Top places to live in Warwickshire Ilmington
Amazing views, pubs, gorgeous gardens, community village shop - oh and it's part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Beauty while still being in Warwickshire - what's not to love? Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
Part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this honey-tinged village is Cotswolds living at its best – think amazing views, some pretty great drinking holes, gorgeous country gardens and a community feel (there’s a community-owned village shop with 120 volunteers). It’s also just eight miles out of Stratford-upon-Avon so close enough if you need a culture fix, and five miles from the gorgeous market town of Chipping Camden.
Michelin-rated The Fuzzy Duck is a dead cert for a delicious meal out. The house ‘scotched duck egg’ is the Rolls Royce of scotch eggs, and the fillet steak with truffle and parmesan fries is a must. Or for more gastro fare there’s The Howard Arms, a gorgeous 400-year-old stone inn (voted West Midlands Pub of the Year 2020), that serves beautifully-presented, locally sourced dishes, homemade bread and an excellent wine list. Slightly further afield is Michael’s Mediterranean (Chipping Campden) and The Bower House (Shipston on Stour) – the latter serves a particularly good Sunday lunch.
What makes Ilmington extra special is its community spirit – after the local shop closed some years ago, 120 locals clubbed together to run the Ilmington Community Shop and Café which stocks all local produce. For other shopping you’re going to have to drive out a little, but nearby towns like Shipston-on-Stour aren’t too far away . There’s The Richard Harvey Collection for interiors which is definitely worth a stop, independent wine merchant Sheldon’s Wine Cellars for a bottle of red, white or fizz (or all three) and Whichford Pottery, an independent family business making handmade frost-proof British flowerpots with its own cafe. For designer gear, hop in the car for 55 minutes to luxury outdoor designer outlet Bicester Village with 160+ boutiques and restaurants.
Apart from touring the North Cotswolds villages and towns, we recommend National Trust’s Upton House and Charlecote Park, the arts and crafts inspired garden at Hidcote and Kiftsgate Court Gardens, which celebrates three generations of female gardeners. Also worth mentioning is Warwickshire’s answer to Stonehenge – the Rollright Stones, a collection of neolithic monuments on the Oxon border. The RSC is just up the road and Warwick Castle is 25 minutes away.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
£672,500, although detached houses sell for an average of £401,557. Terraced properties can be bought for around £535,000, with semi’s in the region of £469,167.
There’s Illmington CoE (‘Outstanding’), Shipston-on-Stour Primary (‘Good)’, Newbold and Tredington CofE Primary School (‘Good’) and Shipston on Stour High School(‘Good’). Stratford Girls’ Grammar and King Edward VI (both ‘Outstanding’). Independents include The Croft Prep, Alveston, The Crackley Hall School, Kenilworth, The Kingsley School, Leamington Spa, and schools within Warwick Independent Schools Foundation.
BEST KEPT SECRET
American billionaire tycoon Les Wexner, the former owner of Victoria’s Secret, is the (secret – shush!) owner of Grade II-listed stately home, Foxford House in Illmington. Since purchasing the 11-bedroom 18th-century property in 1997 he’s converted it into a £20m estate and shooting lodge. It was previously a private school before being bought in the 1960s by an heir of Boots, The Chemist.
Six miles to Moreton-in-Marsh for trains to London Paddington taking around 1hr 40 minutes.
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