My Crush On Log Cabins, Cotswolds Style: A Luxury Log House Review
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Fancy spending a few days staying in your own private lakeside retreat, surrounded by stunning nature, with quaint and historic honey-hued village pubs on your doorstep?
If the answer is yes, then holidaying in log cabins, Cotswolds style could be the mini-break for you.
Renting a rustic but luxurious log house of your own is a totally different kind of UK getaway – and this one comes complete with its own slice of forest and a fire pit.
Plus private hot tubs with lake views and the opportunity to go kayaking, cycling, stand-up paddle boarding and boating during your stay.
If you want total tranquility and quality time with friends and family, I have a feeling you’ll fall in love with your log cabin at first sight.
WHY GO TO A COTSWOLDS LOG CABIN?
I jump at the offer of trying a log cabin holiday in The Cotswolds because while living in Canada for 4 years, I fell for the feeling of nature being on my doorstep.
So I was especially excited to visit Log House Holidays, eight unique Cotswolds log cabins, set on a private 130-acre nature reserve, amid 50,000 trees.
It’s the closest thing to the Canadian wilderness I have ever found here in Southeast England.
Read on to get my full log cabin review – including all the activities on offer in and around the cabins – and decide if luxury log cabin holidays, Cotswolds style, will be your new travel crush too.
How I fell For Luxury Log Cabins, Cotswolds Life and Country Pubs
First Up: Finding The Log Cabins’ Cotswolds Location
I keep a close eye on the weather forecast as my stay at a Cotswolds log cabin draws nearer. It seems too good to be true because UK heatwaves and log cabin holidays in the Cotswolds don’t always coincide, but reader, they did for me.
I find myself driving the 90 minutes from my home in Surrey on an idyllic day, with the sunroof open, music blaring. I have a huge smile on my face and I know I’m in for a treat over the next few days.
As soon as the M4 makes its way into the North Wessex Downs I find it difficult to keep my eyes on the road, because the scenery is so stunning. At one point on the brim of a hill I see a vast green patchwork in a valley laid out in front of me and my jaw drops.
And to my relief simply typing ‘Log House Holidays’ into my satnav brings me right to the door of my very own Cotswolds log cabin, without any drama or a single wrong turn. Phew!
Log House Holidays: Check In For Log Cabins, Cotswolds Calm & Lake Kayaking
Usually when you arrive at a hotel or a villa rental, a flurry of activity follows; forms to fill in, rules to read, staff to chat to plus the rush to get to the restaurant before it stops serving food. Or is that just me?
Whatever form it takes, there’s often some kind of fuss. This fuss is noticeably absent on my arrival at my log cabin.
I just walk out onto the huge veranda and take a deep breathe, while taking in the peace and quiet and the panoramic view of the lake.
I immediately feel a sense of calm. Amazingly that feeling doesn’t desert me until about 12 hours after I get home from my Cotswolds log cabin holiday.
There’s a book of info in the cabin of course, but a quick glance around at my plush surroundings reveals that everything I could possibly need for the week ahead is here – from chunks of wood and firelighters to binoculars and marshmallows.
In fact calling this huge spacious structure a ‘cabin’ feels a bit strange, because while it’s certainly cosy, it is anything but small.
Inside I’m impressed to find all the mod cons you’d expect from a high end holiday home, including a full farmhouse style kitchen and a vast bathroom with roll top bath, plus a comfy sitting room and a cool spiral staircase. The decor is the right side of rustic, and while being luxurious it still feels homely.
But it’s the thorough selection of activities waiting for me outside which catch my eye: two kayaks are neatly laid out on my private stretch of beach. Perfect as I have a soft spot for kayaking.
There are also two stand up paddleboards which I’m less familiar with (more about those later), and there’s a pretty rowing boat moored on my jetty. I’m filled with a feeling of anticipation about all the different combinations of wholesome and healthy outdoor fun I can have here.
The only thing that isn’t thoughtfully provided is a group of friends to splash about with – but luckily I remembered to bring along some of my own.
The Story Behind Log House Holidays: The Log Cabins Cotswolds Location Has An Amazing History
The story behind Log House Holidays is pretty compelling, and makes a lot more sense once you see the place with your own eyes and get a feel for what’s been created here.
When you find out this whole site was carved out of literally nothing, it’s even more impressive.
Log House Holidays is a real family business, started by dad Anthony back in 1980. After a few years of adventures in one of Canada’s wildest provinces, he left life at a Yukon silver mine behind to transform a disused gravel pit back home in England, planting tens of thousands of trees in the process.
Fast forward 40 years and it’s now a network of protected lakes, a designated site of special scientific interest and a thriving habitat for local wildlife.
Son James now runs things alongside his dad and sister Charlotte, and is clearly a chip off the old block with the same sense of adventure and a passion for conservation.
As it’s such a hands-on family business you’ll probably meet James if you come to stay because he personally pops over to make sure you’ve got everything you need in your cabin and check your stay has made you happy before you go.
Things To Do At A Log House Holidays Cotswolds Log Cabin
From cosying up around the wood burner in the evenings to summer barbecues and toasting marshmallows on your outdoor fire pit, there’s no shortage of ways to relax in and around the cabin.
