Julie and Simon instantly fell in love with the The Olde Barn when they discovered it over 20 years ago. Seeing masses of charm and character through its rundown exterior, they set their hearts on restoring it back to its former glory and successfully bought it in auction in 1987.
Being a 17th Century building was a big part of the attraction, but this also meant that the project came with many challenges. Hurdles were instantly presented, including reports condemning the building completely, and professionals advising to leave the structure as derelict. To overcome the first obstacle alone, Julie and Simon spent 18 months simply passing plans for permission to renovate. It was then a long 9-year process to rebuild the barn and, whilst living in a caravan on-site, Julie and Simon welcomed their son, Luke, whilst all this work was going on!
After nearly a decade of pure determination, everybody's hard work paid off as the family were finally able to move in and, alongside their beloved shire horses stabled in the grounds, at last called the barn home! Since then the Benford family have thrived in the natural playground of the New Forest; surrounded by two acres of land, many happy times have been spent in the house, it's gardens and the beautiful beaches and forests nearby.
In 1995 Julie and Simon decided to share their Lymington retreat and opened the doors of The Olde Barn as a bed and breakfast for New Forest visitors. The next five years proved so successful that the family made the decision to grow the B&B, and converted their stables into what is now three individual double en-suite bedrooms within the grounds.
With strong interests in riding, cycling and walking, the family also have a huge passion for golf, and all especially love to play the local Barton-On-Sea course with its spectacular views across the Solent. It was this local vista, and inspiring course, that led Luke to take his passion for golf to the next level, his practice at Barton Golf Course over the years paid off, as he was invited to attend the prestigious David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Florida! After completing his training, Luke decided to pursue a career on superyachts, but still enjoys golf whenever he is back on land!
"Simon and I are now in our 22nd year of welcoming bed and breakfast guests to The Olde Barn, and we both feel very lucky to be able to combine our love for the New Forest, and the special location we live in, to guests visiting the Lymington area! As well as providing a peaceful retreat to relax in, the B&B is perfectly situated of those wishing to go out and explore all of the local towns, villages, forests and beaches that we are so fortunate to be close to. We really hope to welcome you to The Olde Barn very soon and offer you the perfect base for exploring the New Forest!" Julie Benford
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