The perfect getaway from London with quintessential English villages, castles, beautiful landscapes and indulgent retreats.
Chic retreats by Bamford
Although a relatively short drive from London (1h45) the Cotswolds is a vast area covering five counties. I visited villages in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire in the north east.
On the way to Kingham (my main destination), you may stop at Blenheim Palace (former residence of the Duke of Marlborough and a beautiful 18th century Baroque style country house) in Woodstok.
Visit The Wild Rabbit, Daylesford Organic farm and Bamford Haybarn Spa, three properties belonging to Carol Bamford who masters the art of chic country lifestyle. The 'farm' is maybe too perfect and clean but it still makes a fun stop for a coffee or grocery shopping. The spa is on the same property, with soft coloured, highly relaxing environment where treatments start from £50. The Wild Rabbit Inn is the highlight of the collection. The rooms are stylish, cosy and comfortable with beige tones, wooden beams and Bamford toiletries. Two private cottages are also available and are ideal for groups of 4. Dining can be enjoyed either in the cosy pub by the fireplace or in the 1 Michelin star restaurant (by chef Tim Allen from Launceston Place in Kensington) offering hyper seasonal and local cuisine. Don't wait and book as it gets very busy!
What to see, where to go
Kingham is my favourite village. It is pretty and idealic. If you feel like running or taking a walk, turn right when exiting the Wild Rabbit and run along St Andrew Church and south to Churchill Heath Farm, then back to The Green.
North of Kingham in Lower Oddington is the lovely rustic The Fox Inn pub. Walk past it and left on to Church road, a magical walk that will take you to Saint Nicolas Church. Further north is Chipping Camden, another lovely town with typical Cotswold architecture. Back south near Morton-in-Marsh is Chastleton House, a 17th century listed country house, part of the National Trust, where Crocket was invented. Next to it is a peaceful St Mary's Church.
Country pub dining
A trip in the Cotswolds is also an opportunity to enjoy great country pub food.
The Chequers in Chipping Norton is my favourite. It is a rustic chic gastro pub offering great food. Jerusalem artichoke soup, girolle mushroom and peas, ploughmans featuring local charcuterie and even affordable Champagne served in a old fashion glass were all delightful.
THE COTSWOLDS SHORTLIST
The Wild Rabbit : restaurant, rooms & cottages / Daylesford Organic Farm : farmshop, cafe & restaurant, cookery school, clothing, cottages / Bamford Haybarn Spa
Where to go / What to see
Kingham / Chipping Norton / Chipping Camden / Blenheim Palace / The Fox Inn / Saint Nicolas Church / Chastleton House / St Mary's Church
The Chequers / The Feathered Nest Country Inn / The Kings Head Inn
Autumn is a wonderful time to visit the Cotswolds for magnificent colours and light and seasonal produce.