BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Gloucester, Cheltenham and the honey-hued limestone villages of The Cotswolds all fall under Gloucestershire’s beautiful banner. The Chic Retreats collection of boutique hotels in Gloucestershire feature several boutique hotels in The Cotswolds including the Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach, a 14 room modern take on a traditional coaching inn where you can guarantee you’ll be served real ales at the bar and great food in the restaurant. For pure luxury, consider Cowley Manor, a country house hotel and spa in Gloucestershire: book in for the signature Cloud 9 treatment, a sublime combination of a holistic massage with aromatherapy, reflexology and acupressure. Another great choice if it is pampering you are after is The Greenway Spa Hotelwhich is just 5 minutes from Cheltenham. And for excellent accommodation on a small scale, book into Oak House No. 1, a luxury hotel in Tetbury, Gloucestershire (it’s near Highgrove so you might bump into Prince Charles in town), which has just 4 rooms filled with an eclectic mix of art, antiques and unusual objects.
Gloucester makes a great starting point from which to see the county. It’s most famous attraction is the 7th-century cathedral which has a whole new fan base thanks to its appearance in the Harry Potter movies as ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’. Nearby Cheltenham is renowned for hosting a handful of festivals throughout the year, from the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in the spring to the Cheltenham Literary Festival in October. Tickets for the festivals sell out fast so do book tickets in advance if you can.
Active, adventurous types might want to get outdoors and walk all or part of The Gloucestershire Way. It crosses from the Welsh border town of Chepstow, through the Forest of Dean, the Severn Vale and finally, The Cotswolds before it continues west to the River Severn Tewkesbury. Tewkesbury itself is a medieval town with a 12th-century Abbey worth visiting. There are also plenty of villages and towns waiting to be discovered in The Cotswolds - from Bourton-on-the-Water to Chipping Norton and Burford - plus a handful of glorious gardens.
Foodies should enrol in cookery courses at Daylesford Organic in Kingham or Thyme at Southrop Manor. And if you prefer eating food to cooking it yourself, you can’t go wrong with dinner at two Michelin-starred French restaurant Le Champignon Sauvage, run by chef David Everitt-Matthias and his wife Helen. If chilled-out gastro pubs are more for you, try The Butchers Arms in rural Eldersfield, near Gloucester. You’ll find old wooden tables, roaring log fires in the winter and real ales served straight from the cask. Produce is locally sourced and the menu is seasonal; dishes could include onion tart with melting wigmore cheese, cider braised pigs’ cheek with egg yolk ravioli or Seville orange marmalade pudding with Drambuie custard. There’s alsoThe Gloucester Old Pot near Cheltenham, The Swan in Southrop and of course, one of Chic Retreats hotels in Gloucestershire, The Wheatsheaf Inn. Even if you choose not to stay here, do pop in for a meal. The food - slow cooked pork belly, confit duck leg - is sublime.