Debarcle from start to finish, a complete waste of money
Firstly there's no signage on the road so the accommodation was difficult to find. When we couldn't find the turning to the farm and phoned the owners the female who answered was very abrupt and patronising.
We had been told that the owners would meet us shortly after our arrival but this never happened, creating the impression that they couldn't be bothered.
Inside "The Smythy" the oven was filthy and very slow, the fridge had a broken and wonky shelf, the television was faulty, there was no ventilation in the upstairs bedrooms which made them unbearably hot, fans should've been provided but they weren't.
The bedframes under the mattresses upstairs where our children slept had not been cleaned for a long time as there were lots of old cobwebs, dead spiders, and live spiders.
The shower in the bathroom should be wall-mounted, a shower curtain installed, and a non-slip bathmat provided. Showering proved to be very difficult and water escaped everwhere.
The hot water was scaldingly hot which made dishwashing an unpleasant experience.
A clock and some mirrors would be helpful (there is only one small mirror in the bathroom).
The barbeque outside is tiny and inadequate for feeding a family.
The petting-farm (which was promoted on the website) consisted of one chicken, one duck, one pig, and two donkeys. We thought that this was disapppointing.
We ended our holiday early as we considered it a waste of time, effort and money.
Fabulous rustic hideaway
We actually stayed in Shepherd's Rest which is the next door cottage to the Smythy but I doubt they differ much other than the Smythy sleeping more people. This was our second year visiting Riverwood cottages as a family of four with our two boys, aged 6 and 3. They are a fantastic place to stay for a break with kids (most suitable for aged 2 -10). The facilities for kids are great, the farm is ideally located just a 15 minute walk through the woods from Lechlade, where there are good pubs, cafes and boat hire on the Thames available. The farm is lovely, full of friendly animals and wonderful for playing in and wondering around. The kids loved the swimming pool. The cottages are a little basic but adequate and I think it add to the rustic charm of the place. I would totally disagree with the previous reviewer, but if you would like somewhere spotlessly clean and sterile, perhaps look elsewhere. We found our cottage clean and equipped to a reasonable standard, the owners had improved the range of kitchenware after feedback the previous year. Sadly they were no longer offering the animal feeding tour this year due to negative reviews/feedback which I thought was a real shame as the kids loved it - you are not paying £5 just to feed them but we also got a full tour, introduction and history of all the animals and the farm itself. Well worth it I felt, especially as you had about an hour of their time. Tom did ours last year, he was lovely. Anyway, please don't believe all you read, we found our cottage totally adequate and clean. Valid issues are that the walls are a bit thin so you can hear the neighbours banging about a bit sometimes at night and it can get quite hot in the top room if hot outside but this is much improved by leaving the windows open in the evening to allow a bit of a through draft. There is only a hand held shower for use sitting in the bath, a fixture so you could stand with a shower curtain would be preferable, I would agree. Minor gripes though, overall I rate our stay very highly, a little utopia in a busy, over stressed and sanitised world. Thanks - we'll be back.
Photos to back up previous reviewers comments
These photos provide indisputable proof of previous reviewers comments
Dirt under beds
Ridiculous dog bed provided for extra seating
Heavily stained sofa
Having read previous reviews I can't believe this is the same place.
I will start with the good (don't worry this won't take long)
Yes it is on a farm and there are friendly animals you can pet. In the book you can pay £5 for the privilege OR you can walk up to the fence and they come and say hello, which is free.
Dave the farmer welcomed us when we arrived and he was very friendly.
Now for the reality...
The Smithy sleeps 6 but paradoxically only seats 4. The sofa only has room for 4 and although the photos show a bean bag we were provided with a large dog bed for the other two to sit on. Which may be a blessing as the sofa was covered in stains - presumably because the dining table only fits 5.
The kitchen claims to be fully equipped but we struggled to find what we needed. Utensils are a rarity, for example instead of a spatula we had to use a salad fork.
There is no shower only a bath tub with a shower fitting attached to the mixer taps. There is no shower curtain hence the bathroom gets a deluge after each wash, the warped laminate flooring reflects this fact (though it was poorly fitted to start with). Hot water is limited, especially when there are many of you hoping for a wash. There is an electric heater which provides approximately 6" of hot water if you want a bath. The tongue and groove wooden wall has exposed nail heads sticking out and looks altogether a very shoddy job. Above the bath where the tiles end and before the ceiling starts there is a gap which has been filled with a scabby bit of plaster board, which overall finishes the general "it'll do" attitude which permeates the place.
