You enter via a stable door to the kitchen, brimming with good kit and with plenty of room for preparing and cooking. A generous welcome hamper will be waiting for you with all the basics plus homemade cake and jams from James’s mum, local cheese, a bottle of wine and gorgeous seasonal veg from the garden when available. You can order prepared meals and breakfast packs in advance from James.
You’re surrounded by an acre of informal garden, created by James and his partner Mike. It is laid out as a series of ‘rooms’ with spaces for sitting and having a picnic or just a drink – you’re encouraged to stay as long as you like. Wildlife is plentiful and includes bats, hedgehogs, frogs, toads and many birds and butterflies – the whole garden is organic, including the veg patch. You’ll find shade under mature trees, summer houses for a glass of wine and a pond for gazing at dragonflies and newts.
Walkers can tackle Bredon Hill or The Malverns, which are on the doorstep; cyclists can discover the pretty yellow-stone villages round the hill or go further into the Cotswolds. There are two pubs within a five-minute walk and Eckington Manor in the village has a cookery school and good restaurant. On sunny days you can fire up the barbecue and eat in the garden; if the weather turns foul you can cosy up indoors by the wood-burner with extra cushions and blankets – open the wine and watch films or box sets.