village pub just a short walking distance away where you can fill up on ale and meat pie.
Rental rates for the Upcott Roundhouse start at $249 a night.
Check out our original adventure travel series “A Broad Abroad.”