When it comes to countryside getaways that are within easy reach of London, it’s pretty hard to beat the Cotswolds. It’s got the lot: beautiful scenery, cute little villages, some incredible hotels and, of course, lots of pubs. It’s definitely one of our favourite places to head to when we just want a bit of English countryside charm but don’t want to travel too far, as most places are just a couple of hours drive or an easy train ride away.
Here we’ve rounded up some of some of the best hotels in the Cotswolds, which also serve great food, as well as a few ideas for what to do and see. Pick any of these and you’ll be in for a perfect little weekend escape.
Eat & Stay
The Feathered Nest Inn
The Feathered Nest Country Inn is in a former malthouse dating back to the 15th century and it’s now home to a pub and restaurant with four rooms overlooking Evenlode Valley. Rooms are cute, traditional in style with roll-top baths, which is exactly what you want from your smart country pub hotel.
In charge of the kitchen is Kuba Winkowski, previously of Le Gavroche, Rhodes 24 and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Recently named National Chef of the Year, Kuba brings his Polish roots to the kitchen where all produce is baked, fermented, churned, cured, dry aged and smoked in house.
If, like us, you love nothing more than a big country walk followed by an even bigger Sunday roast before retiring upstairs for the biggest lie down then let us introduce to The Ebrington Arms….
This classic little country pub is in the village of Ebrington (duh), about two hours drive from London and it’s been getting quite the reputation since Jim and Claire Alexander took it over in 2007 and spruced it up. The building dates from 1640 and even though there’s some new additions, there’s plenty of creaky old charm too, from the low wooden-beamed ceilings to the heavy flagstone floors and huge open fireplaces.
The Wheatsheaf Inn
When the going gets tough, the tough get going to the Cotswolds for a weekend out of the city and away from the rat race. There you’ll find cosy pubs with open fires, long walks in the countryside and food made with locally sourced produce. But where to hole up for the night? Well we can throughly recommend The Wheatsheaf Inn located in the beautiful historic Cotswold market town of Northleach. Belonging to The Lucky Onion portfolio of properties, the traditional country pub and hotel has just 14 bedrooms, each different in design.
Downstairs the restaurant attracts people from far and wide, during both lunch and dinner service on the Saturday we stared there wasn’t a spare seat in the house, a testament to the food it serves. The Wheatsheaf offers guests a selection of maps which showcase the different walking routes in the area, because trust us after all that grub you’ll need to take a long walk in the countryside. If you need to find your zen again, head here for the weekend.
Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire is from Soho House & Co, only this time it’s not a city hotel, nor a country house retreat; this time it’s an actual resort on a farm. The place is made up of around 40 wood cabins and there’s all kind of things to keep you entertained – think Centre Parks for adults. There’s no denying, the cabins are PLUSH. The bed is huge (emperor size), there’s a bathroom with every Cow Shed product under the sun and all types of mini-products you might have forgotten.
There’s even a small kitchen and if you do arrive peckish, fear not, there’s a block of cheese and fresh loaf of bread so that you can make a cheese toasty plus fresh milk delivered to your door daily by a milk float too, just like the good old days! The cabins don’t come cheap but if you’re looking for a fun countryside break Soho House-style, the farmhouse has got everything you need and is definiltey one of the best hotels in the Cotswolds.
Log House Cabins
Log House Holidays is a 130-acre nature reserve in the Cotswolds containing eight luxury log cabins dotted around a huge lake. Each cabin comes with its own private beach, rowing boat, hot tub, fire pit with marshmallows and all mod-cons. We particularly like Lake Springs House reached via its own private gravel drive that winds through the trees and is set right on the water’s edge – just like in the movies. Inside the cabin is an open plan living room with log fire and fully equipped kitchen with panoramic views of the lake. The cabins are all self-catered which means a trip to the supermarket in the nearby Cirencester is high on the agenda or you could pre-arrange a delivery just to make it that bit easier.
Things To Do
Country villages – The Cotswolds is full of classic English country villages such as Witney, Burford, Woodstock and Bourton that are great to walk around.
Walking – Aside from the beautiful villages, the surrounding countryside of the Cotswolds has some amazing walks. Best done before lunch and then finish with a Sunday roast by the fire.
Blenheim Palace – A beautiful old English country house, famous (amongst many other things) for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill. A UNESCO World Heritage site.
Daylesford – The posh chain of organic shops started here on the Daylesford estate (obvs) and the original location is a site to behold with amazing produce and food ready to gobble up. There’s also rooms to stay in and the well rated Wild Rabbit restaurant.
Words: Joel Porter