The Cotswolds is one of the most beautiful parts of England and is a delightful area to visit at any time of the year. Its rolling hills and woodlands give shelter to chocolate – box thatched medieval stone-built villages, fine looking historical towns, outstanding churches, stately homes and stunning gardens. Many unique features originate from the use of the distinctive Cotswold honey – coloured Jurassic limestone.
Encompassing an area across six counties, most notably Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, the Cotswolds includes many beautiful small towns & villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway, Burford, Chipping Norton, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and my favourite Cotswold town, Chipping Campden.
The charming and picturesque Chipping Campden is renowned for its graceful terraced High Street, dating from the 14th/17th century and celebrated as the home of the Arts and Crafts movement, founded by William Morris. Like many towns in the Cotswolds, it is a popular tourist destination with old inns, hotels, specialist shops and restaurants but it manages to retain much of its original character and appeal.
When exploring the High Street be sure to call into the Robert Welch Studio Shop on the corner of Sheep Street. Founder, Robert Welch, began designing his iconic award winning cutlery silverware in 1955. His High Street shop has been home to the Robert Welch Designs’ Studio Shop for over 50 years. Today the shop is at the forefront of design innovation showcasing iconic designs from 1956 to the present. It is well worth a visit.
At the historic Noel Arms Hotel you can walk in the footsteps of Charles II who it is said rested here after his defeat by Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester. The fine stone facade of the Noel Arms Hotel with its proud coat of arms has been part of the high street for centuries. The hotel’s Regency portico leads visitors into a grand stone hall with antique furniture standing on the flagstone floors, much of it is as old as the hotel.
The exceptional High Street curves in a shallow arc, lined with a string of ancient houses and honey-coloured limestone buildings, boasting a wealth of fine architecture. The High Street and much of the town was officially designated a conservation almost forty years ago to help preserve the ancient town for centuries to come.
‘the best piece of townscape in Gloucestershire, arguably one of the best in England’.Architecture Historian, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner
I was lucky enough to be staying at the Cotswold House Hotel and Spa, a Luxury Boutique Hotel situated right in the centre of the town on this distinguished High Street, between the Town Hall and the Market Hall with its splendid arches. Cotswold House, built in 1863 as a private home, is the perfect base from which to explore the town and the rest of the Cotswolds.
The Cotswold House is a delightful 17th century town house with some very distinctive and stylish accommodation. Sympathetic and careful renovation means the hotel offers all the modern-day comforts you would expect of a of a top-class hotel, yet still retains much of the character and history of a Cotswold stone town building.
With its ideal location and flexible mix of spaces and faultless service, the Cotswold House Hotel is an ideal venue for board meetings, away-day training, corporate events or weddings in stunning surroundings.
Check in was prompt and professional and our luggage was taken from us as we walked through the Bistro restaurant to our room.
At the Cotswold House Hotel there are 28 luxurious bedrooms to choose from, each delivering individual guest services and comfort. There are Classic and Superior King Rooms, Cottage Rooms, Junior Suites and two luxurious Suites, overlooking the hotel gardens or the ancient High street.
All rooms include an en – suite bathroom with bath/and or shower, air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, tea and fresh coffee-making facilities, a very useful fridge, hairdryer and an evening turn-down service which took place whilst we were dining.
I noticed that our suite, The Sezincote, was named after a 200-year-old Indian style Mogul palace estate near Moreton – in – Marsh in the Cotswolds.
Other rooms in the Hotel remember local historical figures & luminaries such as William Grevel, community benefactor & Frederick Griggs artisan & conservationist.
My suite was very spacious and included a much-appreciated separate living area and even a private outdoor seating area of a small table and chairs. Unfortunately, the cold weather prevented us from sitting outside in this space but when the weather is warm it would be a much-appreciated private space.
My suite was a real delight, when I turned from the lounge into the bathroom, I couldn’t help but shout WoW! It certainly had the X Factor. The bathroom was luxurious, a glass screen separated the egg-shaped bath, the walk-in shower unit, toilet and heated towel rails from the space which led to the equally luxurious bedroom.
The large oval shaped bath was a real delight, my wife reinforced that point later, when with glass of wine in hand she enjoyed a long soak, immersed in scented bubbles.
Out suite also had a cosy seating lounge with comfortable sofa, coffee table, fresh fruit and a plate of home – made chocolates as a welcome treat. The lounge looked out onto the High Street but apart from a few people walking past there was very little disturbance.
The bedroom was situated at the back of the suite looking out onto the private outdoor seating space. The bedroom had a large king size comfortable bed with plenty of cushions and a sophisticated lighting pad. At night the room was very quiet and peaceful ensuring a good night’s sleep. The choice of artwork around all three of the rooms was stylish, colourful and original, greatly adding to the look and feel of the suite.
After a cup of tea and the complimentary cookies we decided to check out the spa facilities. The award-winning Spa was to be found at the far end of the garden at the back of the Hotel grounds. We enjoyed a delightful walk along the garden path past manicured lawns, well – trimmed hedgerows and a hidden outside seated area which I assumed would be used for outside catering when the weather is good.
I didn’t take advantage of any of the treatments on offer, but the Spa does include seven treatment rooms with a choice of therapeutic and holistic therapies plus essential beauty treatments. There was also a small area where guests could avail themselves of cold & hot drinks including free Herbal Teas to enjoy at their leisure.
The Spa facilities are complimentary for all Cotswold House Hotel residents and it appeared that most guests had arrived at very much the same time as we did but there was still plenty of room for all. I was given a locker key at reception which enabled me to get changed and collect a nice white fluffy robe, towels and slippers in the changing rooms.
