Ox Barn Restaurant
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—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.