Great British Boltholes: The Lygon Arms, Broadway, Worcestershire

Take it easy in a famous four-star Cotswolds hotel now enjoying a new lease of life

Take it easy in a famous four-star Cotswolds hotel now enjoying a new lease of life

Why go? The Lygon Arms is a former coaching inn that’s been welcoming guests for almost 500 years. Once part of the Savoy hotel group, its hosted numerous stars and celebrities and sits in the heart of a super-pretty village that epitomises the Cotswolds good life. NB: don’t confuse it with The Lygon Arms Hotel in nearby Chipping Campden, especially if you’re using sat-nav…

Best for: An indulgent and easygoing short break. With its civilised pubs, village green and honey-hued thatched cottages, Broadway is a good place to meet up with friends and relatives, or just have a romantic moment. The Lygon Arms welcomes children and dogs, and it’s often used for weddings and celebrations.

I’m a celebrity get me in here: 50 years ago this month Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor checked into The Lygon Arms

The look: Old, very old… Think beamed ceilings, flagstone floors, creaky floorboards, rampant wisteria and 19 fireplaces. There’s even a four-poster bed with 1620 carved in the woodwork. The main building houses a warren of inviting lounges and the barrel-vaulted Great Hall restaurant, with a jumble of bedrooms above. The Broadway Suite is a good pick if you want somewhere a bit special but quiet, and be aware that some of the hotel’s 78 rooms have rather dated bathrooms. At the back of the hotel is a modern wing with more rooms and a health club with a spa and heated indoor pool. Beyond this lies some gardens with a tennis court – a boon if the weather’s good.

Beam me up: an attic bedroom at The Lygon Arms

I’m hungry…
In June 19 year-old Luke Thomas launched Luke’s Broadway, a small bistro-style restaurant (closed Monday and Tuesday, lukesbroadway.com) at the front of the hotel. This serves modern British dishes including a succulent lamb rump and Eton mess – ask for a table in the more attractive front room. Luke’s been winning culinary awards since the age of 15 and the prices, from £15.50 for a main, make this a good option for a relaxed, satisfying meal. Alternatively, you can dine in the grander Great Hall restaurant, which has two AA rosettes, where a decent full English breakfast (£19.50) is also served. Broadway’s High Street offers plenty more dining options, including the popular Russell’s (russellsofbroadway.co.uk), but perhaps the best way to have a foodie moment at The Lygon Arms is to order a sumptuous afternoon tea (£20) in one of the hotel’s many cosy lounges. And maybe a glass of champagne…

Hen party: St Michael’s Church in Broadway

While you’re there… Get your bearings with a walk up to the hill-top Broadway Tower (broadwaytower.co.uk), a 90ft-high folly built in 1798 by the 6th Earl of Coventry – there’s also a handy and rather chi-chi cafe and gift shop here, Morris & Brown (morrisandbrown.co.uk). To learn more about the town, book a tour with Broadway Art Tours (broadwayarttours.co.uk), which is led by local resident and artist Jeremy Houghton. Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum has just opened an outpost here (ashmolean.org/broadway), while the Gordon Russell Museum (gordonrussellmuseum.org) was the workshop of a renowned furniture designer whose family once owned The Lygon Arms. There’s also plenty of shops selling antiques, kitchenware and country kit to potter around. Further afield, Sudeley Castle (sudeleycastle.co.uk) is open until 3 November, or drive ‘The Romantic Road from Broadway’, a circular, three-hour tour available from the hotel’s concierge. For horseriding, head to Stanton (cotswoldsriding.co.uk).

Over the hill: take a walk up to Broadway Tower

Dress code:
Well-heeled but relaxed.

Book now: The Lygon Arms, High St, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7DU (01386 852 255; thehotelcollection.co.uk). Double rooms in September cost from £145 with breakfast, with prices generally higher at weekends. Wifi and parking is free. A taxi from Evesham rail station takes around 20 minutes and costs £15.

Info:
Slow Cotswolds (£14.99; Bradt) is an in-depth guide to the area. Useful websites are beautifulbroadway.com and cotswolds.com.

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