We review Lakes Edge at Pudleston Court, Herefordshire, where all seven retreats come with private indoor heated pools or hot tubs. With a magical private woodland on your doorstep, you’ll struggle to lure the kids back home…
[words by Wersha Bhadwara]
Some places just exude wonderment. At Lakes Edge at Pudleston Court – a 19th century house which sits in 50 acres of private parkland – you’re in a mini world of your own with 200-year-old splendid oaks, lakes and waterfalls outside your doorstep and crackling low-lit fire burners and pools inside abodes.
Located in the sleepy village of Pudleston in Herefordshire and mere minutes off the M5, there are glorious empty country roads to drive through before reaching St Peter’s – a quaint early Norman church next to the estate. Leominster is four miles away.
You’re immediately hit with a sense of idyll upon passing Pudleston’s 14th century sandstone gatehouse and the estate’s electric shiny gates. Time stands still, stresses melt away and you’re instantly on holiday.
Once inside, the vision of the glorious Georgian mansion and its mullioned and leaded glass windows loom large with the seven luxurious self-catering buildings spread across the heart of estate and a charming courtyard.
The main house is the family home of George and Bridget Sideras – a friendly couple you’ll sometimes spot nipping around the estate in their electric golf cart. They’ve passionately worked hard on converting old staff quarters and gatehouses into luxury rentals and have recently added two barn escapes (The Barn and Poacher’s Barn) to the Grade II-listed retreat.
Properties are jam-packed with country-charm (the kind synonymous with Richard Curtis films) and tranquil interiors. All the stylish boltholes are unabashedly welcoming of modern families and come with either private swimming pools and hot tubs, extra thick mattresses on beds and flatscreen Smart TVs loaded with Disney Plus, Netflix and Amazon Prime in every bedroom and living room.
High spec tech including American style fridge-freezers, double ovens and microwaves by Bosch are in all kitchens. Adam and Eve – the estate’s one-bedroomed gatehouse lodges – offer lake views and have open-plan kitchens and living areas.
Carefully concealed double beds behind secret wall panels help to accommodate smaller families or up to eight guests if booked together. The Gaggles and Butler’s Cottage are 18th century former staff living quarters and sleep up to six and eight.
Gaggles has an exclusive-use, bath-water temperature indoor swimming pool as do the two newly-built and underfloor-heated barn stays. The Barn accommodates up to 12 in six roomy bedrooms making it an ideal base for larger family gatherings and Poachers Barn hosts six.
The stunning pool houses attached to Gaggles, Poacher’s Barn and The Barn have built-in changing rooms and comfy sun loungers to roll onto after a hard day of splashing around. Hot tubs in the remaining cottages bubble away at 40 degrees under weather-proof wooden cabanas and feature no less than eight massage jet combinations accompanied by flashy mood lighting.
Rustic barrel-shaped saunas come in Nordic-style pods. And be sure to pack the telescopes; there’s little light pollution so on clear nights, recognising constellations is effortless. Older kids will embrace nightly swims and the stargazing opportunities hot tubs provide and when they’re done, you’ll relish taking a breather and pampering your own tired limbs under the inky-blue skies.
On arrival, guests are gifted with generous welcome hampers stuffed to the brim with moreish edibles. Ours included sparkling raspberry lemonade from Heartsease Farm, a tropical fruit platter, nibbles from Drapers Lane Deli in Leominster, boutique wine and a quaffable bottle of Heidsieck Champagne from indie wine merchant Vine & Juniper.
Gardener’s Cottage is the newest offering, having just been converted into a chic and contemporary home-from-home sleeping four people in two bedrooms. Our stay combines the relaxed vibe of a self-catering holiday with that of a luxury country retreat.
A light-filled living and dining room is equal parts stunning with oversized squishy sofas and cutesy velvet loveseats to flop onto, and spacious enough for those important mini talent shows and games of Twister. Original characteristics such as high exposed oak-beamed ceilings and thatched windows have been tastefully preserved and specially commissioned artworks by local artists such as Meg Hawkins (including a splendid kingfisher watercolour) decorate walls.
