One of the best things about doing the #Take12Trips challenge last year was that it encouraged me to get out and see places near to home when I wasn’t travelling. I’m lucky enough to live on the edge of the Cotswolds so have no shortage of pretty villages, historic houses and beautiful landscapes within easy reach. So after a few day trips this year it was time to take it to the next level with a whole local weekend away. The journey was definitely a winner, being less than 20 miles from home meant we were unpacked and settled by the fire when we’d normally just be filling up at the services. And it turns out that winter is a good time to visit the Cotswolds, before the coach parties and crowds descend. Our base for the weekend was Campion Cottage, a traditional cottage with quirky modern touches in Willersey on the Gloucestershire–Warwickshire border, the perfect base for a couple of days of winter sunshine.
The cottage is in the small village of Willersey, which is exactly what you’d picture a Cotswold village to look like. There are Cotswold stone buildings glowing in the sun, a pond complete with chilly looking ducks, a couple of traditional English pubs and a village shop. You’re also only two miles or a 25-minute walk across the fields to the larger village of Broadway. It’s a tourist honeypot in the summer but was comparatively peaceful in January, perfect for browsing the galleries and boutique shops (though the £120 cushions were a bit out of my budget). There’s also a branch of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum and some good restaurants. It’s a two-hour walk from the village up to the Broadway Tower, for fantastic views on a sunny day. A bit further afield is the town of Evesham with its half-timbered black and white buildings and art deco cinema, and you’re also in easy reach of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick and Cheltenham.
The cottage looks deceptively small from out front, but it’s bigger than it looks, and a good use of space means there’s plenty of room for four people. It was built back in the 1800s and keeps some of the original character features mixed in with a contemporary refurbishment. There are also a few cool vintage touches around, like an old rotary phone, retro toiletry bottles in the bathroom and an old servants’ bell system. On the ground floor there’s a kitchen-diner at the back and a separate lounge with two sofas and a wood burner at the front. Then upstairs there are two double bedrooms, both with comfy orthopaedic matresses, as well as a bathroom with a shower over the bath. Toiletries are supplied as well as plenty of fluffy towels.
The full-size kitchen is equipped with everything you need to self-cater (including some surprisingly sharp ceramic knives that nearly took my finger off), plus a dishwasher to help you clear up. You’re also supplied with the basics – bread, milk, butter, jam, tea and coffee – to get you started. There’s a small shop in the village if you’ve forgotten anything, as well as Budgens in Broadway and larger Tesco, Morrisons and M&S supermarkets seven miles away in Evesham. Or if you want to eat out then both the local pubs do standard pub food or there are lots more options available in Broadway – try the upscale restaurant at Russells if you’re splashing out (or their attached fish and chip shop if you’re not). There are also plenty of tea rooms in the surrounding villages for you to get your fix of tea and homemade cake.
If you’re there in the summer then there’s a courtyard garden out the back which comes with a BBQ and garden table and chairs. There’s also a lawn area out the front with seating as well as an off-road parking space. If the weather’s not so good then you can do what we did and curl up on the sofas in the cosy lounge with a glass of wine. The woodburner comes with a supply of logs (and there are more for sale down the road at the village garage) and the heating’s really efficient so you’ll stay warm however cold it gets outside. To keep you entertained there’s a Blu-ray player and a stack of DVDs to watch as well as an iPod dock, books to borrow and a pile of information to read through about the local area.
- Guests are… its perfect for two couples or a family with older children who don’t mind sharing.
- Staff are… keys are left in a key box and information was all sent in advance so you no need to worry about arranging a meeting, but owner Alan is available to answer any questions.
- Don’t forget… your wellies in winter, the walk across the fields to Broadway gets pretty muddy.
- Useful to know… none of us had any mobile signal but there’s decent wifi and a landline phone that accepts incoming calls (a bit more modern than the one pictured below).
Sykes Cottages have over 5000 holiday cottages to rent in the UK and Ireland, from romantic cottages for two to contemporary properties for large groups. A week’s stay (Friday–Friday) for four people at Campion Cottage starts from £370, or a three-night short break (Friday–Monday) starts from £317.
Many thanks to Sykes Cottages for hosting me for my stay. All views and opinions are, as always, my own. This article contains affiliate links, where I get a small commission at no extra cost to you – thanks.