We find a winning location for a family break near Chipping Norton in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds
Heath Farm Holiday Cottages
Where is it?
Heath Farm is near the village of Swerford on the eastern edge of the Cotswolds, just a few miles from Chipping Norton, within easy reach of the M40 motorway at Banbury.
What is it?
Five holiday cottages around a pretty courtyard set in 70 acres of gardens, woodland and farmland which guests can play in and explore. The cottages are four and five star and are converted from stone farm buildings. Two of them sleep four people, the other three are for two people.
Is it family friendly?
Children are welcome with plenty of games, activities and lots of wonderful woodland to explore. Outside is a big green lawn with swings from the trees, a trampoline, football net, croquet and other sports games available. There is also an indoor games room with toys for younger children, a pool table, table tennis table and loads of games and dvds.
Our cottage, Cobnut, is beautifully done out with traditional Cotswold stone walls, wooden flooring, and has great views over the surrounding countryside. It has modern facilities including TV and DVD, WiFi, Bosch dishwasher and Neff oven.
Downstairs is an open-plan lounge and dining room with wonderful views and a compact kitchen with granite worktops. The kitchen has all the equipment you could need plus free dishwasher tablets, tea towels and washing up liquid. There was also a carton of milk provided and a delicious cake from Cotswold Baking, which has a premises on the site.
Upstairs there are two lovely bedrooms both en-suite. Both bedrooms can be converted into two single beds, or one king size double. The front bedroom has an en-suite shower room, the rear bedroom has a bath and shower.
There is a handy porch for storing wet boots and outside there is a dining table which looks over the lovely courtyard.
Food and drink
The cottages are self-catering.
The nearest place to eat is The Boxing Hare, an upmarket pub/restaurant.
This was family-friendly when we visited, with a large garden with ten tables outside. Inside the recently renovated pub welcomed children with colouring books and pens. The children’s menu had classic dishes like fish and chips, burger and chips, macaroni cheese and sausage and mash. Our meals were very high quality, large portions, cooked quickly and with very attentive service.
The nearest large village is Great Tew, a picture postcard part of the Costwolds. You can stroll past thatched roofed cottages, enjoy walks in rambling countryside and indulge at the local pub the Farndale Arms or the tasty Bakergirl cafe and takeaway.
A few miles past Wigginton is a small children’s farm and playground. The site is a little rundown and overgrown but has a good selection of ducks and farm animals. The staff are happy for you to take time holding rabbits, guinea pigs and gerbils. You can easily pass an hour or two here.
Further afield you have the famous sites of the Costwolds including Chipping Norton, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water.
Family attractions within half an hour of Heath Farm which we visited and have reviewed for you include Blenheim Palace, Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Crocodiles of the World. Our articles include tips for visiting them all with children.
*The gardens – 70 acres to explore is a child’s paradise. A safe, wide lawned area with swings, trampoline and croquet lawn is a good place to start. Then there are woodland trails and paths to explore. Most of the site is safe but watch children by some steep drops, particularly near the pond area.
*The friendly hosts – you’re greeted by potentially three generations of the Barbour family. Five-year-old Violet showed us around, enthusiastically revealing hidden trails in the woods and picking raspberries from the fruit and vegetable garden.
Her grandparents Nena and David Barbour own the farm and renovated the holiday cottages – welcoming their first guests in 1992. They are on hand to help with questions, offer advice on the surrounding area and, if you are lucky, give away some homegrown fruit and veg.
*The quality of the cottage – traditional yet modern, the finish is of a high standard, it was extremely clean and tastefully decorated. We felt relaxed and comfortable straightaway.
*The games facilities – there are lots of games and activities to do. There is a large trampoline, croquet lawn, games shed full of golf, cricket, bowls and football equipment. Next to the courtyard is a giant chess and draughts board. If it rains there is an indoor games room.
*Towels and bedding are provided
*Our cottage had a washing machine/dryer. Guests also have access to a shared laundry room.
*If staying with young children note that the pretty courtyard which the cottages surround has a water feature and shallow pond.
*The farm produces walnuts and hazelnuts.
*Picnic baskets are provided so you can pack one to take out with you.
Heath Farm Holiday Cottages, Swerford, Chipping Norton, Oxford, OX7 4BN.
Read our full review of our holiday to the Cotswolds here.