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Family travel: Lower Mill Estate, Cotswolds

An eco-friendly, lakeside stay in the heart of England offers tranquil, peaceful wilderness

By Pat Riddell
Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:20 BST, Updated 12 Jul 2021, 15:52 BST
Lower Mill Estate, Cotswolds

Lower Mill Estate, Cotswolds

Photograph by Lower Mill Estate

Set in the tranquil surroundings of the Cotswold Water Park — more than 150 lakes set across some 40 sq miles just south of Cirencester — Lower Mill Estate offers a variety of eco-friendly, lakeside accommodation. Most of the modern, waterfront houses are glass-fronted, with huge amounts of natural light flooding into the properties. Balconies front and back enable you to fully appreciate the setting of some 550 acres of countryside estate.

Our property for the week, The Swallows, was set over three floors with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a more-than-spacious kitchen/dining/lounge area — perfect for two families. The minimal, stylish decor — combined with a games room offering the kids an Xbox 360, DVD, books, games and Lego — meant it was a struggle to leave the house some mornings.

But with plenty of lazy walks around the lakes, gentle cycling along the trails and an array of other activities, such as birdwatching and watersports (canoeing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and waterskiing), there's no shortage of things to do. The Miss Mouse Adventure Trail, meanwhile, is great for smaller children — a fun, learning experience incorporating lakeside walks, puzzles to solve, clues to follow and padlocked chests revealing rewards.

The on-site restaurant, Ballihoo, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as takeaway, and the indoor/outdoor pool, spa and gym mean you're more than well catered for in most respects. And with Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, and the Slaughters all within a 40-minute drive, there's easy access to the heart of the Cotswolds.

Why: Tranquil, peaceful wilderness with luxurious surroundings.

Suits: Families keen on watersports, walks and exploring the Cotswolds.

Did it work: Combined with great weather, it was a perfect week away.

The details: The Swallows is available from £1,200 for a one-week stay.

Follow @patriddell

Published in the 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller – Family

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