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  • Joanne Herd

Where to Stay in the Cotswolds: From Hidden Gems to Luxurious Retreats

Updated December 6, 2023

With rolling hills, chocolate box villages, cobblestone streets, and golden-hued stone cottages, the Cotswolds are simply bursting with quaint English charm.

But when it comes to planning your next trip, there’s one important question you need to answer.

Where should you lay your head at night?

With so many boutique Cotswolds hotels, charming pubs, and luxurious retreats to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start.

Don't worry though, I’m here to help! Let’s take a look at the best accommodations I’ve found in the Cotswolds so you can find your perfect home away from home in this enchanting part of England.

How to decide where to stay in the Cotswolds

When you’re deciding where to stay in the Cotswolds, you’ll want to consider a few things.

First, there’s the difference between the northern and southern sections of the Cotswolds. The northern Cotswolds are known for having a high number of picturesque chocolate box villages surrounded by gently rolling hills. The southern Cotswolds are more rugged, with fewer towns and more wide-open countryside.

Depending on your preferences, you may want to focus on one area or the other, or choose to divide your time between the two.

Next, you’ll want to consider what type of accommodation you prefer and how you’re planning to get around.

When it comes to visiting the smaller towns and villages, you’ll probably want to rent a car or arrange for a driver who can take you from place to place. While a few of the larger towns are connected by train or bus services, the smaller towns tend to have infrequent bus services and the vast majority don’t have train stations.

If you prefer a more lively atmosphere and easy access to restaurants and shops, staying in one of the Cotswolds charming towns may be the best choice. Towns like Chipping Campden, Tetbury, and Stow-on-the-Wold offer charming bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, and plenty of holiday cottages for rent. Many of the towns and villages also have traditional pubs with rooms, allowing you to soak up the local atmosphere and mingle with new acquaintances in the dining rooms and bar areas.

If you prefer a country escape with a lot of walking trails to get out into the countryside, a country house hotel like Lucknam Park or The Manor House Hotel may be more your style. With a mix of classic English country elegance and all the modern amenities, they could be just what you’re looking for.

Ultimately the type of accommodation you choose will depend on your personal preferences, combined with what you’re looking to get out of your Cotswolds experience. No matter where you decide to stay, the Cotswolds are sure to enchant you with their beauty, charm, and warm hospitality.

The Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold

Exterior view of The Porch House, a charming historic inn located in Stow-on-the-Wold, Cotswolds. The building features a beautiful stone facade exuding quintessential English charm.
The Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold

Located in the heart of Stow-on-the-Wold, The Porch House was originally built in the 10th century as a hospice for pilgrims and is believed to be the oldest inn in England. This pub hotel has been beautifully restored, with an elegant and effortless mix of old-world charm and modern comfort.

The standout feature of The Porch House is its 13 individually decorated rooms, each with its own unique character and decor. Think carved wooden beams, original fireplaces, and soft lighting that make each room feel cozy and welcoming. You might find exposed stone walls, or even a canopy bed that’s fit for royalty.

The restaurant features locally sourced ingredients, making it a popular choice for both guests and locals. Plus, with its central location in Stow-on-the-Wold, you’re just steps away from charming boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and pubs.

Even if you aren’t staying there, The Porch House is an excellent choice for lunch, dinner, or a drink in the bar. I’ll be honest, we had dinner here twice because it was that good!

The menu features many locally sourced ingredients, showcasing the best flavors of the Cotswolds. From hearty pub classics like fish and chips or steak and ale pie to more inventive dishes, your tastebuds will be surprised and delighted.

If you’re planning to go for dinner, make sure to have a reservation, or a booking as they call it in England. They often book up a few days in advance.

Lucknam Park, Chippenham

For a luxurious country escape, Lucknam Park should definitely be on your list. This award-winning spa hotel offers top-notch facilities, delicious cuisine, and plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy beautiful surroundings. It effortlessly combines luxury, serenity, and all the little things that make your heart skip a beat.

As you drive through the grand entrance and up the mile-long beach avenue, you'll instantly feel a sense of awe and anticipation. The Lucknam Park hotel and grounds are like a world of its own, with 500 acres of picturesque parkland and gardens that seem to stretch to the horizon.

It's the kind of place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and embrace the peacefulness of nature.

The 42 uniquely decorated rooms are each beautifully designed to provide the utmost comfort and elegance. From plush beds to luxurious amenities, every detail has been carefully curated to ensure a memorable stay. It's like having your own private sanctuary amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Cotswolds.

And let's not forget about the culinary delights. Lucknam Park boasts not one, but two outstanding restaurants.

