Badminton Cottage

Gloucestershire, Cotswolds & Chilterns, United Kingdom Book from £360

Reviewed by Liz Simpson
A stunning self-catering farmhouse rental for 8-10 with envy-enducing interiors in a perfect Cotswolds setting
The tennis court, the signed Vivienne Westwood lookbook on a velvet chesterfield, the dazzling array of Le Creuset hanging in the kitchen... 3 instant giveaways you've arrived at a very special place. A 16th-Century Cotswolds-stone farmhouse that has been skilfully transformed by interior designer Jo Berryman, Badminton Cottage is an irresistible blend of old and new that oozes style and verve. Yet it is homely and relaxed, too, the kind of place you kick off your shoes, grab a glass of wine and play Cluedo in front of the log fire on an autumn afternoon.

A big lawned garden wraps around the 16th-century stone farmhouse, and there are terraces out back for alfresco dining. Inside, endlessly stunning rooms spill into each other, all original wooden beams, flagstone floors, pale grey walls and quirky artwork. A welcoming vestibule with book-lined shelves, a woodburner and a gorgeous sunburst mirror leads into a formal salon with pops of bright yellow and lilac button-back chairs, then through to a cosy snug with a vast plasma and a DVD library. Upstairs are 4 double bedrooms, and there's a self-contained garden studio with another double room across the drive. Best of all, though, is the kitchen/diner: pure country chic with an Aga, jam jars of pink roses, a farmhouse table with reclaimed church chairs, and an antique dresser stuffed with pretty crockery. We've never had such house envy.

Highs

  • The sheer fabulousness of the interiors: eclectic art, vintage trunks and a riot of colour from tapestried cushions and Nicole Farhi throws
  • The privacy of the setting, plus just a 10-minute walk into Didmarton, a lovely Cotswolds village
  • A great rental for friends or families: 4-5 double bedrooms, lots of living areas, a massive garden and a gastro pub within strolling distance
  • We stayed in the wow-factor master bedroom during our 2016 revisit, with its original beamed vaulted ceilings, regal château bed and fabulous bathroom replete with copper bathtub
  • A short drive from Westonbirt Arboretum and the Badminton Estate for strolls and riding

Lows

  • No twin beds and only the Beaufort Suite has a proper shower in its ensuite
  • If the house is full, there isn't quite enough seating in the living room for everyone to be comfortable
  • Eaved ceilings in our bedroom and low doorways meant we hit our heads a few times
  • Some ridiculously complicated light switches
  • Not cheap, but you get a lot for your money: the kitchen is brilliantly kitted out and includes a few welcoming treats

Best time to go

Ideal all year round, though closed annually in January. Roaring log fires and a warm and cosy kitchen make for lovely winter breaks, and there's lots of outside space to take advantage of in the summer months. It gets booked up way in advance for the Badminton Horse Trials (early May).

Our top tips

Take a walk through the fields to the nearby St Lawrence Parish Church: a beautiful redundant medieval structure with an unusual open bell tower.

In winter we recommend you bring slippers - the flagstone floors can get chilly underfoot (there are a couple of pairs here, though)

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Cottage
  • 4 + a studio
  • Self-catering (+ meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 20 Dec 2015 - 31 Dec 2015
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
  • Board games
Room:

Rooms

There are 4 double bedrooms in the cottage, plus a double bedroom in a separate studio in the garden (an overspill space if there are 10 of you).

Tucked into the eaves of house, the decadent and sexy La Reine Suite is a vast space filled with antiques and oil paintings. The bedroom flows into a seating area and you clamber across stairs (slightly precarious in the night) to reach the fabulous bathroom with its deep copper tub (no shower) and velvet ottoman. The décor (as you'd expect from the name) is kitsch regal: a gold kingsize château bed, a cowhide rug, and a beautiful French chandelier.

Down below, the equine-themed Beaufort Suite also feels sumptuous and private, with a delightful sun terrace and a big bathroom (shower over a tub). Its kingsize bed is dressed in a hot-pink throw; oil paintings of the hunt adorn the walls.

The Toad Room was designed with kids in mind. The cute décor includes an embellished union jack flag, teddies, and a wonderful birdcage lampshade. Next door, the Provençal-style Dorothy Room has an antique four-poster clad in twigged linen, a Victorian washstand, and shuttered windows. These 2 rooms share a bathroom with a claw-foot tub and handheld shower.

Though less glamorous, the separate Garden Studio offers a little more privacy, with a sweet double bedroom and an ensuite toilet. This area also houses the office/workspace for those who really can't switch off!

