Haseley House

near Great Milton, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom Book from Book from £429 per night

An architect-designed thatched house in lush Oxfordshire countryside, packed with contemporary art and witty design (sleeps 6-10)
It takes courage and vision - not to mention deep pockets - to buy a 17th-century thatched cottage in the heart of genteel Oxfordshire, then rearrange the internal walls, create a glass-backed rear extension, and pack it all with rare contemporary art, eye-catching fabrics and boldly mismatched furniture. But that's exactly what this creative London couple did. The result is a pretty-as-a-picture, fun-filled family hideaway in the tiny hamlet of Little Haseley, midway between the misty Chiltern hills and the dreaming spires of Oxford.

Admittedly, they had some help - from the 'dream team' of Barnaby Gunning (architect), Sarah Delaney (designer) and Butter Wakefield (landscaping). All leapt at the project with a passion. Expect beautifully restored sofas (Sarah's specialty), an organically spiralling white staircase (Barnaby's design), and sunken dining patios fringed with cat mint and fragrant rosemary. In the sitting room, off-white wooden floors and beams festooned with lights; in the open kitchen-diner, a recycled oak-plank table and an underheated concrete floor. One bedroom has a glass-roofed shower so you bathe seemingly under the foliage; two attic bedrooms marry ancient beams with handmade Loaf mattresses. Plus there's a garden room for self-sufficient teens (or grandparents).

Outside, the apple-shaded lawns are a haven of peace for lazy hammock-reading and games of boules. But do stir yourself for multi-Michelin dining at Le Manoir, wooded walks to Christmas Common, honey-hued villages and summer gardens at Waterperry. A week here, and the real world will melt away.

> See more in this House & Garden article
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • With 4 bedrooms plus an annex, the house is a perfect size for a large family, or two families travelling together
  • We loved the double aspect kitchen-diner with its long table for 6-10: a real hub for the home
  • Being their family weekend home for much of the year, you'll find plenty of books, games, even a record player with vinyls to spin
  • The whole project has been done with such love and attention to detail, it's impossible not to be charmed
  • Only an hour's drive from west London

Lows

  • It's only available over Easter and summer, with weekly rentals preferred (short breaks may be accepted near the date)
  • Not so suitable for babies or toddlers (older kids are fine)
  • The hamlet of Little Haseley has no shops or pubs; you'll need to drive to Stadhampton (5 mins) or beyond
  • Don't expect a pool or other outdoor games (but there's a TV room with Sky and Netflix if needed)

Best time to go

Rural Oxfordshire is at its best in summer - leafy woodlands, ornamental gardens and plenty of events, including outdoor concerts in Oxford. Spring has its own magic, too: banks of wild crocus and daffodils, then carpets of bluebells (Cowleaze Wood and Watlington Hill are hotspots). Look out for red kites throughout the year. The house is normally available for rental in spring and summer only.

Our top tips

You're well placed for eating out here. La Table d'Alix offers superb Gallic gastro fare in nearby Great Haseley, just a mile from the house (you can walk across the fields). Then there's The Crazy Bear in Stadhampton, for some of the best Thai food in Oxfordshire. Or splash out at Raymond Blanc's Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, the only British restaurant to maintain two Michelin stars for over 30 years.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Luxury Holiday House
  • 4-5 bedrooms
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 26 Oct 2020 - 1 Apr 2021...
  • 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
  • Boules set
Room:

Rooms

There are 4 bedrooms in the main house: one double on the ground floor (with the glass-roofed shower room) and 3 doubles upstairs under the eaves. All are steeped in character both ancient and modern. We particularly loved the master bedroom, with its funky bedside pendant lights and overhead chandelier offsetting wonky wooden beams. It boasts a spacious ensuite bathroom with wetroom and tub. The other two upstairs rooms - one similarly beamed and cosy, the other dressed head-to-foot in striking botanical wallpaper - share a bathroom. Bear in mind that all four rooms here have double beds, not twins; you could squeeze a rollaway single bed in, by prior arrangement.

