Visit Winchester > Blog > Hear all about Wallops Wood – silver winners in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence

Hear all about Wallops Wood – silver winners in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence

Cheese and Chilli Festival
Cheese and Chilli Festival

17 August 2020

Wallops Wood Cottages have been awarded silver as self catering accommodation of the year in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence for 2020. Their collection of 4* Gold converted, self-catering luxury cottages have stunning views across the Meon Valley and Isle of Wight. Hear more about the business and everything they can offer to visitors from the team below.

When was Wallops Woods established?

Wallops Wood Cottages is the achievement of owners Katherine and Andrew Graham. Katherine’s family have been farmers here since 1938 and the farm estate diversified into holiday cottages in 2014.

Holiday lodge with hot tub in front

Silver Birch cottage

On the site of the Old Hambledon Racecourse, five cottages were built from a converted farm building and are named after Grand National winners in memory of this. The sixth cottage to be refurbished was a detached four-bedroom farm manager’s cottage. The seventh and eighth cottages, indoor heated pool and jacuzzi with accessible hoist, were converted from another farm building in 2018. The most recent additions are the sauna, steam room, games room, shop, additional accessible parking bays and EV (electric vehicle) charger, all installed earlier in 2020!

What does Wallops Wood offer to its visitors?

We offer eight award-winning, luxury self-catering cottages, each with their own enclosed garden and hot tub. Most of our cottages have accessible features, all are family friendly and dogs are welcome (up to two per cottage).

Our indoor heated swimming pool is currently open to guests for 45 minute swim sessions on a bookable basis but due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have had to close our other shared facilities for easier social distancing. We had no idea how popular the bookable system for the swim sessions would be. Guests have told us that they love having the pool to themselves and have asked us to continue this practice in the future.

The swimming pool at Wallops Wood

We are very lucky to live and work in such a beautiful part of southern England, with so much to see and do locally year-round, and we enjoy sharing our knowledge and enthusiasm for the area with our guests.

What sets you apart from other self-catering accommodations?

We have a great team; everyone will do everything they can to make our guests’ stays comfortable, enjoyable and memorable and we think this is a major factor to ensure we earn consistent 5* reviews from our guests.

Wallops Wood 2.Owners Katherine and Andrew Graham at the Beautiful South Awards in December 2019 with the Gold Awards for Accessibility and Inclusivity, and Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year, for the South East region

Owners Katherine and Andrew Graham at the Beautiful South Awards in December 2019

As a recent guest said: “Wallops Wood Cottages is the best accommodation we ever had for our disabled daughter. We can bring our extended family, and dog, and all stay in the same cottage – that’s rare to find!”

We’ve tried to create a real home-from-home, with the emphasis on ‘access for all’ irrespective of age or physical ability.

The quality of our accommodation and service is always a priority and will never be compromised. We have won several awards over the last few years and we are very proud to have achieved so much in such a short time! In 2018 we won Dog Friendly Business of the Year and Best Rural Tourism Business. In December 2019 we won the Beautiful South Accessibility and Inclusivity Gold Award AND the Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year Gold Award. And we are very excited to be a top 3 finalist for Visit England’s National Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year 2020 to be announced on the evening of 17 August 2020.

Since reopening in July, we have achieved Visit Britain’s We’re Good to Go, the AA’s Covid Confident and Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Winner for 2020! This last award is based on traveller reviews, so is particularly special to us.

When we first opened five years ago Katherine and Andrew were keen to ensure that we were as green and as ecologically conscious as could be. We are proud to be part of Britain’s Green Tourism Business Scheme who awarded us their Silver Award a month after we opened in 2014, and in March 2020 the Green Tourism Gold Award in recognition of our commitment to green issues and sustainability.

What is your favourite thing about the self-catering cottages?

Our favourite thing about the cottages is the location and views. We are perched on a ridge within the South Downs National Park, an area of Special Scientific Interest for its biodiversity, and an International Dark Skies Reserve. There are spectacular views of the surrounding countryside from the gardens (and hot tubs) of our South cottages across the Meon Valley towards the Isle of Wight. And guests like to enjoy the warmth of their hot tubs in the evenings with a (plastic) glass of their favourite tipple in hand while stargazing!

The view of the beautiful Hampshire countryside from Early Mist cottage on a sunny morning in July 2020

Thank you to the team at Wallops Wood Cottages for telling us all about their self-catering cottages and everything on offer during your stay. Find out more about the cottages here.