4 Lakes Waterski School Cotswold Water Park

4 Lakes Waterski School visit from Cotswold Family Holidays
4 Lakes Waterski School visit from Cotswold Family Holidays

Secrets for an easy self-catering holiday

Cotswold Family Holiday Let Kitchen Lower Mill Estate perfect for celebrations

Do you dread the cooking part of a self-catering holiday? Mastering the art of arriving at a holiday cottage and feeling at home in the kitchen straight away is an easy skill to learn. Follow these top tips to take the stress out of preparing family meals during your holiday.

1. Order a grocery delivery to arrive on the first evening of your holiday.
Say goodbye to the hassle of trying to pack groceries from home, not having enough space in the car and worrying that the chilled items are going to overheat during your journey. Instead, opt for the convenience of pre-ordering a supermarket delivery to coincide with your arrival. This is so much easier than taking lots of food with you….and far better than spending some of your precious holiday going to the supermarket.

Cotswold Family Holiday Let Kitchen Lower Mill Estate perfect for celebrations

Fire Safety in Holiday Homes

Fire Safety in Holiday Homes

There is a huge amount that goes on behind the scenes in owning a holiday home that is let out. A hot topic of conversation amongst owners over the past year has been around updated fire safety legislation that came into place in October 2023.

New holiday let fire safety guidance came into place for holiday lets in England and Wales in October 2023. It is important when booking a holiday to make sure that the accommodation that you are booking has followed this guidance.

The first document that we have updated is our Fire Risk Assessment. This document:

The best places to see Christmas Lights in the Cotswolds

Westonbirt Arboretum Enchanted Christmas visit from Cotswold Family Holidays
Cotswolds Self Catering Family Holiday Living Room Area with balcony on Lower Mill Estate with stunning lake view
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Cotswolds Self Catering Family Holiday Living Room Area with balcony on Lower Mill Estate with stunning lake view
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Cotswolds Self Catering Family Holiday Living Room Area with balcony on Lower Mill Estate with stunning lake view
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Cotswold Farm Park Enchanted Light Trail visit from Cotswold Family Holidays

Daisy Chain on the Lower Mill Estate makes a perfect base for visiting Christmas light trails across the Cotswolds. When are you coming to visit?

Top 10 things to do from Lower Mill Estate at Half Term

Cotswold Farm Park visit from Lower Mill Estate

There is plenty of choice when it comes to planning days out for the whole family during half term. The Lower Mill Estate makes a fabulous base for exploring the Cotswolds. From wildlife parks to classic cars, museums to adventurous activities there really is something for everyone. Have fun planning your half term!

Cotswold Farm Park visit from Lower Mill Estate

Cotswold Farm Park reopens on February 10th in time for its lambing spectacular. Over 800 lambs are due to be born at the farm this Spring and visitors can see live births as well as listen to talks. It makes for a fabulous day out in the Cotswolds for the whole family.

Cotswold Farm Park

Head across to Chedworth Roman Villa to see the remains of one of the grandest Roman villas in Britain. You’ll be able to see impressive mosaics, hypocaust systems and bath houses. The artefacts on display will give you a real insight into life at the villa during Roman times.

Chedworth Roman Villa

Chedworth Roman Villa visit from Lower Mill Estate
South Cerney Outdoor High Ropes near Lower Mill Estate

South Cerney Outdoor has a range of climbing challenges available. Sky-Line is their aerial adventure which opened in 2022. There are 14 obstacles over two levels at up to 12m off the ground.

South Cerney Outdoor

The Cotswolds has to be one of the best places to see snowdrops in the country. Painswick Rococo Garden has over 5 million snowdrops (yes….you read that right…5 million!) and Colesbourne Park boasts over 300 different cultivars. That really is taking being spoilt for choice to a whole new level!

Our top four places to see snowdrops.

Cotswolds Snowdrops visit from Lower Mill Estate
Cotswold Range near Lower Mill Estate

Just next to Lower Mill Estate, Cotswold Range offers a variety of experiences from archery to crossbow and air rifles. From beginners to more seasoned, there is something to keep everyone engaged.

Cotswold Range

Birdland Park and Gardens, based in the beautiful Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water, offers a great location for a family day out. Birdland is set in 9 acres of gardens and woodland and is home to more than 500 birds including a range of exotic and rare birds such as flamingos, pelicans, cranes, storks, parrots, owls and penguins.  


