Sumptuous, stunning, stylish and spacious go part-way to describe this exclusive and private, six-bedroom holiday home in the heart of the thriving Cotswold town of Charlbury. Grade-II listed Merchant House has been refurbished to an exceptionally high standard using bespoke and premium furnishings, which have created a subtly luxurious, country retreat. The gorgeous, private garden, with its landscaped terraces, links seamlessly to the house through bi-fold doors, providing two outdoor dining areas, a lawn to languish on and a raised terrace with sofa seating for relaxing after a day exploring the Evenlode Valley and surroundings. The house is ideally situated for visiting Woodstock, Blenheim, Soho Farmhouse, Daylesford and Burford and is surrounded by fabulous walking country, with an excellent inn just a few steps away.
Merchant House is a beautifully renovated, Grade II-listed, town house with a commanding position at the top of picturesque Sheep Street – once, as the name implies, where sheep were driven to and from the town’s market. The square-fronted façade rises to three-storeys each with three sash windows. The exterior perfectly sets the scene and expectation for great things to come within, an expectation that is more than fully met. To the side is a tall garden gate opening to the beautiful, terraced courtyard and garden.
This stunning family home has been renovated with superb attention to detail in the design and styling, including a bespoke, handcrafted shaker kitchen and a beautiful ash wood staircase. From top to bottom, the owners have used the timeless, heritage colours of Farrow & Ball and Little Greene, accented with artisan tiles from Fired Earth, Pooky lighting, and beautiful Fermoie fabrics - all of which has created a stunning interior that perfectly balances contemporary with Merchant House’s original 17th-and 18th-century charm and character.
On the ground floor, guests will find a gorgeous living area, with a sitting room and large Smart TV to one end and a drawing room with a wood burning stove to the other. Step through an archway into the 400-year-old heart of Merchant House and its elegant dining room with exposed stone walls, slate floor and view to the garden. Pass the ash staircase to the contemporary extension where there is a fabulous, fully equipped kitchen and a light and bright breakfast room with bi-fold doors opening to the lower garden terrace. Across the two upper floors there’s a feeling of contemporary, understated elegance and calm, which continues through all six bedrooms, the two ensuite bathrooms and two spa-like family bathrooms.
As you approach the street-side, garden gate you may feel that behind this centrally located, handsome town house there could be a small garden, so you’ll be thrilled to discover a beautifully landscaped, long and wide, oasis rising to three terraces, with two seating areas, stunning traditional Cotswold dry stone walls and a lawn with a dining area under an oak pergola, all surrounded by beautifully planted borders and a sloping bed of lavender. Whatever the time on a sunny day, you’ll be able to enjoy sunshine, shade, and a cooling breeze as the sun passes from east to west across the garden and from the back to the front of the house, bathing the rooms in natural light as it goes.
The handsome front door opens into a magnificent double-width sitting room with original, exposed beams and contemporary artwork offset by Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster paintwork. To the right side is the drawing room end, with an original inglenook fireplace and wood-burning stove, a flagstone floor with a cosy rug and two inviting, four-seater sea-blue velvet sofas. To one side of the inglenook is an alcove with a chest of drawers full of family games. To the left side of this fabulous living space is a sitting room with an L-shaped, deep and comfy sofa, a button-back armchair, antique coffee table-trunk and a 50” Smart TV. Two low, sash windows with bespoke wooden shutters and wide window seats provide a lovely spot to sit and peek out at the world going along Sheep Street.
The living area at the front of the house connects to the dining room through an open arch and walkway, to either side of a wide pillar, creating a lovely flowing space. The dining room, with its extendable, rectangular table*, console tables and stunning glass table lamps, can be dressed up or down to create the perfect setting for casual or formal dining. (*Photo shows the table set for eight; however, the table has an extra leaf, so can comfortably seat up to 12 guests.) One sash window throws light into the room and provides a view out to the garden, while the other looks into the rear hallway and contemporary extension.
