Sunnies? Check. Overnight bag? Check? Big appetite? Always. Time to make the weekends longer by stretching out a slap-up meal into a mini foodie break
Yes there are some wonderful places to eat in the Cotswolds – we bang on about them all the time. But did you know that some of these awesome places also come with rooms, or are restaurants attached to rather fine hotels? Some of you did? But of course – you’re savvy Crumbs cohorts. But for those of you who didn’t, or who need a quick reminder, we’ve rounded up a few with the best food, the best rooms and the best deals for any budget. Now all that’s left for you to do is make up an excuse…
Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa, Malmesbury
Best for: Ultimate sophistication, fine dining and an indulgent spa to boot.
Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa is a luxury Cotswolds retreat set in 12 acres of English country gardens. The hotel’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant, The Dining Room, has not one, not two, but three seven-course tasting menus – signature, seasonal and vegetarian – created by head chef Martin Burge, while the Le Mazot brasserie offers informal a la carte dining. Need some downtime after all the dining? The Aquarias Spa ‘provides ultimate relaxation for mind and body’, plus the hotel’s eight suites and 15 rooms are all individual and indulgent. Nearby is the town of Tetbury, with heaps of royal connections, and historic Castle Combe, plus the stunning Westonbirt Arboretum.
Worth a mention: There’s a summer dining gourmet offer from £590 per room, based on a superior room. Price includes an overnight stay on Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday night with dinner for two in the two Michelin-starred restaurant, a glass of Deutz Champagne before dinner, use of the spa, breakfast and early morning tea, and coffee served in your room.
The Kings Hotel, Chipping Campden
Best for: Two-AA rosette dining and a stellar breakfast.
There’s history in swathes here at Kings, a charming 18th century townhouse hotel. The sympathetic and careful renovation means you can soak up the character and history of a Cotswold stone building while living comfortably among all the mod-cons. It’s nestled in the heart of picturesque Chipping Campden, putting Stratford and Cheltenham in your reach. When it comes to food (now we’re talking), the restaurant has two AA rosettes thanks to head chef Ian Percival’s supreme attention to sourcing the best local suppliers and finest quality ingredients.
Worth a mention: Stay on the special Sunday night rate from £75 per room, including bed and full English breakfast, when you take two courses from the lunch or dinner menu. (Two-course lunch from £18.50 per person.)
Sudbury House Hotel & Restaurants, Faringdon
Best for: A swish escape for your most special occasions.
Beautiful, comfy bedrooms? Check. Great outdoor space? Check. MasterChef: The Professionals finalist in the kitchen? Check, check, check. And there are yet more reasons to book a trip to this top hotel with grade II-listed buildings, located between Oxford and Swindon, too. There’s four-star accommodation, with 49 contemporary en-suite bedrooms, and The Magnolia Brasserie features an open kitchen and wood-burning stove, while Restaurant 56 – the fine-dining restaurant – serves up suave tasting menus you won’t forget.
Worth a mention: The Summer Ease deal is running throughout the summer and includes: Prosecco and strawberries in your room; a seasonal summer cocktail in the lounge; dining in Restaurant 56; plus bed and breakfast. From £250 per room, per night.
The Fox, Chipping Norton
Best for: Ale enthusiasts – the pub is owned by local Hook Norton Brewery.
Need a base camp to explore the Cotswolds’ most picturesque villages?
The Fox is your one. It’s a traditional, 16th century inn situated in the historic market place in Chipping Norton. It offers fine cask ales and quality all-day dining in the bar, restaurant and private dining room, and upstairs there are 10 en-suite bedrooms with single, double and twin occupancy. The outside spaces tick all your needs too, with car park and a covered rear courtyard garden.
Worth a mention: Rooms at The Fox range from £75 to £120 for bed and breakfast. Currently there’s a gourmet getaway package at £175 per room that includes bed and breakfast and a four-course dinner, plus matching wine or
Best for: Absolute escapism in a quintessential English setting.
This ultimate ‘English country destination’ is located on a beautiful 150-acre estate in restored barns, with beautiful landscaped gardens to whisk you away from daily humdrum. Breakfast at Thyme – served in the impressive Tithe Barn – and food at the attached Swan pub is sourced from the estate’s pastures and kitchen gardens. Cookery courses are run by head chef Daryll Taylor and MasterChef winner Marjorie Lang. (Find out more on p70.)
Worth a mention: Mid-week rooms at Thyme start from £260. Cookery courses include Seasonal Forages, Flavours of Italy, A Taste of the Souk, and more. Classes are from £145.
The Blue Boar, Witney
Best for: Beer, bread, blankets and brilliant value!
There’s a wealth of history to explore at this fab 17th century coaching inn, overlooking the market square. Soak up the buzz from the restaurant while watching talented chefs use sustainable and seasonal ingredients to produce dishes full of flavour. Enjoy all Witney has to offer by taking a tour of Wychwood Brewery, or venture to Cogges – the 13th century manor used as Yew Tree Farm in Downton Abbey. The 20 boutique en-suite rooms are full of character and homely touches to ensure a cosy night’s stay.
Worth a mention: Mid-week bed and breakfast costs £99; weekend costs £109.
Mill House Hotel, Kingham
Best for: Rest and relaxation plus perfect al fresco dining.
Privately owned by local family the Drinkwaters, The Mill House Hotel is a 21-bedroom hotel set in 40 acres of riverside gardens. With a recently refurbished fine-dining restaurant and bar, there couldn’t be a better spot for escapism and Cotswold countryside.
Worth a mention: A two-night stay is £150 per room per night Sunday-Thursday and £170 per room per night Friday and Saturday, including a three-course dinner on both evenings and a full English on both mornings.