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Family-friendly rentals

It's the Easter holidays, you need to reconnect with your fam, and we have just the thing to help - 30 gorgeous self-catering cottages across the Muddy counties! How does a last minute staycation sound?

BEDFORDSHIRE BERKSHIRE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE CAMBRIDGESHIRE CORNWALL DEVON GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAMPSHIRE HERTFORDSHIRE KENT LEICESTERSHIRE NORFOLK NORTHAMPTONSHIRE OXFORDSHIRE SOMERSET SURREY SUSSEX WARWICKSHIRE WILTSHIRE

 

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Wellacres House, Blockley (sleeps 16)

Have a large family? This stunning Cotswold escape is classic Chipping Campden gloriousness, with pool, hot tub and games room. Think flagstone floors, exposed beams, Cotswold stone and log-burning fires in a stylish mash-up with contemporary luxury. There’s a huge family room and home cinema too, plus a games barn with loads of fun stuff for little and big kids – perfect for families and special celebrations. kateandtoms.com

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KENT

Goodnestone Park, Goodnestone (sleeps 24)

Photo: David Fenwick

Goodnestone Park is a stunning, privately owned stately home and garden in east Kent where you can hire the whole house for that truly special function or weekend with family and friends. Take one look at this quintessential English country house and you’ll know why it was a favourite of both Jane Austen herself and the producer of Downton Abbey. No surprise that it’s a favourite with families wanting to enjoy the country manor house experience – let the owners arrange archery or falconry for you, or why not play on the private cricket pitch at the front of the house? There’s croquet, but of course. All the kids need to bring is their imagination – and you’ll want your feathered hatgoodnestone.com

 

14 and 15 Love Lane, Canterbury (sleeps 5)

Sitting side by side in a pretty part of Canterbury these three bedroom cottages (each sleeping 5) offer the choice of self-catering or Bed and Breakfast accommodation. We’re talking gorgeous Victorian cottages with the character and charm of period properties, that have been restored so also offer all the mod cons and well-equipped kitchens. There are pretty courtyard gardens with garden furniture and a barbecue for you to use. Stay in one of the cottages on a weekend away with the family or, even better, get your family friends to hire the cottage next door and get away with the gang. The more the merrier, eh. 7longport.co.uk

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HERTFORDSHIRE

Kingsbridge House, Tewin Bury Farm, Welwyn (sleeps 16)

This eight-double bedroom house is in the grounds of the Tewin Bury Farm Hotel and can be privately hired for a whole group or booked room-only. There’s an on-site bar and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in you want a day off from catering for the masses proves, as well as a private dining room available for hire if you’ve got something special to celebrate. Clean and modern with a traditional twist, it’s great for families with older kids who want a bit more space, and with all bedrooms being en suite, there’ll be no queueing for the bathroom either. Plus, there’s not one, but two hot tubs! Hello G&T-in-the-jacuzzi-o-clock… tewinbury.co.uk

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LEICESTERSHIRE

Mallory Meadows, nr Leicester (sleeps 2-4)

An off-the-grid getaway in the heart of the countryside, these quirky cedar micro-lodges are run by Emily-Jane Tams and husband Chris and are set in beautiful woodland near Mallory Park race circuit. By day sit outside and enjoy the fresh countryside air or explore one of the nearby attractions including Bosworth Battlefield, Bradgate Park or Twycross Zoo or explore the local woodland and head up to Beacon Hill. Each boutique lodge (there are only four so no fear of overcrowding) comes with its own decking and outdoor hot tub so pop open the fizz while the mudlets entertain themselves outside. Pets are also welcome, making it the perfect base for your entire troop. mallorymeadows.co.uk

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WARWICKSHIRE

Hilltop Hideaways, Hunningham, nr Leamington Spa (sleeps 2-4)

Wake up to some of the finest views in Warwickshire from this family-run hilltop glamping site where you can see for miles and miles – the sunsets are unreal! Hilltop Hideaways is nestled into the rolling hills on a third-generation family farm. Kids will love the acres of open space, the play area, chickens, ponies and freedom to play outside. It’s just a few miles from Leamington Spa, with Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cotswolds on the doorstep. Stay in wooden cabins, bell tents or a prettily-decked out shepherd’s hut. All come with comfy beds and cosy feather duvets, so you can sleep under the stars in luxury.  Showers and loos are in a cleverly converted horse-box. The site is also home to Muddy Stilettos (Warks) award-winning Hilltop Farm Shop, a Home Barn and Café, specialising in local produce and open every day, 9am – 6pm.  Read the Muddy review.

