Gentlemen once doffed their hats to ladies in Kelmscott’s tranquil lanes. And William Morris lived here and called it Heaven on Earth. Just three dozen limestone cottages dot the Cotswold landscape, where the Thames potters by and time is an abstract concept, measured only by pints in The Plough and the gentle dipping of the sun.
In the sleepy epicentre sits Church Cottage, sleeping 12 next to St George’s churchyard and admiring the patchwork fields. Come here to break the hectic rhythm of life, to splash away your cares in the pool, to eat clean from Daylesford Organic, and to reconnect with family around the carved-stone table or out on the terrace.
Settle down at night to dip into Sky Movies or tap into the unlimited superfast broadband. Raid the bookcase and escape to the second lounge. Fire up the Bose Bluetooth. Pop a pod in the Nespresso. Stay up late, sleep deeply to the sound of the wind among St George’s leaves, then make it a lazy morning. No one’s keeping score.
There’s up to three-quarters of an acre out there. In the shadow of the church, the garden’s built for croquet and cricket, for picnics on the lawn and for kids to let off steam without screens.
The views roll forever, but your attention might be held by the outdoor heated pool, weighing in at eight metres by five. Let the kids go wild and watch hours disappear.
The furnished terrace extends the living space outdoors. It’s the perfect stage for barbies in the sunshine, gin beneath the stars, and the love and laughter that echoes in the still rural air.
Pick from two living rooms. One for late nights around Sky Movies, board games, cards and charades; one for escape with a book and some Bluetooth music on the Bose system. Throw another log on the fire, find a film, pour a Prosecco and settle back on the squishy sofas.
It’s impossible not to chill here among the tasteful renovations. Pad barefoot across wooden floors, surrounded by clapboard touches and muted tones on the wall. Original beams contrast with colourful blinds and fabrics that former Kelmscott resident William Morris would approve of.
If the inside space isn’t enough, the luxury and sense of space continues outdoors. The huge terrace comes fully furnished, with lounge seating on one side, dining table and chairs on the other. Get out there to light the barbie, pour a little Prosecco or watch ancient stars zip across the dark skies.
At the back of the house, a modern extension provides a sunroom beneath soaring glass that works as an open-plan kitchen and dining area. You’ll get a dozen around the huge table with its stone-carved legs and zinc top. Use it for sumptuous suppers with clean eating from Daylesford Organic or The Butts in South Cerney.
If you’re the one wearing the whites, you’ll love the kitchen, with its modern grey units, induction hobs and huge fridges. Is there a larder? Of course there’s a larder.
Fall out of the door and you’re in The Plough, a cosy place with log-burning stove and pommel-horse seating in the bar. Head over to the restaurant for beef and Guinness pie, Kelmscott sausages or a ground-beef quarter-pounder. Or try the The Bell at Langford which focuses on delicious simple pub food.
Lighter bites are on offer at the Buscot Tearooms, with its oversized walnut cake, salted-caramel ice cream and delightful garden to nibble them in. Grab a curry at Khushi, or try English classics at The Trout Inn, like wholetail Whitby scampi. Or go all-out for Michelin dining at the Mason Arms, home to smoky steaks and house burgers.
Church Cottage sleeps a maximum of 12 in serene silence, including up to four children. Choose from five en-suite bedrooms, tastefully adorned with bright patterns that would have gained William Morris’ approval. A small outhouse offers two bedrooms, perfect for small families.
Bedroom one provides twin singles with shower en-suite, while bedroom two sleeps two in a kingsize. There’s an en-suite with shower over the bath. Bedroom three in the guest wing is another kingsize with en-suite and bedroom four is a mezzanine sleeping four. Securing it will keep the kids competitive.
On the ground floor of the annex, bedroom five offers a kingsize bed with its own bathroom featuring a shower over a small bath. Bedroom six upstairs behind a glass balcony provides a kingsize bed with shower.