We’re back from a short but oh-so-sweet two night getaway in the Woodland Barn at The Lakes by Yoo, situated in the Cotswold’s water park.
We thought we’d test out the Volvo 7-seater XC90 D5 for the trip as I knew we’d need a car of a certain calibre for the Cotswolds, not to mention a certain size to be able to cram in Jamie, me, Maddie, Granny and Grandpa, in addition to the usual luggage and endless bulky baby paraphernalia, – oh, and of course, the kitchen sink.
Jamie had fun driving the Volvo and Dad was in his element sat next in the front passenger seat marvelling at all the technology, how comfy the seats were and how humungous the humungous sunroof was. He even approved of the Sat Nav, and chuckled at how the voice used ‘please’ in her directions! If my Dad’s impressed, it’s high praise. High praise indeed.
We didn’t get to use the back row of seats during the trip as we needed the boot space for all of our stuff, so mum and I sat next to Maddie in the first row. The back was very spacious, and we both had ample room next to Maddie in her car seat. The drive down was the perfect start to our mid-week break, the Volvo made the journey a real part of the trip. My mum bought homemade cheese and tomato sandwiches for us to eat en route, reminding me of our day trips out as kids. Nostalgia.
The Lakes by Yoo is a collection of completely utterly beautiful and luxurious waterfront and woodland homes, some you can rent, and others you can buy. The retreat is manned by a security and a concierge team who’ll greet you on arrived at the entrance. We were greeted by a lovely chap. I never did get his name, but he appeared every time we came and went during our stay to wave us in and out. Top marks for security.
We were driven through the secluded retreat to the Woodland Barnhouse, our digs for two nights. To say we were all agog at the sheer size of the place as we pulled up outside was no exaggeration. On opening the big wooden front door and stepping into the hallway there was a lot to take in. Maddie was grinning for ear to ear as she was taken around the house – even the baby with the lowest boredom threshold known to human kind was entertained. There was so much to see!
All the interiors were by Kate Moss, who has put a definite eclectic and luxurious stamp on the place. To the left of the entrance was the kitchen, which opened up to a massive lounge with beautifully grand furniture, and huge floor to roof windows with views of the Bowmoor lake through the trees. There was of course, a real fire and even a large dining table set for ten, which looked far too splendid to sit at for a casual meal.
We spent ages just exploring the house. Each bedroom seemed more stunning than the last, with silk carpets, rugs and priceless pieces of art around every corner. Each room including the bathrooms had its very own enchanting personality. From standalone baths to ridiculously cool walk-in showers, there was something for every mood. I fell in love with House of Hackney during this trip – their wallpaper is just beautiful. The master bedroom really was the piece de resistance, a huge room overlooking the lounge on the ground floor. What a place to stay, and an incredible place to entertain.
Impeccably kept, The Barnhouse was luxurious down to even the smallest of details. Toiletries by Bamford, and Hungarian goose down bedding – noted by Mum, who claimed she’d had the best night’s sleep of her life on the most comfortable pillow she had ever come across. The framed photography in the house alone is something that could capture your attention for hours. There’s an impressive photo wall that follows the stairs up to the first floor featuring everybody from Dylan and Monroe to Moss and Elvis. I loved the many books left in every room around the house. There were books of all subjects and genres in the bathrooms, on the breakfast bar, in the lounge – another beautiful touch that made the place feel homely and loved, but in a mega cool way.
The Barnhouse would make an ideal location for a family summer break. The garden is situated within woodland, to make you feel very secluded. It’s sensibly fenced off so the kids can’t run riot, and is home to a very cool wigwam – think tree house on the ground floor. There’s an outdoor heated pool, loungers, BBQ and a large balcony overlooking the garden and the lake – perfect for dinner or drinks. All made very safe for even the most adventurous of kids.
The retreat is obviously geared towards a love of the outdoors, offering a wide range of water sports for all ages. The kids’ club is both fun and educational, exploring all aspects of the great outdoors – on water and in woodland. Highlights include Ben Fogle’s School of Wild, a challenging and exciting series of bush-craft activities, School of Rock, and their residential Summer Camp.
The Lakes by Yoo is not just for families, there are different size holiday homes, making it a perfect destination for a UK babymoon. You have everything on hand for a calm and relaxing weekend with a gym, swimming pool and spa complete with Bamford and Oskia therapies, offering a complete weekend of wellness.
What’s brilliant about The Lakes by Yo is that they will craft a holiday around your wishes, whether it’s fulfilling every kids’ dream of the big outdoors, or a quiet, luxurious break for just the two of you.
Our stay at The Lakes by Yoo was first class. It is a time we will treasure as a family. We made so many memories in such a short stay, with many photos that we’ll look back on in years to come. I really believe it’s important to make memories while you can, and if you’re after some really special ones, this is a great place to make them.
What more can I say? Go. Book it. You will have a ball.