 

One Abbey Lane, Southam (sleeps 4)

This super-swish architect designed modern luxe one-bedroom apartment is part of a clever extension added onto a beautifully restored 16th Century timber house. The 2010 restoration was filmed for BBC 2’s Restoration Home. Families and children of all ages are welcome; extra beds, travel cots and high chairs can be arranged in advance. Owner Sally Forgan has thought of everything and offers guests luxury B&B facilities with a continental breakfast.

The accommodation includes all mod-cons, a super king bed, lounge area with sofa bed, dining area, desk and office facilities, kitchenette, bathroom, daily room service, super-fast broadband and a silent running honesty mini bar. Located in the small market town of Southam, just 7 miles from Leamington Spa, it’s great for exploring Warwickshire and the Cotswolds, with Warwick Castle, and Stratford-upon-Avon nearby. Walks from the house will take you along the pretty Stowe Valley to Southam’s ancient Holy Well, and to the Dallas Burston Polo Ground. The Grand Union Canal network is also close-by with lovely walks and pubs. It’s a steal for such a lovely boutique stay! From £125 midweek, £145 weekend (for 2 adults) and £20 per additional adult. No charge for children. Book here

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CORNWALL

Blue Monkey, Cawsand (sleeps 10)

In the heart of Cawsand village on Cornwall’s Rame Peninsula, Blue Monkey is a superbly comfortable and well-equipped family rental. The door to this stylish townhouse is on a quaint seaside street, so you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how spacious the property is inside. It has five relaxed yet elegant bedrooms, including two massive en-suite doubles, a family kitchen, open-plan living and dining room and a pretty courtyard garden. But it’s the thoughtful touches and added luxuries that make this place so special, from the Prosecco cream tea that greets you to the coffee machine and Nutribullet, baby equipment, packed board game cupboard and free kayaks – ideal for exploring the calm waters of the bay. bluemonkeycornwall.com

 

The Island, Newquay (sleeps 6)

Eat your heart out Richard Branson, I’ve found an island home to call my own! An iconic sight in this north Cornwall beach town, The Island in Newquay is a spectacular holiday home, perched on its own private island above Newquay’s Towan Beach. Dramatically, it is accessed via suspension bridge and is entirely surrounded by water at high tide. From the lush garden, which wraps around the house, you can take in sweeping views of the Atlantic and watch surfers and seals from rocking chairs under the swaying palms. Various sheltered areas have been created in the garden, including a lovely al fresco dining spot with a pergola, fairy lights and barbecue. Inside, the house sleeps six comfortably, with a beautiful master bedroom, complete with a contemporary four-poster, en suite, dressing area and snug and stylish open-plan living spaces. boutique-retreats.co.uk

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BEDFORDSHIRE

The Dower House, Sharnbrook (sleeps 6)

Predominantly a wedding venue, Dower House is a majestic country house in beautiful grounds (including woodland and a lake). The accomm is in the form of a semi-detached three-bedroom cottage, which can be booked for family stays for groups of six (not just bridal parties – shh, don’t tell everyone!) The quaint village setting might appeal for a get-away-from-it-all, but it’s also within easy reach of Cambridge for day trips, so you can take the kids shopping, punting or sightseeing if they find it a bit too quiet! dowerhousevenue.co.uk

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OXFORDSHIRE

Oxford Country Cottages, Noke, south Oxfordshire (sleeps up to 30)