The Michelin-starred Hywel Jones offers an unforgettable dining experience, with its exquisite menu showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients. For a more relaxed setting, The Brasserie serves up mouthwatering dishes in a stylish and inviting manner.

Whichever dining option you choose, prepare to be amazed by the culinary craftsmanship that awaits you.

If you want to try some outdoor activities you can go horseback riding at their onsite equestrian center or take a wander through the extensive parklands around the hotel.

It’s also easy to reach Bath by taxi, allowing you to enjoy have a day of museums and shopping while still embracing the relaxation of a countryside holiday.

Dormy House, Broadway

Lush and vibrant Hidcote Garden at Hidcote Manor, located just outside of Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds. The image showcases colorful flower beds, manicured hedges, and serene pathways, offering a picturesque escape for nature lovers.
Hidcote Gardens, Chipping Campden

Just outside the village of Broadway, with panoramic views over the surrounding hills and countryside, you’ll find Dormy House. This charming hotel is a postcard-perfect haven that will make you want to drop everything and live here forever.

As a guest at Dormy House, you’ll feel like you're staying at a friend's stylish and inviting country estate. The rooms and suites are thoughtfully designed, blending traditional charm with modern amenities. Sink into plush beds, unwind in cozy seating areas, and relish the little details that make all the difference.

But Dormy House isn't just about the accommodations – it's a sanctuary for relaxation and indulgence. Take a dip in the spa pool, treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa treatment, or unwind in the tranquil garden. It's a place where you can recharge your batteries and embrace the slower pace of life in the Cotswolds.

Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Farncombe Estate, meandering your way down to the charming village of Broadway. Discover the charming boutiques and soak up the idyllic atmosphere. To make the most of a day in the Cotswolds you can request a luxury picnic hamper and set off on a journey through the surrounding Cotswold villages.

Consider a day trip to Chipping Campden and Hidcote Manor. The Cotswold village of Chipping Campden is best known for its picturesque high street and covered market, and is less than 15 minutes from Dormy House. Hidcote Manor and its gardens, run by the National Trust, are beautiful any time of year and some of my favorite gardens in the area.

The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

The Manor House Hotel in Castle Combe, Cotswolds. A stunning view of the historic hotel building surrounded by lush greenery and picturesque landscapes. The architecture showcases its timeless charm, making it an ideal retreat for a luxurious countryside getaway.
The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

Situated in one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, The Manor House Hotel is one of the loveliest hotels I’ve stayed at. It truly lives up to its name.

As you approach the grand entrance, you'll be greeted by a sense of elegance and history. This 14th-century manor has been lovingly transformed into a luxurious retreat, where every corner breathes timeless charm and sophistication.

Step inside and you'll find yourself surrounded by exquisite details that transport you to a bygone era. Think grand fireplaces, stone and wood beam hallways, and antique furnishings. It's like stepping into a living museum, but with all the modern comforts you could wish for. You’ll feel like a lord or lady in your own country estate.

Now, let's talk about the rooms – they are the epitome of luxury. Each one is individually designed with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring a truly unique and comfortable experience. From sumptuous beds to spacious bathrooms, every element has been carefully chosen to provide the utmost comfort and relaxation.

And let's not forget the views. The Manor House Hotel is set in the middle of beautiful gardens and parkland. Take a leisurely stroll through the manicured grounds, bask in the tranquility of nature, and let the beauty of the Cotswolds captivate you.

If you’d like to venture a bit further afield, the hotel provides a walking map in each room, and Wellington boots to borrow if you didn’t bring your own. Whether you’re looking for a 30-60 minute walk along the river or something a bit longer to one of the other towns nearby, the staff can offer suggestions for the best routes as well.

When it comes to dining, get ready for a culinary adventure that will tantalize your taste buds. The hotel’s restaurant, Bybrook, is Michelin-starred and showcases the best locally sourced ingredients, expertly crafted into delectable dishes.

Whether you're a food connoisseur or simply appreciate a good meal, dining at Bybrook is an experience that will leave you wanting more. Make sure to do the wine pairing for a truly exquisite evening.

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

Imagine a place where the allure of a traditional English pub intertwines with the elegance of a luxury hotel. That’s exactly what you’ll find at The Wild Rabbit, a charming, rustic retreat that exudes English countryside charm.

Located just a short drive from Chipping Norton and Burford, this hotel is nestled amidst the lushest greenery of the Cotswolds, providing the perfect opportunity for a tranquil retreat.

Built in the 18th century, this boutique hotel has been beautifully restored to retain its original character, while also offering guests an indulgent experience. With 12 unique bedrooms - all with their own distinct charm - it's easy to find a place to relax and unwind.