Central & Back Hall:
The central hallway is, as the name suggests, at the heart of the house, seamlessly connecting the original, ancient Merchant House to the contemporary, rear extension, with its exposed Cotswold stone wall and bespoke, ash staircase that ascends to the top floor. The space is open and practical, with hooks for coats, a shelf for hats and gloves and a large cupboard with room for shoes, boots and cleaning equipment.
The back hallway, also accessed from the garden through the back door (used by the owners as the main entrance to the house rather than the front door), is a light and bright space with the kitchen to the right, a cloakroom straight ahead and the central hallway down two steps to the left. You’ll find a handy console table here – the ideal place to leave keys, maps, hats and gloves.
No room has been left out in the styling of Merchant House and that includes the downstairs loo, which features Little Greene’s sage green walls.
The fabulous, open-plan, bright and airy kitchen and breakfast room runs the length of the contemporary extension, from the back hallway right through to the lower garden terrace through striking bi-fold doors. This is likely to be the room that will be the hub of your stay – especially on a sunny spring or summer’s day. The fully equipped kitchen features bespoke shaker units, solid oak worktops and Fired Earth’s exquisite Bert & May Luna tiling. To one side of the kitchen is the main cooking and preparation area, with a triple oven stove and 5-ring induction hob, and a wide worktop that doubles as a breakfast bar, with two bar stools, on the far side. To the other side of the kitchen is a ‘utility’ area with a dishwasher, washer-dryer and double sink looking out to the barbecue, easily accessed through a side door beside the sink.
At the far end of the room is a wooden, farmhouse-style table with eight chairs, and the bi-fold doors, which when open form an extension out to the lower terrace of the garden, drawing the eye beyond and over the second terrace to the lawn and outdoor dining area.
Head up the wide, ash staircase to a spacious, first-floor landing, with feature stone walls, a tall chest of drawers and a dresser. Off the landing you’ll find three bedrooms – one ensuite – and a family bathroom.
Merchant House’s six bedrooms, and landings, have a soft, foot-loving, carpet. The bedrooms have 6,000 pocket sprung mattresses with natural fibres and fillings, creating a luxury sleeping experience, while the bathrooms are furnished with stylish and distinctive Heritage baths and showers and feature Neisha Crosland Fired Earth tiles.
Sitting at the back of the house, with glorious views of the garden through two sash windows, this wonderfully spacious bedroom has a thyme green theme with accents of raspberry pink, creating a thoroughly relaxing space…big enough to roll out a yoga mat should you have the urge. The bedroom is furnished with a super-king bed with bedside tables and reading lamps, a chest of drawers, vintage French mirrored shutters, a dressing table and clothes rails with hooks and hangers.
The master bedroom on this floor has a charming entrance with a chair and hooks and hangers for clothes to one side, and the doorway into the ensuite bathroom on the other. The calming and tranquil bedroom lies ahead, furnished with a super-king bed with luxury cotton bedding, bedside tables with Pooky lamps, a double wardrobe and a large chest of drawers with an antique French mirror over it.
This elegant bathroom has a freestanding, roll top bath with central taps, a wash basin in a vanity unit with a large rattan mirror over it, a toilet, heated towel rail, and a lovely wicker chair to lay your clothes on. Lie back and relax in a deliciously scented 100 Acre bubble bath.
This is the cosiest of all our rooms, small but perfectly formed. Overlooking Sheep Street, it has an inchyra-blue, wooden bed frame (standard double), with contrasting tangerine cushions and luxury cotton bedding, a pine chest of drawer, bedside tables and Pooky lamps. Hooks and hangers are provided to store clothing.
The exquisite, spa-like bathroom feels like a retreat with its deep, oval-shaped bath and freestanding taps, a walk-in shower with a rainfall and handheld shower head, a toilet, a vanity unit with twin washbasins and a large mirror over them with sensor lighting - all ready for our guests to indulge in a leisurely soak with the complimentary 100 Acres bubble bath.
Head on up the bespoke staircase to the second floor landing off which are three bedrooms – one ensuite – and a family bathroom.
