When it's grey outside and the never-ending stark winter is dampening your spirits, a weekend away in the Cotswolds is guaranteed to work wonders. This pretty patch of England, famed for its rolling hills, honey-hued houses and bucolic villages, has drawn tourists and celebrities alike for years. It's no wonder the Beckhams, Kate Moss and Johnny Depp, among other stars, own a second home in the Cotswolds, not to mention the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who rented a sprawling property there before relocating abroad.
Burford, even on a grey day, is a quaint town
With so many towns and villages to explore, you'll want to make sure you spend at least a few hours or even base yourself in Burford, also known as 'the gateway to the Cotswolds'. The picturesque town is one of the quaintest in the region (and arguable the whole of England), and surprisingly close to London. An hour on the train from Paddington to Charlbury, followed by a 15-minute taxi ride, lands you in the heart of this delightful town.
Murton Cottage is located in the heart of Burford
Even when we visited in the miserable month of January, Burford managed to capture our hearts and by the end of the weekend we were unanimous: we must move to Burford! Finding a place to stay was easy thanks to Sykes Cottages, which lists hundreds of properties around the UK. Murton Cottage immediately caught my eye when I was doing my research – not just for its ivy-covered frontage and fantastic location on the lower high street, but for its cosy and homely interiors and roaring fireplace.
Coming from the hustle and bustle of London, charming was exactly the vibe we were going for, and Murton Cottage ticked all the boxes. The house sleeps six, featuring three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The en-suite master bedroom is in the attic, hence its sloping roof, while the two other bedrooms are on the first floor of the property, where guests can make use of the larger bathroom and its free-standing roll top bath.
The master bedroom is up in the attic
The open-plan living and dining room is snug in size for six people, but just adds to that cosy cottage feel, especially with its exposed wooden beams and white brickwork. The piece de résistance is the fireplace, tucked into a sunken cave in the wall. The welcome brochure makes much of the 'burnt shoe' located alongside the fireplace – a child's shoe that has been displayed on the wall and covered by glass. Definitely one of the quirkier features of the house!
Those staying a week will be glad to hear that the small outhouse has a washing machine, while the kitchen is fitted with all the modern appliances you could need. There's also an extensive DVD collection in the living room so you won't get bored.
The cottage has a homely and cosy feel to it
Of course, the Cotswolds is known for its walking routes and the cottage's comfy sofas will be calling your name after you've spent a day outdoors. There are several bracing walks that set off from Burford, which have country pubs dotted along the way, or those with a car can venture to nearby towns such as Bibury, Upper Slaughter, Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold.
Burford itself is a lovely place to explore and the high street is peppered with boutiques, restaurants and cafes. If you're after good old-fashioned pub grub, we recommend The Angel or The Royal Oak. Mrs Bumbles, opposite the cottage, provides a welcome pack of ground coffee, tea and biscuits and is worth stepping into for more supplies. The shop is a cornucopia of delights offering everything from fancy pasta to rum and raisin fudge to homemade sausage rolls.
The property sleeps six people
It may sound a little cliché, but spending just a weekend away in the Cotswolds – with muddy shoes and rosy cheeks, and breathing in that fresh country air – really will do you wonders.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.