Read our review of One Mason's Court - a holiday cottage in a historic Tudor building built in 1485 in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare's home town.
As I drove into Stratford-Upon-Avon with my husband and two children (aged 6 and 7), the weariness of travel gave way to the excitement of arriving in our destination, and we were all struck by the twisted and wonky Tudor buildings. The exposed wooden beams filled with wattle and daub from centuries ago held such charm and was a stark comparison to the Bath stone we're used to seeing in our part of Somerset.
We ooh'd and aahh'd at the 15th and 16th century architecture and I pointed out the particularly enchanting example that you can see in the picture above. The breathtaking building's roof movement over time had made the tiles ebb and flow together like waves.
We were all surprised and delighted as we passed the sign over the gate and realised that it housed our holiday cottage: One Mason's Court.
A family weekend in Stratford-Upon-Avon
Over the Easter bank holiday weekend, I went with my family for a long weekend in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I was lured by romantic thoughts of Shakespeare's plays and a desire to immerse myself in history, the Bard and family fun.
Set on the banks of the River Avon in Warwickshire, the historic market town is undoubtedly touched by the quill of it's most famous son, William Shakespeare. Born and raised in the town in the 16th Century, it's quite a marvel that so many properties central to his life are still standing. We walked through the very room that he was born in, saw his wife Anne Hathaway's impressive cottage and watched a Tudor banquet unfold before us.
Initially I was concerned that my young children might not find it all quite as engaging as the grownups would, but my fears were quickly allayed as they excitedly practised writing with quills in Shakespeare's school room, watched archery at Mary Arden's farm and marvelled at marble runs and automata in the MAD Museum. It might have been a wet weekend in Warwickshire, but our spirits were never dampened.
Self-catering holiday cottages are a fantastic option when travelling with children. There's nothing worse than hiding in a hotel bathroom with your partner supping a glass of wine in tiny tumblers and whispering as you endeavour not to wake your lightly sleeping darlings (I've done that. More than once. More than twice, actually).
We booked our stay at One Mason's Court through ManorCottages.co.uk who have been letting holiday cottages in the Cotswolds for over 25 years. Booking with Manor Cottages is quick and easy and after making our choice we were sent booking details from the cottage. We just had to turn up, use the code given to access the key to the property and let ourselves in and relax!
One Mason's Court - The Location
The building is situated right in the centre of town, though the cottage is set back in a pretty courtyard at the back of the historic building, so any road noise is dulled. It's close to everything we wanted to do so we didn't need to use the car a single time while we were there.
On the doorstep are shops, attractions, supermarkets, and even a frequent market mere steps up the road. The location was absolutely incredible and we loved that it was quiet and peaceful in the cottage, yet we had the town practically on our doorstep.
The cottage is only a 10-15 minute walk from anywhere you're likely to go. Only it will take you much longer, because you'll be stopping and staring, mouths agape, at the historic buildings.
Our temporary home from home was convenient, comfortable and catered for everything we needed.
One Mason's Court - Interior
Housed in a 15th Century building, the recently renovated interior is quaint but modern. It has all mod cons, from coffee maker and digital radio to microwave and Netflix on the telly. There are games to keep the kids amused, including Stratford upon Avon Monopoly, puzzles, cards and Connect Four (which I discovered I'm rubbish at!).
The decor is elegant and classic, comfortable and welcoming. Manuals for everything are available and a binder with information, the history of the house, leaflets and takeaway menus is a nice touch.
Although the building is on a main road, the cottage is set at the back in a pretty courtyard, so the road noise is dulled considerably.
The house is an incredible 533 years old, but because the interior is so impressively restored and renovated, it doesn't feel at all creaky or ghosty. The centuries old beams are exposed throughout giving a glimpse of history beyond the pretty boutique hotel style decor.
Everything you could need is here, from a hoover and iron to washing machine and cooker. I sat down in one of the comfy armchairs with a glass of prosecco after a fun day exploring the town and reached my arm out in want of a table to set the glass upon. I looked down and there was a little end table there.
The cottage is very well thought out with everything you could need, right where you need it, all with stylish and tasteful furnishings.
One Mason's Court - The Kitchen
One of the best things about staying at a self catering holiday cottage is having the freedom to cook what you want. The kitchen had everything from a cute retro-style fridge and freezer to an immaculate cooker and even a coffee machine.
Everything you could need is here. A table and chairs for eating, a very well-stocked kitchen with crockery, cutlery, pans etc... And even tea and coffee with milk in the fridge when you arrive. As it was Easter, they even left some chocolate bunnies for the kids! There's soap and dish soap so you just need to bring food or pick it up at the nearby shops when you arrive.
There are corner shops mere minutes walk away, and a Sainsbury's Metro and M&S Food Hall are just a 7 minute walk. We're in the middle of town, so there are plenty of lovely cafes, pubs and restaurants all around.
Shakespeare's birthplace and schoolroom are only a short stroll away from the cottage, so as the property was built some 80 years before he was born, and Stratford was just a village then, according to the info pack at the cottage, he likely would have known of the property and it's owners.
Self catering, at least for breakfast, means you can have a slow start to the morning without rushing off to a cafe or a hotel buffet. We treated the kids to those little selection boxes of cereal, that have the naughty sweet varieties we don't let them normally have, so breakfast was quick and easy.
On the first night we stayed in and cooked dinner to nourish ourselves after a day at the Butterfly Farm and wandering the town centre, though we couldn't resist heading to one of the many local restaurants for dinner on the second night.
Soft carpet beckoned us to the calm and relaxing upstairs. The exposed beams whispered of the past against the whitewashed walls and wooden bedroom floors and an antique map of Warwickshire decorated the hall.
One Masons Court - Bedrooms
The bedrooms have the relaxing feel of a boutique hotel, with comfy beds and luxury bedding, but with a more homely feel from the few tasteful ornaments.
I just wanted to lie down with my head on the fluffy pillows and imagine the room's other inhabitants over the many years.
Across the hallway is the twin bedroom, with equally comfortable single beds. My children immediately set about putting their clothes in drawers and on the hanging rail. It was a treat to watch since it takes such chiding to get them to perform this task at home!
All the bedlinen and towels are provided so you don't need to pack those.
Be sure to bring some bubble bath and make use of the roll top bath!
We had a wonderful time during our stay at One Mason's Court in Stratford-Upon-Avon. It's a real treat to stay in a 533 year old historic building (which is a point of interest on the local sightseeing bus as it's the oldest house in the area!). The inside is renovated and furnished to a high specification with everything you could need for your stay, from a coffee machine to Netflix. It's comfortable, luxurious and extremely well located.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is a charming market town with plenty to keep adults and children entertained, both Shakespeare-related and otherwise. Although our days were full, we certainly didn't manage to see everything that we wanted to, so hopefully we'll be back again soon one day. Read my review of A Family Weekend in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Booking is easy online with Manor Cottages.
We stayed as guests of Manor Cottages and One Mason's Court. All opinions are our own.