A couple of weeks ago Josie and I decided to take a short break, escape the smoke of the city and retreat to the Cotswolds.
Living in London is great for so many reasons, but one thing I have started to notice is the impact the polluted air can have on your wellbeing and health. Air quality is a hot topic at the moment with London’s air quality currently rated as the worst in Europe!
It’s important we all take time out from our hectic lives to recharge, and where better than the stunning Cotswolds, in the south central part of England, under 2 hours drive from the centre of London.
A great benefit of holidaying within the UK is that we are able to bring Dexter with us, and he was certainly excited for this road trip.
We were fortunate to be provided with a BMW 4 Series convertible for a few days and it made for an really enjoyable journey out of town. It was my first time driving a convertible and pardon the pun but I have been ‘converted’! With the sun shining we spent the whole journey roof down enjoying the views and beautiful scenery as we approached Oxfordshire.
Where to Stay:
The Slaughters Country Inn:
This beautiful country inn is located in Lower Slaughter and is perfect for a countryside getaway. Nestled on the banks of the River Eye, the 17th Century building has that typically country feel, yet the interiors are contemporary with a modern twist.
We stayed in one of their Cottages which was incredibly spacious and cosy, with the added bonus that dogs are welcome.
Dexter certainly made himself at home..! The pub restaurant also allows dogs and so all in all, the Inn is a dog-owners dream.
The Inn’s location is great if you are keen on exploring the local countryside, with plenty of walking paths to discover and the village of Lower Slaughter is full of tiny shops, well-worth a visit.
You can find out more about the hotel here.
Slaughters Manor House:
The Slaughters Manor House is located just across the road from the Country Inn and is also part of the Brownsword partnership. The 17th Century manor house has been recently refurbished and similarly to the Country Inn, follows the contemporary interpretation of countryside life with modern interiors and a bright atmosphere.
We stayed in one of their Garden Suites in the old Coach House where dogs are allowed and the rooms are stunning. A huge kingsize bed and a small connecting private garden, complete with hot tub!
There was a real focus on the finer interior details, giving the hotel that rural feel whilst maintaining the overall contemporary style.
The restaurant was undoubtedly the highlight for me, with an array of countryside inspired dishes on offer, we decided on the eight-course taster menu – see below.
Where To Eat:
For an evening meal – Slaughters Manor House:
The restaurant at the Slaughters Manor House is one of the most acclaimed in the Cotswolds celebrating regional and seasonal produce. The room itself was previously the swimming house to the old manor and as a result has beautiful high ceilings and an abundance of natural light.
The menu offers an array of options from a Table D’Hote dinner menu, to their well-renowned eight course taster menu. We went for the taster menu and were not disappointed, with the Cornish Lobster Salad a definite highlight, fresh and stunning flavours.
Another favourite was the venison loin, a truly country-inspired dish served with shallots, beetroot and blackberries.
All eight courses were stunning and a true homage to the Cotswolds and the wild produce available. If you plan on visiting the Cotswolds and Slaughter in particular, I would say this is the ideal evening meal to experience true British cuisine to tantalise the taste buds. The current eight-course tasting menu can be viewed here.
A Country Lunch – The Wild Rabbit:
The Wild Rabbit is located in Kingham, a small village around 20 minutes drive from Lower Slaughter. It’s a traditional British gastro pub but with a real focus on locally sourced and seasonal food.
There are a number of menus on offer, we went for the bar menu which included a number of traditional British bar snacks.
Its a hard choice but my favourite had to be the pigs cheek with shredded apple and crackling, rich and delicious.
Another light and tasty dish was the Sole Goujons with curry mayonnaise and baby capers, perfect for a light lunch.
The Glazed Short Rib with button mushrooms and straw potatoes was to die for and in hindsight not a dish you should agree on sharing!
I’ll definitely be planning a trip back to the Wild Rabbit to try their more substantial a la carte menu and they also have rooms available on site that look particularly inviting, you can find out more about the Wild Rabbit here.
A Light and Fresh Lunch – Daylesford Farm
I’ve been wanting to visit Daylesford Farm for quite a while having heard such great things about their food and overall ethos. Daylesford are focused on growing, producing and cooking seasonal organic produce, with a focus on sustainability and responsible farming.
The lunch menu is extensive with lots of incredibly tasty and healthy options. Having been fairly indulgent over the previous days I decided to make the most of the healthy food on offer and went for an organic cold pressed juice and a delicious raw super greens salad with organic salmon. Everything felt fresh and was so colourful, always a good sign when it comes to fresh produce.
After lunch we went for a tour of the farm and I was amazed at the scale of it all. Everything from strawberries to tomatoes were being grown in addition to their own dairy farm and Gloucester Old Spot pigs.
In addition to the cafe and restaurant there is also a farm shop on site along with the Bamford boutique. Daylesford is a concept devised by Lady Carole Bamford who also famously created the Bamford organic skincare brand, an all time favourite of ours.
To learn more about Daylesford and the farm, check out their website here.
After our three days in the leafy Cotswolds we returned feeling refreshed and revitalised. It’s amazing how a break away from the hectic atmosphere of London can relax the mind and help bring a fresh perspective. Josie and I will definitely be planning plenty more Weekend retreats and an Autumnal return to the Cotswolds could be on the cards!
Have you ever visited the Cotswolds?
Where are your favourite places to escape to from the City?