A heart as well as a hearth

Embedded in the rural Chiltern Hills, Bois Mill seems plucked from The Wind in the Willows, with two rivers running through it. Yet London is just there. Come back to a seven-bed exercise in chic, collapse on the giant sofas, light the logs and feel at home. Because Bois Mill has a heart as well as a hearth or two.

The gentle ripple of the river

Bois Mill is a rural holiday hideaway that’s also a little bit London, a little bit Wind in the Willows and a little bit Harry Potter. Set in the rural hush of the ancient Chiltern hills, Bois Mill gushes history, yet revels in a refurbishment that’s all emperor beds, Agas and wet rooms.

Two rivers run through it, trickling enticingly through the one-and-a-half acres of English lawn and six acres of wild woodland. Right next to the whitewashed walls, the riverbank suggests a picnic, with the ducks picking a path through the reed beds and the trout weaving through the shallows.

For all Bois Mill’s seven-bed chic, it’s a home with a heart as well as a hearth. Pad over homely parquet and oak floors, light the logs in the lounge, install yourself on the giant sofas, fire up a film. Get all gastro on the Aga, then gather for dinner around the chunky table and let the conversation flow as smoothly as the Cabernet.

Life at this Buckinghamshire bolthole is hushed and rustic, with fishing and riding on tap. Yet the Metropolitan Line whisks you to the lights and sights of London in half an hour, and the magic of Harry Potter World is just around the corner. Explore the Chilterns, live the London life, then come home to the gentle ripple of the river.

Gardens and Grounds

The myth and mysticism of The Wind in the Willows seem close at hand here, as the low-hanging boughs tickle the water and the trout drift lazily by beneath the lily pads. Arrange a picnic on the riverbank and don’t be surprised to see Toad of Toad Hall scoffing the Scotch eggs.

Two rivers run through the grounds here. Fish for trout by permission; walk the woodlands at will. In summer, head to the dining terrace for al-fresco barbies, where the sizzle of the steak, the pop of the Prosecco and the happy chatter are all that break the bubble of silence.

Wander the woods, picnic by the river right out of the door, and let the kids loose on the play area with slides, swings and trampoline.

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Living Spaces

Bois Mill dates back to 1610 – the past echoes in every cornice and window bay. But there’s nothing ancient history about the refurbishment that greets you as you stride into the grand entrance hall. You’ll be struck by the lavish luxury, yet you’ll still somehow feel right at home.

Maybe it’s the soft stuff. The TV room is designed for cosying up for a film night with family and friends. The sofa’s so large it practically needs its own postcode and the parquet floor comes with a homely rug. Put the popcorn on, set the drinks to chill and kick your shoes off.

You can take part at Bois Mill, accommodating a dozen plus dogs (no paws on the sofas), or you can be apart. Head to the first floor to escape with a book or music in the drawing room with its floor-to-ceiling bay windows and views right across the fields. Light the logs and lock the world out awhile.

Cooking and Dining

The kitchen/dining room with its new electric Aga and hob is just the place to pack a picnic and make plans for the day. On your return, you can rustle up a roast and pile around the chunky oak table with dining for a dozen.

If you’d prefer to put your feet firmly up, call up our chef for a one-off celebration or a fully catered break. We’ll put on our whites as you pop open the red. We’ll even deal with the dirty dishes afterwards. In summer, the dining terrace awaits the sizzle of shish kebabs by the ripple of the river.

Pop out for a pub meal to The Pheasant – you can bring your own food (and dogs) and picnic by the river. The Pomeroy Inn oozes rustic charm along with its oodles of history, and offers a familiar menu of comfort-food classics.

Meanwhile, Rumbles Pantry in Chesham is the English dining experience with the full English to die for. For dining with a difference try Brazil’s and tuck into Russian dumplings with bacon, onion and sour cream. At The Drawing Room, there are cakes in the courtyard, gigs in the bar and an eclectic feel all around. Looking for Michelin dining? The stars are out at Sir Charles Napier in Chinnor, and Hand and Flowers in Marlow.

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So close to London, yet so close to rural perfection. You’ll sleep at Bois Mill like the logs that line the woodland trails. The comforting babble of the river and the hoot of an owl are all that break the still night air.

Bois Mill sleeps 12 in seven supremely comfortable bedrooms. Ceilings are high, floors are parquet and beds are made for dreaming. Sash windows invite in the Chiltern views.

Next to the drawing room on the first floor you’ll find the master bedroom, and a short walk from here is the wet room and cast-iron bath for lazing and lounging. Keep moving for another sumptuous double and three singles. On the top floor, with views of the treetops and countryside beyond, you’ll find two further double rooms and a bath/shower room.

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Literature, lights and sights

A literary theme snakes through the area like limestone through the hills. There’s a magical day out at Harry Potter World, and interactive galleries behind the chocolate doors of the Roald Dahl Museum. Grown-ups can take the fast line to Baker Street for London’s lights and sights or stay local for riding, walking, and dining.

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