Autumnal Escapes

A Wintry Weekend at Spellbound

Never has the end of a work day been so eagerly anticipated, as we impatiently waited for afternoon to arrive at Boutique HQ so we could set off on our Cotswold adventure. Bidding a keen farewell to Cornwall with our luggage on board, we pressed play on the Christmas mixtape and began a joyous journey to our homestay for the weekend.

An unmistakable thrill sparks from within at first sight of the iconic Cotswold stone, as we wound along quiet country lanes through charming villages, where every home is a dream in its own right. All peeping through our car windows to catch a glimpse of each swoon-worthy abode, the anticipation for arriving at our own home peaked as we reached the village of Down Ampney in Cirencester. Following a sweet lane, passing roaming sheep and far-reaching countryside views, we came to the track’s end to uncover stunning Spellbound - sitting pretty in picture-perfect style. Fleeing the car to step out in wonder, we stood in awe for a moment before opening an idyllic gate to follow a path to the front door, which lies beneath a gorgeous, arched porch. Adorned with a beautifully festive wreath in warm shades of amber and gold, with a turn of the key we entered our darling dwelling…

We slipped softly into retreat heaven, as our stunning abode welcomed us with a warm embrace of festive magic. A selection of lights were on for our arrival, creating a gentle glow to highlight the beautiful features of the reception room we had entered. Seasonal garlands were placed perfectly around the sweeping staircase and grand fireplace, where a double-sided wood burning stove sat handsomely - ready to be lit. Awe-struck, we ventured through to the country-chic kitchen to discover a heavenly welcome hamper brim-full of local treats and artisan delicacies, along with five gold-rimmed coupe glasses and a bottle of sparkle awaiting our arrival. These thoughtfully curated touches left us utterly enthralled, an enchanting Spellbound welcome to begin our weekend in Boutique style!

With luggage patiently residing at the door, we set off to discover the five beautiful bedroom spaces and gorgeous bathrooms of Spellbound. From the luxurious master bedroom with super king-sized bed and romantic roll top bath, to the quaint annexe suite which lies just beside the main house in the idyllic grounds; each room promised a gracefully unique style and was dressed in divine linens with lavish throws and cushions. Once we had chosen our desired room for the weekend, we explored the living spaces on the ground floor, where a snug room awaited us bedecked with a wonderful selection of games. With corks popped and coupe glasses flowing, we decided to strike a match in the double-sided wood burning stove and settle in the living room for our first evening.

In the heart of this heavenly home, we cosied up on the sumptuous sofas and chairs around the magical Christmas tree, standing proud and exquisitely decked in festive style. With Christmas classics softly crooning on the Amazon Echo speakers, we gathered together for a cosy evening beside the roaring fire, full of warmth and joy. Every corner of the stunning living room was elegantly styled for the season, with garlands, wreaths and festive touches, we found ourselves in a country Christmas dream.

After a fabulous feast of Italian cuisine from a local restaurant, Colosseo, we explored the games room and cinema room, found in a separate space beside the main house. Especially drawn to the cinema room, we snuggled up on the sumptuous sofas - with popcorn and hot chocolates for good measure – and settled on a beloved holiday classic, Home Alone, to really get into the festive mood. Returning to the main house, we spent the rest of our evening fireside, playing boardgames and sipping champagne cocktails; where all these little moments made a truly spellbinding first evening at our retreat.

We each awoke to gentle birdsong, as the world seemed quieter than usual. Sat around the dining table after the most restful of slumbers, we set about planning which delightful little towns to visit for the day. Glimpsing through the charming windows over endlessly rolling countryside we were greeted by the first flurries of snow! As we gathered for the first sips of morning coffees, the soft showers of snow began to fall in stormy gusts, with the tranquil gardens soon dusted in white. Donning our boots, woolly hats and knitted scarves, we hurried into the car to explore our snowy Cotswolds. First on the must-visit list was Burford Garden Company, where a winter dream awaited us…

Following the picturesque roads of the snow-coated Cotswolds countryside, we found our way to Burford Garden Company. On arrival, snow floated off the surrounding trees and we made our way into the warm haven. Burford Garden Company lies at the top of Burford high street, a small medieval town, and offers luxury gifts for everyone for any occasion. As we wound our way through the local delights, we stumbled upon the beautiful Christmas wonderland. Stepping in, we were greeted by the festive scent of zesty orange and spicy cinnamon, and a shiny array of divine decorations. We wandered around exploring the delicately hand painted baubles and lights, giving us all the festive feel!

