No hens, no stags. Just old Cotswold stone, hearty family fun, beds for 22 and the chilled silence of a hundred hills. It’s a hush broken at Hunthill Farmhouse only by the clink of well-charged glasses on the terrace. Settle back in the bubbles beneath birdsong and the big skies of the Forest of Dean.
Inside, all is equally calm, save the thud of darts and the clack of pool balls in the games room, and the slosh of cocktails in the reggae bar. Two lazy lounges come with opulent touches and soft sofas to sink into after a day following the forest trails. Burn some wood, chew the fat, top up your glass.
Bury yourself in box sets on the smart TVs and on BT Sports in the games room. Order your groceries online, call up our private chef, pop out to the pub. Come home to the flagstone floors, the cosy beams and the lavish bathrooms, and a place so homely it feels rude not to be here at Christmas. Now there’s a thought.
It all begins in grand style, with the wide reception hall offering up a charming, weather-beaten flagstone-tile floor and a feature staircase. Beyond that, Hunthill Farmhouse is all Grade II-listed elegance, with reception rooms that are case studies in bulging bookcases, squishy sofas and period detail.
You’ll find two large lounges on the ground floor, both laced with opulence and that grand country-house feel that lives on only in pockets of rural England and in the pages of upmarket magazines. Sink into the sofas, fire up the flatscreen TVs, bag a book or two, get some logs crackling, and pile into some Netflix epics.
If the party’s petering out early, keep the spirit alive by heading up to the second-floor games room. Here lies entertainment central. Grab a drink from the reggae bar, throw some arrows, shoot some pool or pull up a beanbag and get the footy up on the screen. If leaving seems like too much trouble, leather double sofa beds are the answer.
Hunthill Farmhouse offers the ultimate English escape, in traditional rooms enhanced with modern technology, including wifi. You’ll half-expect a butler to appear. Fire up the logs, pick a movie from the pile of DVDs or Netflix, top up your glasses and put your feet up. The world can wait: you have memories to make.
With a kitchen this big and this fab, a team effort’s on the cards. Acres of worktop area come with an elegant island the size of Oz. Whip up your stuff on the Rangemaster oven and hob, microwaves and slow cooker. Stock the fridges with goodies from Jane’s Pantry and Ben Morton Meats and wash it all down with wine from Vinotopia.
Tuck into your morning eggs around the kitchen table or on stools at the central island. Make it a more-formal affair in the evening around the dining table beneath the chandelier. But don’t skimp on the wine. Or, better still, the Bolly. For the full holiday feeling, take it out to the chairs and table on the terrace.
If you’d rather put your feet up than put a roast on, call up Taste Catering or Dineindulge for the private-chef experience: everything from a bespoke one-off celebration to a fully catered break. Or hop out to the Lyon Inn for kohlrabi fettuccini or aged longhorn fillet steak.
In Hardwicke, the Pilot Inn offers everything from wraps, baps and sandwiches to light bites, burgers and classic mains. Or sample a grill night or vegan treats from the Red Hart Inn at Blasidon. To push the boat out, book ahead for Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham.
The seven bedrooms here are plush and posh, bursting with original features such as brick fireplaces and ceiling beams, plus great modern touches such as freestanding baths.
On the first floor, pick from two quadruple rooms both with four singles that convert to two kingsize beds through zip-and-links, one twin room with two single zip-and-links (or one kingsize). A connecting door takes you through to another double with en-suite shower room and WC.
On the second floor, you’ll find one triple room comprising a double and a single, a double room and a quadruple with four singles that convert to two kingsize through zip-and-link.
Soak yourself silly in two luxury bathrooms. The family version on the first floor comes with rolltop bath and walk-in shower and, on the second floor, your luxury bathroom features a bath and separate shower.