This verdant patch of the UK is the definition of picture-postcard England, and easily one of the quaintest corners of the country. These are the best hotels in the Cotswolds right now.
Spanning five different counties, and best known for its rolling hills and honey-coloured villages, it’s no surprise that the Cotswolds consistently draws a crowd. There’s also an impressive concentration of stylish countryside boltholes to rest your head at: from no-expenses-spared luxury pads to charming pubs with rooms, read on below for our favourite hotel sleepovers.
WHAT TO PACK
A picturesque country manor nestled near Cirencester, Barnsley House is the ultimate adults-only retreat, featuring an intimate spa and bucolic gardens to lose yourself in. Spacious bedrooms are hidden among the roses or tucked away in the eaves of the house, each featuring muted colour schemes, and deep bathtubs to soak in. Wake up to generous breakfast fry-ups before spending the day sunning yourself in the gardens, steaming off at the spa, and pootling around the sweet village of Barnsley.
A lesson in Cotswolds luxury at its finest, Thyme is a family-run estate that sits within the sleepy village of Southrop. Aptly self-described as a ‘village within a village’, you’ll find a hushed hamlet of sweet cottages and reclaimed barns dotted across the 150-acre estate – along with a restorative spa and cookery school. Bedrooms have all been lovingly designed by owner Caryn Hibbert – whether your room is in the farmhouse or among the rose gardens, expect botanically-inspired interiors, and jewel-coloured bathtubs. Days are spent rambling around the kitchen gardens before lining your belly at the stunning Ox Barn restaurant, which attracts a steady stream of visitors from all over the Cotswolds. You’ll be sad to peel yourself away, but take home a piece of Thyme by browsing the retail shop, which stocks everything from hand-painted linens to a slew of stylish designer dresses.
Cowley Manor Experimental
Recently overhauled by French hospitality brand Experimental Group, this palatial Palladian pad is certainly no wallflower. Adding a much-needed dose of colour to the Gloucestershire landscape, expect a dizzying patchwork of colours, checkerboard patterns, and curved headboards in each of the chic bedrooms. Lounge at the relaxed spa – which boasts two impressive pools and even a hammam – before evenings spent winding down at the Experimental Cocktail Club and feasting on a restaurant menu curated by acclaimed chef Jackson Boxer.
A private country house hotel on the outskirts of Broadway, Foxhill Manor welcomes its guests like returning long-lost friends. There are just eight bedrooms to choose from, but each one is a guaranteed winner: take your pick from the Chestnut bedroom which features its own dining table, or the Oak suite that boasts dual bathtubs with sweeping views over the 500-acre Farncombe estate. While away the day by romping across the fields, making full use of the spa facilities at sister property Dormy House (shuttles over are included in your stay), and raiding the complimentary, fully-stocked pantry. Come evening, mealtimes begin in the kitchen, where the head chef will concoct a personalised menu for you based on the fresh ingredients foraged that morning: the hotel’s refreshing ‘no rules’ policy means that you’ll dine whenever and wherever you like, whether that’s breakfast in bed, or dinner in the cinema.
The Rectory Hotel
This relaxed country house hotel oozes laidback charm throughout all eighteen of its romantic bedrooms. Each feature tasteful colour palettes and cosy furnishings, but for the best views over the immaculately pruned gardens, book room number six, the largest pad in the house. When the gardens are in bloom, lazy days are spent by the outdoor pool and nibbling afternoon tea al fresco, but there’s still plenty to do in the winter months, when guests hole up inside the library with a game of chess in front of the fire. Gourmands certainly won’t be disappointed with the sumptuous dinners and breakfast spreads served in the Scandi-style conservatory – or roll yourself over to The Potting Shed, the hotel’s village pub located across the road, for hearty Sunday roasts.
Sprawled across 100 acres of lush Oxfordshire countryside, the inimitable Soho Farmhouse is akin to Disneyland for countryphiles. Peddle around the estate on a fleet of duck-egg blue bicycles, whizzing between the Cowshed spa, gym, cinema, and walled gardens. Between the activities on offer (from clay pigeon shooting to horse riding), there’s enough to keep you occupied for months, plus at least four different restaurants to dine at. The farm encompasses a whole host of bedrooms to sleep in, meaning that the hardest choice you’ll have to make is between the chic farmhouse bedrooms and family-size cabins: all come equipped with fluffy bathrobes, Cowshed body scrubs, and homemade chocolate chip cookies to welcome you.
The Bell at Charlbury
The latest addition to the ever-growing Daylesford empire, The Bell is a revived coaching inn in the heart of buzzy Charlbury. Inside its honey-coloured walls, you’ll find locals curled up in each nook, feasting on modern British fare and hearty roasts; and in the summer months, guests spill outside into the walled orchard garden to dine among the apple trees. After dinner, roll yourself upstairs where you’ll find a cluster of chic, woodland-inspired bedrooms, all of which are bright and airy, and feature floral four-posters and hand blocked wallpapers by local artisans.
From the minds behind famed Gleneagles, Estelle Manor skirts the edge of the Cotswolds, and is possibly Oxfordshire’s most exciting new opening in years. No expense has been spared to ensure the hotel’s place within a league of its own: expect bold artworks and sumptuous interiors around each corner, and four restaurants to dine at, including the sultry Billiards Room which serves the finest dim sum you’ll find in Oxfordshire. Bedrooms are scattered across the estate, but for the ultimate sleepover, bag a stay in the manor house, where rooms come complete with four-poster beds and south-facing views over the Riviera-style pool. Guests are spoilt for choice at the ‘adventure tent’ offering everything from axe-throwing to archery, while an ambitious Roman-style baths complex is set to open later this year.
Double Red Duke
Lighting up the quaint village of Clanfield, Double Red Duke is a charming coaching inn that is far more elegant than your average local pub. Curl up on reclaimed pews in the moody dining room, or spill into the light-filled Orangery and beer garden: crowds flock here from all over the Cotswolds for the finest meat cuts and devilish puddings. It’s well worth staying the night, with all nineteen of the cosy bedrooms promising bold dashes of colour, bathtubs big enough for two, and even bunk beds for the little ones.
The Bull, Charlbury
A Cotswolds bolthole from the same minds behind west London pub favourite The Pelican, The Bull gently opened its doors this summer, and has quickly amassed a loyal and local fan base. Guests spill between the dining room and leafy beer garden, feasting on delicious, seasonally-changing dishes cooked on the open grill, and indulgent desserts. If you’re staying the night, simply slip upstairs after dinner, or opt for a suite in the adjoining barn: bedrooms are minimal yet chic, featuring a pleasing melange of linen fabrics, wrought-iron four-posters and lime-washed walls.
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