Great British Boltholes: The Slaughters Inn, Gloucestershire

Nigel Tisdall grabs an autumn break in the Cotswolds

Nigel Tisdall grabs an autumn break in the Cotswolds

Why go? To relax in a stylish country inn that won’t break the bank.

Best for: A quick dose of fresh air, leafy walks and a comfy bed for the night. Close to Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower Slaughter is a film set-pretty village that attracts Londoners looking for a hassle-free getaway − and, of course, Japanese tourists. Weekends get busy so try to go mid-week if you want cheaper rates and a quieter mood.

The look: Get ready for stone-flagged floors, beamed ceilings, mullioned windows and lots of ‘Mind Your Head’ signs. Set beside a river with well-kept lawns and creeper-clad walls of honey-hued stone, The Slaughters Inn used to be a school for prospective Eton students – some of its 24 rooms are in the old dorms. Today the style is restful and contemporary with white duvets, coloured throws, small bathrooms and a cosy feel. Some ground floor rooms can seem a bit damp so ask for the upper levels − Westbury, set on a corner, is an attractive superior room while Timbralls is a spacious junior suite. Alongside the main building is a run of six cottages that will suit families, hen parties and dog-owners.

I’m hungry… Brightly lit with mirrored walls and a function room feel, Eton’s Restaurant does a decent full breakfast (included in the room rate) but is best avoided for dinner (apparently a refurb is on the way). You’re much better off in the Scholars’ Lounge, a snug bar with real ales, log fires and pine tables. With no music, TV or branding, it’s refreshingly low-key − dogs are welcome and you can get afternoon teas with jam and scones as well as pub grub including sharing plates and a pie of the week (£10.95). A bottle of house wine costs from £17.50. If you’re after some fine dining, consider the Sixteen 58 restaurant in The Slaughters Inn’s sister hotel, Lower Slaughter Manor (lowerslaughter.co.uk) which is just across the road.

While you’re there… Stroll beside the River Eye admiring this super-cute village complete with spired church, old water mill and the obligatory shop selling fudge. It’s an easy, half-hour walk along the Wardens Way bridlepath to Bourton-on-Water where the Cotswold Motoring Museum (cotswold-motor-museum.com) is packed full with gorgeous vintage cars. You can go riding at the nearby Overdale Equestrian Centre (overdale-equestrian.co.uk) and if you’ve got a car don’t miss Daylesford Organic (daylesfordorganic.com) and the Dubarry of Ireland outlet (dubarryboots.com), both near Chipping Norton.

Dress code: Think vintage dress with cashmere cardie, a rock chick feeds the ducks… The staff sport pale blue-and-white shirts with jeans. Expect mud.

Book now: The Slaughters Inn, Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire, GL45 2HS (01451 822143; theslaughtersinn.co.uk). Double rooms cost from £95 including breakfast, or see the website for special offers. Wifi is complimentary. A taxi from Moreton-in Marsh rail station takes around 15 minutes and costs £15.

Info: Slow Cotswolds (£14.99; Bradt) is a handy guide or see cotswolds.com.

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