We’ve recently had some bad experiences with rental cottages and Cider Mill was a third cottage we came to stay in within 24 hours. It was so much more than we expected it to be! It was a haven for our family and we felt relaxed as soon as we pulled up in front and were met by our host (with an 8 week old baby in her arms). Here’s our review of this wonderfully family friendly cottage.
The Cider Mill Cottage is set back from the main road, so it’s lovely and quiet, with a sweet smell of grass in the air (local smells is something I always pick up on when leaving London). Though it’s not far from the host’s house it offers full privacy. Despite the relatively remote location a well stocked shop is only 5 minutes drive – good choice of fruit and veg, local cheese and dairy products, any pretty much everything else. It’s also a petrol station if you need to refill before heading out. Saving the best for the last – the cottage backs onto horse paddocks. Horses were a treat for us to observe, especially Little F, who’d pickup and repeat their movements, stomping, turning head etc
The general feel of the cottage is bright and airy, thanks to white walls (slightly off white, like milk straight from the cow, with the cream still floating on top) and bright wooden floors and beams. The furniture is a bit of a mish-mash, but all in bright colours and comfortable. There is a large lounge with a fire burner (with free logs) and back door to a grassy area. It’s only a shame the area does not have a gate and we could not leave Little F to play unattended, and there’s electric fence, which can be reached by a toddler at a couple of points. Past the lounge is the sun room/dining room with a large window overlooking the paddocks. The dining table is as far as could be from the kitchen, but the view makes it worthwhile carrying all the plates – a sturdy tray is provided. This is not a high-end cottage, but one which makes you feel at home.
The kitchen is darkish, with a brick and wood feature wall, but the window by the sink (the important one, the one you look out when doing the dishes) has a lovely green view (and more horses). It’s remarkably well stocked, including a Victoria sponge cake waiting for us at the counter – I was amazed knowing that the host has a newborn! There is plenty of cutlery, cups, plates, bowls and various cooking equipment (including cast iron casserole dish and baking equipment). There was also tea/coffee/sugar and jam and spread in the fridge – basic items which too often get thrown away before the new arrivals. It was also nice to find cling film and foil in the drawers. The oven is very good – we managed to make some pizza.
There’s also a downstairs loo, which is very handy.
Upstairs are two bedrooms. The master bedroom is exceptionally spacious and bright, with a high ceiling. Two or three normal (poky) bedrooms would fit in there. The furniture is simple and pleasant, with enough storage to put things away, but not so much to make it feel cluttered. The carpet is lovely and soft. There’s also a solid-wood work desk in the corner – perfect for blogging. The second bedroom is single, with a clever second bed, which can be pulled out. It is small, but perfectly good. The walls are quite thin upstairs and we could hold a conversation with Daddy, while Little F and me were in the single bedroom and he in the double. Also, the cushion covers in the double bedroom were rough – it’s time for new ones.
There’s also bathroom with a great big bath – large enough for the three of us to enjoy a splash together. It’s a real treat, as at home we only have a shower. I did feel bad about the amount of water it takes, but at least it was less thanks to our combined body weight – think Archimedes. A little unexpected treat were l’Occitane toiletries – in regular size, so not to be taken away as far as we were concerned. The towels are large and soft.
By the entrance door there is a side table with lots of local info and maps of walks – something every cottage should have. There’s also a nail by the door to hang your keys – a practical little details.
All in all, this was a comfortable place to be in as a family, and in a good location for walks. The view over the paddocks and the lush farming landscape (no houses visible) made this family friendly cottage extra special for us.