Tucked away down an inconspicuous lane leading to a beautiful National Trust valley lies Bellhouse, the south-west wing of the spectacular Grade II listed Woodchester Park House. Sleeping 8 guests, the house has 4 bedrooms with 3 bathrooms, a cosy sitting room, well-equipped kitchen, and high-ceilinged dining room. This unique holiday home emanates a sense of understated grandeur, perfectly complimented by its old-English charm. As well as benefitting from its own private garden and courtyard, Bellhouse is perched on the edge of the National Trust owned Woodchester Park, with direct access to around 500 acres of wonderful woodland, fields and five beautiful lakes.
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- Open Fire / Wood Burner
- Pub within 1 mile
- Parking - Up to 6 cars
- Travel Cot - x 2
- High Chair - x 2
- Bedding & towels
Updated 2 Dec 2019
Full Description & House Rules
The first thing that strikes you as you enter the drive is the sheer size and beautiful architecture of Woodchester Park House. Its location is idyllic, surrounded by acres of enchanting, wildlife-filled parkland. If you’re a keen walker and looking to lose yourself in the beauty of nature, Bellhouse is the perfect property. From the house, you can walk for miles in peace and tranquillity in the valley, the only noise you may hear will be from grazing livestock or the serene gliders from the nearby Cotswold Gliding Club. You can also walk from the house up onto the Cotswold Way.
Woodchester Mansion and Park is a popular visitor attraction, now owned by the Woodchester Mansion Trust and National Trust respectively. They are a short walk down from the house into the valley. Woodchester Park itself was laid out in the 18th-19th Century (with advice from Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton). The stream through the valley was dammed to create five lakes of varying sizes, the largest of which contains a man-made island with a heronry. The lakes are home to many large carp and eels and there is a restored boat house which acts as a roost for bats.
Woodchester Park is quite literally a hidden gem that never feels busy or overcrowded. Owned by the wealthy Gloucestershire family, the Ducies, they originally built a Georgian house that stood on the site of the current building from the 1600s until 1845. In 1843 they sold their family home to William Leigh, who, on advice from Pugin, demolished the Georgian House and began to build the Gothic revival mansion that stands on the site today. Leigh died in 1873 before the work was complete, and his family, not sharing his love of the gothic revival style, employed a new architect to redesign the house before realising they could not afford to complete a new mansion. The mansion was consequently never completed, and fell through various states of semi-occupancy and disrepair before it was eventually bought by Stroud District Council in 1992, and is now leased to the Woodchester Mansion Trust who manage and conserve the building in its state of ‘glorious abandonment’, opening it to the public Friday – Sunday from beginning of April until the end of October.
Woodchester Park House, formerly known as The Cottage, had its own role to play in the history of Woodchester Mansion. The house was home to William Leigh and his family while the demolition and then reconstruction of Woodchester Mansion took place. After William Leigh died, his family stayed in The Cottage before it was eventually sold in 1938. Woodchester Park House has had a number of uses since the time of the Leighs. At some point before the Second World War it was used as a ‘home for poor girls’ who were instructed in skills such as sewing. During the war it was taken over by a Roman Catholic teacher training college, run by nuns, evacuated from Birmingham. Since then it has been used as a school (for children of leaders of our commonwealth countries) and as a field study centre.
The current owners bought the house in 1995 and returned it to a ‘home’. With 16 bedrooms (but only one bathroom and a couple of showers) work was needed. Now, Bellhouse, the rambling south-west wing of Woodchester Park House is a comfortable and charming holiday home, decorated throughout with quality antique furniture, period art and quintessential country living features such as two wood burners. This is a much-cherished property that offers an authentic homely sense of warmth and conviviality – an ideal home away from home.
The Rose & Crown pub in Nympsfield is within walking distance of the house, while Nailsworth is a 5-10 minute drive, and the larger town of Stroud is around 15-20 minutes away. For more information, see Local Amenities.
Please Note: Dogs are NOT accepted at Bellhouse.
