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21 stunning self-catering stays in Bucks & Oxon

Who needs to go abroad with stays like this on our doorstep? If you're looking for a stylish cottage escape close to home for when lockdown lifts, read on.

OXFORDSHIRE

Alysas Cottage, Chipping Norton (sleeps 5)

This pretty cottage looks like it’s been plucked straight for a pastoral postcard with it’s honey stone and rural surroundings. Inside, traditional meets modern creature comforts with bags of character – exposed beams, solid oak doors, Cotswold stone fireplace – and a gorgeous shaker style kitchen in stylish, muted tones. Location-wise, it’s the idea base for exploring the Cotswolds, a stones throw away from Chippy, Stratford-upon-Avon and Woodstock if you fancy a ramble around Blenheim Palace.

The Boathouse, Henley-on-Thames (sleeps 2)

Naughty weekend on the river? Say hello to this luxe boathouse, just a two minute walk from Henley town centre with it’s many pubs and restaurants (book a table for two at Hart Street Tavern or The Bull on Bell Street). The apartment is flooded with light and furnished to a top spec (plus a Sonos sound system and smart TV), but the real star of the show is the balcony, with expansive views of the river and Henley Bridge. Perfect to watch the sun go down, cocktail in hand.

Breurn Cottages, Cotswolds (sleeps up to 66)

The quiet hamlet of Bruern is a couple of kilometres from Charlbury (with its mainline station into London – useful for the capitally-based), Chipping Norton and the gastropub powerhouse of Kingham village so you’re situated plum in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Bruern Cottages are a set of 12 cottages (sleeping 2 – 10), converted from the stables on the Astor estate in the Nineties – they pride themselves on their family offering and certainly you can’t argue with the massive garden, a two storied full-height Wendy House, heated indoor swimming pool and games room. For the adults there’s an on-site chef and spa therapists at your beck and call.

Oxford Country Cottages, Noke (sleeps up to 30)

The best of both worlds – super-rural in the 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 – 6) 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. 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.

King John’s Cottages, nr Burford (sleeps up to 12)

Green fields for miles, lashings of fresh air and the occasional sheep – it’s full countryside living at King John’s Cottages. Currently there are two properties that sleep up six guests each on offer, The Gallery (above) and Oak Tree Cottage which are both dog friendly, plus a third property is coming later this year. The cottages are set at the edge of Langley Farm, a former Royal Hunting Lodge for the Wychwood Forest, plus you’re close to Cotswold Wildlife Park and TV’s Adam Henson’s Farm.

Goodlake Barns, Faringdon (sleeps up to 28)

Sometimes it’s nice to have everybody in one place, but still have your own front door to lock at the end of the day, right? Ideal for huge family gatherings, Goodlake Barns is a collection of five independent properties (sleeping 4 – 10) all set around a communal courtyard. The barns are just a five minute drive from Faringdon Folly – check out the top of the hill for gorgeous views – and seven minutes from the town centre.

Meadowbrook Farm, Thame (sleeps up to 13)

No passing traffic? Check. Lovely local walks? Check. Gorgeous surroundings? Triple check with bells, whistles and duck ponds! Situated in the pretty hamlet of Moreton, an area of outstanding natural beauty, Meadowbrook Farm consists of three converted bars named after their original purpose Byre Cottage (a cattle shed), The Old Dairy (dairy parlour) and The Old Stable (horse stables). Jump in the car and Thame town centre is just minutes away, or you can take a 10 ramble along the public footpath to soak in the views. The Phoenix Cycle Trail and Oxfordshire Golf Course are also nearby.

Common Leys Farm, Waterperry (sleeps 2 – 4)

If you’re looking for a couples weekender away from the kids (no under 10s allowed – yippee!), Common Leys Farm is a great choice, situated bang on the Bucks & Oxon border. Oxford centre is 12 miles away, plus the rolling hills of the Chilterns is a half hour drive if you fancy a day trip. The Tutor farmhouse has two self-contained, self-catering lodges, beautifully converted from the farm’s outbuildings (sleeping 2), plus a pretty cottage which can accommodate up to four people.

Chilterns View, Wallingford (sleeps 2)

If it’s peace and quite you’re after, renting one of the six lodges at Chilterns View is a no brainer with a gloriously rural setting and South-facing views of the Chiltern Hills. Oh, and the hot tub doesn’t hurt! Each lodge at this secluded site is kitted out with its own private hot tub, BBQ and veranda with hammock. Just add Champers for the ultimate, relaxed weekender in the sticks.

The Hedgerow, Chilterns (sleeps 2)

If you’re after a lovely rural location with views to boot, then this two person, detached timber lodge is a no brainer. It’s situated at the bottom of Chinnor Hill Nature Reserve, with an abundance of red kites and kestrels, and right on The Ridgeway National Trail at Wainhill with 87 miles to explore by foot or bicycle – turn left to the Ivinghoe Beacon in Bucks or turn right to Avebury in Wiltshire (or sit out on the deck with a glass of fizz and soak in the view). Changed your mind about cooking? You’re close to The Mash Inn in Bennett’s End, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Tom Kerridge’s The Hand and Flowers in Marlow and The Swan at Tetsworth.

