When an English summer permits, there’s no more enchanting a place than Easter Cottage to spend time just chilling in the Cotswolds.
We set off with the roof down on a blisteringly hot summer’s day and after an effortless drive turn up, lightly-toasted, at Church Enstone in the heart of the beautiful Cotswolds.
We’ve eschewed more grand and ostentatious alternatives in favour of investigating the quietly charming and comfortable Airbnb option of Easter Cottage; listed as a ‘rare find, charming Cotswold cottage’ run by Rory & Juliet.
Whilst Easter Cottage is perfectly positioned to explore the popular attractions of Blenheim Palace and timeless Burford, we nevertheless want to take a couple of days away from the crowds and walk in the beautiful Cotswold countryside; with nothing more than green rolling fields, gently grazing cattle, mellow drystone walls and quaint little churches to frame our wanderings.
Easter Cottage itself offers a full palette of colour; from the profusion of flowers and plants that surround it, leading to a ‘secret garden’ carefully created to complement the natural beauty of the fields beyond; to the deep colours of the cushions, fabrics and décor that embrace you within as you sink gratefully into your immensely comfortable bed at the end of the day.
This is no ordinary cottage but a haven of calm and colour that quietly understates the quality and attention to detail that elevates it beyond all expectations. At every turn we are presented with a colourful cameo or arrangement that has been carefully thought out and displayed to delight the eye.
At the heart of every successful experience is a caring host and Rory and Juliet personify care, courtesy and the effort to make your stay something more than special. They’re a mine of information and nothing is too much trouble if it makes your stay more enjoyable – little wonder that Easter Cottage is often fully booked.
After a relaxing breakfast in the light-filled summer-room we head off to the countryside. Rolling fields stretch in all directions but very soon we’re in Swinbrook – best known for being the estate home of the Mitford Girls – daughters of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale – and notable or notorious – as artfully summarised by The Times journalist Ben Macintyre, as ‘Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover, Nancy the Novelist, Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur.’
The countryside around is tranquillity itself, imparting a calm to us as we stroll over stiles and along lightly worn paths that lead from St Mary’s church in the Windrush Valley, where some of the Mitfords are buried and fascinating monuments of the Fettiplace knights rest in triple tiers adjacent to the altar; and on to the unassuming 13th century St. Oswald’s, tucked away in the corner of a field in Widford – an enduring declaration of simple humility; perhaps representing what religion should always be, in contrast with pomp, gilt and ostentation.
Somewhat inevitably, our meanderings find us back in Swinbrook at the Swan Inn where this character hostelry offers both an excellent lunch and further insight into the feted history of the Mitfords with photographs and illustrations covering the dining room walls.
A stroll back to our car along well-groomed lanes with accompanying wisteria covered chocolate box cottages, all beautifully preserved or sympathetically extended with creamy Cotswold stone and junctions punctuated by old ‘GPO’ letter boxes and the occasional crimson telephone box, it’s easy to imagine that we’re wandering through an earlier more rudimentary time before vehicles and crowds, when the only sounds would be of threshing machines and bullock carts.
Easter Cottage awaits us, to continue the illusion of calm that will so soon be dispelled by the bustle and banter of daily life when we leave this little haven tomorrow. But, for now, we settle into the embrace of a welcoming armchair and wile away an hour or two with a favourite book and simply absorb the peace and quiet around us that has had such enriching and restorative powers,as the sun sets on our memorable escape.
If you’d like to escape to your own quick fix of elegance and relaxation at Easter Cottage, Rory and Juliet strictly only accept bookings via their Airbnb profile – the link for which is shown below.