If you need a twin, use the garden annexe (there's no extra cost): a new-build suite with 2 single beds/sofas, a workspace and an ensuite bathroom with drench shower. It would work well for teens or grandparents.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Bluetooth sound system
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Toaster
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wood burning stove

Eating

The rear sedum-roofed extension houses a lovely, light-filled, double-aspect kitchen-diner. This feels like the heart of the house, its underheated concrete floor inviting stockinged cosiness. Sliding windows open onto sunken dining patios on either side, for maximum shelter and sunlight.

The kitchen units and central island are clad in oak planks, the dining table is rebuilt from old sleepers, and you sit on lovingly recycled bistro chairs (painted in various Farrow shades of eau de nil) - all of which gives the space an artfully rustic feel. But the appliances and equipment - including a double-door Fisher&Paykel fridge freezer, a top-loading dishwasher, a 6-ring range, and Le Creuset chef's pans - are top-notch pro-kitchen stuff. It would be a pleasure catering for a family here.

The owners suggest pre-ordering a delivery, then stocking up in Stadhampton (a one-stop and a farmshop; 7 mins' drive) or in Thame (several independent shops, including butchers and greengrocers, and a Waitrose; 15 mins). There's also an organic farm outlet at Sandy Farm in nearby Tiddington; and no shortage of excellent pubs and restaurants.

Features include:

  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Oven
  • Toaster
  • Welcome hamper
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • You're within easy striking distance of dreamy Oxford (25 mins' drive), with its historic colleges and museums, beautiful Botanic Gardens, river punting, and myriad musical and theatrical events
  • Head the other way for wooded walks in the rolling Chiltern hills: we love the Watlington-Wormsley loop and timewarp Turville, setting of the Vicar of Dibley and the windmill from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • From time to time, nearby Haseley Court opens its gardens - which include an iconic topiary chess garden, laburnum tunnels and sheared boxwood shapes, as well as views of the house where designer Nancy Lancaster (of Colefax & Fowler) lived
  • There are more ornamental gardens at Waterperry (20 mins), including a Georgian walled garden and a waterlily canal
  • And a golf club and driving range at Waterstock (10 mins)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Plantlife / flora

Kids

This is a perfect rural hideaway for an (extended) family, or two travelling together. There are safe, lawned gardens with hammocks and boules; an indoor TV room with large screen, lazy seating, Sky and Netflix; and plenty of board games for all ages. We think it would work best for ages 4-12, given the tranquil location.

Bear in mind that only one of the 5 bedrooms is twin-bedded (the garden annex). If coming with baby, you can prebook a cot. With younger child/ren, it's worth knowing that one bedroom adjoins the sitting room for easier supervision after bedtime.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cot (by prior request)

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

Kids Activities on site:

  • TV room with Sky & Netflix
  • Board games
  • Safe garden, with hammocks & boules

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Blenheim Palace, maze, butterfly house and Pleasure Gardens
  • Oxford: Pitt Rivers museum (dinosaurs and curios)

Distances:

  • Shop: 7 mins (Stadhampton)
  • Hospital: 25 mins' drive (Oxford)
Kid Friendly:

Location

The house is in the hamlet of Little Haseley, 20km southeast of Oxford on the edge of the Chiltern Hills. It's 5km from the village of Stadhampton (shop, pub), and 4km from Great Milton (restaurant).

By Car: It's 1 hour's drive from west London, just off the M40 (junction 7).

By Train: the nearest stations are Haddenham (Chiltern Main Line), Didcot or Oxford - all about 20 mins; but you'll need a car to reach the house.

By Air: London Heathrow is an easy 45-min drive.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • London Heathrow 60.0 km LHR

Other:

  • Beach 130.0 km
  • Shops 5.0 km
  • Restaurant 4.0 km

Rates for Haseley House

Arriving on: