“The income helps fund our lifestyle, holidays, as well as house improvements"
Jean, owner of Woodmancote Farmhouse - Nr Cirencester, Gloucestershire | Sleeps 9+1
Jean and her husband started holiday letting with one goal in mind, for the income to fund their travelling. Ross is a barrister and now semi-retired, and with two sons who live abroad, it enables them to keep the family home they love and go away for extended holidays.
‘We’ve had a very nice lifestyle - I count us as very lucky - but my husband pointed out that we were going to have to change it in retirement. So basically, this enables us to carry on a lot more as we were’.
Initially the plan was to go away for 4 weeks and perhaps do a house swap or find a young family to take the farmhouse for a month, however, it soon became apparent that they were going to need help as they didn't know where to start. It was then that she turned to Mulberry for hand-holding through the whole process from what to leave, where to find laundry services to what guests would expect.
After discussions, they have extended the amount of bookings they take to cover the whole year round, not just the initial 4 weeks and if they are in the UK they move into the granny annexe at the bottom of the garden. She always meets and greets the guests if she is around as she feels this adds a really personal touch to their stay and enables her to convey the love she has for her beautiful home. After that, unless they pop over to ask her something, she leaves them alone to enjoy all the house and garden have to offer.
This is her first year, and as always there have been some surprises, such as preferring weekend stays despite moving in and out more often, as they then get to live in the house during the week. One of the best surprises is that the income has enabled them to not only fund their travel but has also paid to make improvements to the house that they probably wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
From a practical point of view, they store their own belongings in locked cupboards in the house but plan to convert their attics into a luxurious suite in the Autumn so that they can lock up their own bedroom and bathroom and still have the same amount of bedrooms and bathrooms. In each bedroom, they lock all the wardrobes except one. She is very positive about the experience and likes the fact that holiday lettings has forced them to de-clutter the house - ‘a really good exercise’ she says. She has a local cleaner and now uses a laundry service for all the linen making the changeovers easy.
The house is everything guests look for, homely but luxurious, in the heart of a lovely Cotswolds village but yet peaceful and quiet and as a result is very popular.