A mirror image of Bedroom One below, but with its own character and exquisite styling. A beautiful and light filled bedroom with fabulous views across the garden and the rooftops of Charlbury. Furnished with an extremely comfortable super king-size bed, with floral upholstered headboard, bedside tables and ceramic reading lamps. The bedroom also has a tall chest of drawer, full-length, swing-back mirror with a luggage rack and clothes hooks and hangers.
Just as Bedroom Two below, this ensuite master has a small and charming entrance hall where there are hooks, hangers and a luggage rack, and a doorway to the ensuite bathroom. Head through an arch into this delightful, dual aspect bedroom beautifully styled with accents of rich teal and paprika. A characterful port window gives you a bird’s eye view of Charlbury and the pretty roof tops. The bedroom is furnished with a super-king bed with upholstered headboard, bedside tables and Pooky lamps, a chest of drawers, and a dressing table with an upholstered chair and antique French mirror.
Relax in the freestanding, clawfoot bath with 100 Acre rose and lavender bubbles, or enjoy a refreshing blast in the corner shower. The ensuite has a large Heritage wash basin, with a rattan mirror above it, and a heated towel rail to the side.
Found at the very top of the house, this pretty, botanically themed, twin room has two single beds on white, Victorian iron bed frames, with a centrally placed, antique bedside table and a reading lamp atop it. From here you can hear the bells of the local church ringing and take in local life as it passes beneath you. Clothes can be stored in a chest of drawers or hung on the hangers and hooks.
The second family bathroom is just as exquisite, and spa-like as the first, and has an even more impressive view overlooking the lawn and lavender beds. There’s a deep, oval-shaped bath with freestanding taps, a walk-in shower with a rainfall and handheld shower head, a toilet, a vanity unit with twin washbasins and a large mirror over them with sensor lighting.
Merchant House has an absolutely fabulous garden, which has been landscaped into three beautiful, wide terraces. The first terrace is laid to gravel, with a large charcoal BBQ, two long benches and handy boot racks outside the kitchen door for those muddy walks. A bistro table and four chairs sit directly in front of the breakfast area’s bi-fold doors – a lovely spot to have a quiet moment in the early morning as the sun rises over the rooftops surrounded by the scent of the flowers in the surrounding borders.
Head up four, wide, stone steps to the second terrace where you’ll find a shallow, Corten steel lily bowl filled with water next to a high Cotswold dry stone wall, and stone bench with cushions – a shady and cooling spot to sit on a hot summer’s day. On the other side of the middle terrace is a wide flagstone patio backed by a bank of lavender with a Bramblecrest Monterey rattan U-shaped modular sofa with deep, cushioned seats (seats 8) and a central coffee table.
The top terrace, up seven stone steps, has a wide lawn with an oak pergola (not photographed) under which is a long, wooden dining table and 10 chairs. Up here you can look back over the terraces below to the house beyond, enjoy the breeze that ripples across the lawn and delight in some al fresco dining.
