A lovely way to reach Kelmscott Manor - the former country Cotswold home of William Morris – is to hire a motor boat at Lechlade, enjoy a relaxing cruise down the Thames for approx. 90 minutes and then hop off at Kelmscott for a short amble to this gem of a house.
William Morris called the village of Kelmscott “a heaven on earth” and it’s easy to see why. The view in every direction is nothing short of idyllic: rolling meadows, sleeping cows, ancient dovecotes and beautiful stone farmhouses.
The poet, craftsman, designer and socialist lived in the house from 1871 until his death in 1896 and the manor seems to be the most evocative of all the houses associated with Morris. The garden with its stream, meadow and formal garden was a constant source of inspiration and the images are reflected in his textile and wallpaper designs.
I’ve always been a huge fan of William Morris – not only was he a remarkable man, but as a reaction to the industrialisation of all things creative, he championed the beautiful, the handmade and the decorative. Inside the house, you’ll be able to see a collection of such possessions and works as well as some very interesting items belonging to his good friends, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, including a paintbox which belonged to the latter - rather cool!
Afterwards I’d recommend a visit to The Stable restaurant for a slice of delicious home-made coffee and walnut cake, followed by a visit to The Manor shop which sells the most exquisite gifts (see here).
‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.’
- William Morris -
For further information please visit: www.kelmscottmanor.org.uk
For further information on Cotswold cruises please visit www.cotswoldcruises.co.uk
All images by Julie Eagleton.