France Lynch is a Cotswold village straight off an old chocolate box, but the contents are much less hit and miss. In among the honeyed-limestone sweetness sits the praline truffle: Cotswold Valley Court. It’s a five-bedroom berth for happy family holidays dating from 1650 but looking very much 2018.
Cotswold Valley Court comes dressed in traditional Cotswold stone, but there’s a level of designer luxury here denied to the Jacobeans. Sleeping 14, it comes with contemporary shower rooms and kitchen, oak doors, artfully exposed brick walls and newly treated beams. Expect freestanding baths, glossy tiles and glinting spotlights.
Cook on three state-of-the art ovens, dine out in fairytale country pubs, kick a ball on the lawn, find the kids’ play area. Catch a film on fast fibre-optic broadband, dock your iPod and sing along, get cosy around the roaring fire. Walk, fish, play some golf, chat, chill, savour the silence. Stay here and feel as fully restored as the house.
Step outside, climb the steps to the garden and be struck by the endless wash of rolling green against the big blue sky. There are three acres here of cock-eyed hillside, with the village set into the side of the valley in the distance.
Sit in serene silence with a book on elevated sunbeds above the drive, or drink or dine around the rattan tables that pepper the grounds. Cook on coal or gas barbecues, and chill your drink top-ups from the kitchen ice machine.
Kick a ball around the lawns, let the kids blow off steam in the play area, try a little croquet or cricket in summer, bring your pooch and follow the trails into the woods. Relax and merge gracefully with nature.
Light the candles, get the logs burning and settle back on the squishy sofas beneath the oak beams, in front of the exposed-stone walls. The coffee machine is ready to rumble. Cotswold Valley Court rambles away in posh and perfect English, but this is one family-friendly renovation.
This is a manorial home from Jacobean times. But there’s nothing old school about the free fibre-optic broadband. So tap into box sets or social media, or gather around the living-room TV for family-friendly films on the Blu-ray. Or plump the cushions, dock your iPod and break out the cards or books.
Stay at Cotswold Valley Court and you’ll live like kings and queens in the lap of luxury. Enjoy the clean walls and the oak doors, the rugs on the floor and the books on the coffee table. Be together, be apart. Be utterly content.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and this one bubbles and boils with homely warmth. Cook up your country concoctions on three ovens, five gas rings and a microwave. Or, better still, let us do it. Put your feet up, take your apron off and invite our chefs to pamper you.
Eat beneath the chandelier and the oak beams, around the dining table, good for 16 hungry bellies. Or get out to the terrace and get the coal and gas barbies going and the corks popping. Sit around the rattan tables and soak up the valley views as you butter your bread beneath big skies. Load the dishwasher and raid the coffee machine.
Stock up on fresh, seasonal stuff from Nailsworth or Stroud farmers’ markets, or pop to Tesco Express for everyday essentials. Eat out at The Ragged Cot in Stroud, or The Bell at Sapperton, for leek and potato soup, maple pork ribeye and plenty of fireside
Go Italian at Sorrento or La Campagna, or try the seared pigeon breast or duo of roasted duck at Dinner at Six. Munch on something Middle Eastern at Falafel Mama, or beak your walk along the canal with tea and cakes at the Upper Lock Café. Or pop to the King’s Head, full of rural charm and rustic character, and just a short stagger home.
Bedrooms here come with deep mattresses, original oak beams and refurbished en-suites with clawfoot baths and power showers. Glossy tiling, spotlights and brushed chrome abound. Most rooms have garden views. Open your window and let the sound of silence lull you into a delicious sleep.
Bedroom one is a good-sized double with state-of-the-art en-suite, while bedroom two offers a kingsize bed and en-suite bathroom with bath. Bedroom three is a family room with a superking plus two singles and en-suite bathroom with bath. It’s a similar stunning story in bedroom four.
Bedroom five is an en-suite deluxe double with two singles. Nod off with your favourite soap on the wall TV, just like in a hotel, but with guests you’ve picked yourself.