This month we’re celebrating our storybook homes; and there’s no better tale to tell than that of Charlotte’s Folly, the fairest cottage of them all.

In a land far away, amidst the glorious green acres of the Bradford Estates in Shropshire, resides the prettiest-in-pink cottage you ever did see. In our latest chronicle, property owner Eliza, Viscountess Newport, tells us just what life is like living in a fairy tale of their own.

Emulating the dreamlike state we enter when reading our favourite childhood stories, Eliza says: “What I love most about Charlotte’s Folly is the deep sense of escapism it provides. It’s a fairy-tale cottage deep in the middle of the English countryside.” But life at Charlotte’s Folly has seemingly had a beginning, middle, and happy-ever-after ending of its own. The original building dates back to 1886, formerly used as a stopover on the main carriageway from Weston Park to the White Sitch, but had fallen into a state of disrepair. In 2021, Eliza and her husband Alexander, Viscount Newport, decided to restore the folly, which has been owned by Alexander’s family for over 900 years, to return it to its former state of beauty and wonder. Today, their piece of raspberry real estate is available to rent exclusively with Unique Homestays.

The living room at Charlotte's Folly

“It’s the weird and wonderful properties that you remember”, says Eliza, “which is why we knew we needed to do something different.” Working in collaboration with interior designer Emma Ainscough, acclaimed for her distinct and playful style, Eliza was eager to ensure that every room would feel different from the other, but still have an overriding sense of magic. The two worked together to create a home that is truly unique, combining everything from candy-striped wallpaper to leopard-print fire fenders, whimsical floral installations by Myrtle Fox & Maude to red and white checkerboard tiles – all in unexpected harmony. “One of my favourite spaces that Emma designed in the property has to be the baby blue bedroom nook. You can wake up in the morning, get fresh coffee and croissants, head back into bed, and close the curtains. It’s so luxurious but makes you feel like you are a child again too, which I love.” 

History and homage also play a huge part in this petite home’s story. “Lady Charlotte, the daughter of the 2nd Earl of Bradford who lived at Weston Park in the 1800’s, enjoyed keeping diaries and painting”, notes Eliza. “We were lucky enough to find some of her diaries and watercolour sketches, which have been a huge source of inspiration.” This is apparent in the property’s name, and in the ‘Charlotte’s Walk’ woodland pathway that Eliza and her husband have created for visitors. “We loved reading tales of her riding her horse down the carriageway, ice skating on the lake at the White Sitch, and painting the beautiful landscape, so we thought it’d be a lovely touch if visitors could, too, explore just as she did.”

The pink exterior at Charlotte's Folly

From looking after thousands of acres of regenerative farmland to planning for the planting of over 250,000 new trees in a woodland expansion project, the management of this estate keeps Eliza and Alexander busy. So, to relax, Eliza loves nothing better than to “set out on ‘Charlotte’s Walk’ right from the front door, return home to enjoy lunch in the beautiful garden, before cuddling up by the fire with a glass of red wine and backgammon.”

A fairy tale of its own, Charlotte’s Folly is a blend of the best of them, but with a twist. Instead of wicked stepmothers and white witches, you’ll find goodies like local wines and marshmallows fit for toasting. Instead of walls of gingerbread, you’ll find rhubarb-and-custard aesthetics. And instead of a deep, dark forest with a menacing wolf at the end, you’ll find a flower-lined pathway with a secret hideaway waiting for you.

Book a stay at Charlotte's Folly in Shropshire.