Cotswold Manor Estate, Cheltenham, U.K. (Vrbo): Its official: we’re ready to escape this world and be transported back in time to the days of Jane Austen, back to when the biggest concern of the day was whether the hem of your voluminous skirt would get wet when wandering those dewy English moors and leave you soggy for your run-in with Mr. Darcy. While time travel might not be on the table just yet, a trip to the Cotswolds is the next best thing.
When you bring this fantasy to life, may we suggest you make your lodgings more Bingley than Bennet? The potential of this property lies in its very name—this is an estate, darling, and don’t you forget it. We’re talking 41.5 acres of award-winning gardens, of spaces for sport, of places to entertain, and, most importantly, of places to relax and gossip about who’s courting who and who’s making their debut during the next London season.
The living quarters are spread out across four buildings fancifully but aptly named the Manor House, the Barn, the Granary, and the Cow Byre and Peacock Shed. Each of the buildings is well appointed but also features its own luxurious and quirky character.
A game of billiards, anyone? Just make sure your competition stays friendly and poses no threat to what is perhaps the fanciest chandelier to ever top a pool table.
As if cooking for a large party wasn’t stressful enough, in this kitchen, the Queen is always watching… and judging. (“Don’t burn the chips!”) It might be a good idea to take advantage of the cooking lessons offered in the barn before you attempt the biggest feast of your holiday.
There are 15 rooms across the Cotswold Manor Estate, and the property sleeps a whopping 32, which means you can bring the whole family along on your time traveling adventure. Even better, the vast grounds are big enough that everyone can spread out when they need a little peace and quiet. When it comes to family, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
We like our bathrooms clean and minimalist… and adorned with a tasteful and classically inspired nude.
England may not be known for its weather, but a little drizzle makes no difference when you’re in the bucolic British countryside. While staying at the Cotswold Manor Estate, you can go on long rambles, play a game of tennis in your best whites, and enjoy long, lingering meals en plein air.
The decorator of the estate really understands the value of a pop of color. If you get tired of long days spent visiting in the various sitting rooms a la the Emma set, go on an adventure to find the secret movie theater in residence and time travel again, this time back to the good old days of 2019 when going to the cinema was a regular occurrence.
Dressing for dinner is a must when the meal is scheduled for the formal dining room. The Queen would very much approve.
As if the tennis courts and lawn games and manicured gardens and billiards table weren’t enough to keep your crew entertained, there is also a selection of board games on hand. Clue has a very different ring when you’re playing it in an actual estate. (It was Professor Plum! In the conservatory! With the candlestick!)
There’s something about an all-white bathroom that makes you feel extra clean after a day wandering the the English countryside.
Let’s be real: 32 people is a lot of people. Two of the buildings—the Cow Byre and the Peacock Shed—feature only a single bedroom each. May we recommend you call dibs on one of those master suites and secure your own private space away from the maddening family crowds?
A holiday isn’t complete without the chance to take a dip. Here, you have a few options to choose from. There’s this brand new pool located outside the Barn, or you can opt for a more sultry dip in one of the two hot tubs outside the Manor House and the Barn.
Even without taking a trip back in time to the Georgian period, the Cotswold Manor Estate offers you a very English holiday. To carry on with that theme, we recommend you follow in the tradition of the locals and make your vacation an entire month long. In this our second year of the great pandemic, you deserve it. Here’s to hoping your boss agrees…
Book Your Stay: Cotswold Manor Estate, Cheltenham, U.K. $9,300/night via Vrbo