Close to Thame in rural Oxfordshire, the gracious English gardens are abundant. The mill pond’s ready for a picnic. There’s cricket on the lawn. The heated pool’s piping hot. And the classical interiors come with a homely, family feel. Sleeping 12, Chalford Manor has lived, laughed and loved through a thousand family celebrations and yours could be next.
This is a home as homely as a trusted woolly cardie, but a posh one. One with beams, casement windows, family portraits, antiques and a few lazy afternoons sipping gin on the terrace and clacking croquet balls around. Located just under an hour from London, but in the middle of the lush, green, Oxfordshire countryside, this is where generations gel over shared meals, moments and memories.
Inside, Chalford Manor is built for comfort and geared for fun. It’s a place to slop about on squishy sofas, dive into the DVD collection, binge your favourites on Netflix and Prime, stream superquick and set a soundtrack on the Bluetooth. Cook on the Aga, dine beneath the beams, crack open more wine. Make it a late one. Nobody’s watching.
Everything about Chalford Manor is discreet and tasteful. That all begins at first glance, as it peers at you from behind the conifers and a pair of pines. Beyond the electric gate sits three acres of parkland more English than Hugh Grant’s hairdo. Let the kids loose, kick a ball, test the trampoline, bring your dog and a frisbee.
Bring your cossie, too, because the 8m x 4m pool’s piping hot and nicely shaded. Dive in, splash around, lose a few hours. Towel off and hit a few topspin beauties on the tennis court, or just relax on the court-side bench with a glass of fizz or strawberries and cream, then it’s time to clack around with a little croquet. Finish the day off searing steaks in the evening sunshine and lazily drinking and dreaming on the terrace.
This is an Oxfordshire manor house that’s seen many a family celebration. Beneath its beautiful beams, generations have come together to dine and delight in spaces that invite comfortable relaxation and languorous laziness amid squishy sofas, generous fireplaces and ornate original features.
These are classical interiors with a comfortable, homely ambience. It’s a place of family portraits, casement windows and antiques. It’s got pots of class without ever being pretentious. Embrace the English charm, pour a Prosecco and settle back to nosey around Netflix or Prime, then slide out to the terrace.
Wifi’s superquick for streaming so bring your iPads and iPhones. Get some sounds going on the Bluetooth. Dabble with the DVD collection. Escape to quiet corners with books from the shelf. Chalford doesn’t just provide the base for celebrations and reunions: it wants to join in. And why not? The more the merrier.
Cook country-style on the Aga and fan oven. Serve up your steaming stews and summer salads beneath the beams on the 14-seat dining-room table in front of the homely ticking of the grandfather clock.
The kitchen comes equipped with microwave, dishwasher, and a toaster for midnight munchies. But if you fancy downing utensils, just say the word and we’ll send our chefs over for a one-off celebration or fully catered break. When you’re done and you’re loosening your belts, pop a pod in the Nespresso and sink into the sofas.
Eating al fresco? The table and chairs on the terrace sit beneath the big rural skies. Feed the coal barbecue with burgers and bangers, crack open the drinks and celebrate the summer. Or just trot over to The Black Horse for champagne and soufflé, or Mediterranean fish soup and jackfruit fritters.
Go gastro at The Thatch amid low beams, flagstone floors and plush armchairs. Head to the Six Bells for Dorset Texel lamb neck fillet or dry-aged sirloin. Pop to James Figg for honest pub food and a warm welcome. Really want to indulge? Tuck into the gourmet genius of Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Bedrooms here are light and airy and cosset you in a warm, cosy charm. Sleep like a log in the rural silence and wake to a view of ancient oaks and rolling parkland.
The master bedroom is a kingsize with TV, while bedroom two is a superking with handy sink. Bedroom three offers a double with sink and bedroom four is a single with sink. On the top floor, the Girls Room is a twin, as is the Boys’ Room. You’ll also find two further singles up there for children and another single on the ground floor.
After the exciting approach culminating in the ceremonial opening of the automatic gates, the myriad wonders of the grounds open up. The elephant in the parkland is, of course, the pool. Toastily heated and measuring eight metres by four, it’ll keep kids splashing until sundown.
If you can fish them out of the pool, you’ll find more diversions among the three acres of lush beauty. Gather the whole family together for a game of doubles on the brand new all-weather tennis court or just sit back, relax and supervise a kids game from the court-side bench. Find the trampoline and bounce away the day. Kick a ball around the lawn. Try a little cricket or croquet.
Inside, the fun keeps on coming. Dig out a DVD, disappear with a book or take time out with the toys. Stream and surf on the superfast wifi. Don’t miss a minute of your favourite shows on Netflix and Prime. Add a little musical merriment with the Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen.
Toddlers and tots in tow? We have cots and high chairs. And if your kids can’t be separated from their four-legged best pal, bring them along. Two dogs are more than welcome.