Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Star homes: Why the rich and famous move to the Cotswolds

What do Kate Moss, Liz Hurley, Jeremy Clarkson and Harry Potter have in common? It’s the Cotswolds, of course, which has long been a magnet for those seeking a celebrity lifestyle with an English twist


It’s the Beverly Hills of the UK, where the rich and famous live within a 90-minute’s limo ride of central London but with enough countryside and privacy to shelter from the paparazzi when the inevitable scandal breaks. Yes, welcome to the Cotswolds.
To those who don’t know Lily Allen from Lily Savage, the Cotswolds stretches 90 miles by 25 miles and is England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. But to celebrity-spotters this area, from Cirencester and Cheltenham in the west to Oxford and Banbury in the east, has more stars than the Milky Way.

So why do celebrities prefer green wellies to red carpets?
“The Cotswolds is far enough away from London to be ‘proper’ country but close enough to be accessible,” explains George Barkes of Stacks Property Search, a buying agency helping stars find homes in the Cotswolds. “There’s plenty of appropriate property to be found and celebrities don’t feel their homes and wealth stand out”
“There are gastro pubs, Daylesford organics, two polo grounds, and Cirencester has a good selection of one-off shops,” says Frank Speir of Prime Purchase, another buying agency. “Well known people are ten-a-penny which means local residents are unfazed by celebrities”
The Cotswolds’ stardust doesn’t just fall outside celebrities’ front doors - the whole region has become a favourite with TV show and film makers.
The Harry Potter movies were shot there, as was The Other Boleyn Girl with Scarlett Johansson, and Bridget Jones’ Diary and Die Another Day. Most of the Inspector Morse country scenes outside of Oxford feature the Cotswolds, too.
Unsurprisingly, estate agents have plenty of celebrity-friendly homes on sale.
There is Shipton Sollar, an eight bedroom 17th century mansion with a party barn (a celeb must) and 35 acres of land for £3.25m. Or try the five bedroom Wells Farmhouse  for £2.5m with its separate two bedroom annexe, gym and games area - ideal for wrap parties after the film.
Stars who call the Cotswolds home: 
• Dom Jolly - Quenington
• Jemima Khan - Kiddington
• Damian Hurst - Toddington
• Liz Hurley - Barnsley
• Kate Moss - Little Faringdon
• Anne Robinson - Gloucestershire
• Kate Winslet – Westcote
• Jeremy Clarkson – Chipping Norton
• Alex James - Kingham
• Lily Allen - Overtown
• Stella McCartney - Pershore
• J K Rowling - Chipping Sodbury
• Joanna Trollope - Minchinhampton
• Jilly Cooper - Bisley
• Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen - Cirencester

Words: Graham Norwood

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