Corinium Museum visit from Lower Mill Estate

Corinium Roman Museum is located in Cirencester, the ancient Roman town known as the capital of the Cotswolds. Just a 15 minute drive from the Lower Mill Estate, it takes you on a journey back through time as you discover thousands of artefacts on display from prehistoric tools, to Roman mosaics and medieval sculpture.

Corinium Roman Museum

Another gem based in Bourton-on-the-Water is the Cotswold Motoring Museum. Through its collection of rare vehicles you will be taken on a journey through the history of 20th-century motoring and give you a glimpse of the way that motoring used to be.

Cotswold Motoring Museum

Cotswold Motoring Museum visit from Lower Mill Estate
Cotswold Falconry Centre visit from Lower Mill Estate

Cotswold Falconry Centre is one of the leading bird of prey centres in the UK and home to over 60 species. During daily flying displays visitors will be wowed by a variety of species demonstrating their hunting skills and will come away with a greater appreciation of these amazing birds.

Cotswold Falconry Centre

A little further afield lies Gloucester Cathedral which is a must visit for Harry Potter fans. The vaulted cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral became the corridors leading to Gryffindor House, part of Hogwarts School, during filming of the first two Harry Potter Movies. The Cathedral is one of the finest medieval buildings in the country

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral visit from Lower Mill Estate

A Cotswold Butchers

Jesse Smith Butcher

Jesse Smith: Farm Shop and Coffee House

Just 10 minutes drive from the Lower Mill Estate, Jesse Smith, a family owned butcher that was founded over 200 years ago has recently opened a Farm Shop and Coffee House.  Jesse Smith has a great local reputation for quality fresh meat and personal friendly service – they also have a traditional butchers shop in one of Cirencester’s oldest Streets, Black Jack Street.

The Farm Shop looks fabulous when you walk in, with fresh fruit and vegetables stacked high, glass fronted meat and cheese counters and shelves of deli products.  Jesse Smith’s is an ideal place to call in to stock up for a barbecue, with a wide range of sausages, chicken, lamb and beef kebabs as well as a huge range of cuts of meat the only problem will be deciding what to choose.

Much of the meat stocked at Jesse Smith’s is locally sourced, with as much lamb as possible coming from the Cotswolds.  The butcher also stock the traditional free range Gloucestershire old spot pork.  Locally sourced game is also available.

The coffee house serves food throughout the day.  As one reviewer on Trip Advisor wrote, “When you walk in the place is just gorgeous.  The food is all fresh, local produce and tastes amazing.  I could have stayed all day and eaten the whole menu.”

Jesse Smith Butcher



Aerial Photos Of The Lower Mill Estate

Lower Mill Estate Aerial Photo

One of the lovely things about Daisy Chain is the abundance of birds to be seen. Herons, Egrets, Grebes, Terns, Swallows and Kingfishers to name just a few.  But have you ever wondered what the Lower Mill Estate looks like to them?  Some recent guests shared these great pictures taken from a drone.

Lower Mill Estate Aerial Photo

Swooping over Somerford Lagoon, Clearwater Lake is straight ahead.  To the left is Howells Mere with Swillbrook Lakes beyond. To the right beyond the green, the tennis court and the Mill Village pool is Spinney Lake, edged on the near side by the new houses with their green eco roofs.

Lower Mill Estate Aerial Photo (2)

Zooming down towards Daisy Chain you can see some people sitting on the grass enjoying the sunshine and pick out the barbecue on the lower deck – perhaps they’ll be wheeling that out in a minute to cook up some burgers and kebabs by the lakeside! That belt of reeds doesn’t just look great in the sunrise photos that guests take from their bedrooms, it’s also home to many birds – and sometimes a murmuration of starlings lands there during the winter.  Just over to the left in the corner of the lake is the handy place for slipping the canoe into the water.

Canoe Lower Mill Estate Drone

Here she is, as seen by the birds, slipping quietly across the calm waters of the lagoon. Where are they off to? Round the island before breakfast? Paddling to the reed beds to see how many different species of birds they can count? Heading across to the narrow strip of land where they can portage across and canoe on Flagham Fen to see if they can spot the beavers in the water just a few metres away from them? Or just enjoying the simple pleasure of being afloat, the freedom, the ripple of the water, being captain of your own boat, the satisfaction of learning to make the canoe go where you want with the ‘J stroke’ (turning the paddle at the end of the stroke to act as a rudder so you don’t have to keep switching the paddle from side to side). It’s just great being out on the water … I wonder if they can smell those burgers cooking yet?

