The allure of the English country cottage is strong; whether you seek privacy, space, or a chance to commune with nature, there are plenty of good reasons to choose a break in Blighty. Particularly if you’re travelling with children, the chance to skip a trip to the airport is difficult to resist.
And there are myriad reasons to head to the Cotswolds: the villages look as if they have strayed into the 21st century from another era, and about 80 per cent of the area remains farmland; it’s a chance for your family to visit traditional England, in many ways. And yet, amid this glorious nature comes a contemporary life which our Cotswolds expert, Harriet O’Brien, characterises as “gentle dynamism” – with plenty of fabulous food and Farrow & Ball colours on the side.
But committing to an English cottage holiday can often feel like playing a game of roulette: faced with thousands of properties on hundreds of websites, how can you tell which one to choose? Our experts have visited dozens of cottages around the country in recent months.
Here are their favourite self-catering cottages in the Cotswolds:
Set in a handsome village in the mid Cotswolds, this three-bedroom property sleeps six and offers the option of an extra pull-out bed in a bedroom well devised for children.
This is a wonderfully arcadian retreat. Four very stylish cottages have been fashioned from former barns (one sleeps six, the others eight each).
The house is part of a well-devised gated holiday village in a 450-acre nature reserve about six miles south of Cirencester.
What an impressively high-spec house. The Orchard is newly – and beautifully – refurbished, yet (thanks in no small part to a terrific housekeeping team) families with any-age children are more than welcome, dogs too.
There’s a generous sense of space at this pretty terrace cottage, which is a very short walk from the historic centre of Tetbury.
Ideal for larger groups, this house lies down a long driveway in a blissfully rural location and offers far-reaching views over a glorious valleyfrom the terrace of its swimming pool.
Eco-luxury, plenty of space and great style are the main selling points of this four-bedroom, two-sitting room house which sleeps eight (with additional sofa beds).
This old stone property has a wonderfully rural setting in a hamlet surrounded by rolling farmland. A narrow three-storey building, it offers two bedrooms sleeping four, with further accommodation possible on a sofa bed.
A three-bedroom, 18th-century terrace property in the oldest part of Chipping Norton, Chippy Cottage has been recently renovated to exceptionally high standards and is now a cosily soothing retreat furnished in creams and featuring old beams and exposed stonework.
Westley Farm’s 75 acres are sublimely beautiful and home to five cottages and a central farmhouse from which owners Julian and Hege Usborne welcome guests and introduce them to the considerable glories of the area.