11 stunning self-catering stays in Berks
Who needs to go abroad with stays like this on our doorstep? If you're looking for a stylish escape close to home for when lockdown lifts, read on.
The Boathouse, Lambourn – Sleeps 2-4
In need of a digital detox? We’ve got just the place. The Boathouse at Sheepdrove Organic Farm near Lambourn is an off-grid lakeside love nest. It offers oodles of peace, tranquility and wildlife – so if you have OD’d on Netflix and TikTok, this lo-fi stay could be just what you need. It’s a bijou space offering an open plan living area (inc sofa bed) with an impressive view of the lake and surrounding countryside, plus an en-suite double bedroom to the rear.
The Barn, Taplow (sleeps 16)
A stonking barn conversion that’ll make you feel like you’ve won the lottery, let alone come out of lockdown. *Clang* Name drop alert! Hollywood star Natalie Portman has rested her weary head here so as you can imagine standards are sky-high. It has 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms a hot tub, pool, gym and open plan loveliness perfect for family and friends reunions.
Church House Berkshire, Grazeley, Berkshire – Sleeps up to 15
Looking for a party pad that’s sexier than a hot priest? Take a pew and drink in the splendour of Church House Berkshire in Grazeley, near Reading. Sleeping up to 15 people in 5 bedrooms, it’s a stunning former Victorian church, full of original features, glam interiors and has had a starring role in Made In Chelsea. This ecclesiastical gem has been fitted with state-of-the-art home tech; it has an open-plan lounge with wood burner, a cinema room, plus a hot tub, large garden and the original pulpit is perfect for party preachers. You don’t even have to lift a finger – the concierge team can organise anything from catering and cocktails to a murder mystery and vodka luges. Muddy will hear your confession now…
Braywood House Estate, Winkfield, Windsor – Sleeps 8
Perfect for post lockdown royal knees up, Braywood House Estate is a stylish Victorian vicarage, with onsite concierge, just a stone’s throw from Windsor. The eclectic decor will satisfy interior-obsessed hipsters – think acid bright details, zebra rugs and garden chandeliers. Owners James and Rachael pride themselves on their family offering (not suitable for under 2s though) and you can’t argue with 10 acres of forestry and gardens with woodland play area, a zip wire, treehouse and fire pit for nights around the campfire toasting marshmallows. Plus you’re free to roam the Crown Estate forest (Shhh! Braywood has special permission to do this) – perfect for Royal stalkers, I mean, spotters. Unusually for self-catering properties you can book your stay like a hotel, from two nights or weeks at a time. How about forever? braywoodhouseestate.co.uk
Isolation Barn, Compton (sleeps 10)
Home goals a gogo, Isolation Barn is a lust-worthy barn conversion, just 100 metres from the Ridgeway National Trail, Britain’s oldest prehistoric road. With direct access from the front door, this wonderful home from home is ideal for walking and cycling and is also within easy access to Oxford and Newbury. This 5-bed holiday crash pad has been renovated to a high standard, whilst retaining many rustic features. It’s also on one level, so no pesky stairs to contend with on your Champagne legs.
Bray Cottages, Bray (sleeps 2-4)
Thank god for Bray Cottages in the foodie enclave of Bray – all the space of a self-catering property with all the luxury of a boutique hotel. Just 50 minutes from London and 10 minutes from Windsor, Bray Cottages has a range of one to two-bedroom properties that are beautifully furnished, with state of the art Poggenpohl kitchens, B&O TV – but it’s the concierge service that will help make your stay here really special. It’s super dog friendly too. Although the Michelin star thriller eateries are currently closed, Heston’s gastropub The Hind’s Head is offering an eat-at-home menu.
Manor Courtyard Cottages, Hampstead Norreys (sleeps 2 – 15)
A hidden gem in the West Berkshire village of Hampstead Norreys, the recently renovated Manor Courtyard Cottages were originally the old dairy and stable block of the Manor House but are now modern rustic hideaways. There are two 2-bedroom properties to choose from, but Pear Tree is pretty special with its exposed beams, luxury bathroom and Victorian walled garden. You’re perfectly placed for walks on The Ridgeway. Disabled access and well-behaved pooches are welcome too.
The Houseboat, Cookham (sleeps 4-6)
Ahoy there! Beaches are a no-go in Berks but rivers, well, we have plenty. For a total change of scene (assuming you don’t live on a boat) we’re loving the idea of a break surrounded by water. This surprisingly spacious 2-bed wide beam houseboat is moored in Cookham Dean, and is kitted out with Egyptian linen bedding and towels, TV, fridge, log burner and wifi. Cookham is brilliant for great walks and you’re a short drive from Henley and Marlow too.
Dorney Cottage, Windsor (sleeps 14)
Grab your neck ruffle and get your footman to drop you off at Dorney Cottage – a grand Elizabethan house with stables. The 30ft kitchen/dining room was once the Great Hall and has the period wow factor with its vaulted ceiling, beams, chandelier and wood-burning stove. This large 4-bedroom house is part of the prestigious Estate of Dorney Court, a stones throw away from the River Thames with Eton and its Spires situated just across the Common and Windsor Castle just 2 miles away.
Shepherd’s Hut, Chieveley (sleeps 2)
Little Bo Peep may have lost her sheep, but who cares when you can rest your head in this pretty Shepherd’s Hut in the North Wessex Downs? Located in the hamlet of Beedon, a few miles from Chieveley, the hut is in a paddock with a lily pond and few chickens. So your breakfast eggs couldn’t be much fresher and you’ll find them tucked into the breakfast hamper delivered to your door each morning. Inside you’ll find a double bed, wood-burning stove and a Baby Belling cooker, DAB radio, board games and books. No en-suite, but a guest bathroom can be found in the barn – a 10-sec walk through the garden. It’s a place to escape the modern world, kick back and enjoy the stunning nearby walks and cosy village pubs.
Spring Cottage, Taplow (sleeps 6)
Did you know that super-luxe bolthole Cliveden has its own self-catering cottage on the Berks/Bucks border? You do now! Sat right on the banks of the River Thames (there’s even a private boat mooring), this gorgeous three-bed character cottage is done up to Cliveden’s usual high standards. There are two double bedrooms (one with an ensuite) and one twin room ideal for kids, two lounges both with open fireplaces, a large bathroom with walk-in shower and TV over the bath, and a country kitchen-diner with an Aga.