There’s more to The Cotswolds than meets the eye. It may come as a surprise to learn that this picturesque, charming part of the world is quickly becoming a growing hotspot for chic and healthy haunts, all just a relatively short train journey from the hustling, bustling London. Whether you’re contemplating re-locating, or just looking for the perfect weekend getaway, we’re here to help you discover your inner country soul with our guide to the Cotswolds!
Where to stay?
Soho Farmhouse, Great Tew – Escape the busy city life and head to Oxfordshire’s sophisticated countryside retreat: Soho Farmhouse. The members club, set in 100 acres of blissful countryside, features 40 carefully decorated wooden guest cabins built along the banks of three tranquil lakes. Hunter wellies and bespoke Foffa Farmhouse bicycles will both be provided upon arrival – perfect for channelling your inner country girl. You’ll also find that Soho Farmhouse caters to the health conscious with plenty of freshly prepared food, which is all locally sourced or grown onsite. Don’t leave without trying their cold pressed House Press juices, full of nourishing ingredients and extremely delicious! Influenced by upstate New York cabin culture, the cabins embody a rustic elegance, with reclaimed timber flooring, vintage furniture pieces and the most gorgeous bathrooms stocked with Cowshed toiletries. What could be better? Plus, some cabins come with your very own outdoor bathtub – a bubble bath has never sounded more appealing!
The Wild Rabbit, Kingham – If you’re looking for a more cosy, intimate experience, there is no better place to unwind than The Wild Rabbit in the picturesque village of Kingham (voted “England’s favourite village” in 2006 by Country Life Magazine). Adored amongst the H&H team, this pub/guest house is in a prime location for long country walks in your hunter boots and strolling round local farmer’s markets, as well as being a stones throw away from the mother ship that is Daylesford Organic. More on that later! Created and designed by Lady Carole Bamford (also the genius behind Daylesford Organic), every nook is decorated to country chic perfection with palettes of charcoal greys and creams. Featuring just 12 rooms (all named after woodland animals), it can be quite a task finding availability! Downstairs the pub serves plenty of locally sourced, organic dishes and you’ll also find snug, little corners where you can enjoy after dinner drinks by the roaring fire. The saying “the best things come in small packages” definitely applies to this charming place.
Where to eat and drink?
Modern Baker, Summertown – Nestled in Oxford’s leafy Summertown, Modern Baker is an essential stop on any Hip and Healthies agenda. Born out of pure love for all things wholesome, Modern Baker was founded by Melissa Sharp in 2014 and focuses on baking breads, cakes and pastries using only pure ingredients such as traditional grains, natural sugars and sourdoughs. Beautifully designed, with stylish designer seating and accessories – think clean lines (like the food), carefully chosen cushions by Donna Wilson and minimalist stools, Modern Baker is not only easy on the eye, but more importantly, it whisks up the best healthy treats in town (we particularly love the golden, creamy turmeric mylk, which we’d recommend you try). Mouth-watering raw millionaire’s shortbread, blueberry and almond cream tart and ginger cookies (to name but a few) are neatly placed on pretty cake stands without a trace of refined sugar in sight. Hooray! Shelves are stacked with all the essential healthy-eating cookbooks, including some of our favourite bestsellers such as Amelia Freer’s Eat. Nourish. Glow and Good And Simple by Hemsely & Hemsley. You’ll also find healthy nut butters, granolas and body products here too. This isn’t just a bakery, but an all-round healthy food business to watch that is re-defining the traditional bakery. We’re hooked!
Daylesford Organic, Kingham – We couldn’t not include this wonderful place in our guide to the Cotswolds! A must see on your Cotswolds to-visit list is Daylesford Organic. What exactly is this place you might ask? It’s a multitude of things… You’ve got the organic farm, restaurant, café, flower shop, deli, cookery school and the luxurious Haybarn Spa. There are also cottages on site which you can book if you want everything on your door step. We highly recommend going for brunch and booking a treatment in the spa for a truly unforgettable day at this wellbeing heaven.
Where to work out?
Downdog + Crow, Woodstock – In the heart of the Cotswold’s, you’ll find Downdog + Crow, a beautiful yoga studio, which opened only last September by Suzanne Sherlock. Situated in Woodstock, the town is well known for being home to Blenheim Palace, but we suggest, avoid the picture-snapping crowds and head for an invigorating yoga session first. Mix and mingle with other like-minded yogis and choose from one of their many classes offered – be it life-changing yoga, a session of pilates, barre or attend one of their pop up events, hosted together with Modern Baker. Plus, the studio also features a Zen Zone, a space that allows you to relax before and after class while sipping on hot herbal teas and infused water. Do browse through their carefully curated edit of beautiful health and wellbeing goods too – luxurious oil by Boobs’ Essential, sweats from SeaSoul & Snow and Mala beads (to name but a few) are all waiting to be admired. This is a cocooned oasis of tranquillity and you’re bound to leave invigorated and calm.
Words by Jessica-Christin Hametner