There is nowhere to hang your clothes up except a half wardrobe in the downstairs bedroom. Ideal only if you are 4' tall or below. We had to improvise and hang our clothes from the banisters, which is part of the cooking area and so our clothes were infused with cooking smells.
As to the issue of the stifling heat I agree with the other reviewers. The main bed rooms are upstairs in the rafters and as hot air rises inevitably it's sweltering up there, though to be honest the main room isn't much better.
Privacy in the main bedrooms is provided by curtains only, sadly these are ordinary curtains and have not been specially fitted to the triangular shape of the alcove. thus there are two large gaps in the bottom two corners and therefore no real privacy at all.
It is impossible to stand upright in the main bedrooms due to the slope of the roof and you are forced to hunch over to get about. The duvet for the bed is so small that with two people lying in bed the edges don't come down to the sides. The upstairs just felt dirty with a mouldy smell and under the bed showed clear signs of never, or at best very rarely, being cleaned.
In the ceiling of the main room there were loose electrical wires hanging down and in the lights not all the bulbs were working.
There are clothes washing facilities in the shed, however you are expected to pay extra to use it. When you have payed so much already I felt this was very cheeky. To use the pool it's £5 for your group for an hour.
Outside the "cottage" was a open space where all cottages had a bench and BBQ...which means that we were kept up all night by our neighbours drinking until 1am.
It's shoddily built and furnished, you are very poorly provided for and there is so much wrong with this place we couldn't wait to go home. Gave it one star only because there isn't a lower option.
Fantastic Place to stay.
This is a wonderful place for anyone to stay. I had found this place on TripAdvisor back in January. Even though it did not have many reviews, we took the chance and stayed here. I will tell you the good and bad about the place.
We arrived to tea and biscuits in our room, which was very nice. Tom the owner came along a short while after to see how everything was.
When I walked into the room I was a little nervous, because 2 of the rooms were up steep stairs. I have a 3 year old and I was very worried she would fall down them if she came up to us in the night. Thankfully we had no falls.
I loved it here because of all the animals on the property. There are donkeys, horses, sheep, goats and chickens. All of which you can pet. We would go and visit the donkeys which my 3 year old named Jackpot and Kiki. There are also numerous play areas around the property, including big and small trampolines. There is a swimming pool which you can rent out by the hour for £5. We did not get to use the pool. We did ask if it is heated and Tom mentioned that it is heated overnight, so the best time to go swimming is as soon as it opens at 9:00am, so that way it would still be warm for a couple of hours.
There are 2 washing machines and 2 dryers right next to the unit (The Smythy) where we stayed. They cost £1 each per hour, which is a great price. Lechlade is a lovely little town. Not too far away you have The Cotswold Wildlife Park. We did not go there this time, but I have been there numerous times before. That is a great day out.
Now for the few things I did not like about the unit. First of all there is no freezer in this unit. We stayed in The Smythy for 7 days, we travelled around for 2 weeks and then came back for 11 more nights. We really needed a freezer during our time there. There is a fridge, oven, microwave, toaster and kettle in the unit.
The next issue that was not really a big deal for me, but was for my husband and 17 year old daughter, was the shower, or lack of. It is only a hand held shower which I did know about, but you cannot hang it up like a regular shower. So you really cannot take a shower with it, but thankfully you have a bath.
My last complaint and this was the biggest problem for those of us that stayed upstairs in the loft areas, was how hot it was. We had some really nice hot days during our visit and the loft areas get really really hot. The room we stayed in had a tiny window. But the loft where my daughter stayed did not. We did ask Tom if he had any fans but he did not. One other problem with the lofts are there is no where to plug anything in. We were going to buy fans ourselves and then just give them to my mum and dad when we left, but there were no sockets to plug them into up in the loft areas. They need some sort of cooling system for the loft areas, as it was miserable a couple of nights because of how hot it was. If The Smythy had a freezer and a fan in the lofts I would have rated this 5 stars. Even though I had a couple of complaints about the room, I would stay there again in a heartbeat. I loved the area, and the owners are wonderful, they are there for you if you need them.