Planning a trip to The Cotswolds? There’s no want for choice when it comes to idyllic villages to peruse and potter about. From Kingham, to Stow-on-the-Wold, Great Tew and more, they’re all rather charming.
To set you in good stead, we’ve created a compact guide to some of our favourite spots dotted about The Cotswolds.
A charming pub with rooms in honey-stoned Kingham, Carole Bamford’s The Wild Rabbit is a marvellous place to call home for a long weekend. Larger groups, or those planning longer stays should consider booking one of their cute-as-can-be cottages, located opposite the stylish public house. While away an afternoon on the front terrace, nibbling on small plates of thinly sliced prosciutto and Ortiz sardines, best washed down with a local ale or chased with a scrumptious affogato, and do book a spot for dinner at the main restaurant – alternatively (for cottage occupants) order a food haul from Daylesford and dine in.
Spanning 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside, cart yourself out to Soho Farmhouse and reside in some of the chicest wooden cabins (and the most marvellous huts – choose from field view or farm view) we’ve ever come across for a few days. With outdoor baths and moreish parlours to keep you occupied, you’d be forgiven for not leaving your accommodations for the duration of your stay. Still, step out into the wider compound and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do: catch a film at the plush Electric Barn Cinema; shop a curated edit of Soho Home pieces at The Woodshed; kick back with a cool ale at the Mill Room; or float about at the indoor-outdoor pool on a lake.
EAT + DRINK
The Potting Shed
For a wholesome meal in country-chic surrounds, try local village pub, The Potting Shed. Open for lunch and dinner daily, find a cosy corner and settle in for a relaxing couple of hours. Menus focus on seasonal, local fare – a twice-baked Double Gloucester soufflé, Kelmscott pork chops served with braised fennel and new potatoes as well as hearty beef burgers are sure to tempt. Round things off with a rhubarb fool for pud – it’s important to refuel after a day spent exploring the hinterland.
The Trough Café
Great for a laid-back lunch, check the specials board for inventive, in-season eats or be tempted by old classics. Take note, most of the menu is fresh from Daylesford’s organic farms in the Cotswolds and Staffordshire and everything is quite scrumptious. Grab a comfy, though low-lying, armchair and take in your airy, light-filled surrounds. During the summer months, head out the Legbar, the Fountain Courtyard, or the summer Courtyard to get your fill of Vit D while you munch. Ask to take a slab of lemon drizzle cake to go for your onward journey (be it five minutes or five miles).
Looking to stock up on provisions for a luxe picnic? Try Stow on the Wold’s D’Ambrosi Foods. Choose from a selection of lip-smacking items, including crispy Sichuan pork belly, free range roasted chicken, and more. Depending on your appetite, choose to order a small, medium, or a large pot(s) to takeaway your meal in. Simple and a little hotchpotch, D’Ambrosi Food’s interiors, which meld framed pictures of fruit with paper flowers, are oh-so sweet. Speaking of sweet, when it comes to dessert, you can’t go wrong with a chocolate cookie – over order, they’re too delicious not too.
Double Red Duke
Clanfield’s Double Red Duke is a cosy, unassuming bolthole that’s the perfect place to stop off for lunch (best enjoyed in the light-filled garden room) or dinner. Opt for a seat at the chef’s table – positioned at the counter – to be right in the action come mealtime. The menu focuses on the wood grill, and the food here is lip-smackingly good. The wood-fired aubergine flatbread with miso dip and sesame, the burrata served with capers and golden raisins, and the simple British classic of fish and chips are all solid menu choices.
Amanda Brook’s idyllic space, composed of old wooden beams, walls decorated with hand-painted flowers, wicker lighting, and hordes of covetable, understated clothing is amongst the sweetest of shops you could ever hope to enter into. A green space of potted plants and checked umbrellas usher you into this (Cotswolds-edition) Aladdin’s Cave of pullovers, angelic frocks, decorative notebooks, painterly glassware, and all manner of majestic things required to produce the ultimate tablescape. Amanda puts it best – it’s ‘a chic version of a “country store”’.
Plotted on the eastern edges of the Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and a must-visit/do on a trip to the area. Go for a guided tour of the palace’s interiors before heading outside to the surrounding gardens (created by the famous landscape gardener ‘Capability’ Brown) and woodlands to discover copious sculptures and sweet-scented flowers.
Bamford Wellness Spa
After taking on the hinterlands, it’s time to indulge in a little R&R. Taking influence from Eastern and Western practices, choose from Bamford Wellness Spa’s extensive treatment menu – our favourite: Bamford full-body massage. Priced at £130 and lasting for 60 (glorious) minutes, the massage uses a combination of shiatsu and deep tissue techniques ‘to increase circulation, soothe tight muscles, and strengthen areas of concern’, you’ll float out feeling much revived. Post-treatment, relax in the all-white lounge with some decaffeinated tea or cucumber-infused water. Alternatively, enjoy the spa’s wet area, which includes a herbal steam room, crystal sauna, and a wellness pool, or sign up to a movement class.
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.