We continued mazing our way through the stunning sections and came to the beautiful café. After eyeing up the delicious selection of cakes and coffees, we settled down to enjoy our mid-morning break, relishing every mouthful of sweet tasting cinnamon swirl. Finishing off our visit, before stepping back into the snow fall outside, we entered every chocoholic’s dream - The Chocolate Shop. Sweeping around the room, our eyes gazed upon thousands of sweet treats to enjoy and feast upon. A wonderous space to explore with so many artisan delights and home interior treasures, Burford Garden Company was a dream to discover.

Next on the list was the market town of Cirencester, just a short drive from Spellbound. Every day leading up to Christmas, there are festive markets located next to the church on Market Place. We explored the stalls of the Christmas Arts & Craft market, looking to find unique Christmas gifts for our loved ones. After a bite to eat, we then visited the famous high street of Burford. We were drawn in by the quaint independent shops, with beautifully festive store fronts.

We then ventured to the picture-perfect town of Stow-on-the-Wold. We were in awe at the mellow Cotswold stone houses and shops. After a spot of lunch, the snow-dusted lanes led us to the oh-so-charming village, Broadway. Feeling frosty after exploring the Boutique shops, we set our sights on finding a quaint village pub for a mulled wine by a cosy fire. The Crown and Trumpet, a traditional 17th Century Inn dressed in rustic country style, ticked all our boxes for a festive tipple.

Travelling back to our heavenly retreat, with frosty faces and icicle fingers, we drove through a tiny village named Snowshill - aptly named and a delight for the eyes, completely blanketed by snow. We stopped for a while to take it all in, snowflakes glistening atop the Cotswold stone and still steadily falling. It felt as though any imperfection had been hidden by the white quilt of snow and for just that moment, we were living in our own festive bubble.

After spending the day visiting several towns and villages in The Cotswolds, we returned to our beautiful homestay for a cheeseboard of dreams beside the fire. With a selection of delicacies from Burford’s artisan cheese shoppe, we created a charcuterie board adorned with all our favourite savoury treats. Paired with a glass of vintage red, we soon found ourselves cosied up by the fire once again…

Dusk led us to venture into Cirencester for dinner, where every street looked simply beautiful dressed in mesmeric lights. After a delicious dinner we took refuge from the frosty evening in Côte Brasserie for cocktails, with a selection of luscious tipples on the menu we each opted for our favoured concoction and whiled the evening away.

As it had been snowing for most of the day, there was a brisk chill in the air, making our entrance through the quaint front door into a cosy Spellbound ever-so inviting. The comforting scent of pine needles, along with the luxury of underfloor heating, quickly took the chill off. Warming mulled wine on the stove, we gathered in the living room to watch The Holiday on our Smart TV, a festive favourite which was just made to be relished in the gorgeously festive comfort of this retreat…

Our last day at Spellbound began with lingering lie ins, slow morning coffees and freshly baked pastries, savoured in the serenity of our luxurious bedrooms. To ease ourselves into a perfectly slow Sunday we set off on a gentle stroll through Spellbound’s surrounding countryside. Endlessly rolling hills and idyllic Cotswold countryside awaits right on the doorstep of this stunning abode, where roaming sheep reside, promising a tranquil escape from the everyday. We journeyed far beyond the boundaries of our cosy dwelling to uncover another realm, where reality melts away to allow for soul soothing moments deep in the country.

Returning to our secret sanctuary, with a slight chill in the air it felt like the perfect moment to take a dip in the hot tub. Once the tub was blissfully bubbling away, with a glass of something lovely in hand, we sank into steamy waters and forgot the world for a while. The gardens look onto glorious countryside, with a glimpse of the charming village church in the distance and only serene silence as our companion – aside from the occasional hoot of an owl! Between the 1st April - 31st October, the heated swimming pool is also available, creating the ultimate outdoor space for a family gathering or getaway with friends.

Spellbound is perfectly situated to explore an array of beauty spots in the nearby area, from sleepy Cotswold villages and bustling towns to quintessential pubs and quiet country walks. Bidding farewell to our weekend in the country with heavy hearts, we already hoped to return again one day soon. Every inch of this stunning sojourn has been thoughtfully crafted by its owners, to offer the comfort of a home away from home, with the addition of luxurious touches and a dose of staycation magic.

It’s no secret that The Cotswolds promise an idyllic retreat from reality all year round and there’s certainly nowhere else we’d rather spend a wintry weekend than this dreamy little corner of the world...

With rare availability for a getaway this winter, experience the beauty of Spellbound first-hand and flee the everyday in true Cotswold style. A must-visit for any Cotswold lover, this one’s for the travel dreamers.

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