Mr & Mrs Clarke have joined the rich and famous, the powerful and the pretty and come to The Cotswolds. It wasn’t long before we ended up here as Mrs C spends more time at Daylesford and Soho Farmhouse than the local supermarket or her local gym. So we have jumped in the Range Rover and joined the Beckhams, the Williams, the Gallaghers and the Murdochs in search of the perfect country life in the honey-coloured villages of the Cotswolds.
Our new agent Nina Zeil has joined Mr & Mrs Clarke as our Cotswold specialist and she brings with her a wealth of knowledge about her beloved part of the island. Here she navigates you through the landscape of who is who and where you should be seen:
The history of the long march from London into the Cotswolds started with a fashion for renting cottages on the three great estates — Great Tew, Blenheim and, later, Sarsden. ‘And then their friends started to venture up to have Sunday lunch with the very, very few people who actually lived here,’ explains one resident. ‘And they thought, “God they’ve got electricity and water and they haven’t got scurvy, so we could actually live here. And it’s only an hour from London” — their bit of London. So more and more and more people started moving there.’
Once the Cotswolds was all muddy wellies and kitchen suppers… now the shifting power dynamics in London’s honorary borough is very different. There are two sides to Chipping Norton, and it’s a bit like north and south of the river in London. The power set live in Burford, which ‘might as well be France’ to those in Chipping Norton. Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, meanwhile, is in Farmington, ‘a totally different town. In the middle is Kingham, home of Lord Bamford of the JCB family, and his wife Carole, founder of Daylesford organics. You can’t lump the Cotswolds in with each other. You can’t say, “Right, there you are, there’s the Cotswolds and it’s presided over by Matthew Freud,” because it isn’t.
The ‘creatives’ — artists, actors, architects, writers and film-makers that span a sweep of territory in the east: actor Tom Hollander, architect Tom Bartlett, artist Johnny Yeo, as well as Working Title founder Eric Fellner and his partner Laura Bailey. Elsewhere in the area are Jemima Khan and journalist Simon Kelner, the philosopher Alain de Botton, film-maker Nick Love and writer Alice Brudenell-Bruce.
The younger scene, a more Tatler tribe described as ‘cool not cash’, orbits around the pubs. Among them are Charlie Crossley and his florist wife Willow, who own The Swan in Ascott-under-Wychwood and the Bull Inn in Charlbury. Chloe Delevingne has her sisters Poppy and Cara to stay and the artist and photographer Nadav Kander is believed to stay in Great Tew; where the Beckhams have just bought a place.
Apart from all this name dropping, the Cotswolds is an utterly fabulous place to call home and what ever type of Range Rover you drive, you will be very welcome.