Downstairs, the more formal salon has a beautiful grey velvet chesterfield, bright tapestried cushions, an open fire, and lots of equine paintings and sculptures. Next door, the snug is dominated by a super-comfy olive corner sofa, a bright orange kilim, and a massive TV with surround sound.

Features include:

  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The elegant kitchen is the heart of this gorgeous cottage, and comes complete with a butcher's block, original Aga and every possible item in the Le Creuset range, including a fondue kit. The farmhouse table seats 10 on reclaimed church chairs, the antique dresser is stuffed with pretty crockery, and there are tablecloths and candles for dinner parties. We particularly loved the sleek Smeg fridge but it was the sheer range of cooking equipment and basic provisions that blew us away. All the things you'd hope for (dishwasher tablets, olive oil, sugar and tea bags), plus an astounding array of extras: pasta, spices, gravy granules and endless condiments from mint jelly to mustard and pesto.

On top of this, you'll find a delicious homemade cake and a hamper of goodies (including a couple of bottles of wine). There’s clingfilm under the sink, BBQ skewers in a drawer, even suncream, antihistemines and Calpol in a cupboard. For groceries there's a garage with a small shop in Didmarton, and supermarkets in Tetbury and Stroud.

French doors lead out to the terrace for alfresco meals when the sun shines. There's even a blackboard wall to keep kids amused while you cook. It's a kitchen you want to while away hours in, but if you like to eat more than cook, you can ask India to book a chef.

For a change of scene, the Kings Arms is an easy stroll away, offering local ales and posh pub food (perhaps rustic bouillabaise with aioli or local rabbit and venison pie). Nearby Tetbury has a range of foodie options including The Highgrove Shop, the renowned Chefs Table restaurant and deli, and the acclaimed Hobbs House Bakery.

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Microwave
  • Organic produce
  • Oven
  • Toaster
  • Walk to pubs serving food
  • Welcome hamper
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Grab racquets and balls and volley the day away on the private tennis court or play croquet on the lawn, stopping for Pimm's between games
  • There's fabulous (and level) walking on the nearby Badminton Estate, and wellies to borrow in the utility room
  • Westonbirt Arboretum is a short drive away, offering gigs in summer, family trails and activities year round, and stunning autumnal displays
  • Fans of the monarchy will be in their element with Highgrove (Prince Charles’ home) and Gatcombe Park both a short drive away
  • History fans can visit Newark Park, a stately Tudor hunting lodge and gardens managed by the National Trust
  • The Cotswold Water Park is close by for sailing, and the Water Isis Lakes provide trout and coarse fishing
  • Shopaholics will love nearby Tetbury, with its plethora of antique shops, delis and chic boutiques
  • A beauty therapist can come to the cottage by prior arrangement for manicures and massages. Alternatively you could spend a day at the wonderful Calcot Manor Spa
  • India can arrange any number of outdoor pursuits from golf lessons to horse riding (the Badminton Estate of 3-day eventing fame is nearby) and archery. Want a picnic, a yoga lesson or a wine-tasting session? Just ask
  • On rainy days, hunker down in the snug and enjoy the huge 60" plasma TV and eclectic DVD collection

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Archery
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Tennis
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga

Kids

Badminton Cottage welcomes children of all ages, but it is best suited ages 6+ due to the large number of antiques and expensive furnishings. There's plenty of space outside to run about in and there are a few pairs of kids' wellies in the utility room.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Unfortunately there are no twin beds, but the Toad Room was designed for children, with teddies, playful decor and space for a travel cot. The garden studio is a good space for independent older kids to camp out with a double bed, underfloor heating and a toilet and sink. If kids don't want to share beds they can sleep on the sofa in the snug or you can bring a couple of camp beds and bedding.

Babysitting:

India can recommend local babysitters

Baby equipment:

  • 2 travel cots
  • Highchair
  • Plastic crockery
  • 2 Bumbos
  • Microwave for warming bottles and food
  • A medicine cabinet
  • A fireguard

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Tennis court
  • Lawn games
  • A large garden with a tyre swing
  • Child-friendly fishpond
  • Board games
  • Kids DVDs
  • A blackboard wall in the kitchen

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Westonbirt Arboretum - very friendly with trails, activities and family events
  • Walks, bike rides and horse riding on the Badminton Estate

Families Should Know:

Stone floors, antiques and expensive furnishings mean this isn't so good for toddlers

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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