The best of both worlds – super-rural in this quiet village of Noke in the Oxfordshire countryside, but happily just a few miles from Oxford city centre too. Here you’ll find six converted Cotswold stone cottages (sleeping 2 – 7) set in a 1000 acre nature reserve, plus Beryl the Bus, a double decker glamping experience that sleeps up to six for a quirkier stay. You can book individual cottages, or the whole thing if you’re planning a big family or friends gathering. It’s great for groups who want a staycation in homely surroundings, with a BBQ terrace, Wendy house full of toys, table tennis table, hot tub and fresh air by the buckets. There’s also a small, well stocked shop selling produce from the farm. Aside from the joys of the City of Spires, the cottages are a great base to mooch around the Cotswolds or Blenheim Palace too.

oxfordcountrycottages.co.uk

 

Hoxton Barn, nr Bampton (sleeps 8 – 10)

Oooh, pretty! Close to the Thames pathway with its stunning walks, Chimney Meadows nature reserve and the town of Bampton (yes, of Downton Abbey fame), this converted honey stone Cotswold barn is perfect for family  groups, sleeping up to 10 in four bedrooms. The spacious barn is all on one level with a log burner for chilly months and an enclosed courtyard with seating (up to 10) and BBQ for sipping G&Ts in summer. There’s also a garden partly shared with the two other barns in the complex. Book on mulberrycottages.com

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SOMERSET

The Cow Shed, Bishopswood, nr Honiton (sleeps 8)

The cows have moved out and the designers have moved in, turning an old stone barn into a luxury, family-friendly holiday pad sleeping eight on the edge of the village of Bishopswood (and its excellent pub) in the beautiful Blackdown Hills. Open plan living room with woodburner, TV/DVD/wifi and sleek modern kitchen.  Four beds (one en suite – that’s yours) and family bathroom with fancy roll top bath. Outside, splash about in the hot tub or soak up the views from the terrace while the kids (and dog?) gambol in a grassy paddock. A day at the beach – the Jurassic Coast’s Lyme Regis – is just half an hour away. Want to holiday with another family? Woodend Farm (sleeps 6) is next door.  The Cow Shed: 7 nights from £760; Woodend Farm from £562. classic.co.uk

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SUSSEX

Camber Sands Cottage, near Rye (sleeps 13) 

Flooded with coastal light, this dramatic all-white cottage virtually backs onto the wonderful dune-filled beach of Camber Sands. It sleeps up to 13 across four bedrooms – perfect for extended family gatherings or friends with children holidaying together. There are decorative vintage finds throughout but it’s also pleasingly practical, with a huge kitchen, country dining table, two living rooms, a garden and off-road parking. Dogs are welcome. Historic Rye is nearby where you’ll also find the smart, beamed West Street Cottage, which sleeps up to six. Browse these and more East and West Sussex choices at Cabins and Castles, a handpicked portfolio of unique properties which you can filter for family-friendly options that don’t compromise on style. cabinsandcastles.co.uk

 

Wingrove Lodge, Alfriston (sleeps 5)

Restaurant with rooms Wingrove has a smart new self-catering lodge. It’s set on the village green of pretty Alfriston, with its historic pubs and tea shops, and is perfectly placed for walks on the South Downs and visiting Rathfinny vineyard, the National Trust’s Medieval Clergy House and popular zoo and amusement park Drusillas. The sea is also within easy range. The lodge’s cosy living room features Downs views and a fireplace, while a super-practical kitchen includes a washing machine and dishwasher. At the end of a day’s exploration, gather round a dining room table that seats up to eight and at night spread your clan across two double bedrooms and a single. A travel cot and high chair can be provided and your four-legged friend is welcome. wingrovelodge.com

 

The Lodges at New House Farm, Etchingham (sleeps 2-6)

A heated pool and on site alpacas are among the distractions for youngsters at New House Farm at Etchingham, East Sussex. The six roomy lodges here sleep from two to six and a pair interconnect – perfect for extended families, or a little parental downtime. There’s a pretty formal garden for lounging on sunny days and surrounding forest and fields for walking. Rain needn’t stop play because all guests have access to the restored 300-year-old Long Barn which features a snug and games tables. If you’re planning a big family celebration you can even hire out the whole site and a private chef and use the Long Barn for the party. thelodgesnhf.com

