Chilling out comes built-in at Chillstone House. It’s there in the name. It’s also there in the burning logs and the big sofas of the drawing room. In the bright, sunny, brunch-ready morning room. In the teen-perfect Chillzone. And in the 16-seat dining room open to the terrace and the outdoor pool.
Outdoor pool? Oh yes. It’s heated and huge and set amid walls crawling with bamboo and palm. Get your gear on in the changing room, laze on the loungers, hide from the sun in the straw-topped cabana in the corner. This is rural Wiltshire but squint only slightly and the setting is more Mediterranean than Melksham.
Flawless for friends and family, Chillstone House sleeps 16 in Wiltshire’s best-kept secret. Nearly within earshot of the bubbling springs of Bath, Chillstone offers recuperation and relaxation on the rocks after an invigorating hike up Roundway Hill or a climb through the Caen Hill locks.
Follow the long private drive to the entrance, with your wheels crunching satisfyingly over gravel. Everything here is neatly ordered, with prim grass and striking feature stones. Pinch yourself: this is your home.
Explore the two-and-a-half acres, plan a picnic, enjoy the evening sunset from the west-facing house. Dial up some wow in the 17-metre heated outdoor pool. Let the kids splash, squeak and giggle their day away, as you soak up the sun on the loungers, then shower off in the Med-style pool house and showers.
Chat, play games or take a pre-prandial tipple on the giant sofas in the drawing room, beneath the beams and the spotlights. Set the tone for the evening with a crackling fire in the huge hearth and a deft raid on the bookshelves. In summer, crack open the doors to the garden and let the fresh air filter in.
But Chillstone House is good for solitary escapes as well as gregarious gatherings: off the kitchen, the morning room’s another place to turn outside in and inside out. The sunny, bright, lemon furnishings suck in the sunshine. Start the day here with coffee, repair here for brunch, binge a box set, and slide out to the garden.
Mix of grown-ups and kids? Need some peace? Welcome to the Chillzone, home to spotlights, squishy sofas designed for a good sprawl, and garden access. Retire to the drawing room for drinks, snacks and chatter, while the kids raid the 55” TV for Freeview channels or plug in their Nintendos.
For real sports action, head out to the garage for table tennis. Or just chill in the rural silence. As befits a wedding venue, rooms here are large, tasteful and opulent, like the reception spaces you sink into in the grandest hotels. Except here, your guests are handpicked. Get to know them again amid the grandeur.
You’ll get 16 around the dining table to butter your bread, share wine and natter about your day at the hot springs in Bath. Feed everyone with stews and soups from the Aga and range cooker with electric hob. Or maybe slide out to the terrace table and chairs to dine and drink beneath big blue skies.
Stock up your two fridge-freezers with fresh meat and locally frown veg from local VP Collins Farm Shop. Red, white or rose can be pre-ordered from Vintage Roots organic wine specialist ready for your arrival. Call up local supermarkets for deliveries, or tuck into takeaways from Taste of Bengal or Deedar. And wrap things up with coffee from the cafetieres.
Eat out at The George at Sandy Lane on pan-fried scallops, fresh fishcakes or slow-roasted, boneless crispy chicken thighs. Head to the Peppermill for anything from a 16oz Chateaubriand to a vegan-cheddar cheeseburger. Or head a little further to try the Millstream’s medallions of pork with honey and wholegrain mustard or wholetail Cornish scampi.
Wander into Rowde for a walk, a welcome beer and devilled lamb kidneys, chargrilled ribeye steak, or seafood delivered daily from Cornwall’s St Mawes at the award-winning George & Dragon. For a more laid back affair, grab some pub grub and a Wadworth beer whilst you get stuck into live TV sports at The Crosskeys.
No bad-choice bedrooms here, with accommodation offered over eight bedrooms for up to 16 people. Renovations are often thoughtful and tasteful, but these come with a sumptuous grace that’ll leave you loathe not to lie in.
The main bedroom, a four-poster suite, offers an elegant, calming space complete with dressing room and en-suite bathroom. Soft furnishings and crisp white linen add to the sense of sophisticated elegance.
Bedroom two is an en-suite double with views of the garden and the Wiltshire countryside. Bedroom three is a family suite perfect for adults with children, teenagers, or four adults. It’s a unique space offering its own entrance plus family flexibility and coffee and tea-making facilities.
The balcony bedroom is a delightful double with a large balcony begging you to take breakfast as you hang over the gardens, or end the day with a G&T under pink skies. Bedroom five, six and seven are good-sized doubles offering enchanting views of the gardens and countryside.
Kids will love it when you wend your way through the winding lanes of Wiltshire to reach your destination. West-Country holidays are one of the essential building blocks of an English childhood, and the hedgerows and rolling hills will make it a reality. Ride out the calls of ‘Are we there yet?’ with a few rounds of My Grandma Went to Market.
As your car crunches on the gravel, the kids will spill out and the battle of the bedrooms begins. You’ll want the master suite and you might have to put your foot down over the four-poster. The balcony room is another draw, but all options are good here. You can bounce on any bed, after all.
Between May and September, the main focus of your days will be the heated outdoor pool. Measuring in at 17 metres by eight, it’s no minnow and sits in its own walled space flanked by bamboo and palm. Splash the days away and wrap up events in a warm towel with an ice cream or two in the cabana in the corner.
Inside, the vast drawing room comes with giant sofas, homely fire and an invitation to stay up way past bedtime and play cards or charades. For Freeview TV, head out to the morning room or the Chillzone, ideal for teenagers who roll their eyes at grown-up chatter and perk up at the idea of zoned-out sounds or a space to park their Nintendo.