Checking Into The Cotswolds

As spring made its eagerly awaited appearance with an abundance of cherry blossom and the prospect of brighter evenings, it also signalled a rather important social occasion in the diary, my birthday. Following the Easter bank holiday weekend, I was fortunate enough to be whisked away by Mr G to the Cotswolds.


As we drove through the rolling countryside and headed north of the Cotswolds, we made a pitstop for lunch at Soho Farmhouse in Great Tew. If you're not already familiar with the rural playground frequented by the Beckhams, royalty and former Prime Ministers, I can only describe it as Centre Parcs on steroids. The 100-acres of land offers anything and everything - Cowshed spa, cookery school, luxurious cinema, horse riding, football pitches and plenty of watering holes to keep you hydrated.

Aside from the resident pub and outdoor lounging, the farm has three dining areas - the Main Barn, Pen Yen at the Boathouse (Japanese) and weekend feasts at the Haybarn. Soho Farmhouse is only accessible to members (plus there's a strict no photo policy hence the lack of snaps!) but if you fancied an overnight stay in one of their cabins or hotel rooms, you have full access to the Farm throughout your stay. Well worth checking out or should I say, check in. You can enquire here.

After lunching with a Masterchef judge (well, not entirely true, but he was sat very close by) and spotting one of my favourite interior bloggers cycling around the stables in her leopard print wellies, we're back in the car and en route to Broadway in Worcestershire, just outside of Chipping Campden.


Much like it's neighbouring villages, Broadway is quintessentially English. Often referred to as the "jewel of the Cotswolds" and it's not hard to imagine why. The roads are lined with chocolate-box cottages and gardens brimming with daffodils, tulips and camellias. The local stores are independently run (although you will find a Budgens tucked away behind the High Street) with lots of country clothing, deli's and art galleries.

Our chosen hotel was The Lygon Arms, an old Cotswold favourite which has recently undergone a major refurbishment with the addition of contemporary comforts whilst maintaining many of its period features.

The hotel itself is enshrouded in history with the earliest of its roots dating from the 1300's. The former Coaching Inn was a key connection between Wales, Worcester and London during the Tudor and Elizabethan times. Oliver Cromwell stayed at the Inn the night before the battle of Worcester in 1651 (you can stay in that very suite fittingly named after him) and King Charles I and his supporters would often gather here, as would many actors, writers and celebrities throughout the years right up until present day.

If you plan to arrive by car, finding the car park can be tricky but feel free to leave it out front as there's a valet service on offer. As you walk through the same door as many previous greats, you're greeted by the comforting aroma of log fires and freshly brewed coffee. It's easy to get lost in the warren of passage and cosy alcoves, the well-worn steps and crooked doorways only add to the character of this wonderful hotel.


Check in was seamless and we were promptly escorted to our upgraded junior suite by friendly porter, Les. The room had a comforting feeling to it with soft furnishings, exposed beams and lead-framed windows overlooking the pretty courtyard. The bathroom was spacious with twin basins, bath/shower and fully stocked with Floris products. Having booked our stay through luxury travel company Mr & Mrs Smith, a half bottle of Tattinger was already on ice when we arrived in the room. A nice touch for a girl who loves her fizz!


Later that evening, we booked into the hotel's main restaurant in the Great Hall - a striking room with a vaulted ceiling offering a fine dining experience which has earned the restaurant two rosettes. We enjoyed a feast of potted rabbit and ham hock as well as Cold Valley smoked salmon - both served with sourdough. For our mains, we had Gower salt marsh lamb chops and the Caldecotte free-range chicken with purple sprouting broccoli and not forgetting the chips (of course!) We had a great meal and were happy to see a Franschhoek Protea on the wine list {Read my posts from wine tasting adventures in South Africa here}.

Our only disappointment from the evening was the service but this was raised at the time and and I have to say, this did improve over the following days at breakfast. Let's put it down to an off day!


The Lygon Arms epitomises "rest & relaxation". As a treat, my sister had booked me a head, neck and back massage after a lovely soak in the jacuzzi. it was bliss! You can swim, lounge, steam, exercise or simply be pampered. The choice is yours. The spa is open to local members but not overly busy.


As I lazily recline into a plump of cushions with newspapers in hand, I feel a generous sense of calm and wellbeing. There's a very good reason that the Lygon Arms has been a firm favourite in the Cotswolds for so long.

"Owners have changed, names have altered, but visitors have always flocked to The Lygon Arms"

Wondering what you can do in the Cotswolds? PLENTY! Check back soon for my next post covering riverside pubs, outstanding views and a visit to the renowned Daylesford Farm.

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