Take the winding lanes past the nature reserve, close by the source of the Severn, and enter a different world. This is a place where your tyres crunch slowly over gravel drives, where croquet is still played over G&T, where the silver is always polished, and where high tea is served in summer on immaculate lawns.
You’re invited to join this world at six-bedroom Osborne House, just a happy wander away from the Cotswold Way. It’s a special place, but not a precious one. There’s a homely feel to the chunky kitchen table, the warm décor, the toys in the children’s rooms and the garden play area.
Catch a movie on Sky TV. Fire up the Nuvo sound system. Cook up a storm on the Aga. Eat in the elegant dining room or on the terrace under the parasol. Set the logs ablaze in the living room. Play cards or games. Be reminded of the joy of great company in a special setting.
Osborne House is soft on the inside with a hard, crispy shell, but it might be the tasty three acres on the outside that’ll linger longest on the palate. There are spaces here for kids to play, for grown-ups to gather and for everyone to be oh-so-English.
These lawns were made for cricket and croquet. Or perhaps you’d prefer to spread out a picnic blanket and make with the cucumber sandwiches and Pimm’s? While you go all English garden party, your kids will be being kids in the play area, with the Wendy house, swings and climbing frame. Or chasing the chickens.
There are secluded terraces out here that make al-fresco dining under the willows and parasols an art form. Get out the salad bowl, fire up the barbie and uncork a chilled Chablis in the sunshine.
Step into a Laura Ashley catalogue. Sofas are deep and cosy; curtains swag; cornicing is deep; cushions, throws and rugs abound. There’s a fire to be lit, games to be played, tales to be told.
There’s a sense of history here, yet the mod cons are all around. There’s high-speed BT wifi to save your data, a Nuvo sound system with a control panel in every room, and Sky TV on three TVs with DVD players, for family get-togethers over movies and popcorn.
For grown-up escapes, the study should do nicely. Kids will be happy with the toys and games in the playroom. Be apart, come together: Osborne House does both beautifully.
The country kitchen comes with butler sink and Aga, but it also comes with high-back armchair and footstool, so you can chop while you chat. You can breakfast here over juice and croissants around the chunky table, with the light flooding in through the sash window.
If you’d rather be in the hot tub than a hot kitchen, get out of it. We can lay on caterers as happy to prepare a one-off celebration as a fully catered break. We can even provide a butler. So take your seat on the velvet chairs in the dining room with its dramatic period features as we light the candles and butter the bread.
Out and about, the Old Badger Inn sits close enough to the canal towpath to work off your confit duck Nicoise or the pan-roasted bream fillets. For pizza and pasta, and a fair selection of ‘carne’, try Sorrento’s. For an authentic taste of the Mediterranean, it has to be No. 23 Bistro.
Dinner at Six at Stroud serves home-made, seasonal fare. Tuck into hearty classics such as lamb rump and ribeye steak. Go gastro at The Frocester, or soak up the rustic charm of The Old Fleece, with its roaring fire in winter and terrace in summer. For Michelin-starred magic, try Le Champignon Sauvage or the Butcher’s Arms.
The upstairs landing is practically a room by itself. It leads to six bedrooms and two family bathrooms. Each room is as sumptuous as the last, with heavy curtains, glinting chandeliers and stunning views.
The master bedroom is a double, sleeping two, while bedroom two provides a double with an extra two truckle beds. Bedroom three is a double with en-suite, while bedroom four is a superking with the option of converting to zip-and-link twins. Bedroom five is a double plus sofa bed, and bedroom six is a double. Two more guests can be accommodated on a double sofa bed available in the play room.
In the comfort and safety of the grounds, kids have their pick of a variety of distractions, from the fenced playground with Wendy house and swings to the lush, flat lawns. The gardens are perfect for football, cricket and croquet. Or let them find their own adventures. With more than three acres to play with, they’ll want for nothing.
With bedroom decorations, entertainment features and toys they’ll love, Osborne House is the perfect family home away from home, with all the room you’ll need both inside and out for a variety of special gatherings, al fresco dining and endless fun.
When the beauty and intrigue of the Cotswolds draws you away from the house for a while, you’ll do well to fit in just a sample of what’s on offer. Kids will love running around at Magicland and Cattle Country. If you want to mix in some history and education, visit the Corinium Museum in Cirencester. Or get up close to the animals at the Cotswold Farm Park, Cotswold Wildlife Park and Bristol Zoo.