This elite hideaway is hidden - inasmuch as an 850-acre estate can be - behind gated walls outside Lechlade, just 90 minutes from London. Alongside 100 or so privately owned holiday homes, it offers a handful of rental chalets for families or groups of 4-10 friends. This is Swallows and Amazons living made easy, and ultra-comfy: lake-facing decks with day beds and BBQs, kingsize bedrooms with climb-into bunks and duck-down duvets, open-plan living spaces with sleek kitchen islands and oversized sofas, mountain bikes and locally stocked breakfast hampers delivered to your door. It's perfect for a cobweb-banishing weekend away, or an easy-does-it summer holiday in the heart of the UK, yet a world away from home.
- It's a great option for a special celebration, with superb private caterers and mixologists on tap
- Spa treatments are top of their game and fairly priced: my 60-minute, £60 massage was one of the most deeply relaxing ever
- We loved the houses' lovely, light sitting rooms (most with huge TV and DVDs), and their lazy lakefront decks with loungers
- If you're feeling active, there are 15km of trails to explore on foot or by bike, as well as fishing, kayaking, tennis and adrenaline sports
- The indoor pool, gym and spa treatments provide an insurance against rainy days
- Unsurprisingly, this is an expensive place to stay - but it's a real bubble of bliss
- It's a large resort: over 100 houses, but spread over 850 acres and 5 lakes, and screened by woodland, so you wouldn't know it
- Not all houses have direct access to the water, so wild swimmers may have to walk or cycle off for their morning dip
- New houses are currently being built at the edge of the estate, which could create minor disturbance on weekdays (check when booking)
- Extras can add up - things like bike hire, midweek cleans, breakfast hampers, spa induction charge and a credit card fee
Best time to go
Our top tips
Don't assume it's beyond your budget: if you come with a group and fill all the beds, it usually works out under £100 pppn
- Lakeside Resort
- 25 houses for 4-12
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Indoor Pool
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car recommended
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
- Pool Table
- Bicycles Available
The contemporary, timber, 2- or 3 storey houses offer airy open-plan interiors, floor-to-ceiling sliding windows and serene waterside decks. Most are perched right on the lake. Some bear the stamp of illustrious designers (Kelly Hoppen, Jade Jagger), while others are decorated to the owners' spec by Yoo's own design studio.
We saw half a dozen houses and struggled to pick a favourite. It all depends on your needs and preferences. There are 3-, 4-, 5- or 6- bedroom options, some with private terraces or games rooms, one with a pool. But whichever you choose, they all feel uplifting and indulgent, with top-label fittings and bright splashes of colour or witty art.
- Central heating
- DVD player
- Tumble dryer
- Underfloor heating
- Washing machine
All the houses come with superbly equipped kitchens, usually open-plan to the dining-living area for sociable cooking. Some have kitchen islands with bar stool seating, others feature a homely Aga or a huge pull-out wine cooler for chilled celebrations; but most importantly they're never short of sharp knives or mixers or stacks of crockery. In good weather you can eat outside on the lake-facing deck; most have a BBQ and The Glasshouse even boasts its own wood-fired pizza oven on the roof terrace.
Or you can book a private chef to whip up fabulous food at fair prices. Our dinner was an absolute highlight. Seared scallops on creamed peas and pancetta crisps, overnight-roasted lamb medallion with perfectly caramelised spring veg - all of it was light, nutritious and ambrosially delicious.
There's also the lovely, laid-back on-site cafe/deli Elsa's, serving light bites and snacks. Needless to say, the staff can fix you up with deli-style hampers (the breakfast selection is particularly mouth-watering), pre-stocked fridges, frozen meals from Cook, and an army of cocktail makers and shakers for parties on your lakeside deck. Outside in the real world, Lechlade (4km) has a couple of restaurants, a fish bar and two traditional pubs.
- Chef on request
- Coffee maker
- Dinner by arrangement
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Lunch by arrangement
- Meal delivery service
- Shopping service
- Welcome hamper
- The lakes await: sailing, kayaking, fishing or wild swimming, the choice is yours
- You also have 15km of walkways, nature trails and cycling routes within the estate (mountain bikes can be hired)
- Out at The Meadow (behind Warrens Cross Lake) are 2 tennis courts, a herb garden and a hennery (help yourselves to eggs), as well as a small 'beach' for easy lake access
- Archery, trampolining, fitness classes (for all the family) and even axe-throwing are sometimes offered
- Try the exhilarating zipline over a corner of the lake - book in advance (ideally as a group), gird your loins ... and jump!
- Wind down afterwards in the Orchard Spa, with its outstanding Bamford treatments, not to mention a heated 20m pool, gym, steam room and pool table
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Pool table
- Well being
This place is bliss with children, especially those who enjoy the outdoors. With such an array of activities (see below) and patient, professional guidance, it would be hard not to. But if the rain does fall, there are home cinemas and craft courses for the kids, and spa treatments or indoor swimming for the parents.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
All the houses are brilliantly set up for families of different sizes: most have bunk rooms (some sleeping 4), a few have dedicated kids' play rooms, and all have a range of games and toys, including DVDs to play on the huge screen in the snug.
Kids Activities on site:
- Guided watersports
- Zip wire
- Tennis lessons
- Yoga and fitness
- School of Wild*
- Krazy Kitchen*
- Bouncy castle*
Families Should Know:
- With toddlers, be aware that, while the houses' lakeside decks have railings, there are some areas outside with unprotected access to water.
- Children have limited access to the spa's heated pool
- Bespoke activities can be arranged for larger family groups with advance notice
- Shop: 4km (Lechlade)
- Medical centre: 4km (Lechlade)
- Hospital: 25km (Swindon / Cirencester)
The Lakes by YOO are set in a private 850-acre estate just outside the small Cotswolds town of Lechlade, Gloucestershire.
It's 1.5-2.5 hours' drive from London, 1.5 hours from Birmingham, 1 hour+ from Bristol. Each house has 2 or more parking spots. Some houses have electric car chargers - check when booking.
The nearest mainline station is Swindon, 30 minutes by taxi.
From abroad, London Heathrow (1.5 hours' drive) is your best bet; domestically you can try Bristol or Birmingham. If you're hiring a car, see our rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to the UK and getting around
- London Heathrow 115.0 km LHR
- Bristol 105.0 km BRS
- Beach 120.0 km
- Shops 4.0 km
- Restaurant 4.0 km