- Sleeps 8 in 4 bedrooms across a king size double in Bedroom 1, a king size double bed in Bedroom 2, 2 x single beds in Bedroom 3 and 2 x single beds in Bedroom 4 (located on ground floor)
- 3 bathrooms: Bedroom 1 en-suite with bathtub, upstairs family bathroom with bath + shower and downstairs family bathroom with bathtub + shower
- Parking for up to 6 cars
- Private enclosed garden with courtyard and 2 x outdoor dining tables and seating areas
- 2 x fireplaces with wood burners – logs are provided and additional wood is available from the barn next door
- All bed linen, bath towels and tea towels provided
- Hairdryer in both double bedrooms
- Tea, coffee, sugar, salt + pepper and cooking essentials such as oil and spices
- Kitchen essentials: dishwasher tablets, cloths, washing up liquid, bin bags, kitchen roll
- Toiletries: Shower gel, shampoo + conditioner, hand soap, toilet roll
- Central heating and hot water
- Free Wi-Fi throughout
- Flat screen TV
- Blu-ray player
- Sony CD player and radio
- Boardgames + books
- Fully equipped kitchen with toaster, kettle, cafetière, utensils, crockery, cutlery, glassware (champagne flutes, tumblers and wine and water glasses), bakeware, food preparation (grater, jug, sieve, saucepans, etc).
- Fridge with separate freezer in scullery
- Washing machine + tumble dryer
- Ironing board + iron
- Vacuum cleaner
- Outdoor patio/seating area
- Garden furniture
- BBQ (charcoal) – please provide your own charcoal
- Safety equipment: fire extinguisher, fire blanket, carbon monoxide monitor, smoke alarm
A spacious porch with plenty of hooks and room for muddy boots, leading into a welcoming entrance hall. Take the first right into the…
The high ceiling in this beautiful room gives an immediate sense of grandeur, complete with unique artwork, antique furniture and tall, deep-set windows looking out across the front lawn. Set up two steps from the open corridor that continues into the kitchen, there is ample space for eight guests at the long dining table, complete with cosy wood burner at the far end.
Through to the…
Kitchen + Scullery
Decorated in country creams with wooden worktops, the kitchen and scullery at Bellhouse are the epitome of well-equipped. Featuring a breakfast table for four guests, display shelves offering a vast selection of glasses, mugs and cups, microwave, kettle, toaster, electric cooker, dishwasher, fridge (freezer and washing machine in scullery) and a fantastic selection of utensils, bakeware and spices – you’ll find everything you need here! There’s even a CD player/ radio in the window to entertain while cooking.
Continue straight and turn right into…
A charming downstairs twin bedroom, with two comfy single beds, a fitted wardrobe, a double bedside table and suitcase stands.
Continue straight into the hallway, featuring a concealed tumble dryer in the corner cabinet and another door leading to the driveway.
Family Bathroom with separate WC
A spacious downstairs bathroom with a built-in bathtub, walk-in shower, washbasin and a separate WC next door with an additional washbasin.
Just outside the bathroom, there is a door from which the courtyard dining area can be accessed.
Head back to the entrance hall and turn right by the stairs to find the…
A beautifully furnished sitting room, with neutral walls and warm red furnishings, complete with original stone fireplace and wood burner. Featuring three large sofas, a glass-topped coffee table, Samsung flat screen TV, a Blu Ray player, plenty of board games, and direct access to the rear garden, this room is perfect for relaxing and gathering together.
Turn left at the top of the stairs and you’ll find a small landing area with bookshelves and balcony overlooking the dining room. Turn left into…
A large bedroom with beams, a high ceiling and views looking out over the garden. Bedroom One is the Master Bedroom of the house, delicately furnished in bright whites with hints of cornflower blue, a lovely selection of antique furniture including a free-standing wardrobe, chest of drawers, decorative fireplace and, of course, a lovely king size double bed. Bedroom One also benefits from its own…
A spacious en-suite bathroom with fixed bath and central mixer taps + shower head, washbasin and WC.
Back onto the landing and you will find an airing cupboard containing an iron, ironing board and travel cot.
Turn left into the…
A good-sized family bathroom with a rooflight, fixed bathtub, corner cubicle shower, WC and washbasin.
Continue down the corridor and turn right into…
A bright king size double bedroom that can be configured as two singles if required. Garden-facing, this bedroom is light and generously sized, with a dressing table, free-standing wardrobe and decorative fireplace.
