June 20, 2016

Travel Blog: Lower Mill Estate, Cotswolds (+ Vlog!)

lower mill estate
As a travel blogger, I spend very little time in London – let alone the rest of the UK – so find it an absolute thrill to discover the the best of my home soil’s best.

Lower Mill Estate will now be added to that category.

Earlier this month, I travelled to the heart of the Cotswolds to take part in an exploration of the private community of lakeside second-homes and rental homes with a few blogging beauties and left with an unexpected appreciation of all things Lower Mill.

But you’ll see that very clearly in the photography and video, below…

What I Wore:
Breton-stripe boat neck silk and cotton jumper from Wool Overs (I bought mine oversized, but this makes it perfect to wear between seasons and is ridiculously comfortable)
Gold shorts (similar here)
Chelsea boots from Daniel

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A video posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

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Though Lower Mill is inherently rural, the homes and villages have a real countryside glamour. Our temporary home – CW1 – was a four-bedroom luxury villa with everything you could possibly need. Terraces, a modern kitchen, an expansive dining room and living area – it was perfect, by all measures.

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Once we arrived, we stopped for lunch at the on-site restaurant, Balihoo, and fuelled up with equal measures of brunch food (ain’t nobody keeping me from good poached eggs on avocado toast) and fish & chips.

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Dipping our toes into Lower Mill’s 550 acres of exclusively-managed and ecologically-minded countryside, we then explored a few of the Estate’s micro villages (the new homes cover everything from grass roots to grass roofs) before renting some bikes and setting out on a guided tour of the property.

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As the Instagram – above – and vlog – below – would suggest, we had an idyllic excursion around the lakes and reserves.

This was, naturally, trumped by the arrival of our private chef. Though all of the homes are self-catering, Lower Mill offers access to a number of talented private chefs who can cater everything from a special meal to your every meal. Ours created an incredible menu of tomato, basil, buffalo mozzarella and green olive salad (with EVOO dressing), citrus and thyme roasted chicken (with herb potatoes, seasonal vegetables & pan gravy), and a Sicilian orange drizzle cake with natural yoghurt and honey.

Food-obsessed (hey, friend!) or not, it was the kind of meal you couldn’t possibly forget.

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The next morning, we tucked into fruit & breakfast pastries delivered to us the night before and set off to get acquainted with the on-site spa. The spa features a steam room, sauna, heated indoor & outdoor pools, and a private treatment area where we all tagged each other in for individual massages.

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Though we could have spent the full day luxuriating, a booking at the off-site Wild Duck Inn pulled us from the water and into a separate state of bliss. The Inn – a luxurious “pub with rooms” – has the most gorgeous pub garden I have ever come across and some of the best food I had tasted since, well, the night more.

I opted for a sunshine-lit steak tartare to start (with capers, shallots, parsley, yolk, tomato vinaigrette & toasted sourdough) before sharing the highly-reccomended Wild Duck’s Duck (with pancakes, damson plum sauce, red cabbage slaw & straw potatoes) for the main. A tad extravagant for lunch, perhaps, but we had another afternoon of activity waiting for us…

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

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We taxied back and walked straight over to one of the lakes – bar a few seconds of in-ground trampoline jumping – for an afternoon of canoeing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding.

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

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We ended our final evening with a return trip to Balihoo where we splurged on a few hyper-tasty cocktails, “animal fries” (they very kindly added cheese and bacon to their fries to create this off-menu craving), and a few slices of warm chocolate cake that had been taunting us for days.

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Capping the trip off with a walk around the surrounding areas the following morning, Lower Mill Estate confirmed itself as, quite literally, a breath of fresh air.

How to book:
Habitat Escapes

How to get there:
Train to Kemble from London Paddington. Easily less than two hours door to door.

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