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NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Bagborough Hall Holidays, (sleeps 4-8)

If you’re looking for a place to stay close to the varied attractions of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire (including Silverstone), Bagborough Hall Estate is perfecto for families and groups. There are three self-catering holiday homes offering countryside luxuries with modern facilities, and you’ll definitely feel far from the madding crowd. Lovely extras include a log burner, table football in the Tack Room or a tennis court within the gorgeous walled garden. Want to feel like lady of the manor? The cottages are on the Bragborough Hall Estate, so you can stretch your legs in the morning with a walk over the picturesque farm before fuelling your day with the homemade breakfast or goodies from your complimentary hamper (includes eggs from their chickens, wine and homemade treats). Within walking distance of some great places to eat and drink, there’s a nearby canal-side pub that’s perfect for a wine spritzer at sun-down while the kids play count the barge boats. Perfect! bragboroughhallholidays.co.uk

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SURREY

The Garden Cottage, Bookham (sleeps 6)

Photo: Mike Henton/National Trust

Pretty as a picture and with views out over the Surrey Hills, the Garden Cottage is part of the National Trust’s 1400-acre Polesden Lacey Estate in Bookham. There are three bedrooms over two floors and two bathrooms. Downstairs there’s a kitchen/diner and a sitting room with an open fire and the cottage comes  with its own private garden and two small patio areas. You’re in the shadow of the main Edwardian house at Polesden Lacey, and guests have free access to Polesden’s house, gardens and ground, which offers plenty of walking opportunities over miles of waymarked trails through woodland and over rolling hills. There’s also a children’s playground. You’ll have to leave Rover at home though, as dogs are not allowed. There’s a minimum two-night stay, and prices start at £414 for two nights. nationaltrust.org.uk

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BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Bois Mill, Bucks (sleeps 12) 

How gorgeous is this house? Bois Mill, nestled in the Chiltern hills, has two rivers running through the pretty English gardens and six acres of woodland and it’s just a half hour from London too. The house sleeps up to 12 in seven rooms, with floor to ceiling bay windows (*sigh*) and views of the countryside and treetops in the two top floor bedrooms. There’s a country yet contemporary style throughout with an electric Aga and dining space for all guests around a huge oak table at the heart of the kitchen- you can even hire a chef for your stay. Dogs are welcome (but no paws no the sofas!) Warner Bros. Studios is just around the corner along with the Road Dahl Museum, plus local horse riding and walking routes. Book on kateandtoms.com

 

The Flint House, Beaconsfield (sleeps 15)

Set in a whopping 2000 acres of farm and woodland (no traffic here, you’ll sleep like a baby), is this detached farmhouse bursting with character that sleeps up to 15 in seven super to kingsize bedrooms,  across two floors. Art deco meets country glam interiors throughout with gorgeous Chesterfield armchairs and a large wood burner in the cosy lounge. Outside you’ll find views for days along with a terrace and BBQ, but if you don’t fancy cooking there’s the option of a personal chef. London is 50 minutes in one direction, the rolling Chiltern hills in the other- take your pick. Book on holidaycottages.co.uk

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DEVON

Gitcombe House Country Cottages, Totnes (sleeps 4-13)

interior living room beams blue sofas

Park up, pop a cork and drink in your surroundings; this is about as glam as a family staycation gets! Gitcombe is a cluster of luxury cottages in a peaceful and private south Devon valley, between Dartmouth and Totnes. The newest addition is the gorgeous Gitcombe Retreat, a superbly designed four bedroom hideaway (sleeping 8 + 2 infants), with its own private hot tub to boot. Perched in a commanding position overlooking the valley, there’s no danger of feeling overcrowded here, nor is there any reason to leave; but if you must drag yourself out, then you need only pad as far as the pools (both indoors and out) or play areas. This is a stay to be enjoyed in all-weather, by all ages; whether you’re stoking the log burner or lounging in the sunshine, you’ll be so glad you discovered Gitcombe. Full review and special booking offer here.

