The FarmhouseExperience the historic Cotswolds from an exquisite village home that embodies this special region’s unique heritage. The original interior was recently updated to create an extremely stylish and comfortable home of unparalleled chic character. The roaring grand fireplace will crown a day spent exploring the Cotswolds: from epic landscapes to wildlife parks and historic sites. Enter The Farmhouse and immediately take in the impressive A-frame rafters that overhang the luxuriously spacious kitchen and dining area. With attached larder, the white walls and exposed wood add a dose of considered style, perfected by the long table complete with hand-crafted bespoke banquette. This space is ideal for savoring fine cuisine and socializing amongst friends, with the gentle sophistication of the drawing room making an instant impression. The tastefully-decorated design give a perfect combination of cozy family living in tasteful style. Outside, the grassy lawn and sculpted garden compliments the exceptionally-crafted stone exterior of the home; complete with an alfresco table that is ideal for sunny afternoons. The rich, rolling countryside of the Cotswolds lies just outside the home, offering sweeping views of rivers, woodlands and knolls. Guests enjoy the proximity of Daylesford Organic Farm, complete with a renowned spa and restaurant, while the regal, English Baroque spires and fascinating history of Blenheim Palace is similarly close by. Drive through a dream landscape of golden stone, the beautifully maintained traditional villages, before enjoying an ale in the centuries old local pub to finish the day. Copyright © Luxury Retreats. All rights reserved.
With scenery and architecture so iconic, you'll surely recognize many of Oxfordshire's top destinations from Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and several other blockbusters. First settled by the Anglo-Saxons in 900 AD, Oxford was an important river crossing for oxen, which later became an important military frontier town. Today, Oxfordshire is home to countless historical sites, museums, Oxford University, and some of England's most breathtaking greenbelt and river landscapes.
The most straightforward way to get to Oxfordshire would be via London Heathrow or Gatwick. Each airport has a 24/7 Airline coach to Oxford. If you begin your English countryside vacation with a stopover in London, it's always easy to hop on a Great Western or Chiltern Railway train after a few days in the city. Once you're in Oxfordshire County, consider hiring The Oxford Minibus Company to travel from village to village. Their fleet has vehicles accommodating anywhere from 1- 70 passengers, and it takes all the stress out of traveling. Renting a car is always an easy option too, but remember, driving is on the left, the steering wheel is on the right, and parking can be tricky in the smaller towns, especially between April and September. Gardens, parks, and country houses Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO Heritage Site and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, is an easy place to spend a whole day. The palace is a triumph of Baroque architecture, while the park and formal gardens offer over 2000-acres of award-winning landscaping. For afternoon tea, visit the cafe at Waterperry Gardens, which overlooks a rainbow of ornamental flowers and expertly manicured hedges. If you're staying in town for the day, check out Christ Church Meadows, University Park, and Port Meadows, just some of Oxford's gorgeous green spaces. And, if you're a fan of country and farmhouse architecture, consider a cycling tour from the Carter Company, visiting some of the county's most beautiful historic homes.
History buffs may want to consider extending their trip to Oxfordshire. No matter how long it is. Home to Britain's first museum, and the world's first university museum, the Ashmolean opened in 1683 and currently holds treasures dating back to 500,000 BC. You'll find over a half-million archaeological and ethnographic artifacts on display at the Pitt Rivers Museum, spanning the entire globe, through every period. The Museum of Natural History holds Oxford University’s world-class collection of zoologic and geological specimens. And, The Museum of the History of Science is where you'll find the most extensive collection of early scientific instruments, including a chalkboard used by Albert Einstein for a lecture at Oxford in 1931. These are just a few of the top museums in the county, but there are lots more scattered throughout each village.
From Michelin-star restaurants to quaint local pubs, Oxfordshire is home to some of England's most exciting cuisine. Start your culinary journey at Oxford Kitchen, where Michelin chef Paul Welburn shows off his contemporary take on traditional British cuisine. Fancy a meal by the riverside? Cherwell Boathouse is Oxford's best option. Later, try the oysters, scallops, and signature cocktails at Macdonald Randolph Hotel's Cartoon Bar.
Start in The Cotswolds with a tour through Cogges Manor Farm, where you can experience life from a simpler time, meet some farm animals, and stroll along the river. After, take the kids on safari and snap pictures of lions, rhinos, giraffes, and more in the Cotswold Wildlife Park. It's a bit of a 180, but it's one of the most prized and protected attractions in England. On your way back to the Oxford area, stop in Burford's picturesque village and walk the cobblestone streets lined with Gregorian, Tudor, and Medieval architecture. If you're looking for a little time on the river, book yourself a rowboat in Henley-on-the-Thames, right after a romantic dinner at one of the patio restaurants on the waterfront. If you're in the mood to shop, Bicester Village offers over 160 world-famous boutiques along its bustling pedestrian alley-streets.
The important thing to consider in Oxfordshire is how much time will you be spending at home? If you're looking to escape city life, explore the rolling, green hills, or throw an unforgettable event, you'll find lots of airy and open countryside homes that have everything you'll need. If you'd prefer a car-less existence close to Oxford's shops, museums, and nightlife, there's a Gregorian townhouse on a bustling street with your name on it. No matter which you choose, several tour services connect the entire county. So, bring a camera and some comfortable shoes, Oxfordshire awaits.