Bedrooms are reminiscent of those in the best boutique hotels with designer furniture, thick carpets and soothing palettes of cream, white and greys offset by flashes of mustard. Even with the early starts kids come with, you’ll keep returning for a guaranteed uninterrupted night’s sleep inside a sumptuous super-king with cloud-soft pillows and quality crisp Egyptian cottons in the main bedroom.
Two neutral colour schemed bathrooms are loaded with top-quality fluffy white towels and robes and there’s a large tub in the main bathroom. More space is to be found in your own terraced garden where honeysuckle, lavender and lush meadows scent the air.
You’ll find yourselves whiling away endless hours languishing in your state-of-the-art hot tub too. Barbecues are well equipped and plenty of loungers, tables and chairs make al fresco summer dining a breeze.
If there is one problem with your stay, it’s how incredibly high the bar is now set for family holidays. The kids will either never want to you book anywhere else in the world again or they’ll expect all future cottage breaks to come with swanky pools and hot tubs!
Parents and Kids Will Love…
- The staff! Though you’re left in peace, you won’t find a harder working or friendlier rural concierge team working behind the scenes anywhere. George and Bridget are responsible for those immaculately maintained grounds and the designer cottages alongside ever-smiling estate manager and guest relations manager, Liz Saunders. When she isn’t organising flowers, spa treatments, picnic lunches, afternoon cream teas and employing private on-site chefs for guests, she’s busy prepping pools and making collaborations with the local community and small businesses a priority. There have been a few celebrity check-ins recently, but because this is discreet central, we’re not privy to any names.
- Rainy days! Come rain or shine, the cottages are made for rainy days. There’s oodles of weather-proof fun with the indoor pools and hot tubs. We also spent one afternoon baking cookies and decorating gingerbread houses with an overload of vanilla flavoured icing and rainbow-coloured sprinkles.
- Gentle hikes in the woodlands promise heart-warming views and inspiring Insta-worthy backdrops for snapshots. The grounds are full of hidden nooks and crannies for little adventurers to explore. Walk past the first lake into the forest where you’ll discover a secret fairy swing. It’s straight out of a children’s book. Then gaze over a larger lake from a concealed swing opposite a scenic boathouse and explore cute duck houses, babbling streams and a dreamy series of natural cascades. Tracking down muntjac footprints is serious business for kids, and they’ll squeal in delight at the sight of kestrels and hawks gracing the skies above. You may even pass rarer wildlife such as Pine Martens which have recently been reintroduced into the wild in Herefordshire.
- Letting the kids lord over the adventure playground which features climbing walls, swing, slides and a mini wooden stately pile of their own next to the mansion.
- An eco-friendly Biomass multi-fuel burner heats all the properties using pellets and wood chips.
- Opportunities for getting the entire family learning something new are aplenty. Try on-site painting, photography and cookery lessons, flower arranging and archery or tours of local cideries. Plans for foraging workshops are in the pipeline too.
Christmas at Lakes Edge
Christmas on the estate is a wonderful festive affair for small and large multi-generational families. The glossiest Christmas trees and shimmering winter floral garlands are on display and an illuminated outdoor light trail that leads through the majestic grounds transforms the parkland into a mesmerising after-dark mini attraction exclusive to those staying. Guests are invited to attend the historical village church for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve too.
On Christmas Day you’ll love getting the kids to decorate tables after unwrapping gifts besides your own cosy, glowing log fires (there’s one in every cottage with a generous supply of logs too.)
How to Book
Book a stay from £290 per night for cottages sleeping 2-12 direct with Lakes Edge at Pudleston Court, Pudleston, Leominster HR6 0QY or via email and phone: 01568 760537. Find out more on Instagram and Facebook.