Life here revolves around the lake. Not that the house itself is unimpressive. Walnut Tree Manor is a rural English gem embedded in a Cotswolds idyll, with wisteria that clings to its façade like a huge hoary beard and lawns primly poised for croquet. Sleeping 16, this is the perfect English retreat for wet, not wild, family celebrations.
Close to Chipping Camden in the honeystoned heart of the Cotswolds, Walnut Tree Manor comes embedded in 20 acres with a walled rose garden and summerhouse, the tantalising prospect of evening drinks in the Tortoise Garden, and a family history dating back to Elizabethan times. This ancestral home is old, very old, but far from outdated.
But back to the lake, a spring-fed affair that’s perfect for wild swimming. It’s a scene-stealer amid scenery that already steals the show. Hang out in the African-style boma and barbie your lake-caught trout on the bank. Take the rowing boat out; take up paddleboarding or spend hours lakeside at the fully equipped boathouse with kitchen and WC.
An ancient fruit farm gives you 20 acres of Cotswold parkland to enjoy and explore with unbroken views towards Broadway Tower. Gentle meandering will find apple, plum, pear and walnut orchards and a walled rose garden presided over by an open-sided summerhouse. Yoga mats, Peloton bike and weights at the ready.
When it comes to classic English country houses, Walnut Tree Manor holds all the aces. From the striped lawn and the wisteria that clings to the front façade, to evening drinks in the Tortoise Garden, it simply looks the part.
But it’s the lake here that’s the elephant in the grounds. Fed from a spring and surrounded by rushes and mature trees, it’s unignorable. Swim wild, take out the rowing boat, paddleboard. When you’re done, retreat to the African boma to barbecue your lake-caught trout and carp.
It’s the lake here that’s the elephant in the grounds. Fed from a spring and surrounded by rushes and mature trees, it’s unignorable. Swim wild, take out the rowing boat, paddleboard. When you’re done, retreat to the African boma firepit for a barbie supper with garnish from the herb garden and seats out on the lake jetty.
You’d be forgiven for never leaving this whole area (but try not to neglect the lovely house), especially when you find the seven-a-side footie pitch with two sets of nets. Double this up as a croquet lawn or boules pitch if you’re feeling more sophisticated. Fish for trout or carp with our tackle and cook it to perfection on the smoker.
There’s a whole holiday home in itself inside the boathouse. Stock up the American-style fridge-freezer with meat for the firepit, run hot water from the Belfast sink, chill your gin from the ice machine and refill your coffee cup from the Nespresso. Dunk your dirties in the dishwasher, help yourself to towels and pop to the loo whenever you need.
Congregate, celebrate and reinvigorate with your family and friends in living spaces straight out of EM Forster or Evelyn Waugh. The exterior hangs heavy with wisteria; the interior comes packed with period detail that works hand-in-hand with modern touches to create the perfect home-from-home.
Before you discover the hamper of local produce and cider, you’ll have marvelled at the oak-panelled hall and balustraded gallery dating back through centuries of same-family ownership. This is a warm place. Walnut Tree Manor’s homely hearths frame the flames that flicker across the landscape of your stay.
The Elizabethans didn’t have a cinema room or Netflix, but you do, as well as Amazon Prime Video and Now TV, care of an Amazon Firestick. Not to mention under-counter fridges for refreshments on the go. You can also stream as you please thanks to superfast WiFi.
Chill in the drawing-room. Head to the rose garden and uncurl the yoga mats for a spot of om in the rose garden summerhouse. Raid the bookcase and head to the boma to feed your soul with literature by the lake, lit by flames from the firepit. Watch sensational sunsets from the lounge. The dramatic spaces here are the perfect reset from the pace and the perils of modern life.
There’s everything you need in the compact, practical kitchen to rustle up a roast. But if you’d prefer to put your feet up, ask us about a range of in-house chefs right across the price points. Consider a one-off celebration or a fully catered break. They’ll even do the dishes when they’re done.
Cook on the gas range cooker with two ovens, grill, warming oven and seven-ring gas hob. Then eat around the dining table for 16 with the family portraits watching, with meat and veg from Meat Matters and Vegetable Matters in the village. Help yourself to cider and local treats from your welcome hamper.
Head outdoors to dine on the terrace beneath the big Cotswold skies or starry night. The boathouse by the lake houses a kitchen for al-fresco dining. Meanwhile, you can walk to the gorgeous beer garden and quality pub grub on offer at The Ebrington Arms, voted UK’s Best Village Pub by The Times.
Trek a little further for 7oz bavette steak or soy and treacle-glazed monkfish from The Churchill Arms, or to The Wild Rabbit, owned by Daylesford Organic, for fine dining that includes crispy duck egg, Cornish scallops and Wootton Estate venison Wellington. Restaurants? Try The Old Butcher’s in Stow for succulent steaks and fresh seafood.
Owned by the same family since 1476, Walnut Tree Manor has a homely family feel that extends to the bedrooms, with their swagged curtains, brick fireplaces, panelled walls and period furniture. Every generation has left its mark here – and a portrait. Walnut Tree Manor sleeps 16 in eight temptingly timeless bedrooms.
Every room has en-suite facilities, sleeps two and will take a cot. Bedrooms one to four are superkings, while bedrooms five and six are twins, with flexibility to create doubles. Bedrooms seven and eight offer fixed twins.
Sleep deeply in an English rural idyll. In the heart of the Cotswolds, only the plash of the night birds on the lake can ripple the rural hush.
Make some memories for your kids in the middle of a Cotswolds fruit farm, where they can wander the apple, plum, pear and walnut orchards, discover a new part of the building or area of the garden every day, and get very, very wet and muddy messing about in the outdoor play area and the trout and carp lake.
Pack your wellies and cossies, because life at Walnut Tree Manor revolves around the spring-fed lake. Wild swimming has never been more popular and there’s nowhere better to do it than here, with a stone African boma by the bank in which to dry off and barbie any fish you caught with the lines we provide.
As well as wild swimming, you can head to the boathouse to take out the rowing boat, or paddleboard your way across the water. Packed with vitamin D and healthy doses of mud, these are holidays that pre-date the Internet age. Not that you can’t share your wet and wild memories on Insta.
Towelled off and back inside the manor house, there are movies to watch in the cinema room on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV. Stream on the superfast WiFi, even in the baothouse. Or bag a book from the bookcase and escape the madness a while. At night, it’s back to the boma to sit around the firepit and add more to the memory bank.