In August 2012, we descended on wonderfully rural Cheshire for an Anglo-Dutch get-together for my dad’s 70th. After weeks of searching, I stumbled upon the website of Woodhey Hall dairy farm and its fabulous 17th-century barns. An hour or so from the hustle and bustle of Manchester and Liverpool, you find yourself on the green plains of Cheshire, dotted with cows and thatched cottages. And thankfully, our accommodation choice didn’t disappoint.
Woodhey has two spacious houses on offer: Cromwell’s Manor (sleeps up to 10) and the Old Carthouse (sleeps 6) – our home for a nice, long weekend. There are two bedrooms and a shower room on the ground floor; a master bedroom with a four-poster bed, en-suite bathroom (bath, no shower) and a proper cot on the first floor; and another shower room and toilet upstairs. In the nook on the top floor there’s also a bit of a games/video room with a PlayStation for the older kids, plus a laundry room with a washer-dryer.
We immediately fell for the place. Its huge, beamed living room on the first floor looks out over a neatly manicured lawn, duckpond and green pastures. The owners had thought of everything: the open-plan kitchen had every gadget you could possibly need, and waiting for us was a well-stocked hamper, wine and a homemade birthday cake for Dad. Such a nice thought.
Little ones had certainly been taken into account, with stairgates, high chairs, toys, games, books and so on. In fact, it was perfect for our not-quite-2-year-old son. He was free to run around the generously sized lawn with no prospect of escaping. There’s even a quaint wooden playhouse in the garden, a games room with a table tennis table, snooker table and outdoor toys, as well as a play area with another playhouse, swings and a slide. And with animals on site you can’t go wrong! Sheep, horses, cows and Rose the dog produced many squeals of excitement. If all that wasn’t enough, Woodhey is home to a quaint, little old chapel with a working organ that you are free to visit.
Things to do in the area
There’s no shortage of local attractions. Whatever you do, make sure you book yourself a table at The Thatch in the local village of Faddiley for some great pub food. We also liked the look of the Cholmondeley Arms, housed in a former village school, but unfortunately arrived a bit too early and had to divert our lunch plans elsewhere due to a hungry toddler.
One of the nearest towns is Nantwich, with its wonderfully wonky Tudor buildings (as well as a big Sainsbury’s if you need to stock up). We also had a day out in Chester where you can shop or enjoy tea and scones in Chester’s unique Rows, take a boat trip or visit a museum. And, of course, with kids in tow, you’ll want to visit the fabulous Chester Zoo – they’d never forgive you if you didn’t take them. If you have any budding knights in the family then there are also various castles around, including Cholmondeley Castle and Gardens and Beeston Castle. Woodhey Hall’s website has plenty more ideas for days.
In summary, a wonderful weekend was had by all, made all the more special by the quality of the accommodation. I’m trying to think of some cons but am really struggling…