THE WEEKEND: Part of the idyllic Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve in the south Cotswolds, The Lock Keeper’s Snipe is a charming converted barn with boutique hotel aspirations. It is part of a new collection of British homestays from Quince, which has found and renovated a load of old properties to newly high standards. With its resident barn owls and remote location, the Snipe is properly remote, and gorgeously cosy for a weekend away as the weather turns.
The snipe has six bedrooms and five bathrooms. It sleeps 14 guests, so is ideal for family holidays or celebratory weekends away with friends. The only conundrum will be what bedroom you’ll pick – one chic option has olive green walls and woven crimson textiles or there’s a quirkier boudoir with a powder pink bathroom and oversized, plum velvet headboard. There’s a room which is ideal for teenagers, with three beds and a large en suite, while the master overlooks the courtyard garden and has a roll-top bath and antique furniture. It doesn’t really matter where you bed down, as each room will give you a comfy sleep with top-notch British-made beds, crisp sheets and hand-made eiderdowns.
THE STAY: Found close to Oxford, as well as the pretty towns of the Cotswolds, this is the perfect spot for exploring the region. Even better, on the doorstep there is 13 acres of land, dotted with swings, scenically-placed benches and scenic bird hides. To go further afield, grab the illustrated map, which will help guide you around the 760-acre nature reserve and take you on a number of pretty countryside walks.
There’s Radcot, where you can hire canoes and paddle boards, and Duxford Ford, for wild swimming. After a day in the fresh air, the barn is the perfect retreat to come home to. There’s a fun, petrol-blue-coloured living room – large enough for everyone to socialise together – with exposed beams, a log burner and huge curvy sofas. The communal kitchen-diner brings a happy, holiday vibe, with its coral-pink walls, teal velvet chairs and palm-print wallpaper. It’s also stocked with top-of-the-range appliances – from Nespresso coffee machines to two dishwashers – to make home-catering fuss-free and easy.
THE FOOD: This is a self-catering property, so it’s all about pitching in to create hearty feasts. For a night off, you can arrange for a private chef or head to one of the nearby pubs, such as The Trout at Tadpole Bridge, which serves delicious classic dishes, such as a British brisket beef burger, cod roasted fillet with butter beans and a mean Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
AND AFTER THAT? Have a wander around the nearest honey-coloured village of Bampton – handy for its traditional deli, butchers and bakery. It is so pretty in fact that it doubles up as the village of ‘Downton’ in the filming of Downton Abbey.
NEED TO KNOW: The Lock Keeper’s Snipe in the Cotswolds sleeps 14 guests and is pet friendly. Prices start from £1,000 per night, two-night minimum stay. Byquince.co.uk