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“The best stay imaginable”
Review of Hope Cottage Tours

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Hope Cottage Tours
Reviewed 2 June 2014

My mother, sister, and I spent nine days at the matchless Hope Cottage, with Sue and Bob as our endlessly helpful, kind, and effervescent hosts. We opted to have Sue tour us around (as opposed to choosing the B&B option) and are so glad we did. Traveling is almost always a stress, of course--figuring out what to do on what day, how to get there, how to pay, how to return, where to eat--but at the Hope Cottage, it was easy.

Each day, we woke up to chirping birds, and while not always to sunshine (this is England!), to a sunny Sue with a perfectly healthy, simple, and delicious--and as the week went on, increasingly tailored-to-us--breakfast, including yogurt, fruit, and eggs fresh from her hens, set up in the gorgeous solarium. After that, we'd head after to the day's sights--Highclere Castle, Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, and the village of Lacock were among my favorites--chatting along the way with Sue, taking in the bucolic scenery, without any worries about missing turns or negotiating left-side driving. Sue was eminently flexible and accommodating: if we wanted a little more time in a particular place, or to add an extra stop, it was no problem--nothing ever was. More than a pleasant tour guide, she became a friend, and we like a group of girls on vacation with Sue as our cheerful and very capable leader.

On the way home, a quick call to Bob was all it took to ensure that as soon as we stepped in the door, tea was set out and dinner nearly so. The food was sublime and varied: from lamb with eggplant sauce to lasagna to fish pie, the dishes were befitting of a top restaurant--and were also quite healthy and locally sourced (the lamb, for example, was from a farm in the village). Then it was on to dessert, which was always homemade, often fruit-based and light, and perfect. Finally, we'd sip tea while watching the sunset (which came at an wonderfully late 9 pm), chatting, and finalizing plans for the next day.

The setting itself really can't quite be captured in photos. I knew it would be pretty from the website, but it's more than I imagined--and beyond pictures. You can't see (or hear or smell) in the photos how relaxing and wonderful it is to be surrounded by garden and fields and birds on all sides. The house and the guests cottages are just lovely--I can't say there's a "best" place to stay; they're equally nice. The town center just down the lane (and walk-able from the house) is also so picturesque it almost seems a caricature of the perfect English village--except it's real, of course! Finally, it must be mentioned that the cottage's pet ducks--who can't come inside, though they'd very much like to--are the most adorable creatures you've ever seen: though different types of ducks, they're best friends, and do everything not only together, but in sync. I took about four separate videos of them. (And I'm not even an animal person as such.)

On this trip, I was reminded that there is no substitute for travel: photos, videos, tales don't do it--to expand your mind and being, you must go and see things for yourself. And yet international travel especially is sometimes so draining. Not with Sue and Bob; not at the Hope Cottage. The experience left all of us fresh-faced and relaxed and edified--and dreaming of our return. We are deeply grateful.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank Editour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SueRob7, Owner at Hope Cottage Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2014

Thank you so much Kyrah for such a lovely review. We did so enjoy our week with you all and I particularly miss our evening chats. T|he weather has been amazing since you left which is annoying but I must say I was very impressed with the way you didn't let the vagaries of our English weather spoil any part of your holiday. Hope our paths cross again sometime. x

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27 - 33 of 52 reviews

Reviewed 28 May 2014

If you are looking for a very well maintained friendly and comfortable bed-and-breakfast in the Oxfordshire area. I highly recommend you go and stay witht Sue and Bob at Hope cottage. We hope to attend to return to this place every time we visit England.

My wife and I were looking for a B and B in the Oxfordshire area. We were lucky enough to find and stay at Hope cottage. This is a warm, friendly and wonderful place to spend your days or nights.

We stayed in the Garden room and also in the quaint and cosy Shepherds Hut, The Shepherds Hut is an amazing place. Designed on the old Shepherds work huts, this has been designed for the 21st Century. From a comfortable Double bed and ensuite bathroom, to a wood burning stove. This is the place to get away from it all.

The garden room is a very very cosy room with warm and comfortable furnishings. The windows open onto Susan's well maintained gardens and flowers. In the room you will find home-made biscuits and all tea making facilities

From the time you arrive Hope cottage and open the gate, you will be greeted by Hoople and Jeremy the Hope ducks, after a very interesting greeting from them. They were escort you to the cottage, to meet your hosts Bob and Sue.

