Riverside Cottages Review: Since going back to work I have been trying to arrange a weekend away each month for family time, we have visited Cambridge, Warwick, London, Cornwall and in May half term Eurocamp. Then an opportunity that came up in June which was most definitely not family time, it was me time! Of course I will be making up to the bits in my life. But we all need a bit of me time so when I was asked to attend a Blogger Retreat at Riverside Cottages I only had one answer.

When I started writing I had no idea what it would lead to, least of all the friendships I would build. On this retreat I was joined by nine other amazing blogger ladies which I am pleased now to be able to call friends – Donna from What the Readhead Said, Laura from Dear Bear and Beany, Laura from Five Little Doves, Bridget from Bridie by the Sea, Rosie from Mummy and Boo, Lauren from A Scrapbook of our Lives, Nicole from The Littlest Darlings, Mel from Le Coin De Mel and Sara Jayne from Keeping with the Jones Family.

Riverside Cottages is located in rural Hampshire. I remember driving up to the wooden gates both excited and nervous by what lay in waiting, the gates opened automatically and I drove into a small parking area. Then it hit me it was so peaceful, I had literally come off the dual carriage way about a mile ago. Yet I found myself in the middle of the country side, a large green area in front of me, the sun shining and all of a sudden I felt at peace. I know it sounds a bit corny but I really did feel the weight lift from my shoulders.

Looking across to Riverside Cottage it looked like one of the ceramic models my mum use to collect when I was a little girl. The cottage itself sleeps ten, there is also a lodge which you can hire which sleeps a further four – they are generally only available together but it does mean that combined it sleeps fourteen. There is a Yurt Cafe which is on the grounds but far away enough from the cottage that you get privacy. Although the yurt is used for most of the ‘lifestyle’ activities its also open as a cafe Wednesday – Sunday from March to October. It also has its own enclosed play area and is full of handcrafted gifts and produce made from the property’s lavender field.

Only having a couple of days we did not have much time to explore but if you were to stay for a week, then I think you really could make the most of the location. As the property has a private river running through it, there is a lavender field, bee hives and a footpath that takes you straight to the local pub in around fifteen minutes.

I have made a video of our stay which you can watch below:

 

So what did I think of Riverside Cottages

The Pros:
  • Its fully equipped throughout which means you really don’t need to bring anything with you.
  • I love its quirks, there are so many original features  – ingle nook fireplaces and flag stone floors. Yet it is modern too, with an absolutely fabulous kitchen which would not look out of place in a glossy magazine. On the Monday night we stood and chatted for ages next to the lovely warm Aga.
  • There is a BBQ, outside patio area and a beautifully mature garden – which we really made the most of
  • The long table in the conservatory is the centre of the house and a great place to congregate, eat, drink, play board games and reconnect as a family
  • It is so peaceful, its such a shame that the lavender was not out when we visited as it would have made some beautiful photos.
  • The pool is lovely and warm and although a chlorine pool its very mild and I would quite happily take the boys in the pool. It is not fenced off in anyway, so if you are staying in the lodge with young children then you would need to be aware of this.
  • In the five acre garden there is also a climbing frame with slides and swings, everything is enclosed so it means that little ones can not escape.
Claire, the owner will put together a tailor-made stay for you:
Before you arrive we will work with you to create your tailor made itinerary from stocking up your fridge or unpacking your booked grocery shopping before arrival to child minding and allowing you to go out to dinner in the evenings, to providing a private chef or booking a restaurant, or local ‘things to do ‘. What ever you think will make your stay as relaxed as possible we’ll aim to create the perfect schedule.
With this in mind we tried out a number of the companies which she works with, you can see more in the video. I particularly enjoyed the yoga with Nikki from Progress to Success and a hot stone massage from the Holistic Hens for an extremely reasonable £50. We had a meal cooked by the Little Kitchen Co the first night we arrived, which was nice. The starter was particularly tasty. Having never had a private chef in before I do not have a frame of reference, but I think that the price was on the high side at £40 a head as the meal cost £400 in total without alcohol. Although it was nice that we didn’t need to clear up after and that we could all have a drink with no need to drive to a restaurant. I also got to try my hand at some floristry with Judith Searles Flowers which I really enjoyed.
Things to be aware of:
  • For us it was perfect, but although they do have a high chair I would question the suitability for young families. The outside space is huge,  but with any period property it is not really set up for really little ones.
  • It is designed as a home away from home, which means that there is a lot of stuff, with many family photos on the walls and in the living areas. Although its nice to understand the family behind the business its just not my taste and I would be wary of the kids touching everything.
Things you need to know:
  • Address – Bransbury, Nr Barton Stacey, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 3QJ
  • Prices depend on the time of year and how long you are looking to stay. In the busy Summer months the minimum stay is a week, other times of the year you can for 1-3 nights prices start at £1400 for Riverside Cottage and £650 for Riverside Lodge
Once Kipper is older, it would be the perfect place to take all the grandparents since it is large enough to accommodate them all. Its a great base to explore the local area too as I would like to explore Winchester. I really enjoyed my stay at Riverside Cottages and hope to visit again soon.

