How moving to a ‘retirement estate’ means you can work less and party more

A party barn has long been an aspirational addition to a property. A place where larger gatherings can take place away from the primary accommodation takes much of the stress out of a big party, allowing for the inevitable chaos to be kept at arm’s length. Setting up and clearing away can all take place without upsetting the day to day routine of the main house.

The (then) younger generation were the first to recognise the value of the dilapidated barn with dirt floors and gaps in the roof. Parental resistance to parties carried less weight when there was no necessity for any of the guests to come into the house. Some temporary light and heat, a festival-type loo or two, a variety of trestle tables and chairs, some music, and bring your own booze were all the necessary components for a great party. An added bonus was that guests could bring sleeping bags and wouldn’t have to drive or beg a lift home.

It wasn’t long before the world at large cottoned on to the benefits of a separate party space, and in an unexpected development barns and shelters came into their own during successive lockdowns, the more derelict the better as open sides allowed for get-togethers in large covered but airy spaces.

For that younger generation who have now grown up, or at least grown older, moving to a smaller property in later life makes financial and practical sense, and a party barn solves one of the great downsides to downsizing. Social lives don’t stop at retirement, but retaining sufficient living space to entertain larger gatherings of friends and family can be tricky.

There are of course an increasing number of barns specially designed for parties available commercially, and for special occasions such as weddings and anniversaries, these can be an excellent solution. But for more day to day events, what could be better than a space that’s available for occasional use on your doorstep.

This is exactly what is on offer on an increasing number of retirement estates that are catering to a new older generation who are young at heart. Barns are being converted, or sometimes left in their original state, and communal spaces are being specifically integrated as part of a new build. Having a space dedicated to socialising avoids anyone feeling imposed upon. As well as the usual selection of clubs and classes, residents are at liberty to book these spaces up and use them for a wide range of events.

We all know that our desire to meet with good friends and family, eat great food, drink delicious wine, laugh, dance and party till dawn doesn’t suddenly stop at a particular age. If anything, a more relaxed lifestyle without onerous working hours leaves more time for planning and more energy for partying. Just make sure you know where you’re going to host your best parties in your new home, and hang onto your dancing boots.

 

Cognatum Estates with party spaces

Church Place in Ickenham has a beautiful restored timbered barn in the grounds that is perfect for social events and is a pretty day or night venue. Cottages and apartments are set around two charming garden courtyards.

Cognatum’s new development, Orchard Yard in the historic village of Wingham, is a small development of 15 contemporary two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom houses built in the original farmyard of the 15th century manor house Wingham Court. There’s a large single storey communal building with its own kitchen and bifold doors opening out onto a barbecue terrace and firepit. Usually set up with comfy sofas, chairs and coffee tables, it can be transformed into a wonderful party space for as many as fifty people with great ease.

St Peter’s Close on the edge of the village of Goodworth Clatford is a development of twenty brick and flint cottages and apartments surrounding two courtyards, with the centrepiece a Listed timber-framed barn, open on one side, that brings rural elegance and a pretty party venue. Currently available for sale is a spacious three-bedroom cottage with front and rear gardens and a garage.

Old Town Farm in Great Missenden has a wonderful converted barn that houses a pool with space to spill out onto the terrace.

Dunchurch Hall near Rugby has a renovated cricket pavilion overlooking fields which residents often use for gatherings and events. Dunchurch Hall was built as a hunting lodge in the 1800s before becoming a school for 50 years in the 1940s.

Lyefield Court and The Conifers near Reading has a purpose built social room with its own kitchenette.

Malthouse Court near Towcester has a lovely covered walkway, open at both ends, but perfect for outside socialising. It hosts Christmas carols with the town band, and Macmillan coffee mornings, but could easily be used for less organised events.

The Vinery in Torquay has a conservatory/garden room at the top of the apartment block which overlooks the sea where residents are free to socialise together or with a wider group of friends and family.
 

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