Meeting Sue and Bob is like meeting old friends their warmth and generosity will make you feel that you at home immediately

You can eat home made Biscuits in your room, however should save room for Susan marvellous breakfast's which consisted of home-made bread, fresh laid eggs form her Hens and local meats. Sue's English breakfast is worth the trip for that alone. Afterwards you can sit in the conservatory. Or walk in the very nice gardens. I am sure the ducks will come and keep you company.

There are plenty of places to visit around the village from the Local pub to the Village store. Or you can walk through a very quaint old English village and experience England at its best.

If you're unsure where to visit in the area Sue is an encyclopedia of knowledge of the local area she can suggest various places, that would really allow you to enjoy English countryside she also runs tours were you will be chauffeured and escorted to various historic places.

Anybody arriving from the US that are unsure about driving on England's narrow roads, and I do mean narrow roads in the Oxfordshire area. I would suggest that they take the Hope Cottage Tour. You will be picked up from the airport and taken to the cottage. This way you are able to enjoy the English countryside, without having to worry about stick shift cars, narrow roads and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Highly Recommend.

Room Tip: Shepherds Hut, Warm and cosy.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Richard H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SueRob7, Owner at Hope Cottage Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2014

Thanks Richard, we thoroughly enjoyed your stay and are looking forward to your return already. Jeremy and Hoopla continue to explore the garden and are becoming more and more friendly. I think they would really like to live in the house but we are being very firm!!
Look forward to seeing you again soon.

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Reviewed 17 May 2014

Having read all the reviews before booking a two week stay in April 2014, I anticipated something unique. Rarely in life does an experience not only live up to its hype but even surpass it. Take it from someone who is notoriously hard to satisfy, I can assure you that 5 stars is not enough to rate the level of hospitality, including accommodation, meals, and custom tours, provided.

Want to take some courses at the Dr. Edward Bach Centre? No problem. Pub doesn't serve evening meals on Sunday or Monday? Invite anyone who hasn't made preparation for dinner on your courses back for a meal.

Only have four days free while you're here? Just let Sue know what you'd like to see and she will feed you any breakfast you like, provide you with a guide book to the sites for the drive, whisk you past the lines right to the sites by plan ahead booking, and, after photo ops galore and impromptu stops for all sorts of reasons or just on a whim, will get you back to Hope Cottage for a wonderful home cooked meal that is magically ready almost as you walk in the door.

Want to make a souvenir run on all the local shops? Experience afternoon tea in full decadence? Need a bespoke walking tour of Oxford? Need extra suitcases and packing materials on a bank holiday weekend because you bought out all the local shops? Want to plan a special end of the course dinner for friends? Need healthy snacks for the trip home? Would you like an Indian oil head massage in the garden? How about a massage after you tour the Roman baths in Bath? Each and every one of these requests and more were fulfilled during my stay. I have every confidence that regardless of the request, hosts Sue and Bob would have managed to fulfill it, if humanly possible. All with a smile and every courtesy extended for my and other guests' comfort.

If you are traveling anywhere near Oxfordshire, you owe it to yourself to experience the Hope Cottage Tours difference. But beware, it will spoil you for ordinary B&Bs and run of the mill tours forever after.

Room Tip: Book the Garden Room if you can get it. A perfectly private oasis right off the conservatory with wi...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled solo
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2  Thank aprilflowers2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SueRob7, Owner at Hope Cottage Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2014

Thank you so much for a fabulous review April, we really did enjoy your visit too. Hope you will be back one day to continue your training.

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Reviewed 5 May 2014

This trip was equal measures unplanned as it was unforgettable. We stayed in the Shepherd's Hut for two nights which was fantastic; a fun, unique and cosy experience.

Host Sue and her husband Bob were the nicest couple you could hope to meet - appearing as if by magic when you needed them, and completely respectful of your privacy when you didn't. The cooked breakfast was made to order and tasted fantastic, with fresh eggs from Sue's very own hens which reside in the front garden of the cottage.

As well as the eggs, you'll also get to meet Jeremy and Hoopla, Hope Cottage's resident ducks who have the most bizarre and unlikely relationship; you'll see what I mean when you meet them and hear their stories from Sue. If you're lucky, they may just let you get close enough to touch them.

The view from the Shepherd's Hut is beautiful, both at night when the stars are out in force and during the day when you can sit and watch the local wildlife as you sip on your cup of tea. If your timing is good, you may even catch a glimpse of Polly Vacher MBE, Oxfordshire's very own female aerobatics expert, who at the age of 70 can still be seen doing barrel rolls and loop-the-loops in the sky of the Oxfordshire countryside. We were lucky enough to catch this spectacle briefly after our arrival in the village.

