Travel

Gloucestershire

Establishment neighborhood
The Wild Rabbit
Church St., Kingham
Over forty years ago, in the bucolic expanse of England’s Cotswolds, Daylesford became one of the first high-profile adopters of organic, sustainable farming practices. The name has become synonymous with a distinct kind of English eco-chic (to see why, just take a look at the beautifully designed shop, which sells seasonal produce, baked goods, and kitchen supplies), and visitors come here for the quintessential British countryside experience. The Wild Rabbit, a pub that owner Carole Bamford opened just down the road in 2013, incorporates the same philosophy and aesthetic. This isn’t a typical English pub—this one was awarded a Michelin star in 2016 and serves wellness-friendly options, like a heritage carrot entrée with spelt and Swiss chard from the garden, and several fish dishes accompanied by foraged mushrooms and all manner of organic veggies. It also puts on one of the best Sunday roasts outside of London—or in London, for that matter. This one uses grass-fed local cows for the roast beef and dairy products. Each of the fifteen guest rooms is named after a local critter that roams the surrounding woods (the Hedgehog, the Badger, the Fox, etc.)…
The Wild Rabbit
Church St., Kingham
With flagstone walls, streams of natural light, and elegance in spades, the eighteenth-century Wild Rabbit is worth every mile it takes to get there. And it takes a lot. The Wild Rabbit is the smaller sister property to nearby Daylesford, and its pub menu—most of it sourced from Carole Bamford’s organic farm—is solidly British. By which we mean Cheddar cheese tartlets, venison paired with creamy celeriac and sharp chicory, thick-cut chips, buttery vegetables, and proper puddings. On the somewhat lighter side, we loved the smoked salmon on nutty pumpernickel and balsamic onions. The pub also operates as an inn. Spacious guest rooms are next-level comfortable (and an excellent value at roughly £150 a night) with inviting armchairs, product-laden bathrooms, and cashmere throws strewn across the spacious beds.
Ox Barn Restaurant
Southrop, Gloucestershire
If you’re not staying at Thyme (though we highly suggest that you do), book in for supper at the cavernous yet cozy Ox Barn Restaurant. It’s helmed by the owner’s son (and Ballymaloe alum) Charlie Hibbert, and his brand of Cotswold cooking is just as homey, hearty, and farm-to-table as you would expect, but elevated. Hibbert doesn’t go for rustic plating and simple preparation. Instead, a leisurely lunch or dinner at the Ox Barn might involve braised beef livened up with pickled walnuts and punchy salsa verde, with a salad of speck, kohlrabi, and local apples on the side. To finish, maybe a small bowl of fig ice cream? All artfully presented, of course. Having lunch there provides an excuse to wander the grounds with daylight on your side, poke around the carefully curated shop (we love the antique champagne coupes, vintage tea sets, and linen tablecloths), and thumb through the design books at the Baa Bar. Maybe with a glass of champagne.
Thyme
Southrop, Gloucestershire
Thyme—a newish Cotswolds destination in tiny Southrop—wraps everything you could want into one tidy, Georgian bundle. Guest rooms are palatial, some with four-poster beds, others with vintage wallpaper and clawfoot tubs. The entire property is an ode to good, old-fashioned Englishness, where champagne is poured into proper crystal coupes, organic gardens are meticulously landscaped, medieval barns come cloaked in ivy, and afternoon scones are heaped with jam and clotted cream. Eat as many of Ballymaloe alum (and local son) Charlie Hibbert’s meals as possible in the Ox Barn. And book a few master classes at Thyme’s superb cooking school to take a taste of the Gloucestershire countryside home with you. For a change of scenery, a few steps through the gate and across the street is the Swan, Southrop’s charming pub: a roaring fire, a robust wine list, convivial locals, the works.
Daylesford Organic Farm
Daylesford near Kingham
Experience firsthand what it’s like to live on a farm with the comfort of knowing you’re going home at the end of the weekend. Located in Gloucestershire, Daylesford is a real-deal working farm that focuses on organic, sustainable practices and passing on knowledge to anyone who’s interested. You get to stay at one of the adorably rustic cottages which are just steps from the Daylesford Farmshop (which you've probably seen scattered all over London) and ideally situated for classes at The Cookery School. You can also stay at their sister hotel, The Wild Rabbit —a modern inn, filled with country charm—located in the heart of the Cotswolds. Artisan bread making and quick and simple suppers are just a sampling of the inventive courses offered throughout the year. While there, stop by the on-site creamery, bakery, or market garden and load up on seasonal snacks for the trip back.
Cowley Manor
Cowley, Cheltenham
Don’t be fooled by Cowley Manor’s stately stone facade, 55 acres of manicured pastures and its resident swans, the hotel’s interior is as contemporary as it gets. In the Main House you’ll find a leather-walled billiards room, a technicolor sitting room, and The Bar—a modern, wood-paneled venue ideal for working your way through the mile-long cocktail menu. The hotel’s star eatery, The Restaurant at Cowley Manor, is situated in a grand ballroom-like space and in contrast, serves up locally-sourced, modern iterations of British cuisine, plus a separate kid-friendly menu. Split between the Main House and the Stable Block, the airy guest rooms (thirty all together), are labeled Good, Better, Great, Exceptional, and Best; each one staying true to the hotel’s light-hearted vibe with retro furniture and splashy color palettes. The massive C-Side Spa includes two pool areas (one indoor, one outdoor), a gym, sauna, and steam rooms, in addition to a dedicated mani/pedi area. And though children are welcome at both pools and throughout the property, babysitting services are also available.
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