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 relocating or just looking for the perfect weekend staycation this summer, we’re here to help you discover your inner country soul with our guide to the Cotswolds 2.0!
Where to stay?
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 stone’s 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 the most gorgeous earthy colour palettes.
Another favourite of ours, Thyme Hotel & Spa is one of the most divine places to settle for a couple of nights of countryside bliss. Situated in a restored historic Cotswold farm and manor house just outside of Lechlade, it features a cookery school, floristry school, their sumptuous Meadow Spa, a farm, kitchen gardens, tennis courts and even a pub! It’s basically a little village in its own right. Accommodation ranges from snug eves rooms to self-contained cottages so whatever your party size or staycation requirements, there will be something to suit your style. We particularly love the English Rose Suite for its beautifully blush pink interiors.
Artist Residence, South Leigh
Small but perfectly formed, this 9-bedroom pub with rooms is delightfully quirky and stylish. An idyllic retreat set within a 16th-century Inn, you’ll have the option to choose a cosy room upstairs or opt for one of their unique Shepherd’s Hut, kitted with all the mod cons so you can make the most of the great outdoors whilst still lapping up the luxuries of a boutique hotel experience. Downstairs is their welcoming country pub, The Mason Arms featuring a simple menu with hearty dishes inspired by the Oxfordshire countryside. A must-visit even if you’re not staying the night.
Where to eat and drink?
Daylesford Organic, Kingham – We couldn’t not include this wonderful place in our guide to the Cotswolds! A must-experience on your Cotswolds trip 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 doorstep. We highly recommend going for brunch and booking a treatment in the spa for a truly unforgettable day at this wellbeing heaven.
The Bull Inn, Charlbury
A quintessential Cotswolds pub doesn’t get much better than this. With interiors designed by floral stylist Willow Crossley (and friends) and the grub managed by her husband Charlie, The Bull Inn provides the classic combo of memorable comfort food with a relaxed, yet stylish environment. With an emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce with an ever-changing menu, you’re sure to have a fantastic meal in a great ambience.
Barnsley House, Barnsley, Nr Cirencester
A fantastic hotel in its own right, we love visiting Barnsley House for its delicious dining options. You’ve got The Village Pub for a more casual affair, The Potager for more formal dining and the option to afternoon tea, Barnsley House-style until your heart’s content! Across the board, the culinary team at Barnsley House are passionate about showcasing the best produce the Cotswolds has to offer and whatever you’re dining preference, you’re guaranteed to bookmark this as a firm favourite for future trips.
Where to visit?
Downdog + Crow, Woodstock – In the heart of the Cotswold’s, you’ll find Downdog + Crow, a beautiful yoga studio founded 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.
Bamford Spa, Daylesford
If you’re looking for a truly outstanding holistic spa experience then head to Bamford Spa, situated on the grounds of the mecca that is Daylesford Farm. First and foremost, it’s an absolutely stunning place that has just been refurbished to feature a new wet area that includes a herbal steam room, crystal sauna and a wellness pool, with more additions coming by 2022. Bamford takes influence from eastern and western practices, bringing world-class practitioners into its wellness spaces to host classes, workshops and 1-1 healing sessions. Coupled with a dreamy treatment menu of facials, body treatments and nail rituals, you’d be forgiven for never wanting to leave.
Burford Garden Company, Burford
Not just for gardening geeks, Burford Garden Company is probably the fanciest of garden centres you’ll ever lay eyes on and it’s a must-visit. If you’re a country interiors fiend then they’ll have you browsing for hours with their bountiful selection of home goods, accessories, candles and ceramics to name a few. Feeling weary from all that shopping? Their onsite cafe will provide refreshments to fuel you through until dinner time.