Once owned by the legendary gardener Rosemary Verey, Barnsley House is one of the Cotswolds’ most romantic boltholes. Set within 11 acres of gorgeous gardens, with a superb spa and restaurant, this is a hotel designed around relaxation.
This wisteria draped Grade-II mansion is the perfect blend of old and new, featuring original stone fireplaces and wooden floors, contemporary light fixtures, and lots of mirrors. The staff are friendly in a natural, unobtrusive way; guests are free to wander around the gardens, or snooze peacefully by the fireside.
WHAT TO PACK
A serene country retreat with a youthful spirit. While some of the UK’s country hotels can be grand relics of the past, Barnsley House feels like a stylish, lived-in home – albeit one for adults only (children under fourteen can be accommodated at the hotel’s sister property The Village Pub or in the self-catering, three-bedroom cottage).
The bedrooms at Barnsley House are bright and contemporary, done up in a variety of soothing colour palettes that reflect the earthy surroundings. There’s a whole host of categories to choose from; the Rosemary Verey suite boasts its own courtyard and conservatory, while the Secret Garden suite has an outdoor bathtub. In our opinion, the garden rooms located in the main house are the best, with big, beautiful windows, a four-poster bed, and an enormous bathroom with two roll top bathtubs sitting side-by-side.
The Little Extras
There are REN toiletries in the bathrooms, lines of Wellington Boots to borrow, soft, woollen blankets to take into the gardens or curl up with by the fire, an extensive library of DVDs, and even a 30-seat in-house cinema – free for guests to use – complete with complimentary popcorn.
The Food + Drink
The Potager restaurant is a destination in its own right. Kate Moss and Elizbeth Hurley – who both have houses in the neighbouring villages – have been known to stop by for dinner. The walls are wood-panelled with tables spread across two rooms, and on the patio in the warmer months. Menus are seasonal; expect lots of fresh vegetables and herbs picked from the gardens. Highlights from our stay included the heirloom tomatoes with garlic salsa verde, and the stone bass served with a rich lobster bisque sauce and saffron potatoes. We took our desserts – tiramisu and a lavender and honey panacotta – to eat in a secluded spot in the gardens under a string of fairy lights.
A few minutes down the road, The Village Pub serves up hearty pub classics for lunch and dinner, from Wednesday to Sunday.
The To-Do List
Tucked amid a copse of leafy trees with an outdoor hydrotherapy pool and a relaxation room that looks out across rolling green fields, Barnsley Spa is one of the prettiest spas around. Book in for the hotel’s signature ELEMIS treatment, encompassing a full body massage and facial, then spend the rest of the day drifting between the sun loungers, steam, and sauna.
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