A staycation in the Cotswolds is always nothing short of dreamy. An area of outstanding natural beauty in southern England, just two hours' drive from London, the region is peppered with quaint chocolate-box villages, trademark limestone houses, and rolling hills and valleys.
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No wonder the Cotswolds is such a popular tourist destination that boasts a roll call of A-Listers who have set up home there or escape to their country boltholes at weekends.
But with so much choice, picking the right village or town to stay in can be no easy feat. Coln St Aldwyns may not be as instantly recognisable as Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold or Chipping Campden, to name a few, but it's easily accessible from London and is the perfect base to explore some of the Cotswolds' main attractions.
The Old Post Office in Coln St Aldwyns is an ideal base to discover the Cotswolds
The stunning market town of Cirencester is a 15-minute drive away, as is Burford, known as the gateway to the Cotswolds, and the aforementioned Bourton-on-the-Water. The picture-perfect village of Bibury, with its famous row of houses, is two miles down the road or the equivalent of a pretty, three-hour country walk, round trip.
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The Old Post Office, which sits in the centre of Coln St Adlwyns, is an ideal choice of accommodation and excellent for groups, particularly families. There are fantastic walking routes and bike rides on your doorstep, as well as a top gastropub pub, The New Inn, 100 yards away.
The farmhouse-style kitchen has everything you'll possibly need
With the capacity to sleep eight people and welcome one-behaved dog, the expansive yet homely cottage has been completely refurbished from its days as a post office. The bedrooms and communal areas have been modernised and fitted with chic, contemporary décor, while still retaining the building's original charm and character.
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This is immediately apparent when you take the back entrance of the house that leads into the farmhouse-style kitchen, the heart of the property. Exposed beams, whitewashed bricks, a vaulted ceiling and wooden floorboards make it one of the most charming rooms in the house. Guests are warmly welcomed with a basket of treats including biscuits, chocolates, and crisps – a lovely and unexpected touch – while tea, coffee, milk, capsules for the coffee machine, and other store cupboard basics are also provided.
The cosy dining room features a log-burner
The kitchen is a dream for any avid cook. All the equipment, utensils, pots, pans, crockery, cutlery, and serving platters you could possibly need are neatly stacked on open shelves; the oven and hob are large enough to cook big family meals; and the central island immediately brings everyone together. There's also a log-burner at one end of the room which you will want to use as it gets very draughty in the winter, possibly the only downside of such a beautiful kitchen.
The small separate dining room is a cosy place to gather for your meals, with low lighting and another log burner. It's worth noting that logs and matches are provided so you'll have no problems starting a crackling fire.
Curl up with a good book or play board games in the living room
Also on the ground floor is the large living room, an inviting spot to congregate for a pre or post-dinner drink, to play games (a stack of board games can be found in the dining room), to curl up with a good book, or to watch a film on the flatscreen TV. The squishy sofas and reclining armchairs will make it hard to get up from.
While the Old Post Office may look imposing from the outside with its sprawling façade, the upstairs area of the house has a very cosy feel, in a good way. Three of the four bedrooms are found on the first floor, alongside the main bathroom. Two are doubles, with comfortable beds, cute cottage décor and ample wardrobe space, while the twin room is slightly smaller but no less quaint with its fireplace.
Each bedroom features cute cottage décor
The grand master suite takes up the top floor of the whole house and boasts a super king-size bed, a large television, a freestanding roll-top bath and an ensuite bathroom that has the most powerful shower. There's even an extra decorative bed, while views out of the three windows face out to the pretty village. The mattress on the super king-size bed felt a little worn and soft, which may take some getting used to if you're staying for longer than a weekend.
As for the shower situation, with a group of eight adults, you'll most likely end up all using the power shower in the ensuite bathroom as the main bathroom downstairs only has a handheld shower with no protective screen or curtain. Eight people to one shower may feel inconvenient for a week's holiday, which is why the cottage may be more suited to families with small children who are more likely to make use of the two baths.
The master suite boasts a super king-size bed and roll-top bath
Overall though, the Old Post Office is a real gem of a property and I imagine is even more delightful in warmer months, when you can make use of the large garden, outdoor dining terrace, barbecue, and sun loungers. We'll just have to wait for the mercury to rise to visit again.
Prices start from £1,117 per week. To book the Old Post Office, visit sykescottages.co.uk
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