Big beautiful holiday homes in the Cotswolds present big problems. For example, the lovely Churchill Arms is just a short stroll away. The honeyed-limestone high street, wool church, tea rooms and country inns of Chipping Campden just down the road. And the glorious Cotswold Way wanders idly past.
Beyond the pretty picket, big Cotswold skies sit in synch with the wide-open spaces below. Oak House brings a feeling of unfettered freedom, a release from responsibility peppered with untaxing tasks. Like shutting the woodburner at bedtime. Ensuring you have a fresh granary loaf. Making sure you packed the kids’ water wings.
Water wings? Oh yes. That’ll be for the six-sided open-air heated pool. Jump in, chill out, but don’t towel off just yet. There’s the hot tub to explore first. Clink glasses in the bubbles, then it’s off to the games shed. Fussball, pool, or just a little man (or woman)-cave downtime with a book and a head full of dreams? Your holiday. Your call.
Inside, spaces are equally sumptuous. Two giant living areas come awash with sofas and sheepskin rugs. Dig out the Lego, the pirate ships, the Trivial Pursuit and the dolls’ house. Or just fiddle with the Skybox until something fantastic pops up. Bed down amid goose-down duvets and heavy curtains. Try to get up tomorrow.
If the terrace were a monster, it would gobble up the whole of the North Cotswolds. But wait, it is a monster. A yeti of a thing. A south-facing yeti. Get the barbie going, uncork the wine, stare dreamily at the picket fence and the hills beyond. Life could be worse.
Could it be better? Well, the heated outdoor pool, hexagonal and sheltered by hornbeam and yew hedging, is a good start. Jump in, chill out, then heat things up with a slow simmer in the hot tub.
Find a secluded sun trap in the courtyard garden. Escape to the games room, with its pool and fussball. Let kids loose in the adventure playground with treehouse and trampoline. Take a picnic down to the brook. Thank the owner for child-friendly touches – like the super-safe picket fence and the heavy pool cover.
Living areas here are as big as the skies that offer up more than Britain’s average share of blue. The first of two living areas uses its acreage to offer up a warm oasis of sprawly sofas and sheepskin rugs. Dotted about are kiddies’ books, Lego, a pirate ship, a dolls’ house. Oh, and a huge TV. Play around with the Skybox until something pops up.
Lift your eyes from the Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble long enough and you’ll find floor-to-ceiling windows that capture the valley on one side and the small enclosed garden on the other. Let the designer lighting set the mood and the underfloor heating warm your toes. Want something different? Stars and birds sit at the end of the telescope.
Take the corridor past bathroom number five to the second living area. Throw another log on the fire to create Cosy Central, along with the squishy sofas and chairs, the table for twelve and the delicious kitchen. This is your escape within an escape. It’s a simple, clean world of oatmeal colours, rugs and flickering flame. It’s a spa for the soul.
Oak House comes fully loaded for family fun. But when the kids’ toys are packed away, the wine is uncorked and the cheese and biscuits appear, its clean lines, heavy doors and neutral tones exude a zen-like calm that’s designed to refresh and recharge even the most agitated of adults.
The range cooker overlooks the valley. But nothing else has been overlooked. You’ve a gas oven, electric oven, gas hob, two dishwashers, large fridge, freezer, wine fridge and a central island workspace for sociable, wine-sloshing simmering and stirring. But if you want our chefs to step in, just say the word and hand over the whites.
Book a one-off celebration or a fully catered break. It’s your holiday and your call. We can even drop off dishes ready for the oven and feed the dishwasher when we’re done. Eat in the kitchen-diner with the big windows offering UHD Cinemascope on the surrounding hills. Or head out to the terrace for a barbie.
For delicious deli, head to the Cotswold Food Store and Café, home to locally sourced fruit and veg delivered daily. Pop in to Cacao Bean to slurp a cappuccino, guzzle the famous Moreton Mess, chocolate Eclairs or gluten-free orange polenta cakes. Or break up the day in The Cotswold Tearoom with a pot and a scone.
Sample the meat from Todenham Farm, just a mile up the road, at The Black Bear Inn. Heat things up in The Spice Room. Enjoy the great coffee, luxury hot chocolate and local beers in the Yellow Brick Café, a foodie paradise that’s all heart. Or for paradise on a plate, try Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham.
There’s so much to do in the Cotswolds. But we’ll forgive you if you simply sink into the pocket-sprung, goose-downed, pillow-rich serenity of the four bedrooms and never emerge. Do tell us if you find former guests in there.
Every bedroom comes with luxurious en-suite bath or shower room with all the trimmings. You’ll find the four Oak House bedrooms grouped around the beautiful south-facing courtyard garden.
You’ve got heavy curtains and deep doors, so you won’t be disturbed. But set your alarm, just so that you actually prise yourself away from the sumptuous feel of deep sleep amid the sweet singing of the birds.
Kids’ enthusiasm can wane on holiday. The excited ‘Are we there yet?’ can soon become ‘Can we go home now?’. But not here. Oak House is a haven of fresh air and fun. It all begins, and continues daily, down in the paddocks beyond the sun terrace on the adventure playground.
Here, six-year-olds can be six-year-olds and 16-year-olds can pretend they are, because no one’s looking. They’ll invade the two-storey playhouse and wear out the wooden climbing frame, trampoline, swings and slide. In the summer, we’ll mow paths through the long grass, for the perfect natural playground.
Opposite the pool terrace, the garden room is a games room, packed with fun stuff for toddlers to teenagers. Shoot some pool, twiddle your way to a fussball victory, let the kids be kids in their own cave with tons of great playstuff, while you settle back with a book or a pair of noise-cancelling, stress-busting headphones.
If you want to tackle the technology overload, take the kids down to the brook for a picnic and play Pooh sticks on the bridge. Say hi to the heron catching its trout supper.