 

Southview Lodges, nr Exeter (sleeps 4)

If that Tui ad with the mum and grumpy teenage daughter doing some holiday bonding got you a bit teary (well it did me) then this is the place for you. Set in 360-degree views of tranquil greenery, but only three miles from Exeter, Southview Lodges oozes ‘family time’. Five luxury lodges (sleeps 4 and a littley) all with their own decks and private hot tubs gaze peacefully out onto three fishing lakes where you can dangle your legs and have a go at some Huckleberry Finn style fishing. Two lodges are side-by-side, ideal for larger groups or two families brave enough to do the friends reunited thing, and when all that bonding and fresh air brings you out in a rash, there’s excellent wifi, city bars and boutiques and three sandy beaches less than a 20-minute car drive away. It’s dog-friendly (because pooches deserve a holiday too) with a complementary cream tea waiting for you on arrival and all those personal touches and attention to detail you get with an award-winning family-run rental. southviewlodges.co.uk

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HAMPSHIRE

Curlews, Lymington (sleeps 6)

Curlews Reception Room

For a seaside getaway on the beautiful south coast then check out this New Forest Cottages property in Lymington. Located in the New Forest and right by the Beaulieu River, this rental offers huge bright and airy spaces, three good sized bedrooms as well as two bathrooms. It has a pretty little first-floor living room that overlooks the marina, as well as views over to the Isle of Wight. And you won’t get stir crazy here either, as a quick fifteen-minute walk takes you into Lymington town filled with quirky eateries, lots of pubs (plenty of which are child-friendly, woohoo!) plus kitschy little gift shops and boutiques. The property sleeps up to six people and costs start from around £1,400 for seven nights. newforestcottages.co.uk

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BERKSHIRE

Manor Farm Courtyard Cottages, Hampstead Norreys (sleeps 2-4)

Manor Farm Courtyard Cottages Hampstead Norreys Berkshire beams double bed white walls beige and cream decor

A rural getaway with space for rampaging kids but with all the luxury vibes of a hotel to keep the grown ups sweet – that pretty much sums up Manor Farm Courtyard Cottages in the West Berkshire village of Hampstead Norreys, 7 miles north of Newbury. Owned by the lovely Betts Family, it’s a hidden gem offering four grade II listed cottages – created from the old stables and hayloft. The cottages sleep two or four people with sofa beds for stowaways – perfect for small or big family getaways. With a lovely local shop, cafe and pub within staggering distance, it’s no wonder Pippa Middleton’s wedding guests stayed here in 2017). There’s a two-night minimum stay, prices start at £95 per night. stayatmanorfarm.co.uk

 

Old Butcher’s Wine Cellar Apartment, Cookham (sleeps 6)

It’s old (15th century), packed full of charming original features (can we have a moment for those beams?) in the chocolate box village of Cookham. Oh, and it’s above a wine shop! It’s got Muddy family sleepover written all over it. The apartment can be found on the High Street, surrounded by good walks, gastropubs and 10 mins from Legoland Windsor, Windsor Castle, several Michelin star restaurants and you’re 30 minutes from London. Sleeping 6 there are 2 bedrooms, plus a sofa bed, a small courtyard garden to boot then kids out into and, during opening hours, you can dive headfirst into the gorgeous vino sold in Old Butcher’s Wine Cellar. At weekends the shop becomes a pop up wine bar and they host the occasional supper club. Book a babysitter and join the party downstairs. £169 per night. airbnb.co.uk

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CAMBRIDGESHIRE

River Nene Cottages, Peterborough (sleeps 2 – 4)  

The Cotswolds meet Cambridgeshire at these three, Grade II listed cottages in the idyllic stone village of Water Newton a few miles west of Peterborough – it’s impossible to believe you’re minutes from the A1. The 19th century former farm building has been beautifully renovated – think designer wallpaper, contemporary bathrooms, vaulted ceilings and open fireplaces (in two of the properties), although they still retain a country charm with rustic wooden ceiling beams. The larger two cottages sleep four and the smaller flat sleeps two with cot beds available for youngsters. You’re also getting a stunning garden that stretches down to the river, a summer house and heated pool (open Apr – Oct) shared between the cottages. Loads of activities for tweens and teens on the river like sailing and kayaking, plus golf and horse riding, not forgetting Alwalton Hall wellness spa three minutes drive down the road! rivernenecottages.co.uk

