Cotswolds retreats: 10 of the prettiest, most peaceful inns and hotels

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The Guardian

The Maytime Inn, Asthall

Situated on the River Windrush in the Cotswold hills, Burford is sometimes called the gateway to the Cotswolds and has one of the prettiest high streets in the district – but it does teem with tourists in summer, making the Maytime Inn, just a couple of miles away in neighbouring Asthall, a great place to retreat to after a day’s exploring. The six bedrooms ooze rustic chic, while the restaurant serves convivial sharing boards and pub classics, with wood-fired pizzas at weekends – best eaten in the large garden, with tranquil views of the rolling hills beyond. There are sometimes quizzes and live music in the evenings. Doubles from £130 B&B; themaytime.com

Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham

A classic Cotswolds manor house: Ellenborough Park

Ideal for those who want to explore Cheltenham without staying in the busy centre, Ellenborough is a classic Cotswolds manor house that overlays its 500 years of history with vibrant, contemporary decor. Dining takes place in a choice of settings, from circular glass pods on the pristine lawn to the traditional wood-panelled dining room, with summer evening cocktails served on the Taittinger Terrace. Rooms pull off the contemporary country-house look with aplomb and the Elemis Indian-inspired spa offers post-walk pick-me-ups and soothing massages. Doubles from £242 B&B; ellenboroughpark.com

The Wheatsheaf, Northleach

Green and pleasant: The Wheatsheaf in Northleach. Photograph: Sebastian Wasek/Alamy

A few minutes’ drive from busy Bourton-on-the-Water, the Wheatsheaf, a charming 17th-century coaching inn that makes a wonderfully peaceful base, lies at the heart of Northleach village. Perfect for walkers and cyclists, circular trails spool out from the village across the Hampnett Valley and along the Salt and Fosse Ways, while Cheltenham racecourse is within easy reach. Rooms are elegant, with fluffy bathrobes and Bramley toiletries, and dinners can be pizza on the terrace, or a more formal affair in the cosy dining rooms. Doubles from £188.50 B&B; cotswoldswheatsheaf.com

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

Strike it lucky: the Wild Rabbit

A classic Cotswolds village, Kingham somehow manages to stay under the radar, in spite of the wildly popular Daylesford Organic being just a few minutes’ drive away. Part of the Daylesford empire, the Wild Rabbit combines the original cosy pub with an airy, light-filled dining room extension, where much-lauded chef Sam Bowser does wonderful things with locally sourced meats, game and fish. Bedrooms feature the trademark Daylesford 50-shades-of-cream style, and the whole place feels pleasingly indulgent without a hint of ostentation. Doubles from £125 B&B; thewildrabbit.co.uk

The Feathered Nest Inn, Westcote

An ancient malthouse: the Feathered Nest.

Tucked away in the tiny village of Nether Westcote, the Feathered Nest is a 350-year-old former malt house that now combines one of the area’s best restaurants with four sumptuously comfy bedrooms. Diners can choose from an à la carte or six-course tasting menu of modern British classics including steamed halibut and lamb with wild garlic and asparagus, while vegans have their own plant-based menu. All of the big-draw villages are within a few minutes’ drive, with walks in the Windrush Valley on the doorstep. Doubles from £195 B&B; thefeatherednestinn.co.uk

Woodchester Valley Vineyard Barns

Glorious vineyard views: Woodchester Valley

The perfect retreat for vinophiles, the barns at Woodchester Valley offer sleek, contemporary-style rooms with glorious views over the surrounding fields. Breakfast hampers can be ordered to start the day in style, with tours and tastings available on the estate. In nearby Nailsworth, William’s Food and Oyster Bar is a great spot for lunch or a luxurious picnic, with plenty of walking trails through the surrounding wooded hills and the buzzy town of Stroud close by. Doubles from £135 room only; sawdays.co.uk

The Stump, Cirencester

New breed: the Stump, a roadside inn, is in the countryside near Cirencester. Photograph: Charles Stirling/Alamy

One of the new breed of down-to-earth Cotswolds gastropubs, the Stump has a refreshingly no-nonsense vibe: scrubbed wood tables, local craft beers and a pool table, with three roaring log fires. The menu of wood-fired pizzas and pasta dishes, along with a good selection of antipasti zing with Italian flavours, while the 10 bedrooms are chic, with boldly coloured feature walls and crisp white linen. Nearby, Cirencester has all the charm of a traditional market town, with far less of the crowds that flock to Cheltenham. Doubles from £130 B&B; thestump.co.uk

Cotswold House Hotel, Chipping Campden

Chinz free: Cotswold House Hotel.

Proof that you can stay right in the heart of things and still be immersed in peace and quiet, this charming hotel is set right on Chipping Campden’s honey-hued high street, with a beautiful walled garden that has a real feeling of escape. Rooms are comfortable and pleasingly chintz-free, while the Stables spa offers Decléor treatments and a hydrotherapy pool and steam room. Dinners can be taken either in the buzzy bistro or more formal Fig restaurant, with a good choice of restaurants and pubs right outside the door. Doubles from £162 B&B; cotswoldhouse.com

The George Inn, Barford

Dog-friendly: The George Inn

Ideal if you want to pair a jaunt into Oxford with time exploring the Cotswold Hills, the George is a recently refurbished 17th-century inn, with nine luxurious bedrooms (including dog-friendly rooms on the ground floor). On summer evenings, the terrace is the perfect spot for dinner – menus change daily, focusing on local, seasonal produce – with a charming dining room for colder days. Barford itself is a pleasingly sleepy village on the banks of the River Cherwell, with lovely walks across the surrounding Oxfordshire countryside. Doubles from £140 B&B; thegeorgebarford.co.uk

The Fish, Broadway

Chic and comfortable: The Fish

A stone’s throw from picture-perfect Broadway, one of the Cotswolds’ biggest draws, the Fish feels deliciously isolated, tucked away on the 400-acre Farncombe Estate. It’s the most affordable of the three hotels on the estate, with a family-friendly feel, crisp Scandi design throughout and glorious views from the terraces. Dogs are more than welcome and while the rooms are chic and comfortable, if the budget stretches it’s worth a splurge on a Hillside Hut – complete with alfresco hot-tub, firepit and all the luxuries of a five-star hotel. Doubles from £175 B&B (Hillside Huts from £390); slh.com.

July 17, 2022 at 06:12PM Annabelle Thorpe

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