In our latest chronicle, we hear from property owners Martin and Kate about what it’s been like calling the grand and glamorous Gulliver’s Hall home for the past 56 years. 

“Characterful, colourful and calm”; three words selected by the couple to best describe their sprawling Cotswolds abode. Driving through the secluded, bucolic setting, emerging from the winding driveaway, and admiring the traditional honeyed stone of Gulliver’s Hall’s characterful exterior, you can’t help but be lulled into a state of tranquillity. But, behind its quintessential Cotswolds façade, awaits a very different home brimming with quirks and personality. 

To the left is the exterior of Gulliver´s Hall, to the right is the living room and window to garden 

Inheriting the property and farmland from Martin’s parents in 2019, they said “the garden was beautiful but the house slightly tired”. Working with interior designer Jan Jones, their vision was to create a homely, comfortable and colourful space, using furniture that, in some cases, had been in the family for over 400 years. “Jan chose amazing fabrics, wallpapers and tiles, each of which are wonderfully unique but blend seamlessly into one another. A bright gloss red sitting room with wallpaper on the ceiling and a secret door? We think even she might have been a bit shocked at our willingness to give it a go!” 

Being situated amongst 320 acres of glorious Gloucestershire farmland, it was impossible for the surrounding landscape to not have some kind of influence on the design: “The wonderful wallpaper in the hall and rising up the two flights of stairs evokes the feeling of the countryside in May, and emulates the poplar trees that line the drive and the limestone buildings outside”, they add. Each room here feels vastly different from the next, meaning that that element of surprise stays with you long after first opening the front door. Maximalist patterns, vibrant colours and antique pieces, such as the jet black, 17th century four poster bed (inspired by Henry VII’s paradise bed) in the master bedroom, give this home a museum-like edge.

The living room at Gulliver´s Hall

The zen feeling resumes outside, thanks to a plethora of spa facilities that rival that of some of the UK’s most luxurious spa hotels, built into a private Cotswolds stone walled garden. Comprising a sunken spa bath and swimming pool, both of which are fed by a local stream, a pool house housing a sauna and steam room, and a sun deck with loungers and wood-fired oven for post-swim relaxation. Deciding to add this element to the 18th century home, Martin and Kate add “It all started from an idea while staying in a small German spa hotel. The hotel had all the facilities you could wish for, but we were sharing them with strangers. We thought it would be a wonderful idea to create a similar space at home, but one which could just be shared with family and friends.” 

Although now marketed as a rental with Unique Homestays during those times that the family are not making the most of the house themselves, Gulliver’s Hall was first and foremost Martin’s family home, where he lived with his mother, father and two brothers following their purchase of the farm in 1967. Reflecting on his seemingly idyllic childhood, Martin says: “three boys, a farm, animals and motorbikes, what possibly more could you want?!” And when asking Kate how she felt when visiting Gulliver’s Hall for the very first time, her experience sounds just as idyllic: “I grew up in the middle of Bristol, so it was the peacefulness that hit me! On waking up in the morning after my first ever night staying there, I could not believe how quiet it was! No cars, buses, not a sound!” 

To the left is the four-posted bed, to the right the dining room, below the outdoor pool

Years later, Martin and Kate inherited the house along with the 320-acre working farm, where they now keep a herd of pedigree Welsh black cattle. Nowadays, the couple hail the property’s location (being a mile from the nearest village and, thus, blissfully peaceful) as one of the things that still makes it so special to them all these years on. They suggest there is no better way to spend a day at Gulliver’s Hall than “Enjoying pizzas cooked in the wood-fired oven on the pool deck with family and friends, whether it be lunchtime one warm summers day in between swims, or wrapped up in woolly jumpers, scarves and hats one autumn evening at dusk, under the festoon lights with the pool area lit up."

Looking ahead to the future, and adding plenty more years to their combined five decades at Gulliver’s Hall, Martin and Kate are excited to be converting a stone barn into a beautiful space for weddings and events. For a house that was always designed with celebrations in mind, the re-purposing of a building that was previously a tractor store opens up a whole new avenue for this enterprising duo. 

From family farmhouse, to maximalist manor, to soon-to-be luxury wedding venue, book your escape here