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We were given a two night stage in return for this honest review. All opinions and words are my own

 

30 Comments

  1. Oh, wow! It looks absolutely wonderful at Riverside Cottages. Although, like you, I think I’d be worried about taking a break there with my youngest, as he just doesn’t see any danger! My friends have been talking about organizing a girly weekend, though. And I’ll be sure to put this place forward for consideration! Great review 🙂

    Louise x

  2. I saw all your photos from the trip and thought how stunning it looked. It really does look like the perfect place to get away and relax, and I love that it’s big enough to take the whole extended family. I realised the other day that we’ve not had a holiday without my parents in tow since Max came along! The flower arranging sounds wonderful, I’m useless with arranging flowers, despite my love of growing them, and to have a lavender field right on your doorstep is all kinds of wonderful at this time of year! I bet the smell was amazing!

  3. Luuuurve your video! Clare should use that as a promo reel! It was such a nice little break and I’m glad I got to know you and the others more! Hopefully we can meet up with Bridget soon!

  4. Oh this looks and sounds amazing! I love the photo of you all in your rain coats 🙂 Such a fab idea to all get together, so glad you enjoyed it xx

  5. clare clark Reply

    lovely post thank you – just a few comments – the house is definately child friendly although large so a little supervision will be necessary. The pool has a fool proof electric cover so even a car driving on it will not sink – but it does depend on the parents making sure they put the cover back on after use to maintain safety.

  6. I’m so jealous right now. This looks like such a blast! You girls in your cute rain coats are just too much. The cottages are decorated so lovely. Everything looks just fab from the food to the grounds! x

  7. Tracy K Nixon Reply

    Looks a great place to visit – a nice break after the Summer holidays lol!

  8. Jayne Townson Reply

    Wow it looks amazing. Sounds like a lovely bloggers weekend, I love the photo of you all.

  9. MANDY DOHERTY Reply

    WOW absolutely stunning property, I’d sell my soul to live somewhere like that

  10. Leila Benhamida Reply

    This look fantastic. You all look fabulous. I love Hampshire as there is some great placed around.

  11. Arabella Bazley Reply

    It looks like a fabulous place. I think once you break down the cost per head if you fill the place it makes it easier to justify the wonderful extras 😉

  12. The cottage and surrounds look beautiful! This would be a lovely romantic retreat for couples or for a weekend away with the girls. The pics are great, I’d imagine you all had a wonderful time.

  13. MARK HOPKINS Reply

    I would love to stay here, but I bet there are no dogs allowed.

  14. Jo Carroll Reply

    Looks the perfect place if you are planning a big get together or gathering. x

  15. Hayley Todd Reply

    What an absolutely beautiful holiday retreat! Just what I need to get away from it all!

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