The additional facilities you can freely enjoy as guests of Kingham Lodge are what set us apart from other self-catering cottages in the Cotswolds. Click on the titles below to read more about them.
The Indoor Swimming Pool
The indoor heated pool is 11m long and 5m wide with an average depth of 1.35m. This means small children should wear appropriate floatable aids as well as being accompanied by an adult. The shallow end is large and flat for playing water games and deep enough for strong swimmers to ‘tumble turn’. Swimming towels are provided in the cottages.
Please note: Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. We also advise adults to not swim alone but to always swim in company.
A Hammam is a traditional Turkish bath and is the perfect area to relax. You can pre-book a massage treatment in the Hammam, information is on our ‘Additional Information’ email with your booking confirmation.
The Moorish Pavilion
In the spring of 2018 we completed the Moorish Pavilion which stands in the centre of the garden, on the site of an old barn that was burnt down in an arson attack ten years earlier. This fabulous building was inspired by a trip Chris made to Alhambra 50 years ago:
“Early one April Sunday morning I pushed open the old wooden gate to enter the Generalife gardens of the Alhambra. I was alone. All the flowers of summer were blossoming, the sky was blue, the snows gleamed on the Sierra Nevada and dogs barked on the neighbouring hill of Sacromonte, where the gypsies were beginning to stir and light their wood fires. Down below in the town the bells of the churches were ringing. Beside me the rills of the garden gurgled and the fountains sparkled. The whole effect was magical, as near to Paradise on earth as it was possible for me to imagine.”
The carved stone has come from a stone yard in Dhrangadhra, India set up by the Rajah’s son to provide employment for local people. The Indian stone matched perfectly with our local Sarsden stone and it was all built by local stone masons.
Chris’ passion for this project comes across in his descriptive writing. “The capitol tops are copies of the capitols in the Court of Lions in the Alhambra at Granada. The white lions are copies of the ones round the fountain in that courtyard. The pillar spiral design is inspired by a different building in Andalusia. The interweaving design round the cornice and in the glazed tiles (made and decorated by Tiles of Stow, in Kingham) set along the aisles, is known as the “Breath of the Prophet” (a variant is known as the Breath of the Compassionate). Like all Moorish design it is geometric and avoids anything figurative.
You can click here to watch a video by Tiles of Stow about their part in the building of the Moorish Pavilion.
The only part of the overall design that is not Moorish is the lantern over the pavilion which is loosely inspired by Persian wind towers. The black lions were derived from the same measurements and designs as the white ones but carved in Africa by men who had actually seen what a lion looks like and rather charmingly went ‘off piste’ from their instructions!” These black lions come from the sculptors cooperative in Zimbabwe that we support during our sculpture show that takes place here every two years during Oxfordshire Artweeks in May.
“The central courtyard is divided in to four by rills. This is the classic pattern in all Moorish, Persian and Islamic gardens and courtyards (known as the charbagh or chaharbagh). It is a layout based on the four (chahar is 4 in Persian and char is 4 in Urdu) gardens of Paradise mentioned in the Qur’an (Koran). The four sections are divided by flowing water. Genesis 2 refers to four rivers in Eden and other Biblical and Islamic texts refer to four rivers on earth and in the afterlife. More prosaically, in hot climates the sound of running water is relaxing and refreshing. In a Paradise there are garden fruit trees (symbolising fertility and fruitfulness), hence our lemon and olive trees which are on display in the warmer months and the doves in the dovecot.”
We hope you enjoy this unique feature in the beautiful gardens during your stay at Kingham Cottages.
There is an all-weather hard tennis court available for tennis enthusiasts bringing their own racquets, shoes and tennis balls.
A croquet set is available for use on the main lawn, which is also spacious enough for Frisbee, boules, or other games.
The gardens at Kingham Lodge have been planted over the past two decades and have been a huge family project. Unusually for the Cotswolds we are situated on sand over gravel so are able to grow a number of ericaceous plants not normally seen in the Cotswolds.
From the cottages you can walk up past Kite’s gate to the main lawn (we are grateful to our guests for not walking around the lawns next to the main house) and then choose your route. Along the 150 metre border, backed with trellis, are two sections. The first broadly blue and white and the second in shades of red from orange to purple. Between this border and the tennis court hedge there is a quiet green walk leading first to the vegetable garden and the tennis court and secondly to the chickens (and compost/bonfire area) and then leading into what we call the Newbury plantation.
Now becoming mature this area has an over-storey of pine and many varieties of eucalyptus, some badly hurt in the winter of 2010-11. It is under planted with a layer of lilacs, magnolias, prunus, malus and cherry varieties and then at ground level there is a layer of rhododendrons, azaleas, and many other shrubs.
Through the Newbury you can cross the waterfall by the quarry pond. In May the laburnum arch to the left and the azaleas look stunning. Carry on walking round the Plantes, named after the circular tree areas that surround Cracow in Poland. These shaded walks have a top storey of mostly deciduous forest trees and then a lower storey of flowering trees and a base layer of shrubs and interesting herbaceous planting. The year starts with aconites flowering under trees, in February there are thousands of snowdrops giving way to anemones, and specie tulips and then daffodils, tulips, erythroniums and many other later bulbs and irises. From January to July there is a rhododendron in bloom although the big displays are in May, along with the azaleas.
From the walks are longer views, first of the park areas around Kingham House (a lovely William & Mary house that was once the rectory). Through the gates, commemorating a family wedding in 2006, there are views over the valley to the hills on the Stow-Burford ridge, and then over to Stow itself where the tower of St. Edward’s Church can be seen on the horizon.
The return walks take you past the rectangular mirror pond which links with the Islamic pavilion. The unusual green stone sculpture in the middle of the pond was carved in Zimbabwe. After the pond there are choices to be made between the Pergola, flanked with espalier apples and hung with wisterias, clematis, roses and other flowering climbers, or down the Parterre with its complicated patterns of box bushes. The repeating rhythm of sections each contains a different contemporary design. In special years (such as daughters’ weddings!) these designs are planted with flowering annuals making a rich carpet of colours. At the bottom of both these walks you will come across a huge armillary sundial, installed in 2020 to commemorate the 70th birthdays of Chris and Delphie. This is the best south facing seat in the garden so do sit on the giant curved oak bench and enjoy the warm sun if it shines during your visit! A wander back across the large main lawn brings the walker back to the path to the cottages, with views of the croquet lawn, the main house and the coach house.
Over the years Chris and Delphie have used many local tradesman including one carpenter Rob who said. ‘I always like working for Chris, I never know what the next mad project will be.’ That neatly encapsulates the thinking behind Chris’s vision. To date Rob has made a barrel shaped roof, lanterns for The Loft and Chris’ office, the shutters in Kite’s Gate, and the pergola in the garden.
The Sequoia Room
Around the end of the nineteenth century a previous owner of Kingham Lodge planted a Wellingtonia, the giant sequoia. This huge tree was struck by lightening in the 1950s and very slowly died back. It was felled in 2006 and its timber planked. One wall of this room is made of those planks with fascinating swirls of redwood, they stand immediately over the spot where the tree grew.
The Sequoia room has a TV with Freesat and surround sound speakers so you can plug in your phone or ipod and listen to music while you swim. It is separated from the pool by glass doors so it is easy for some guests to play in the pool while others are watching the large flat screen TV. With chairs removed the beautiful oak floor is perfect for doing yoga or pilates for up to twenty people at a time. When the whole property is used for a retreat the pool, tennis, gardens, and Hammam are all popular for relaxation.