The hotel's restaurant is a highlight, with its emphasis on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a menu that changes seasonally.

Whether you’re looking for traditional English fare or modern European cuisine, you'll find it here. Don't forget to sample the pub's own Wild Rabbit ale - it's the perfect accompaniment to a classic pub meal.

With its warm and inviting atmosphere, beautiful surroundings, and excellent amenities, The Wild Rabbit is a great pick for a luxurious and charming stay in the heart of the Cotswolds.

The Lygon Arms, Broadway

The Lygon Arms in Broadway, Cotswolds. An inviting view of the iconic hotel, featuring a historic facade adorned with vibrant flowers. The charming atmosphere and traditional architecture make it a perfect choice for a memorable stay in the heart of Broadway.
The Lygon Arms, Broadway

The Lygon Arms, located in the heart of the village of Broadway, lets you experience the best of both a Cotswolds village and the countryside that surrounds it.

The inn has been a landmark in Broadway since the 16th century, and its walls have witnessed tales of kings, queens, and famous figures from history.

Walking through its corridors feels like stepping back in time, with every nook and cranny telling a story. You can almost imagine the whispers of secret meetings and the clinking of glasses as guests celebrated life's moments.

One of the best things about The Lygon Arms hotel is its location. Broadway is a vibrant village that serves as an ideal base for exploring the northern Cotswolds. From here, you can embark on countryside walks, visit nearby villages, or simply wander through the charming streets and soak in the picturesque beauty that surrounds you.

Barnsley House, Cirencester

Pink tulips blooming with vibrant colors in Cirencester, Cotswolds. The beautiful flowers create a stunning contrast against the backdrop of a medieval high street, adding charm and allure to the historic town.
High Street, Cirencester

An idyllic English countryside escape, Barnsley House has beautifully landscaped gardens, superb dining options, and luxurious rooms. In other words, it’s the perfect escape if you’re looking to unwind.

Barnsley House is just four miles outside of Cirencester and easy to get to by train from London, but is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

One of the highlights of this hotel is its magnificent gardens and outdoor spaces. Meander through the formal gardens, filled with cascading fountains, lush greenery and stunning blooms. Find a secluded spot to sit back and soak in the peaceful surroundings or relax in a cozy nook under a tree with a good book.

Garden enthusiasts should make sure to take a tour of the many gardens, which were visited by King Charles as he planned his spectacular gardens at Highgrove, also located in the Cotswolds.

When it comes to dining, The Potager Restaurant is a must-visit. The garden-to-table restaurant highlights fresh, local ingredients, with many of the herbs and vegetables picked from the gardens the restaurant overlooks.

Beyond the borders of Barnsley House, Cirencester and the surrounding area offer a wealth of attractions to explore.

One of the best areas to explore is the Cotswold Water Park, about 20 minutes from the hotel. I'll admit, I was a bit confused when I first saw signs for it, why a water park was such an attraction.

I was picturing what we call a water park in the USA, which is usually a bunch of pools and water slides. Can be fun, but not necessarily a big attraction.

The Cotswold Water Park is not that. Not at all.

It's actually one of the largest lake systems in the United Kingdom, with over 180 different lakes. You can have a beach day, go paddle boarding, spot birds and wildlife, and enjoy all kinds of other activities.

Calcot Manor & Spa, Tetbury

A charming street in Tetbury, Cotswolds. Streets lined with quaint shops and historic buildings create a picturesque scene in this vibrant town, offering a delightful blend of heritage and modern charm.
Tetbury High Street

Calcot Manor & Spa, four miles outside of Tetbury, is in an often overlooked corner of the Cotswolds. The hotel and spa are nestled in 220 acres of rolling hills and picturesque landscapes, providing an enchanting backdrop for your stay.

As you approach the manor, you'll be captivated by its timeless beauty, with its honey-colored stone walls and inviting entrance.

Once inside, you'll be greeted by a warm and welcoming atmosphere that instantly makes you feel at home. The interiors strike the perfect balance between traditional country charm and contemporary elegance. The plush furnishings, soft color palettes, and abundance of natural light creates a soothing ambiance.

The rooms at Calcot Manor are designed to envelop you in comfort and style. Each one is thoughtfully decorated with attention to detail, offering a blend of classic and modern touches. From cozy beds that promise a restful night's sleep to spacious bathrooms with luxurious amenities, every aspect has been carefully curated to ensure your utmost relaxation.

