Swallows Croft positively drips with honeyed Cotswold beauty. Sitting among a grove of fruitful perry trees, this is five bedrooms-worth of soulful charm, peaceful contemplation and stout walking. Head down to Winchcombe, the kind of place where you place a pound in an honesty box for half a dozen eggs, and lace up your boots.
If you could hear Swallows Croft, it would be the sound of silence punctuated by the trill of a goldfinch. If you could taste it, it would be a hearty winter stew or a summer salmon salad on the terrace washed down with a crisp Pinot Grigio. You can do all that here, thanks to the six-burner range cooker and delicious raised patio.
Inside, the lush never lets up. Stock up from Food Fanatics deli, cook in the spacious, sociable kitchen, and eat in the panelled dining room with its roaring logs and the farmhouse table that also offers after-dinner snooker. Play table football in the snug, chat around the stove in the main sitting room, soak up the garden views. Hide the key.
The garden is beautiful, with wild flowers and private pathways, but it’s the outdoor spa area that steals its thunder. With a wall-mounted 34” TV sitting above the eight-person, wood-fired hot tub, you’re going to be mighty crinkly when you emerge. If and when you do, you’ll probably want to wander into the sauna to sizzle awhile.
Shower off, then play a little ping-pong and gather on the rattan chairs around the firepit. Let the kids loose on the swings, be forever England with croquet. Eat al-fresco on the raised sun terrace around the ten-seat handmade dining table, with meat seared on the gas barbecue. Watch your dog doesn’t pinch the sausages. Pass the Prosecco.
Relax amid exposed-stone walls, calming neutrals and baskets of logs ready to load onto the fire to fuel your next late-night chinwag. Tune in to Netflix on the 65” smart TV in front of the cosy stone fireplace in the snug. Or try alternative viewing on the 55-incher in the sitting room.
With your wellies baking in the wet room, repair to the sitting room with its sociable spaces dotted with two two-seater sofas and three three-seaters. Open the French doors to the garden, choose a match or a movie, and throw another log on the fire. Wiggle your toes, butter the scones, pass the popcorn.
Cosy and cottagey though this may be, the tech’s never in question. The Wi-Fi streams at 80Mbs and you will have music wherever you go, thanks to portable Bluetooth. Raid the games and retro games console in the snug, twist your wrists on the table football, then head to the dining room for a quick dining table/pool table conversion.
In your gob-smackingly gorgeous kitchen, you can cook on the electric range oven, electric oven, microwave and gas hob. Backing that up, you’ve got a wine fridge, milk fridge, American-style fridge/freezer, dishwasher, utility room, coffee grinder and butler’s sink. Just passing? Grab a Nespresso on the sit-up island with four stools.
Ten guests? The dining room’s got you covered with the chunky farmhouse table. When you’re done, whip off the top and get the snooker cues out. Keep the fire fed and your glass topped up. You’ll do fine in the cottage garden, too. Raid Food Fanatics for meat, then break out the gas barbie and sit out in the Cotswold sunshine.
Walk, wander or stagger back from the log-lit Royal Oak, Gretton, with its hearty pub fare and pay-and-play tennis court. Tackle some sea trout or pork belly at The Lion in Winchcombe, with veg from local village gardens. Or head to The White Hart in Winchcombe for home-cooked local food, good wines and Fuller’s award-winning ales.
Try Buckland Manor for a country-house experience and fine dining. Or go finer and try the stellar taste of Michelin stars. 5 North Street is just along the road, run by Gus, who trained under Michel Roux and once cooked for President Yeltsin in The Kremlin. Today, he’ll cook creedy carver duck breast or Winchcombe partridge, just for you.
There’s five tasteful bedrooms to sink into here. Slide in between crisp sheets and try to get up in the morning. Don’t worry: breakfast is served at whenever o’clock and there’s a lovely rolltop bath in the main bathroom to drape a lazy leg over.
The en-suite master bedroom offers a superking bed with zip-and-link facility. Spoil yourself with the attached dressing room. The Green and Blue en-suite bedrooms provide king-size beds, while the Wallpaper bedroom offers a superking zip-and-link. The Picture bedroom comes with two single zip-and-link beds.