A Birthday Weekend At Daisy Chain

Birthday Cake

We have just returned from Daisy Chain where we spent a weekend with family celebrating a big birthday. Daisy Chain is the perfect venue to gather all the family to celebrate and fun together.

Daisy Chain is equipped with a Canadian Canoe, but as there were going to be lots of us staying we rang ahead to the Family Adventure Store and arranged to rent a Paddle Board for the weekend.  Jenny very kindly delivered it to Daisy Chain so that when we arrived it was all ready for us.

Some of the family arrived by car, but others arrived by train.  Kemble Station, on the direct line from London Paddington Station,  is only a 10 minute drive away so very convenient to get to.  The birthday boy was dispatched to the station to give us time to decorate the house.  We have bunting and a birthday banner at Daisy Chain so we quickly hung these up and blew up some balloons.

Birthday Banner

Soon we were all gathered, the children were tucked into bed and there was just enough time to walk round to the boat park to collect the Canadian Canoe.  The boat park is only a 10 minute walk around the lake and we had a wonderful paddle back across the lake watching the sun set. It really was golden hour.

Sunset Lower Mill Estate

Saturday started early.  When we are staying at Daisy Chain, if we wake early we can never resist drawing the curtains and watching the sun rise.  It’s such a luxury to be able to lie in bed watching the sun climb over the horizon.  Opening the patio doors, we enjoyed the full sound of the dawn chorus with a Cuckoo and Woodpecker also joining in.

Sunrise Lower Mill Estate

The morning was beautifully blue and still, so as soon as the children appeared we donned buoyancy aids and headed out onto the lake in the canoe and on the paddle board.  It’s always magical on the lake in the early morning – so calm and peaceful.

Paddle board Lower Mill Estate

Having returned to Daisy Chain for breakfast the rest of the morning was spent messing about on the water.  Days at Daisy Chain pass quickly with one activity flowing into the next.  We painted ducks for the Duck Race down the River Thames, went swimming in the indoor, outdoor and eco pools (ok….we didn’t all make it into the eco pool!), played tennis and enjoyed walks around the Lower Mill Estate.

Birthday Tea

Birthday Cake, Cream Tea and Champagne disappeared quickly and we were soon off out again, in search of one of the geocaches that can be found locally.  After such a busy day sleep came quickly to the children at bedtime.

Champagne Cream Tea

The rest of the weekend followed a similar pattern.  I managed to fit in a visit to Clattinger Farm, a wonderful wild flower meadow just 2 minutes drive from the Lower Mill Estate.  It is home to Snakeshead Fritillaries and Orchids by their hundred.  A real treat.

Clattinger Farm Wild Flower Meadow

The children loved completing the Miss Mouse Trail which follows a route around the Lower Mill Estate.  It is interspersed with treasure chests where there are pirate coins to collect and sweet treats to enjoy.  The trail also now includes a bike trail which is a fun stopping off point.

Bike Track Lower Mill Estate

We had fun taking part in the Lower Mill Estate Bank Holiday Duck Race later in the day. I was all ready to take photos of the proceedings, but hadn’t quite anticipated that I would end up whipping off my shoes and socks, jumping into the water and rescuing some of the Ducks who had escaped the barrier at the finishing line!

Lower Mill Estate Duck Race

Staying at Daisy Chain makes for a really easy weekend with family.  There is no need to leave the estate, with so many activities right on your doorstep.  It’s a wonderful location for a family birthday celebration and is often booked for big birthdays – 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th and even 80th.

Birthday Cake

Our birthday boy certainly enjoyed his weekend of fun and family!

The 10 best ways to enjoy Autumn at Westonbirt

Autumn Westonbirt

Autumn Westonbirt

Hold Autumn in Your Hands this year at Westonbirt Arboretum

Staff at Westonbirt Arboretum, the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum have put together a list of the 10 best ways to enjoy autumn at Westonbirt.  This is a spectacular time of year at the arboretum, with the famous displays of autumn colours beginning.  The 10 best ways include:
Wrap up warm
Take part in a digital quest
Join a photography workshop
Become a leaf collector
Get closer to nature
Practice your survival skills
Pack a picnic
Hold autumn in your hands
Challenge with conkers
Get cosy after a long walk

To find out more and check the opening times for Winkworth visit http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/BEEH-A27FXS