Meet Jo and Steve – owners of Winchcombe Farm, a five-star, family-run Cotswolds retreat that’s home to a sumptuous collection of unique accommodation options.
Let’s start with a potted history of Winchcombe Farm!
We originally brought the site back at the turn of the century and converted a former cattle barn into our family home. We live there with our sons, Will and Bob and an ever-expanding assortment of pets.
The former hay store adjacent to our house was converted into a children’s day nursery; which sadly had to close in 2017 after the introduction of 30 hours’ free childcare made it financially unsustainable. However, left with a collection of empty buildings at our disposal, we were inspired to embark on an exciting new venture – and so our first holiday lodge, The Chicken Shed, opened its doors the following year.
The Chicken Shed Lodge
It was soon apparent how popular our retreat had become as guests travelled from all corners of the world to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the Cotswold countryside. Bob’s Lodge quickly followed in May 2018 and was another huge hit with guests (especially after featuring in the Sunday Times!).
Building on this early demand, we then eyed an opportunity to convert a tree house – and former forest classroom – into our third lodge. As the only treehouse accommodation in Warwickshire, Will’s Tree House offers a unique, truly romantic stay.
George’s Getaway followed in December 2019 – converted from the nursery’s former baby room – and then Ben’s Burrow – the former preschool – opened in the summer of 2020 (with the conversion taking place during the first lockdown).
Jess’ Tree Bach
Jess’ Tree Bach was originally the nursery ‘bug shed’, which we converted into our final holiday home during the second lockdown in 2021.
The lodges (with the exception of the Chicken Shed, of course) are named after Steve’s five children – Jess, George, Ben, Will & Bob.
Despite the steep learning curve, we’ve always put our guests’ needs at the forefront of everything we do, working hard to offer a truly personal experience with little touches that set your holiday apart from the rest.
What first inspired you to create Winchcombe Farm as a retreat?
We love it here and thought other people would too. There’s just something really special about it.
Have you always been in hospitality? If not, what else did / do you do?
No – I (Jo) was Civil Servant for 27 years and Steve is a retired architect.
What’s the best thing about being the owner of Winchcombe Farm?
Listening to the woodpecker, watching the baby moorhens, chasing sheep out of our garden and watching my children grow up in the countryside.
What’s your favourite feature of the retreat?
I think it would have to be the tree house. Steve designed and built it back in 2009. It was originally a forest school classroom when we ran a day nursery here, before we converted it into a luxury holiday home in 2018. It’s unique and a very special place.
Will’s Tree House
What do you love about the local area?
The fresh country air, the sheep that rule the roads, the community spirit in the village and most of all, the sense of calm and tranquillity.
What’s next for Winchcombe Farm?
We are toying with the idea of moving into the wedding market but think we’re just too old to start another whole new project.
If you couldn’t stay at your place, where would your ideal holiday be?
Saundersfoot is my very favourite place on earth and we shall retire there, one day (soon I hope)….
Sum up Winchcombe Farm in three words
‘Our favourite place’
Ben’s Burrow stargazing dome and hammock
If you were visiting, how would you spend a day at Winchcombe Farm?
Hot tub. Hammock. Repeat.
If I’m venturing out locally with my children, our favourite day out is a trip most definitely Stratford upon Avon. They love a trip around the town on the open-top bus; you can hop on and off all day long to capture the magic of this place. There’s so much to see – The Butterfly Farm, the Big Wheel for stunning views, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place, Mary Arden’s Farm, The Other Place, The MAD Museum and a ride on one of the many boats on the River Avon, are all a must. In warm weather it’s nice to relax by the river with a picnic and watch the boats go by. There is a lovely children’s playground (near The Butterfly Farm) which includes a paddling pool (May to September), water and sand play. Lunch at the RSC Rooftop restaurant, followed by a trip to Hooray’s Ice Cream Parlour.
Find out more about Winchcombe Farm via their Host Unusual listings below, and book a luxurious Cotswolds getaway to remember!