The lakeside terrace seems to run for miles at Longdoles Lodge. It’s like a boat deck, and you can drop a line from it for perch and tench. It’s beautiful and barbie-ready, but so stunning is this Lakes by Yoo Cotswold enclave that there might be even better features.
Longdoles Lodge is one of the quirkier of the 240 glamorous larch-built barns that ring the six freshwater lakes at Lechlade. Slip away here awhile and understand the power of water to calm and inspire.
Around you, the décor’s natural palette echoes the surroundings, accented with chic and contemporary pieces. Take your boat out on the lake. Set the soundtrack on your Sonos. Sleep uber-deep in soft-cotton beds. Eventually, a strange sensation will come over you. I believe they call it serenity.
The silence and serenity run deep here. This is a world where the inside merges with the out, in an endless run of floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Slip them aside and slip outside to the deck, for a break from the happy laughter and to stare mesmerised at the rippling water and the surfacing tench.
You can chuck out a line from the terrace and reel in your fish. Cook it yourself al-fresco for supper on the deck barbie in the lakeland air, to the backdrop of the wildfowl and the reed beds. Or smoke your catch at the Saturday Hook and Cook barbie and talk about the one that got away.
Get your cossy out and swim in the lake to feel truly alive, or arrive in style at the clubhouse in your rowing boat. You’ve your own lakeside garden here, but a bigger one awaits. The Lakes by Yoo is a 650-acre eco-site whose trails demand to be explored by bike or on foot.
Row your boat to the Orchard Spa to sample the heated pool, sauna, steam room and gym. For the kids, there’s Swallows-and-Amazons-style adventure on the tennis courts, in the tepees or on the trampoline. Better still, there’s noise to be made at the School of Rock or survival skills to be learned at Ben Fogle’s School of Wild.
The logs are crackling nicely in the bespoke burner. The floor-to-ceiling doors are parted to reveal the endless expanse of water, reed beds and rare birds. You’ve plumped the Andrew Martin sofas and you’re ready to sink deep and choose a movie. This is family time.
Of course, living spaces at Longdoles Lodge stretch to far more than just the sumptuous designer interiors. This is inside-out living and those tall glass doors are there to be slid aside, to welcome in the acres of pure Cotswold air and the calming sounds of nature.
But there’s plenty of interesting quirk around to keep your attention focused inwards. There are nooks and crannies for firing up the laptop, or just general escape. There’s a side table hewn from a tree trunk. A drum kit (maybe for School of Rock practice?). That bespoke logburner. And an opulent purple-velvet coffee table.
But the general air here is one of luxurious comfort, calm and outright sanity. Time stands still at Longdoles Lodge, just long enough for you to pause and admire the bucolic view, share some nachos on the sofa, talk about inconsequential things, and take a few selfies on the deck. Time you enjoy wasting is never wasted time.
The contemporary function and compelling design continue in the kitchen. Open to the living area, and open if you wish to the lake breeze and the call of the wildfowl out on the water, your kitchen comes with household-name appliances, such as NEFF, Dualit and DeLonghi. And you can chat as you chop on the island unit.
Of course, we’re happy to take the catering off your hands. Tuck into the cream of Cotswolds cuisine, with leading chefs from Gusto, Mint, Soushi and Cotswold Catering. At breakfast, we’ll chase the chickens to bring you Yoo farm eggs, pepper your porridge with berries or dates, and serve you uber-healthy cucumber juice.
We’ll keep the standard up all day long. For lunch, maybe you’ll choose a courgette and pepper salad? Kohlrabi and marinated mushrooms? Or squash soup or vegetarian chilli? Baklava and figs with bouja bouja ice-cream might follow, sloshed down with liberal herbal tea and all delivered from the white gloves of our butler.
Eating out here is a dream. Push the boat out and go for glory with a Michelin-starred tasting menu at the Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter. Or pop out to The Swan at Southrop, personally recommended by Ms MacPherson. Try succulent rib-eye steak with Roquefort butter in front of the crackling country fires.
The sleeping arrangements here are that you’ll doze like a dream. With your floor-to-ceiling window open to the cool night air and the gentle wash of the water from Longdoles Lake, sleep moves into new dimensions here. It becomes slumber.
Longdoles Lodge sleeps six to eight, the flexibility coming in the playroom, equipped with fun stuff for kids, plus an Andrew Martin sofa bed. But for grown-ups, it’s the vastness of the master suite that will capture your attention, encompassing a full run of fitted wardrobes and en-suite freestanding bath behind the pullback curtain.
Bedroom two comes with kingsize bed and a simple, elegant beauty. Bedroom three is the kid-friendly twin, with dolls’ houses amid the delightful elegance.
Awake refreshed, revitalised and ready to row, swim, fish, trek or bike your way through another wholesome day in your bucolic waterworld paradise.