Driving through the small high street in Alderley Edge, you would be forgiven for thinking it was just a place for up-market eateries, posh boutiques and some occasional celebrity spotting.
More commonly known as a village within the “golden triangle,” Alderley Edge is one of the most affluent parts of Cheshire, along with Mottram St Andrew and Wilmslow.
But just past the retail area on Macclesfield Road, lies a hidden gem which will transport you back in time, submerged beneath pretty ivy and welcoming fairy lights.
Wizard’s Thatch is a five-star boutique thatched cottage combining three luxury guest suites - Merlin, Camelot and the Wizardry.
With my husky and excited other half (who is an estate agent, so couldn’t wait to check out the roof and old beams for ‘professional purposes’) bundled into the car, we set off on a Friday afternoon for a night’s stay in the Wizardry.
Our usual dog boarder was away on holiday, so initially I was worried we’d have to cancel as Hunter the husky couldn’t be left unattended, but owner and host Ian Lambert assured me the suites were dog-friendly and so along he came too, with no issues at all.
Wizard’s Thatch allows children over the age of six and non-crawling babies, for safety reasons. But we took the opportunity to leave our three under 10s with their grandparents and enjoy a rare child-free escape.
Upon booking, Ian, who runs Wizard’s Thatch with partner Ali, emailed over an abundance of information about the cottage’s history, and things to do in Alderley Edge which proved very helpful.
His incredible passion for the Wizardry and Alderley Edge itself shone through, and after arriving we could see why.
Pulling up on to the driveway with free parking, we were greeted by a myriad fairy lights covering the exterior, creating a romantic and cosy feel even before entering.
Ian, an ex-journalist with a successful career in news, met us at the door to show us around, and explain a bit about the history behind his project, turning the near-derelict 16th century cottage into a magical haven.
Purchased in the 1970s on a local journalist’s salary of less than £10 per week, Ian spent 35 years renovating the property, putting his heart and soul into reconstructing the original features and adding his own touches of magic, and his efforts certainly paid off.
Wizard’s Thatch is a mystifying menagerie of antiques, fascinating historical replicas, and not a single square inch of the walls is left bare without displaying the past in one form or another.
The living room walls are adorned with framed newspaper pages dating back more than 100 years and at least 100 original book copies, spanning everything from gardening to antique history.
Interesting little ornaments from various periods of time were scattered across oak shelves, and original oak beams decorated the living space, which Ian reclaimed in keeping with the cottage’s 16th century structure.
In an eclectic mix of old and new, the room had fresh flowers, a large assortment of new magazines and a huge variety of games and puzzles for the North West’s inevitable rainy days.
As a bit of a history buff, one of the most intriguing items I found was a small bundle of original Second World War rations books, nestled under a soldier’s log book.
Cosying up on the sofa to read about the soldier’s training, and finding out just how many eggs a family of five were allowed weekly, was both compelling and humbling.
Wizard’s Thatch was featured on an episode of Channel 4’s “Four In A Bed,” and Ian kindly left us a copy of the episode to watch in the DVD player on the large television screen downstairs.
For those who prefer to stay indoors, the cottage has a massive selection of CDs and DVDs, games, puzzles, free WiFi, endless amounts of books, and CD players both downstairs and in each bedroom.
There were two bedrooms available, a single and a large double, perfectly laid-out for a family of three.
A large double is probably a bit of an understatement. The suite had the biggest bed we had ever seen in our lives, a huge four-poster over seven feet wide.
The mattress was comfortable and we both slept like logs. There is a small TV within the bed itself, a CD player and two en-suites, one with a bath and shower and one with a toilet.
The layout downstairs does mean that the cottage lacks a kitchen, creating an unusual hybrid of traditional B&B vs. Air B&B. But tea and coffee making facilities were available, as was a microwave and there are plenty of places to grab breakfast in Alderley Edge. We ate at the Village Cafe, and it was excellent.
If you want to leave the real world behind, this is the perfect place and we would highly recommend.
Prices for the Wizardry are £109-£199 per night, dependent upon season.
Booking contact - Ian Lambert 07951 602969
No deposit required and free cancellation up to 12pm on the day of visit. Dog friendly by prior arrangement.