Out into corridor, and turn left into…
A cosy twin bedroom, with single beds placed at either end to maximise privacy. Guests staying in bedroom three have their own bedside tables and reading lamps, as well as a rattan set of drawers and hook hanging area.
The outside area at Bellhouse is beautiful. You have the choice of two outdoor seating areas, one smaller table in a courtyard and a bigger outdoor dining table that can seat 8, both with access to the large rear grass garden which has two secure levels. There are garden chairs that can be used under the stairs, as well as benches and a charcoal BBQ.
The closest village to Bellhouse is Nympsfield, with a very good pub, The Rose & Crown, offering a lunch and dinner food service. You can walk to the pub from Bellhouse, it is just over a mile. For something a little bit different, turn left and visit the fabulous café at Thistledown Campsite, serving fresh, home-made food inspired by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine (much of which is vegetarian/vegan) using locally grown produce and a clay oven. The café is open Wednesday – Sunday for food, serving brunch and lunch throughout the year, with pizza evenings on Friday and Saturday nights from April – October.
A little further down the lane and you’ll arrive in the artistic town of Nailsworth. It is home to a fantastic and unspoiled selection of boutiques, bars, pubs and cafes, and it really does offer some of the best food for miles around. There’s also often live music events, so it’s always worth keeping an eye on what’s going on!
In Nailsworth town centre you will find a Morrisons open Mon–Sat 7am – 9pm, and Sun 10am-4pm. There is also a small Tesco Express store with a Post Office counter inside, open every day 6am-11pm. A small Cooperative supermarket is also situated in the centre open Mon-Sat 7.30am-10pm and Sun 8am-9pm. Nailsworth is home to a fantastic selection of independent shops, be sure to visit Domestic Science, an eclectic Aladdin’s cave of a shop, and Mother Goose is always a hit with craft and knitting enthusiasts. Ruskin Mill is just a short walk/drive from the centre and offers some lovely walks, crafts and food, while working with a great community initiative.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to pubs and restaurants in Nailsworth. Top of the list are The Britannia, a great central pub, Wild Garlic for exquisite fine dining, Williams Food Hall and Dining for its superb oyster bar and delicatessen and Giuseppe’s, a unique Italian restaurant situated in a cosy loft space.
Just 7 miles away lies Stroud, a colourful and characterful town with more great shops, major banks, larger supermarkets, eateries, a VUE cinema complex and plenty of live events, from the annual Stroud Fringe Festival to the Stroud Folk Festival, there’s always something to see in this buzzing market town! There is also an excellent farmers market each Saturday.
Other nearby places of note including the Old Flying Club Café at the Cotswold Gliding Club, the café in Woodchester Mansion and the Woodchester Valley Vineyard and Winery. While there is plenty to see, eat and explore on your doorstep, Bellhouse is ideally situated for exploring further afield: Bath is around 40 – 50 minute drive away, Cirencester 20 minutes and Bibury/ similar northern Cotswold villages 50 – 60 minutes. For more information on what to do during your stay, see the guidebook.
Directions: The postcode for Bellhouse is: GL10 3UN (If you have any difficulties ask for Woodchester Park House located below Easter Park Farm.)
From London, head west on the M4, exiting at junction 18. Follow the A46 north, heading towards Stroud, until you reach the town of Nailsworth. Once you reach the roundabout in the centre of Nailsworth, next to the clock tower, turn left up Spring Hill (towards Nympsfield). Keep following this road (it eventually turns into Tinkley Lane) past the wind turbines on your left, until you reach the turning for Thistledown Campsite on your right. Continue for another 200 metres (approx.) and take the next unsigned turning on the right, just on the far side of the single house. If the electric metal gate at the top of the track is closed just drive up and it will open automatically. Continue down this lane until you reach the very bottom, past a redbrick wall on your right. You will then eventually reach a wooden gate that will open automatically, signed ‘Woodchester Park House’.
By Train: The closest train station to Bellhouse is Stroud, which is about 7 miles from the house, taking 15-20 minutes to reach by car. Stroud train station operates an hourly service to London Paddington and Birmingham New Street (duration 90-100 minutes) and is well connected to rail lines throughout the rest of the country.
There is ample parking in the drive for up to 6 cars. Please park in the area of the drive immediately to the left when you enter through the gate, opposite the barn.