A Cotswolds newcomer, the Double Red Duke opened near Bampton in 2021, and has been charming Londoners and locals alike ever since. If you’re in the mood for country pursuits, you can join their shooting parties or try your hand at fly-fishing in one of the many wild trout streams and lakes nearby. It’s the food that’s the real selling point here, though: you would be hard-pressed to find better pub grub than its Dublin Bay scampi with lemon mayonnaise or apple-glazed bacon ribs with fennel slaw.
If you prefer your weekend getaways with a side of A-listers in Wellington boots, give into the allure of Soho Farmhouse, which remains members only. A stone’s throw from Chipping Norton, it feels like the set of a Richard Curtis rom-com with a dose of Nick Jones’s signature polish. We’re particularly enamoured with the lakeside cabins, where you can curl up beside a wood-burning stove as rowboats float by on the bullrush-lined ponds outside. The pampering options are stand-out, too: tune up your visage at FaceGym or check into the on-site spa for a Cowshed Signature Massage.
Those with an aversion to chintzy florals will love the minimalist, tranquil rooms at The Rectory – particularly the so-called big rooms, whose enormous king beds are made up with goose-down duvets. Tear yourself away to visit the Grade II-listed dovecote in the gardens, believed to date from the late 13th century, then nip across the road to The Potting Shed, the hotel’s sister pub, for a charcuterie board and a glass of wine.
Thyme is less a hotel, more of a self-contained village made up of honey-stoned barns and cottages perched on the banks of the River Leach near the village of Southrop. The decor takes its cues from botany, with three lavish suites: English Rose, Cedar of Lebanon, and – our personal favourite – Pear Tree. You can, and should, register for lessons at the on-site cookery school, where Thyme chefs will help you whip up fresh dishes using kitchen garden herbs and produce from the 155 acres of surrounding land. Fancy yourself a budding artist? There’s painting classes available, too.
Lucknam Park is one of those rare hotels that makes you forget the rest of the world exists the moment you step over its threshold. You can almost feel your blood pressure dropping as you make your way down its beech-lined drive. Just a hop, skip, and a leap from Bath, the Palladian mansion’s rooms are charming, but it’s the 500-acre estate that makes this one of the best places to stay in the Cotswolds. Explore the manicured gardens, which include an arboretum, before setting out on horseback across the parklands, with ponies available to hire from Lucknam’s Equestrian Centre.