This New England-style lakeside retreat has so much to recommend it that it is hard to know where to start! For most, the pretty clapper board-style exterior and fantastic water-front setting make a brilliant first impression, whilst the convenience of the location within steps of a family-friendly lake-side bar and bistro and gym, come a close second.
Once settled in, the light bright interiors with family-friendly luxuries are added bonuses, whilst the fact that there's a spa, golf course, watersports centre, bike hire and routes, plus a choice of restaurants and pubs, within a short, scenic walk really sets it apart. Although, for most young families, the fact that the UK's largest inland beach with a purpose built toddler paddling and playground area is within a 10-15 minute stroll is the icing on the cake.
The fantastic setting means guests can park up, unpack and, if they so wish, not see the inside of their car for the entire duration of their stay. Bike hire with child seats/trailers can be pre-booked but even two wheels isn't strictly necessary since there's so much to do with easy walking distance.
Even packing for the trip can be stress-free since the friendly property manager, Kevin, provides a handy list of useful baby and toddler gear on request from socket covers and stair gates, to toys, books and DVDs*. If that and lazy meals or drinks soaking in the views from the house' lovely lake-side deck (blankets provided for cooler evenings) isn't enough to relax with, then a trip to the nearby spa or a round on the golf course, should do the trick! Plus, junior will be happy too, thanks to the opportunities for paddling on the shingle lake causeway, feeding the lake's ducks or playing in the beer garden playground adjacent to the spa and golf course.
An allocated car parking space directly behind the house ensures guests can unpack with ease. Entry is via a small decked rear patio and into an open-plan living dining area with huge picture windows and patio doors capturing a magnificent view of the lake and woodland beyond. The u-shaped kitchen is set slightly apart from the lounge area and comes equipped with modern units and useful gadgets including full size oven, hob, fridge freezer, microwave, dishwasher and washer dryer. The lounge boast a flatscreen TV, DVD player and selection of family-friendly films. The L-shaped sofa comes with handy throws for protection against toddler spillages but also handy for making the most of long evenings on the adjacent private terrace, overlooking the lake, with its BBQ and dining set. A downstairs WC/shower room is handy for large families.
Upstairs, the master bedroom has a pretty Juliette balcony overlooking the lake and a large double bed, the second bedroom has twin beds and the third a single and a cot. Both the main and second bedroom also have room for a cot. There's also family bathroom has bath tub, shower, basin and WC.
Larger groups may be interested in also renting neighbouring houses, within a few doors down, too. See here for details.
Along with its lake-side setting, one of this house's greatest assets is that there is so much to see nearby and all of it on pushchair-friendly flat paths/roads. Nearest to the house, within a minutes stroll, is the Lake Brasserie with Ski Lodge, which boasts a friendly bar, restaurant with wide menu choices including kiddies favourites, a lake-side terrace and upstairs gym. The ski element is waterskiing, wake boarding or ringos, all of which will no doubt prove irresitible to most families, not least since, thanks to a special skimmer board, ski lessons are available to little ones as young as 3-years old. There's also a small shingle 'beach' area a few steps away, sectioned off from the watersports for safe swimming and popular with little ones for paddling.
A little further on (3-4mins walk) there's a brilliant wakeboard/water ski school offering a ski cable and a buzzing cafe bar. The ski cable is slowed on weekends during special training sessions for kids of 8+ years.
Around five minutes walk away, the spa, golf course, restaurant and 'Old Boathouse' pub at the Four Pillars Hotel has something for everyone, particularly mini guests who love the beer garden play area at the latter. Further on, around 40-minutes walk/15mins by bike, is the Cotswolds Water Park with its purpose built toddler paddling and play area, alongside the UK's largest inland beach. Pedaloes, row boats and even 'Zorbs' are available for hire.
For those who don't mind jumping in the car once in a while during their break, the Cotswolds Farm Park is well worth a visit and around 40-minutes drive, whilst shopaholics will be pleased to learn that the Swindon adesigner discount village is only around an hour's drive away. Cirencester (30mins cycle/10mins drive) is also surprisingly good for shopping with some great independent shops filled with indulgent treats such as the brilliant 'Oeno' wine merchants, Cirencester Cupcakes and Jesse Smiths traditional butchers and cheese shop.
Dining out choices are abundant in the area and the food at the bistro a few steps from the house is pretty good, but for a special meal, the Wild Duck in Ewan (60mins walk/15mins cycle/6mins car) is highly recommended and has a kids menu, whilst the Wheatsheaf in Oaksey (13mins car/30min cycle) offers even more sophisticated pub food, plus an award winning gourmet burger menu, along with kids options. The brilliant 2-acre garden with village-run vegetable patches at The Potting Shed in Crudwell (15mins drive/45mins cycle) means kids can be let off the reigns there and parents can saviour long lazy lunches or suppers from the excellent menu which focusses on locally grown/reared produce and comes in smaller portions for mini guests. For urban dining, 'Made By Bob' in Cirencester has earned much praise from some of the UK's most influential food critics who've been extremely impressed with the creations of its chef, Bob Parkinson who was formerly based at London's Bibendum.
Nearest A&E: The Great Western Hospital, Marlborough Rd, Swindon, Wiltshire is less than 20 minutes drive away.