You can also turn the log cabin into a spa for the day, or book a landscape photographer to come and give you a lesson, which is perfect for a setting this photogenic.
But those feeling more adventurous are well catered for too.
Cook Up A Storm From Your Log Cabin
Ok, maybe adventurous isn’t the word for a cooking class where you make a batch of scones and chocolate cake, but indulgent certainly is.
Real bread campaign ambassador Danielle runs local cooking school Severn Bites and will personally visit your log cabin and teach you how to make a dish of your choice, including family-friendly favourites like homemade pasta and pizza.
We plump for a more cake-filled menu, based on Danielle’s professional baking skills (she even trained in France) and we end up with a delicious selection of sweet snacks, which turn out to be especially delicious when consumed from the comfort of the hot tub….
Enjoy The Hot Tub
One of the most sought-after aspects of the accommodation at Log House Holidays is that these are Cotswolds log cabins with private hot tubs – which is pretty much the dream from any luxury rural escape.
As hot tubs not jacuzzis, you won’t find chlorine or nasty chemicals inside. They’re fed with purified lake water and heated by a ground source heat pump, with the water changed over once between stays for minimum environmental impact.
Even after a few days at the cabin the tubs remain delightfully hot, and turn out to be especially welcoming after a kayaking or swimming session in the lake…
Go Swimming & Kayaking in the Lake
I’m not exactly a massive water sports expert, but I’ve always loved kayaking, yet I only do it very occasionally.
That’s because I find it takes a bit of coordinating to book a kayaking session somewhere, with all the accompanying logistics to consider; what to wear, where to park, where to get changed out of your wet clothes.
What I absolutely love about kayaking from my Cotswolds log cabin is that I just jump in on a whim, wearing whatever I happen to be wearing at the moment that whim strikes me.
If you get a bit wet in the kayak you have the choice of walking the few steps to your bedroom to put on some dry clothes, or at the other extreme just jumping in the lake and going for a swim.
Seeing the birds, wild foxes and even the sunset from the tranquility of my kayak makes the whole thing so special, and the moment I get out onto the lake I remember why I love kayaking so much.
It’s a bonus that I burn off some of the calories from the scones too. But I think I burn more when I give SUP a go…
Try Stand Up Paddle Boarding
I’ve narrowly missed out on being able to try SUP (as its known) in a few destinations around the world but booking the paddle boards here – just like the kayaks – means they’re available and ready to go at any time on your holiday.
That makes it incredibly convenient to give SUP a whirl with no pressure.
I am so glad nobody other than my cabin-mates are around to see my first tentative and pretty wobbly attempts to stand up on my paddle board – but as there’s no lesson, no time limit and no smug, muscular instructor to make me feel silly, I can go at my own pace. Beginners could not ask for a better way to try SUP.
After a few attempts I decide rather than SUP, I can only do KPB (that’s Kneeling and Paddle Boarding – so much easier to master) . But I gain a bit more confidence and eventually do manage to actually stand up.
It’s a lot harder than it looks and I realise that having a strong core is pretty essential for this sport, but I’m happy with my progress, especially when I do a downward dog on my board…
Practice Alfresco Yoga By The Lake
If you’re a bit of a yogi like me, and are partial to a yoga holiday you’ll be pleased to know that the log cabins have plenty of places where you can roll out your mat and do some sun salutations. And I don’t just mean on the paddleboard.
The jetty is my favourite spot, but depending which log cabin you rent, and which bedroom you bagsy, you could easily find yourself stretching or doing your downward dogs on your own private veranda. If that doesn’t make you feel zen I don’t know what will.
Get On Your Bike
I’m going to hold my hand up here and admit that despite being a keen cyclist on holiday, and being super excited to spot the bikes when I arrive at my Cotswolds log cabin, I end up being so busy with all the other activities (*cough* eating and drinking) that I don’t have time for a bike ride.
There are plenty of trails and small country lanes you can explore if you don’t make the same mistake as me – and adding bike hire to your stay is great way to cycle in complete safety for all the family.
Log Cabin Holidays, Cotswolds Calling? Other Things To Do Away From Your Log House
As delightful as soaking up the sense of calm, and soaking in the hot tub is, you may want to leave your Cotswolds log cabin behind – if only to have the pleasure of coming back to it later.
If you’re in the mood to explore there is absolutely tons to see and do in this area:
Discover Arlington Row: See The Inside of The British Passport IRL
Even if you don’t know the name Arlington Row, as a British Passport holder you’ve been guarding a picture of this famous street along with your wallet and keys every time you travel. That’s because it’s the image that adorns the inside front cover of UK passports.
The setting for Arlington Row is every bit as quaint and cute as you would hope: this 14th century row of weavers’ cottages is set on the River Coln in charming Bibury, so you’ll get swans and a National Trust site, as well as a delightful walk on your visit.
