I arrived at 200 year old Water Meadow Cottage after a quick train ride from Paddington (It’s just over an hour on the fast train) on a cold and blustery autumnal evening to see the cottage glowing at the end of a lane within Blenheim park.
It was a gorgeous, welcoming site and inside didn’t disappoint either. The cottage has a large ground floor (utility room, kitchen, lounge and dining room) full of plush, heavily textured and modern takes on classic interiors.
Shelves are lined with knick-knacks from Blenheim Palace: engraved tankards, silver platters and books straight from the shelves of the libraries.
The team behind the cottage provided a welcome bottle of fizz (from the Ball’s Brother cellar) and a gorgeous pre-ordered hand-made supper that simply required heating, which was ideal having arrived later in the day.
The utility room stocks pantry provisions for virtually any circumstance, which are charged for upon departure. In true Water Meadow Cottage style these are considerately put together, fantastic quality and really add to the feel and style of your stay.
Further exploring of the first floor where the two large double bedrooms are warm, inviting, luxuriously and thoughtfully decorated, and also equipped with modern conveniences like iPod docks.
There were hampers of goodies left for guests to further enhance their stay and these consisted of indulgent Epsom bath salts, creamy serums to make your face fit for the stay, and even a doggy hamper addressed to Bella, our four legged companion.
The personal touches like this made such an important difference.
The bathroom at Water Meadow Cottage is similarly lavish with leather floor tiles heated from underneath, a roll-top bath and walk-in shower.
All rooms come with attractive leather luggage furniture – trunks from a bygone era converted into modern, convenient furniture; and all are lit in that flattering golden glow from the antique lamps lining each corner.
As attractive as the cottage is at night it’s the daytime where it exceeds expectations. The views from the bedrooms are stunning and looking out over a field peppered with pheasants and misty clouds was quite spectacular.
The small garden – complete with a ripe and abundant apple tree – is home to a substantial, homely and elegantly decorated summerhouse, the veranda of which looks out over the River Evenlode and fields of the Blenheim estate.
The house is fully equipped with traditional family games, antique rugs, heaters and iPod docks. It would be a spectacular spot to host parties in the summer months.
During the weekend we immersed ourselves in the gorgeous surroundings and followed the instructions of the very well put-together guide in the cottage.
Trying out several walks around the estate, horse-riding and then to the local village to window shop and enjoy dinner at one of the very good nearby restaurants.
Water Meadow cottage sleeps up to 4 guests, and you can take up to two little four legged friends too. Being so close to the city it was the perfect break for the weekend – feeling modern, luxurious and bespoke in a perfectly remote and very British rural setting.
For further inspiration for a holiday within an hour or two of London, read our guide to the best hotels near London.
Disclaimer – Frances stayed as a guest of Water Meadow Cottage – you can read our editorial policy here.