Great British Boltholes: The Slaughters Inn, Gloucestershire

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  • 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 ( 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 ( is packed full with gorgeous vintage cars. You can go riding at the nearby Overdale Equestrian Centre ( and if you’ve got a car don’t miss Daylesford Organic ( and the Dubarry of Ireland outlet (, 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; 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


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