The Cotswolds is best known for its characterful, honey-hued limestone villages in a beautiful rural setting. Before heading out to explore, check into one of Chic Retreats recommended boutique hotels in the Cotswolds such as Dormy House, a stunning new 40-room luxury hotel with elegant interiors by Todhunter Earle, a state-of-the-art spa and two dining rooms (choose from fine dining in the Garden Room and comforting classics in The Potting Shed). Spa junkies should also consider the more contemporary boutique hotel choice Cowley Manor: book in for their signature Cloud 9 treatment, a sublime combination of a holistic massage with aromatherapy, reflexology and acupressure. Or, if you’d like a modern take on a traditional coaching inn, why not head over to the Old Swan & Minster Mill, the river setting is lovely during the summer time when you can enjoy a game of croquet.

Start your trip to the Cotswolds by looking round the market towns of Moreton in Marsh (a market is held here every Tuesday), Chipping Norton (don’t miss Station Mill Antiques Centre which has 80 dealers under one roof) and Stow-on-the-Wold. Then, it’s an easy four mile drive to Bourton-on-the-water, which straddles the river Windrush and has been called the ‘Little Venice’ of the Cotswolds because of its bridges. Other towns worth checking out include Chipping Campden and Burford, the southern gateway to the Cotswolds, which has a sloping high street full of independent shops, old world pubs and tea rooms.

Days out in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds also boasts a handful of glorious gardens such as the National Trust-owned Hidcote Manor gardens, Kiftsgate Court, which is renowned for the Kiftsgate climbing rose and Westbury Court garden, an example of a formal early Dutch water garden. There’s also Sudeley Castle, which has stunning gardens, exhibitions in the east and west wings of the castle, medieval ruins and an adventure playground. If you’re travelling with children, a day out at The Cotswold Wildlife Park should be top of your list while adults will want to head for Daylesford Organic in Kingham, the award-winning farm shop and cafe owned by Lady Bamford. Produce is picked fresh from the market garden daily and you can tuck into venison and cranberry pie or burgers for lunch.

If you’re a keen cook, you can book onto a day course on everything from artisan bread making to lessons in how to master the perfect pudding and butchery. Another excellent cooking school in the Cotswolds is Thyme at Southrop Manor, which is run by chef Daryll Taylor and the brilliant Marj Lang. Courses range from foraging to world food and even parent and child classes where you can work together to whip up a delicious lunch. If you’re still hungry at dinner, book a table at perhaps one of the most famous pubs in the Cotswolds, The Swan at Southrop (thanks to sometime local resident Kate Moss). You’ll find roaring fires in the winter, a traditional skittles alley and dishes such as beef Bourguignon or baked Cornish mackerel fillet on the menu.


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worcestershire, united kingdom

Award-winning Dormy House Hotel & Spa sets the (very high) standard for luxury Cotswold hotels and is sure to captivate the hearts of everyone who stays. Possibly the best boutique hotel and spa in the Cotswolds.

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oxfordshire, united kingdom

Perfect for a group of friends or family or just for two, Beachspoke's Yarrow Cottage is a 2-bedroom chocolate box cottage in the Cotswolds. This 300 year old property has been completely renovated making it the perfect year-round alternative to a boutique hotel in the Cotswolds just 5 minutes from Kingham train station.


cheltenham, united kingdom

Cowley Manor is a country house hotel and spa in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. This luxury hotel is surrounded by 55 acres of gardens, lakes & cascades. The 30 rooms have all been designed by outstanding young British designers.


broadway, united kingdom

'Whatever you fancy, wherever you fancy it' is the rather cheeky motto at Foxhill Manor, the newest country house hotel in the Cotswolds. With just 8 rooms, this lavish boutique hotel can also be taken over in its entirety for your very own house party where children of all ages are accepted.


minster lovell, united kingdom

Situated in glorious English gardens by the River Windrush in picturesque Minster Lovell, 17th-century Old Swan & Minster Mill is the perfect boutique hotel from which to explore Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. 


cheltenham, united kingdom

In the heart of the Cotswolds just 5 minutes from the centre of Cheltenham, The Greenway Hotel and Spa provides the ideal combination for a relaxing country and city break.  


lower slaughter, united kingdom

The Slaughters Inn is a beautiful 17th-century building (once an Eton cramming school) sitting directly on the River Eye in the heart of the Cotswolds. Situated in Lower Slaughter, one of the prettiest villages in England, it mixes contemporary chic with traditional splendour throughout it's 30 bedrooms, restaurant and bar.


cotswolds, united kingdom

The Wheatsheaf Inn in Gloucestershire is Lulu's favourite small boutique hotel in the Cotswolds. A stay at this Chic Retreat is all about the simple pleasures in life: real food, real ale and real comfort. This traditional coaching inn is just like staying in a small boutique hotel but a stay here is like being given a big hug.

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