Full List of Facilities
Sleeps 12 in 6 bedrooms across: 4 super king beds, 1 standard double bed and 1 twin bedroom with 2 single beds (all with 6,000 pocket sprung mattresses with natural fibres and fillings)
Bathrooms: 4.5: 4 bathrooms, 3 with bath/shower, 1 with bath (2 ensuite), 1 cloakroom
Parking: free, on-street parking
Private enclosed garden – safe for children but not toddler friendly due to steps
Fireplace with wood burner – logs and kindling supplied for first fire
Bed linen, bath towels and tea towels
Kitchen starter consumables: teabags, instant coffee, sugar, plus a welcome hamper with local fresh milk, half a dozen eggs, artisan bread, salt and pepper
Cleaning starter pack: dishwasher tablets, scourer, cloth, washing up liquid, bin bags, washing machine detergent
Bathroom essentials: 100 Acres hand soap, hand lotion and bubble bath. (100 Acres is a British-made, luxury, botanical bath and body brand.) Toilet paper in each bathroom (2 per toilet)
Central heating and hot water with Hive control
Smart TV (50”)
Pure radio with Bluetooth (kitchen)
Games: Indoor board games, outdoor Giant Jenga and boules set
Fully equipped kitchen with toaster, kettle, Nespresso coffee machine, cafetiere, utensils, crockery, cutlery, glassware (champagne flutes, tumblers and wine and water glasses), bakeware, food preparation (grater, jug, sieve, weighing scales), saucepans, bread bin, mini chopping blender, electric beater, kitchen foil, cling film, cookery books
Stove with 3 electric ovens and 5-ring induction hob
Ironing board, iron, clothes airer
Vacuum cleaner and steam mop
Baby/Child Equipment: highchair, travel cot (cot linen not supplied) – ON REQUEST
Outdoor patio/terrace and pergola
Garden furniture: Teak dining table (seats 10); Bramblecrest Monterey rattan U-shaped modular sofa (seats 8) with coffee table and parasol; bistro-style table with 4 chairs
BBQ (charcoal) – please provide your own charcoal
On your Doorstep
Supermarkets and Shopping:
Charlbury has a very well-stocked Co-Operative shop (300m), selling a wide range of food and drinks. There is also Charlbury Deli (100m) on Market Street, a one-minute walk away. For larger supermarkets head to Witney where there is a Waitrose or Chipping Norton where there is a Sainsbury’s and a Marks & Spencer Food Hall. If you’d like something a little unusual, it’s worth visiting Upton Smokery Farm Shop near Burford (11 miles).
The Bull, Charlbury (50m)
Royal Oak, Ramsden (4 miles)
The Falkland Arms, Great Tew (6 miles)
Merchant House has an OS map on the wall in the hallway which shows all the local foot paths – a lovely walk is through the Charlbury Meadows as well as Cornbury Park estate.
Places to Visit:
Daylesford Organic Farm Shop, Restaurant and Spa (11 miles)
Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Gardens (11.3 miles)
Woodstock, Blenheim Palace and Bladon (5 miles)
Train: Charlbury has an excellent train service that runs on an hourly basis to Oxford, Reading and London Paddington, and in the other direction to Worcester and Great Malvern. Travel time is about 1hr20 from London and 20mins from Oxford.
There is so much to discover in the Cotswolds, why not have a look at some of our favourite Bolthole Retreats Experiences.
Points of Note
It is our policy not to take bookings for single sex group celebrations, which includes Stag and Hen nights, or groups where the majority are under 25 years.
Please note that additional guests above the maximum capacity are not permitted.
There is a lily bowl water feature on the second terrace of the garden. If young children are staying at the property, the water may be emptied easily by removing the plug. However, we would ask that you replace the plug once the water has been drained so as to not lose it as it’s difficult to replace.
There is one low beam as you enter the bedroom overlooking the garden on the top floor.
The property is situated in a residential area; therefore, in consideration of the neighbours, we respectfully request that noise levels are kept to a minimum after 10pm, especially when outside on warmer evenings.
Dogs and other pets are not accepted at Merchant House.
A security deposit of £500 is required.
Walking & Cycling Guides
Walking & Cycling Guides
Merchant House is new to Bolthole Retreats for 2022. Be the first to stay and write a review.
Charlbury is a small but lively and vibrant market town that has escaped the hordes of Cotswold tourists, making it a justifiable member of the ‘Undiscovered Cotswold Club’, yet it is only an hour from London and just 15 minutes’ drive from Soho Farmhouse. The town is full of historic 17th- and 18th-century properties, has great pubs, independent shops, a weekly market, a local history museum, and it is in a beautiful setting on the meandering River Evenlode, with fabulous walks in every direction, including around the Charlbury Circular Route and along The Oxfordshire Way and The Cotswold Way. As well as the historic interest, there’s also an active cricket club and recreation ground with tennis courts and football pitches, and the town is home to the Riverside Festival and famous Wilderness music festival in the grounds of Cornbury Park. No wonder the town was mentioned by the Sunday Times as one of the Best Places to Live in 2021!
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