In the corner of the pleasantly warm hydrotherapy pool was a raised jacuzzi which made me feel as though I was stretched out across a large saucer with bubbles massaging my back. I also spent a short time in the small aromatic steam room which was very pleasant. There were plenty of loungers available and a table full of current magazines such as Home & Country. Cosmopolitan & Cotswold Life. I found the pool facilities very relaxing after a long drive, a great way to unwind.
Outside the Spa was the hotel car park which provides parking for several vehicles including three Electric car chargers, 2 Tesla and 1 universal. Having a small private car park is very useful as car park spaces in the centre of Chipping Campden are difficult to find and you would have to pay for the privilege. The car park spaces are limited, so if you are arriving late at the hotel be sure to check before you arrive that there are still spaces available. Note, access to the car park is at the back of the hotel, not the front!
The Hotel offers dining in both the informal Bistro on The Square, as well as a fine dining dinner service in The Fig Restaurant. We dined at The Bistro Bar which overlooks the Square as the fine dining restaurant of The Fig is closed on a Sunday. The Bistro has an informal atmosphere and is a great place for meeting friends after shopping, a pre-drink before an evening out or choose something to eat from a selection of bar food.
The Bistro Bar offers a wide range of wines by the glass, as well as an enviable Gin selection. The Bistro is very proud of its collection of gins & cocktails. A board in the Bistro lists a long list of gins but I was told by the bar staff that the list was only a sample of what was available.
There is another smaller dining room behind the bar which provides a little more privacy than that afforded in the front bar. The bar staff and waiting staff were friendly & professional in every contact with my wife and I during our meal.
When dining in The Bistro during the evening I noticed several people come in off the street, not only to eat in the attractive restaurant but to sit and enjoy a drink with friends. It is obviously still very much a local for the community as well as a Hotel for resident guests. The window seats are the perfect spot for enjoying a pint of beer and reading the newspapers or quietly glancing out of the window for a spot of `people watching`, from time to time!
I didn’t eat in The Fig Restaurant, but it was recently awarded 2 Rosettes for its culinary excellence. The Fig has established an increasing reputation for fine dining, producing dishes which demonstrates fine culinary skills, flair and imagination. The hotel restaurants chefs & kitchen team try to source as much of the fresh produce they use from local producers whenever possible. Most of the cheeses, eggs, fresh breads and quality meats come from the farms and villages in the local Cotswolds region.
The Bistro on the Square.
Organic Smoked Salmon, Capers, Caviar & Crème fraiche
Pan Fried Scallops, Chorizo, & Pea Puree
Lamb Shank, Pearl Barley & Scotch Broth
Roasted Duck Breast, Fondant Potato, Braised Red Cabbage & Red Wine Jus
Sticky Toffee Pudding & Vanilla Ice Cream
Vanilla Crème Brulee & Shortbread Biscuit
I enjoyed a couple of glasses of Staropramen, a traditional Czech Pilsner, which was on draught. Despite there being no dark ales on draught I very much enjoyed the Staropramen. It had a fine hoppy, slightly fruity aroma and a refreshing balanced taste which went down well with the salmon and lamb shank.
My wife chose from a good selection of quality, yet affordable classic wines by the glass or the bottle. She opted for a classic Primitivo from Puglia, Italy. It is a very bold wine with an intense flavour and a deep dark colour. She thought it complimented the roasted duck and red cabbage perfectly.
I must admit to trying some of her meal too and both were beautifully cooked and presented to the table. Our dining experience in the Bistro was one to remember, not least because of the staff who were all exceptionally welcoming and helpful with humour. The Award-winning food combined with the personal and attentive service helped create a superb dining experience. The contemporary music playing in the background was at the correct volume, loud enough to listen to when I wanted to, but not too loud as to be in the way of our conversation.
The 5* Breakfast which was served in the Fig Restaurant dining room was well worth getting up for as there was a wide selection of cereal, fresh fruit, various conserves, pain au chocolate, toasts and smoked salmon as well as the traditional full English cooked breakfast, which is what I opted for.
Although I did not partake, the Hotel serves a variety of cream teas and full afternoon teas or for a touch of luxury, sparkling afternoon teas with a glass of champagne! Perhaps next time I am visiting Chipping Campden! The Hotel will of course cater for all dietary requirements: gluten free, vegetarian, vegan.
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”Henry James
The overall the Cotswold House experience was very enjoyable and satisfying. All of the staff whether on reception, serving at table or at the bar presented a smart, professional and efficient service. The hotel offers very good overnight accommodation, superb restaurant meals and excellent table service. The Cotswold House is also ideal for morning coffees, light lunches, afternoon teas, weekend brunches or for a special dinner with friends.
The Hotel is full of character and charm but with all modern conveniences, situated in the very heart of Chipping Campden. I would fully recommend The Cotswold House Hotel for an overnight stay, a romantic weekend, a special evening meal with a group of friends and family or just a quiet drink in the bar, sampling their fine collection of gins, cocktails, wines, ciders and other spirits.
I shall look forward to visiting again in the spring or summer so that I can sit outside in the rear garden of the Hotel and enjoy a beer or two.
I simply loved it!
Did you know?
- Chipping Campden has the 2nd highest density of listed buildings in the country
- Graham Greene, the prolific English novelist, playwright, short story writer and critic, lived with his wife Vivien at “Little Orchard” in Hoo Lane for three years. During this time he wrote his first successful book, “Stamboul Train”. There is a plaque on the house commemorating his stay.
- The 102-mile Cotswold Way walking trail follows the Cotswold Edge escarpment from Bath in the south to Chipping Campden in the north. There is a plaque near to the Market Hall which celebrates this fact.
- Chipping Campden is also known for the annual Cotswold Olimpick Games, a celebration of sports and games dating back to the early 17th century.
- “Chipping” is from the Old English cēping, “a market or a market-place”