Make sure to carve out some time to pamper yourself at the on-site spa. Unwind in the tranquil treatment rooms, indulge in a soothing massage, or take a dip in the indoor pool. You can also spend some time in the fireside hot tub in the winter or the lavender-lined courtyard in the summer. You'll leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world.

When it comes to dining, Calcot Manor delights even the most discerning palates. The restaurant showcases the finest local ingredients, transformed into culinary masterpieces that showcase the flavors of the Cotswolds.

Whether you're savoring a hearty breakfast to start your day or enjoying an exquisite dinner by candlelight, each bite is a delightful journey of taste and texture.

Beyond the walls of Calcot Manor, the charming town of Tetbury beckons you to explore its quaint streets and discover its hidden treasures. From antique shops (the most of any Cotswolds town) to historic landmarks, there's something for every traveler seeking to soak up the atmosphere of the Cotswolds.

If you’re fortunate enough to snag tickets to visit the gardens at Highgrove, the long-time home of King Charles, you’ll find the house located just outside of town. If you’re able to get tickets you need to go, the gardens are some of the most beautiful and lovingly designed that I’ve visited.

Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham

Just up the hill on the edge of the popular spa town of Cheltenham you’ll find Ellenborough Park, a stunning 16th-century estate set within acres of lush parkland. The hotel offers guests the opportunity to indulge in a luxurious countryside retreat with all the modern amenities you could ask for.

Ellenborough Park has 60 individually-designed rooms that are decorated to reflect the quintessential English charm of the building. The hotel's aesthetic appeal is only surpassed by the exceptional dining opportunities available.

You can not only experience fine dining in the hotel's AA rosette-awarded restaurant, but they also have an on-site pub - The Horsebox - that serves up classic pub food with modern twists.

If you're looking for a little pampering, you won't be disappointed with Ellenborough Park's serene spa. Indulge in a pampering spa treatment, take a dip in the outdoor pool, or unwind in the sauna. For those seeking outdoor activities, the hotel boasts beautiful grounds that are perfect for leisurely strolls or even a game of croquet.

Beyond the gates of the hotel grounds, Cheltenham and its surroundings offer a wealth of experiences to explore. Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture, visit historic landmarks, or embark on scenic walks through the Cotswold countryside. There's something for everyone, ensuring that your stay at Ellenborough Park is not only luxurious but also enriching.

The Slaughters Country Inn, Lower Slaughter

The Slaughters Country Inn in the Cotswolds. The enchanting inn is adorned with ivy vines, creating a captivating facade. In this photo, the bare ivy vines provide a rustic charm, hinting at the lush greenery that will soon adorn the building, adding to its idyllic appeal.
The Slaughters Country Inn, Lower Slaughter

You’ll be enchanted as you arrive in Lower Slaughter, a place straight out of a storybook. With its quaint cottages, meandering stream, and picturesque countryside, it's like stepping into a postcard of pure Cotswold beauty. And nestled within this idyllic setting lies The Slaughters Country Inn, ready to welcome you with open arms.

The inn itself is a sight to behold, with its honey-colored stone exterior and ivy-clad walls. As you step inside, the warm and cozy atmosphere embraces you, inviting you to unwind and relax. The inn manages to strike that perfect balance between a traditional countryside inn and a luxurious retreat.

With 31 cozy rooms, all traditionally decorated, and an excellent restaurant, this is the perfect hotel for a weekend getaway in the countryside. Have a drink or bite to eat at the bar, or enjoy a full lunch or dinner in the main restaurant. I highly recommend starting your meal with the country inn sharing platter, with smoked meats, cheeses, and bread. It’s an excellent start to the meal after a morning or afternoon spent walking in the countryside.

It’s not just the inn that will leave you enchanted. During nice weather you can spend time on the hotel’s outside terrace along the River Eye. Take a leisurely stroll along the river, breathe in the fresh country air, and soak in the beauty of the surrounding countryside.

And if you're up for some exploration, many of the other charming villages of the Cotswolds are within easy reach. Both Bourton-on-the-Water and Upper Slaughter are within walking distance of the hotel.

The bottom line

Whether you prefer the tranquility of the countryside, the lively ambiance of charming towns, or the conviviality of traditional pubs, there's a perfect place for you to call home during your Cotswolds adventure

From the idyllic villages of Lower Slaughter and Castle Combe to the bustling towns of Stow-on-the-Wold and Cheltenham, each destination has its own unique charm waiting to be discovered.

So pack your bags, follow the winding country roads, and uncover the hidden gems and luxurious retreats that await you in this captivating corner of England.

If you're looking for more travel inspiration, check out our other Cotswolds travel blog posts or our England travel blog posts.


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