All in all, a fantastic weekend getaway with a relaxing atmosphere and generous, friendly and professional hosts. I would recommend Hope Cottage and the Shepherd's Hut to anyone looking for a relaxing break in the Oxfordshire countryside. Visit by car to get around during the day, or book a tour with Sue and she'll show you all the best sights.

Room Tip: Book the Shepherd's Hut for a unique but very cosy and comfortable B&B experience.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank jonespj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SueRob7, Owner at Hope Cottage Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2014

Thanks for your amazing review - we really appreciate it (sorry for late response we are having a very busy summer) You will be pleased to here that Jeremy and Hoopla are still ruling the garden and becoming braver and braver about how far they go. They are providing hours of entertainment for all.

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Reviewed 30 April 2014 via mobile

We stayed in the shepherds hut for 3 nights and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had the isolation we wanted of staying in our own hut with the convenience of having Sue and Bob in the house next door to provide a lovely breakfast and directions around town when needed. The B&B was situated in a picturesque village with lots of public footpaths to explore and quality dinners to gorge on at the local pub, the Red Lion.

The B&B was easily reachable for Didcot Parkway train station which is on the main line service from London and also makes both the south coast and the north easily accessible for days out.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank ddavitt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SueRob7, Owner at Hope Cottage Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2014

Thank you so much for your lovely review. (sorry for delay in response - we are having a very busy summer) I'm particularly pleased you had such a good time despite not having any transport, I sometimes worry that we are a bit remote but it's good to hear that didn't spoil your time here. Welcome back anytime

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Reviewed 5 February 2014

I have been there last Autumn and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the house and the warm welcoming of Sue and her husband,My room was so cosy with personal toilet,a very comfortable place,I was feeling home.
In the morning I was looking forward to eating the absolutely delicious breakfast with homemade bread,yoghurt and jams,fresh fruit ,all sorts of cereals,of course tea and coffee included, my mouth is still watering thinking about it.
I recommend this beautiful cottage immersed in the Oxford countryside,Sue and her husband will spoil you for sure and will give lots of advice about what to do and where to go.
Worth a try! I may say FANTASTICO.
Mariarita Liberati

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Mariarita L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SueRob7, Owner at Hope Cottage Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 6 February 2014

Thank you so much for your lovely review - we loved having your team to stay and enjoyed learning a little more about good wine. Hopefully you will be back one day - Is it an annual event I wonder?

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Reviewed 28 January 2014

Spending the weekend at Sue's was utterly, utterly fantastic! We loved every aspect - the quaint and cosy hut, the wonderful view (a treat in the morning light and drenched in golden evening sunshine), the delicious homemade breakfast (so much care put into it and full of fresh produce), the friendly local pub (great pies!), the beautiful surrounding countryside (brilliant for walks and bike rides), the nearby quaint villages, proximity to town for restaurants...the list goes on!

But our favourite part of the trip was meeting Sue, an absolute gem. So warm and welcoming, with a fantastic sense of humour and generous of spirit - from lending us the bikes (a canoe may have been useful too with the flooding!), to giving the time to share advice on local walks, rides and eateries, to indulging us with her brand-new homemade marmalade. Our stay was for just two nights but, having had such a brilliant weekend, we fell in love with the place and felt very sad to leave...oh well, I guess we'll have to return again in the summer!

Room Tip: Try the Shepherd's Hut - really cosy with the woodburner going!
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 1_Parkins_1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SueRob7, Owner at Hope Cottage Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 6 February 2014

Aaah thanks Jack for such a brilliant review - I thoroughly enjoyed your company and hope you will be back in the summer when we have dried out a bit. At present the rain continues and the stream has come up to meet the ducks, they love it.

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Additional Information about Hope Cottage Tours

Address: Hope Cottage Mackney Lane, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell OX10 0SQ, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Brightwell-cum-Sotwell
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell
Price Range: £40 - £150 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hope Cottage is an 18th century cottage situated down a peaceful lane in a delightfully unspoilt Oxfordshire village. Thatched cottages and country views abound. We offer a choice of bed and breakfast or the full package for a hassle free holiday comprising airport pickup and drop off, dinner, bed and breakfast and daily tours of your choice. We have a comfortable, air conditioned vehicle and can take you wherever you wish, catering to your own interests. Close to Cotswolds, London, Bath, Oxford, Stratford, castles, gardens, historic houses, churches - The world (or our area of the South east of England at least) is your oyster. Back at Hope Cottage we provide home cooked meals using home grown or locally sourced produce. After a busy day touring you can relax in our conservatory or on our west facing terrace, drink in hand, and plan the next busy day. ... more   less 

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