Travel review: Have a tree-mendous time down on Winchcombe Farm
It was a real tree-at, we had a tree-mendous time and everything was tree bien! Too much?
Well you get the picture. Staying at Will’s Tree House down on Winchcombe Farm was simply lovely.
Once part of a children’s nursery the spectacular tree house (yes it’s a real tree house!) was converted into a perfect little haven for a relaxing getaway in the countryside by couple Jo and Steve in a change of business direction.
And while I am sure the work to transform it was certainly not child’s play, what a job they’ve done.
The impressive lodge in Upper Tysoe – which is about 40 miles outside the West Midlands and nestled on the edge of the Costwolds – could be straight out of Grand Designs.
During my stay I half expected Kevin McCloud to pop out from behind a corner at any moment marvelling at the architectural surroundings.
With ample parking right outside you are greeted by the friendly ponies Queenie and Stan before a walkway leads up to the front door via the expansive decking area that wraps around the lodge.
Inside you walk into a cosy kitchen with a welcome pack waiting for you -– ours included a cake, bottle of wine, fruit and other little essentials. It’s a nice touch and a typical of a bit of Black Country hospitality. Jo originally hails from our neck of the woods in Halesowen, so you’re in safe hands!
The bathroom was nice and clean and just outside the door one of the trees is visible through a panel.
The children loved switching the light on and off to see it illuminated at bedtime, even wishing it goodnight . . . cute. Who needs TV?
The main living space features a double bed plus a foldaway bunk and french doors that lead back out onto the decking area and the all-important hot tub where you can spend some time relaxing in the bubbles under the canopy of the trees where you will find yourself repeating the mantra “this is the life.”
Got the kids in tow? No problem. There is more than enough room for them to roam around the grounds surrounding the lodge where there is a trampoline, little play area and lots of nooks and crannies.
And if the weather is good you may want to stoke up the barbecue on the patio or throw a pizza in the pizza oven provided perhaps?
As we were visiting during the autumn and as Jo and Steve had left us a bag of marshmallows too – we decided to toast them over the fire pit in what was a magical family evening.
The staff, who can easily be found during the day, were very helpful and friendly sorting us out with the logs and anything else we needed.
This is the sort of place where to get the most of it you just want to zone out and enjoy the tranquility. If you really must log on to the internet then yes there is wi-fi and a gaming console supplied – not to mention the huge TV.
But if you’d rather soak in the scenic surroundings then there are plenty of strolls on your doorstep including the Edge Hill walk – which has been labelled one of the best in England. And just ten minutes away in the car is the National Trust’s Upton House – interestingly a property that once belonged to the family who founded the Shell oil company. We enjoyed taking a tour of the house by the knowledgeable guide and the food was lovely too.
It should also be said that Stratford-upon-Avon is not far away – we visited on our way to the lodge. If you plan successfully you may also be able to coincide your trip with a chance to see the Royal Shakespeare Company in action.
Blenheim Palace is of course only about 25 minutes away from the farm too with the British Motor Museum even closer. That has its own restaurant and a an outdoor play park with picnic area for children.
Warwick Castle is on the doorstep as is Cotswold Wildlife Park.
The nearest town is Banbury with all the amenities needed for your break although there is also a village store closer to home.
As for food – you can arrange for a supermarket shop or takeaway delivery – alternatively there are plenty of pub and restaurant options.
We stopped off at The Barley Mow on Warwick Road, which was reasonably priced and had some decent pub grub suitable for the family. But if you want more of a dining experience you may want to try the Castle at Edgehill – but it is suggested you ring and reserve a table in the window if you can.
If you are visiting after the end of this month you may see a few new arrivals as ponies Queenie and Stan are being joined by alpacas Geoff, Charles and Barry very soon.
Prices for Will's Tree House start at £225 per night low season and go up to £345 per night high season.
Winchcombe also boasts three other lodges, the new George's Getaway that sleeps six adults and two children, Bob's Lodge, which sleeps six and the Chicken Shed that sleeps five. Work has also just begun on Ben's Burrow, to sleep eight.
Book at winchcombefarm.co.uk