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Court House Manor, Painswick, U.K. on Vrbo: Some people choose to spend their winter breaks house-sitting empty hotels in the Colorado Rockies (a recipe for insanity). Others accept millionaires’ invitations to participate in overnight survival competitions in said hosts’ mansions (enter at your own risk). Still others think that buying a prime property with known ghosts is worth the low price tag (hint: it probably isn’t).
But unlike the parade of doomed babysitters in horror movies through the decades, learn something from your Hollywood forebears and avoid the aforementioned plot lines for a winter getaway at a mansion in the Cotswolds. Full disclosure: this house is also haunted. But here the ghosts in residence are not a set of creepy twins or the deceased prior inhabitants—the specter walking these halls is none other than King Charles I.
Once upon a time, as all good tales begin, there was a tyrannical king of England who did not get along with his Parliament. Six years before these disputes would cause the king to lose his head, he was embroiled in a battle in Gloucester with those who objected to his heavy-handed reign. During this 1643 fray, the king and his army garrisoned at Court House Manor. While the king would eventually return to London, his soul must have felt a strong kinship with the Cotswolds as it is in this house that his ghost continues to roam.
But the prospect of a meeting with King Charles I only adds to the spooky charm of Court House Manor located in the village known as the “Queen of the Cotswolds.” As befits a home where royalty (in some form or another) has trod for over 300 years, this chateau is the cream of the crop and it has the honors to show for it. If it were a member of the aristocracy, it would demand to be called Duke, but as an architectural stunner, it boasts the honor of a Grade 1 listing.
With 11 bedrooms that sleep 24, you can invite your own army of followers for a rural getaway…or as back-up in case of any spectral disputes. (King Charles’s phantom soldiers reportedly make an appearance to gear up for battle every so often.)
While most of the rooms are named after some of the biggest living and literary figures of history—Hamlet, Lady Guinevere, Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar—we suggest you assign the biggest scaredy cat in your group to the room named after the home’s most famous resident, King Charles.
There’s a little something for everyone in every season here in the Cotswolds. A pool table for a little friendly wagering, kitchens and a dining room for long, luxurious meals, and a swimming pool and hot tub so you can enjoy a dip no matter the temperature. But the most important aspects of this home are the ones that allow you to do a whole lot of nothing. In true country house fashion, plan to spend most of your time soaking in the view of Slad Valley, rambling through the countryside, and enjoying the grounds.
But what will you wear during these jaunts? We’re glad you asked. if it’s a fall fling you’re after, may we recommend you take your inspiration from Halloween and turn your week-long soirée into a costume party. You’ve already secured a sizable chateau in the English countryside, you’ve sent out invitations to your preferred guests, and now the only thing left to do is demand your friends abide by a Regency England dress code. With all your guests running around the grounds looking like they’ve stepped out of a Jane Austen novel, there’s no doubt that King Charles I will be tempted to make an appearance.
Book Your Stay:Court House Manor in Painswick:$2750/night via Vrbo