An Insider Guide To The Most Stylish Spots In The Cotswolds

Guide

An Insider Guide To The Most Stylish Spots In The Cotswolds

Our editor Kate Lough shares her favourite haunts in the UK’s idyllic countryside spot, from the chicest new place to stay to stylish pubs to bookmark.

Kate Lough
Aug 12, 2022

The Cotswolds has long been a chi-chi weekend break for Londoners, but now it has firmly established itself as a holiday destination for the international set. With its quintessential villages and idyllic honey stone cottages and manors, cosy pubs and quality restaurants, it’s just the restorative retreat many are after.

As a new hotspot opens its doors in a charming hamlet called Lower Oddington, here’s my insider guide to the loveliest places to stay, drink, dine, walk — and keep on top of your wellbeing — in the area.

Where to stay

Newly minted, The Fox at Oddington is the chicest new place to bed down for the night. The latest outpost in the Bamford family’s Cotswolds empire, it sits in a 19th century building in an impossibly idyllic hamlet of honey stoned cottages, surrounded by rolling fields and gentle streams. A village pub at heart, there are six gorgeous bedrooms, a generous garden and a fantastic restaurant. Designed by Carole Bamford with a ‘zero to landfill’ approach, The Fox runs on renewable energy, champions local artisans and even has a living meadow.

On a very balmy summer’s day, I fell in love with The Fox. A lazy afternoon was whiled away under stripey green parasols, cooled by glasses of frosé and sustained by an excellent wood-fired sourdough pizza, inspired by caponata. We freshened up in Wild Meadow, our impossibly pretty room where a handmade four poster draped in whimsical florals takes centre stage and a giant freestanding tub awaits in the bathroom. Then dinner in the Saddle Room, where Cotswolds stone meets floor to ceiling crittal glass doors, creating a seamless bridge between outside and in. The menu makes the most of the Daylesford and Wootton estates and everything we ate was perfectly delicious: artichokes in salsa verde and heritage tomatoes with feta and mint to start; Barnsley chop with buttermilk and dill and vanilla cheesecake with strawberries to finish. Buzzing with happy locals and hotel guests even on a Monday night, The Fox is already a roaring success just a month after opening.

Where to eat & drink

As tempting as it will be to eat breakfast (those brioche buns), lunch and dinner at The Fox, you are spoilt for choice in this part of the Cotswolds for excellent grub. There’s The Fox’s sister outfit, The Wild Rabbit, which is just down the road and proud owner of a Michelin star. In the same village you’ll find Daylesford Farm, the HQ of the Bamford family and a treasure trove for anyone wanting a slice of the lifestyle. Stock up on Daylesford cheeses, meats and wines from the Farm Shop, before a sun-dappled lunch outside in the Trough’s courtyard. The quality of the produce is stunning.

This is an area stuffed to the gills with top-notch pubs; you could spend a week eating and drinking your way through them. Some of my other favourites are The Chequers in Churchill or The Kingham Plough for a post-lunch or pre-dinner pint; The Bull in Charlbury and its perfect burger; The Double Red Duke for a colourful and stylish lunch; and The Lamb Inn for Sunday lunch.

What to do

I’d be tempted to focus any Cotswolds road trip around getting fed and watered, but you should look after your wellbeing too. My first port of call would be the Bamford Spa (also on the Daylesford Farm), where I booked in for the signature facial with the wonderful Ellie. You also get access to Spring, where you can do laps of the indoor pool or bliss out on a sun lounger. From spring 2023, you will be able to become a member of the highly anticipated Bamford Wellness Club.

Otherwise, there are glorious walks to be had, including the bridle path from The Fox to Daylesford Farm, taking in views and a postcard-pretty 13th century church. I also love making the drive to Blenheim Palace, just outside Woodstock, where you can wander around its magnificent parkland free of charge.

For keen shoppers, make the pilgrimage to Amanda Brooks’ Cutter Brooks in Stow-on-the-Wold for her beautiful curation of homeware, Station Mill Antiques in Chipping Norton and Oxford Shirt Co. in the extremely pretty market town of Burford.

How to get there

The Fox at Oddington is a 2 hour drive from west London, or you can catch a train to Kingham from London Paddington in just 1.5 hours.

Follow Kate on Instagram @kateloughtravel.

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