 

Kingston Barns, Kingston (sleeps 16)

Barn 1

This one is mega! Seven miles south west of central Cambridge in the small rural village of Kingston, you’ll find this huge corrugated metal barn conversion with stunning countryside views. Completed in August 2018, it’s been taking bookings for just over six months for the four, self-contained properties that sleep up to 16 guests in eight bedrooms, plus there’s basically a bathroom each (there are 12!). The properties can be booked separately or you can hire the whole barn for a super-sized weekend away with friends and family, and even the dogs- Barns 3 and 4 allow up to two. Contemporary, open plan interiors throughout with steel staircases, underfloor heating, sliding glass doors, decked out kitchens with induction hobs and a shared orangery (Barns 1, 3 & 4) that runs the length of the ground floor and leads out on to the landscaped entertainment area complete with furniture, fire pit and fruit garden. To keep the kids entertained the barn comes equipped with a Petanque court, Boules, Kubb, bikes, badminton and loads of open space for them to bomb about in. Book at ruralretreats.co.uk

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NORFOLK

Brickley Rise, Ingoldisthorpe (sleeps 8)

Brickley Rise is the perfect antidote to city life. Situated in the grounds of Ingoldisthorpe Hall in North Norfolk this former laundry cottage is now an impressive sized holiday let sleeping eight people in two ensuite doubles and two twins. A lot of thought has been put into making this family stay as relaxing as possible. You can leave the bulky baby paraphernalia at home as child gates, cot beds and high chairs are here already, leaving room in the boot for the essentials/wine! There’s a spacious modern kitchen, dining room and cosy family lounge with a wood burner. French doors lead out to the enclosed garden and summer house – perfect for kids to safely explore. A second family sitting room for children is complete with games, toys, colouring books and DVD’s, so fingers crossed you can sit back and relax while they entertain themselves. The Royals will be your neighbours for the weekend, as Sandringham is just down the road plus tons of stuff to explore along the North Norfolk coast. The Dabbling Duck in Gt Massingham is Wills and Kate’s favourite local – so worth a visit! brickley-rise.co.uk

 

Sea Folley, Old Hunstanton (sleeps 8)

This is absolutely a ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ type property. Walk through the door of this unassuming seaside bungalow and be wowed by the spacious, contemporary open plan interior. Plus you have amazing views over Hunstanton Lighthouse, the cliffs and St Edmund’s Arch and it’s only short distance from the dunes, beach and traditional seaside entertainment. Accessible en-suite accommodation for up to eight guests (plus dogs), Sea Folley is perfect for families spanning the generations. Tri-fold doors open onto a large patio and private garden – perfect for summer BBQ’s and entertaining. Our favourite room in the house has to be the ‘look out’ – a cosy den that opens onto a large balcony with rocking chairs. Lock the door and enjoy Hunstanton’s legendary sunsets with a glass of something bubbly. We all know that self catering holidays can be slightly compromised for some of us – I think you know what I’m getting at. So if you want to guarantee a relaxing break, check out Norfolk Coast Holiday Cottages private chef and butler service. norfolkcoastholidaycottages.co.uk

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WILTSHIRE

Chalke Valley House, nr Tisbury (sleeps 24)

Find fabulous, enormous fun at Chalke Valley. Sleeping 24 on the Wilts/Dorset border, the house is a vast exercise in homely opulence and grandeur, giving you eight acres of rolling beauty, a Med-style pool to splash in, table tennis, pool table and conservatory for a whopping family afternoon tea. Ride ponies at Pewsey Vale, pamper at Bishopstrow’s spa or Go Ape at Moors Valley. Sadly, eventual departure is compulsory. kateandtoms.com

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