Make Time For A Pint: Country Pubs Near Log House Holidays
There are a handful of pubs within a very short, scenic and pretty sleepy drive of your Cotswolds log cabin. I personally tried two of the four closest pubs, and give them the thumbs up for different reasons:
Best For Gastro Fayre: The Wild Duck Inn
The nearest Cotswolds country pub as the crow flies from Log House holidays’ log cabins is The Wild Duck Inn. On my visit it is still undergoing refurbishment but the newly opened version promises to be pretty special.
The pub is part of the Lucky Onion Group, a family of design-led hotels and eateries based in the Cotswolds. Run by the brains behind the clothing brand Superdry, Julian Dunkerton, The Wild Duck will raise the bar when it comes to your log cabin holidays Cotswolds pub grub options.
Other gastro pubs in this part of The Cotswolds recommended by Log House Holidays include:
- Potting Shed at Crudwell
- The Swan at Southrop
- The Rectory at Crudwell
- The Village Pub at Barnsley
Best For Walkers: The Thames Head Inn
As the name suggests The Thames Head is the nearest pub to the source of the Thames, making it the perfect place to park, pop in for a pint, or a even a meal, and then set of on a pleasant walk to the local landmark.
The pub has been totally refurbished, and offers good quality food in plush yet homely surroundings, with some unique features such as antiques and cute cubbyholes. There’s ice cream available in the summer months as well as a wide selection of local ales in case you want to feel refreshed after your walk.
Best For Bargain Hunters: The Tavern Inn, Kemble
The Tavern is slightly closer to the location of the log houses, and offers a garden and children’s play area, next to the tiny train station in the middle of pint-sized Kemble.
A down to earth and historic pub with a good selection of very affordable food and exceptionally welcoming service, the Tavern Inn also runs events and entertainment including biker gatherings every Thursday.
Resident barman Scott shares his favourite hike in the area: a walk from the disused railway at South Cerney, for about 5 miles alongside the River Churn. This part of the Thames Path takes you to Cricklade where you can sample some local ale at the Red Lion & Hop Kettle Brewery, a 1600’s pub with its own micro brewery. As a bonus there’s even a bus back to South Cerney for those who overindulge, though you’ll have to make your own way back to your chosen Cotswolds log cabin so don’t succumb to too much temptation.
Other Decent Pubs Worth Checking Out Near Your Log Cabin:
- The Bakers Arms, Somerford Keynes
- The Wheatsheaf Inn at Oaksey
- The White Hart Inn at Ashton Keynes
- Eliot Arms, South Cerney
- Royal Oak, South Cerney
Walk In The Woods: Log Cabin Holidays Cotswolds Walks
In the Log House Holidays Grounds: Circular Walk of The Lake
The easiest walk you can do here is the lake walk, which is 2 miles in total and takes between 30-40 minutes. Of course if you stop to admire the view, marvel at the self-sustaining solar panels, and take photos along the way you can easily be out for a couple of hours.
Outside Log House Holidays Grounds: Walk To The Source Of The River Thames
One of the most famous landmarks in the South East is within walking distance of the log cabins, and if you’re a proud Londoner like me, this walk will have particular significance.
It turns out to be more complicated than you might imagine to track down the ‘real’ source of The Thames. However despite being dry during the summer months this very spot is the acknowledged official source dating back to 1546 and the meadow can become flooded to prove it during heavy rains. There’s also a commemorative stone and a signpost showing the way to the Thames barrier, if you fancy the 184 mile walk.
My Log Cabin Review: Why I think Log Cabin Holidays, Cotswolds Destinations and Staying In Blighty Are All Brilliant Ideas
I wish I had a Hot Tub Time Machine because if I did I’d jump in it right now, and go back to my log cabin.
Ok, I’m being flippant, but in case you want to cut to the chase of this log cabin review, the headline is that I loved staying in a log cabin, I was enchanted with The Cotswolds, and I think there’s nothing easier or more relaxing than throwing whatever you think you’ll need in your car and hitting the road, rather than navigating airports and security queues.
The more I travel, the more I like to balance out the heady excitement of a city break in Paris, or a long haul holiday like Sri Lanka, with serene, local stays.
I also find myself feeling more and more passionate and patriotic about the incredible holidays we have right here in England.
Log House Holidays over delivered on my expectations, from the decor to the utter tranquility, which was so unbreakable that at one point we found ourselves complaining about the cuckoos and chaffinches cooing too much.
Tell that to the Londoner in me who has lived in Camden Town complete with constant siren noise – she’s now happily traded that in for a peaceful log cabin near Cirencester.
More Info You Might Need To Know About Log House Holidays’ Cotswolds Log Cabins
As there are only 8 cabins, they understandably get booked up well in advance especially during peak season. Cabins sleep between 4 and 11 people, and one cabin even has a swimming pool
Extras like the hot tub, kayaking and cycle hire are available from a pick and mix menu of options so you don’t pay for an activity you don’t want to do
Sign up to the newsletter at Log House Holidays by scrolling to the bottom of their homepage to find out about late availability, news and special offers
Most things are provided but you’ll need groceries and it’s a good idea to bring a picnic blanket and cooler in summer for alfresco eating
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SavoirThere.com was a guest of Log House Holidays in the Cotswolds, but all opinions stated are genuine
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