Extraordinary Escapes in the Cotswolds
- Credit: Mark Watts/Unique Homestays
Extraordinary Escapes, presented by Sandi Toksvig on Channel 4 uncovers hidden getaways from all across the country. Here, we visit a ‘rough-luxe’ romantic ivy-clad stone cottage hidden on a forgotten fruit farm in the Malvern Hills, together with three other exceptional homes on our doorstep
Looking at first like an overgrown, tumbledown ruin of a barn, Wishbone is a whimsical and romantic hideaway for two that takes the rough-luxe concept to the max. Hidden within the remains of an ancient fruit farm in the Malvern Hills, this bewitching little 16th-century cottage retains many original features to create a cosy and timeless interior.
Nestled into a rambling, Eden-like setting, with a private fishing lake and acres of fields, this ivy-covered escape is an example of unkempt perfection. Hiding within ancient stone walls, tangled with tendrils of foliage, is a luxurious interior where snuggly blankets, plump sofa and a log-burner bring a superior level of comfort to a very cosy little nest, the perfect place to retreat back to after a day’s walking.
The Grade II-listed property belongs to what was initially a livestock farm, owned by the Earl of Beauchamp, but which was changed to a fruit farm in 1919. Some of the orchard trees remain, bursting into vibrant pink blossom in May, and guests can scrump away happily, helping themselves to the bountiful fruit and herbs that grow here.
Owners Mervyn and Niki have been slowly and sympathetically restoring since the 1990s, carefully preserving original wattle-and-daub panels, exposed timber beams and a fabulous brick floor. They’ve upcycled and collected vintage items over the years to complement the rustic setting placing a farmhouse table and jaunty little cupboards among modern textiles and a neat kitchen in muted grey, which shares the zoned open-plan living area.
‘It’s a creative space; there’s all sorts of things to trigger the imagination,’ commented comedian Jenny Éclair during her visit for the show.
A king-size bedroom is located on the ground floor for ease, leaving the cosy upstairs nook, reached by a wooden staircase, for reading and gazing out through a full-height window that would once have been used to access the storage space in the rafters of the barn.
Pretty blue barn doors open from the lounge onto a cobbled patio and garden, strung with festoon lights. This is the ideal spot for a picnic lunch or to take out a blanket, a mug of hot tea and some binoculars on a fine day and sit before the awe-inspiring view of the Malvern Hills, spotting wildlife and relishing the peace and tranquillity of the location.
- 1 Mother and daughter team Mavis and Michelle Ackerley hunting Dirty Rotten Scammers
- 2 12 fab things to do in Paignton
- 3 Win a year of farm shop food from Hinchliffe's worth £500
- 4 Review: Edgar House, Chester
- 5 I've been taking time out - here's why, says Susie Fowler-Watt
- 6 Win an original watercolour painting of Hadleigh Castle
- 7 Scarborough's spectacular BIG day out for national Armed Forces Day
- 8 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 9 Seven Falls, Tintwistle - a hidden gem in the Peak District
- 10 11 pretty riverside pubs in Hertfordshire
For get-away-from-it-all weekend breaks, this 500-year-old beauty is a wish come true.
Accommodation for two adults, from £995 for a short break. To book a stay at Wishbone, visit uniquehomestays.com
THREE MORE EXTRAORDINARY STAYS...
Nuneaton, Warwickshire, landmarktrust.org.uk
A thoroughly modern piece of architecture has been stitched into the fabric of an ancient moated castle that was on the verge of destruction, following a fire in 1978, thus continuing a millennium of occupation and making for a gorgeously atmospheric place to stay. Winner of the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture 2013.
Accommodation: For up to 8 people
How much: Four nights from £1,275
Cranham, Gloucestershire, uniquehomestays.com
In this unique solution to the age-old question of how to extend a traditional cottage, the slickest of contemporary architecture marries with the preservation of a centuries-old home to create a state-of-the-art retreat in glass, concreate and Cotswold stone. Set down a long country drive within a serene 16-acre wooded valley near Cheltenham, this dynamic pairing of unique architect-designed properties offers sublime escapism.
Accommodation: For up to 12 people
How much: From £14,895 for a short break
St Briavels, Lydney, Gloucestershire, hudnallshideout.co.uk
There are treehouses and then there are treehouses... An ode to timber architecture, with a unique A-frame design, this is a treehouse to beat all others. Luxurious and cool, it is totally secluded on its own exclusive site in woodland in the much-loved Wye Valley, where getting back to nature is the order of the day.
Accommodation: For 2 adults
How much: From £400 a night (min stay 3 nights)
Extraordinary Escapes: Unique and Wild Getaways Across the UK, by Gemma Bowes, is the official tie-in to the Channel 4 show Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig. It’s published by Quadrille, £20.