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

The Copse, Chilterns (sleeps up to 20)

This wedding venue and self-catering county house in the Chiltern Hills seriously has the wow factor with nine bedrooms, a large kitchen, cinema room, hot tub and stunning private gardens (just look at that lake!). It has a spacious and homely feel – perfect for a big family reunion.

Spring Cottage, Taplow (sleeps 6)

Spring Cottage, Taplow

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. 

Apple House, nr Milton Keynes (sleeps 10)

Have a big family (or just planning a huge party to celebrate the end of lockdown)? This 5-bed manor house is the perfect pad to relax in – and there’s so much to do, you won’t want to leave. There’s an indoor heated swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna, and the 7 acres of grounds include a badminton court, a gym, table football, darts, bikes and even canoes.

The Black Barn, Chesham (sleeps 2)

Rustic on the outside, modern on this inside, this bijou barn is the ideal base for exploring the Chiltern Hills – and, as it’s dog-friendly, Fido can join you on your long weekend too. Inside, The Black Barn has a spacious open-plan layout, leading to a sunny patio for al fresco dining, and all the mod cons a girl needs. Not that you’ll be spending much time indoors with such excellent walks on your doorstep – just remember to pack your wellies.

The Stables at Baylins Farm, Beaconsfield (sleeps 6)

The Stables at Baylins Farm, Beaconsfield

A cozy spot for a family stay, this 3-bedroom Grade II building in Knotty Green dates all the way back to 1450 (don’t panic, there’s definitely wi-fi). It makes a fab base for doing a spot of local sightseeing, and has all the amenities of Beaconsfield on its doorstep, but the surrounding paddocks and nearby beech wood walks make it feel wonderfully peaceful. Ahhh.

The Old Stone Barn, nr Olney (sleeps 2-6 per cottage)

The Old Stone Barn, Olney

Whether you’re after a romantic weekender or a week-long getaway with the kids, The Old Stone Barn can accommodate. Home to seven cottages, each between 1 and 3 bedrooms, this self-catering set-up in North Bucks is perfect for a summer staycation, thanks to the outdoor heated swimming pool, hot tubs and BBQs for hire and the option to order in luxury hampers. Fancy a glamping experience instead? The Old Stone Barn offers two fully self-contained safari tents each sleeping between 6 and 8 people.

The Chiltern Granary, Radnage (sleeps 4)

The Chiltern Granary, Radnage

If you’re pining for more green space in lockdown, then we’d book an escape here the minute it’s possible. With fabulous views of the surrounding fields and resident cows (the living room is even on the first floor to take full advantage) and the Chiltern rambling path running past the end of the garden, The Chiltern Granary is an idyllic country stay. There’s even a standalone cabin in the massive garden where you can fire up the BBQ, or pop the beds up and sleep under the stars.

Bakehouse Farm, Bledlow (sleeps 8)

Designed for families or groups of friends striking out across the Bucks countryside, Bakehouse Farm is a super-cozy retreat for up to 8 people. There are plenty of character features (just look at those beams), as well as luxe additions like roll-top baths, a smart TV and modern kitchen. Don’t feel like cooking? The Lions of Bledlow is less than a five minute walk away. Plus, as Bledlow is one of the filming locations for Midsomer Murders, what better place to host a murder mystery party? Just an idea!

Little Thatch, Buckingham (sleeps 2)

Little Thatch cottage, Buckingham

For proper chocolate box charm, our top pick has to be Little Thatch, a Grade II-listed country cottage in the village of Lillingstone Lovell in North Bucks. If you can get here in summer, you’ll find a garden bursting with flowers, and a BBQ spot and outdoor seating area for romantic meals in the sunshine. Saving your annual leave for a winter break? Snuggle down by the log burner and sip hot chocolate in the oak-beamed living room before retiring to bed.

Kingshill Farm Cottage, nr Great Missenden (sleeps 6)

Chiltern cottage near Great Missenden

Cyclists and ramblers, bookmark this 3-bed pronto. It’s ideally located for the Ridgeway Trail, as well as the ancient Icknield Way cycle trail at Ivinghoe Beacon, and Chequers and Coombe Hill are only a 15-minute drive away. Prefer your sight-seeing under a roof? Head to the nearby Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre or Amersham Museum.

Hazel Tree Cabin, Wendover (sleeps 2)

If your idea of the perfect self-catering holiday is more romantic wilderness escape than manor house in the country, then this cabin at Chiltern Yurt Retreat should be right up your (tree-lined) street. Relax in the wood-fired hot tub, snooze in the hammock or have a candlelit dinner or bath all in the privacy of your own woodland clearing. Owners Karen and David can even arrange a massage, aromatherapy or reiki session for you.

After more self-catering stays? Right this way.

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