Winchcombe Farm in Warwickshire is only a 30-minute drive from Stratford-Upon-Avon, the famous home of William Shakespeare, and around 40 minutes from the city of Warwick, and yet it feels like a world away. Set amongst rolling hills and quaint villages in the pockets of the valleys, the farm is a peaceful haven in these strange and anxious times. Two hours northwest of London and just past Oxford, it’s easy to get to from most parts of the UK. Here’s our Winchcombe story.
It was mid-pandemic: Things in our everyday lives were starting to get strained, and the daily news was never good. We needed a break. I wanted a getaway with my partner that was relaxing, remote, and at one with nature, and we certainly got that. Winchcombe Farm is a working farm with a handful of holiday lodges for rent. Each one has its own hot tub, and the lodges cater to parties of various sizes -- accommodating from two to nine people and anything in between. As it was just the two of us, I chose the treehouse. The treehouse also happens to be named Will’s Treehouse and my partner’s name is Will, so it seemed like it was meant to be!
When we arrived at the farm it was quiet and we didn’t see another person for quite some time. A perfect start. I’d never stayed on a farm before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it soon became obvious this was going to be exactly the getaway I had hoped for. A long swooping track takes you through the fields, dotted with sheep, and to the farmhouse. To the right of the farmhouse is where the lodges are. We’d been told that our treehouse would be left unlocked for us after its deep clean, so we parked up and began having a good look around. A long ramp takes you up to the entrance of the treehouse, so there’s no issues for anyone with mobility challenges. This leads you around onto a beautiful veranda with a pizza oven, a barbeque, a swing chair, a hammock, an outside shower, and a hot tub. Inside the treehouse is everything you need for your stay, plus a few extras. The hosts leave a lovely welcome pack in the fridge, which includes cake and wine!
When I said I wanted a trip in the heart of nature, I had no idea how deep in the middle of nature I would actually be! The trees grow right through the veranda, and there’s even one impressive tree trunk growing through the interior of the lodge next to the bathroom. There are three alpacas on site, Geoff, Charlie, and Big Bad Barry, who were in a pen opposite the treehouse, plus two ponies in a further-off pen. The alpacas are adorable and you can pet them, though be careful around their ears, they seem to have an issue with that! They are very friendly though and love to have a nosy at who is staying in the lodges.
During our first night, we were woken by a noise on the veranda. In the morning we got up to find we’d had a visitor, and they’d left us a gift ... it seemed that a sheep from the farm had somehow managed to hotfoot it up our ramp and had done their business on our veranda. Well, I did say I wanted to be close to nature! This wasn’t a problem for us, if anything it added to the experience of our first farm stay!
After we’d cleaned this up, we settled in for a day at the treehouse, hopping in and out of the hot tub, snoozing in the hammock, reading, and relaxing. We took a stroll to the nearby village of Tysoe, which has some pretty thatched cottages, a pub, and a small shop. But really, everything we needed was at the treehouse. We did also head out to a nearby Indian restaurant, called The Indian Queen, for dinner on our first night, but on the second night, we made our own pizzas in the pizza oven. It was like camping, but with extreme comfort! I really liked the feeling of remoteness but while still having the owners nearby if we needed them. We took another dip in the hot tub as the light faded and we drank wine beneath the canopy of the trees. There’s a telescope inside the treehouse if you fancy a little stargazing, but it was so hard to leave the hot tub we never got around to it!
On the last day, we headed into Stratford and visited Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church. Social distancing meant we had to queue to get in, but it was worth the wait. The volunteers at the church are knowledgeable and will spend time with you, answering your questions and giving you information on the graves and the connection Shakespeare and his family had with this church. We then had a lovely Italian lunch in the town, walked by the river, and did some light shopping. Stratford is beautiful and a lovely place to have a wander, with loads of history and interesting things to see and do. Some of the old buildings, still standing from long before Shakespeare’s time, are incredible to see. Leaning walls and lopsided roofs house modern businesses, shops, and even people’s homes.
Editor’s Note: Want to visit Stratford? Consider these 10 Incredible Ways To Experience Shakespeare In Stratford-Upon-Avon.
I’ve always planned my trips with lots packed into them. I love visiting places I’ve never been before and I want to see as much as possible while I’m there, but this visit to the treehouse made me realize the importance of simply relaxing on a trip. In the past, I’ve very rarely taken a whole day just to chill out in a hot tub, read, and snooze, but I certainly will from now on. Perhaps the remoteness of the farm made it easier to accept I had to relax right there, but really, I think the way the lodges are set up and the amenities you have mean you don’t need to go anywhere else.
Fluffy robes for the hot tub are provided, but be sure to bring your own slippers or flip-flops for walking around on the veranda and for getting out of the hot tub. Tea, coffee, milk, and treats are provided, but be sure to bring anything else you will want to eat or drink. It’s not far to drive to the store, but if you’re looking for complete relaxation, bring it with you and you can stay in the hot tub!
For more inspiration on the area and relaxing and reconnecting, consider: