Sir Nicholas and Lady Mander live at Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire. We have been friends for many years, and they are the best people ever! At a party for art collectors and artists about 20 years ago, a group of about 15 decided that we would spend a couple weeks in the Cotswolds painting and sketching. Painters like Steve Songer, Julie Lewis, Homer Clark led the pack, and they wanted me to take them as their guide. Well, after a lot of convincing, I agreed to make the arrangements and accompany. The group wanted to stay at Badminton House, but the Duke was in the midst of the 3-Day Horse Event, but he recommended staying at Owlpen Manor up the road a short distance. This began a long and happy friendship. The ardent painters and their more than ardent guide organized the first week in London in our flats, and then we left for Owlpen Manor. We were greeted by the family’s dog who met our little van as we came down the country road. Then, suddenly, the Owlpen Valley opened up before us. At that moment, I understood what Fodor’s meant when they said that Owlpen Manor was the loveliest place in England, and the Prince of Wales called it “the epitome of the English village.” It was rural, but close to a local village with easy access to the M4 to London–perfect. We rented Woodwells Cottage and the Grist Mill. All I can say is it was the most wonderful week in the Cotswolds I have ever spent. The artists painted and sketched all day, and we were in the village pub in the evening and then spent the later evening around the cottage fireplace in the Grist Mill. We became acquainted with all the villagers who stopped and watched the painters and had lots of advice to give–sometimes even about how to paint! It was really great fun.
I decided to write this short article about Owlpen Manor because a gentleman emailed me from Australia yesterday asking me where he should go for a rural, country cottage close to a small village in the West Country. Bang! Owlpen Manor popped into my mind. I scratched my head trying to figure out why I had not written this article long ago. Let me show you some of the scenes inside the cottages and on the estate. It is really another world, and a gorgeous one for sure.
I love Owlpen Manor, near Uly, in Gloucestershire. The Manders are fantastic. If you are looking for a rural, idyllic setting–I advise Owlpen Manor cottages. Believe me, it is as far away from a commercial setting as you can get. It is one of those places that cause you to say that you are going to stay forever. Absolutely fabulous. I just spoke with Nicky on the phone, and he asked me to let my readers know that he would certainly welcome you to stay in their cottages at Owlpen. What a great guy.
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918