WHY GO Just a 1 hour 20-minute train journey from central London is country house hotel, The Rectory, on the edge of the Cotswolds in the picturesque village setting of Crudwell. We headed there to escape London for a night and instantly felt home away from home. Their check in was super welcoming and relaxed, which fitted with their unpretentious country hospitality promise. When asked what newspaper we’d like in the morning I immediately dreamt of turning my iPhone off and giving some serious time to reading the papers from start to finish – a rare and blissful moment.
The stylish, but understated interiors make this a countryside hotel with a real edge. They’ve restored many of the original 18th century features like the flagstone flooring, dark oak panelling and rustic beams, which paired with velvet sofas and contemporary framed artwork give an effortlessly cool vibe.
On the ground floor, there’s a myriad of spaces to chill out – at the front of the hotel you’ll find a living room and a drawing room – both pleasant settings with log fires and comfy sofas. On one side of the hotel is a quaint dining room and at the back there’s a bar overlooking the beautiful English garden. Here you can enjoy cocktails, schooners of beer on draft and all-day canapés. There are cosy corners everywhere you turn. We visited in early spring, but in the summer months the hotel opens up their swimming pool for guests and serve drinks poolside. Did someone say sundowners?
THE ROOM The hotel has recently undergone refurbishment and they’ve cleverly thought out every detail. All of the 18 individually designed bedrooms are stunning (three of them are in a separate cottage just behind the main hotel building – I’m already plotting a return visit there for a celebratory occasion with family).
When we first entered the bedroom, it was impossible not to smile - it felt like a proper countryside treat. The only decision we had to make was where to retreat to first. The huge bed, packed with trendy Urbanara cushions and throw, the free-standing bath tub or the cute window seats overlooking the garden and village church? Tough choice.
The chic but quirky interiors and cool colour palette will have you redesigning your own home in your head all over again. All the bathrooms are kitted out with rainfall showers, Bramley natural bath and body products and the most instagramable Bert & May tiles. Outside the bedrooms on each landing, there are honesty bars with drinks, sweets and savoury snacks, treats galore!
YOU REALLY MUST Eat and drink everything, everywhere. We arrived just in time for Sunday lunch and walked straight over the road to The Potting Shed pub. It shares ownership with The Rectory and is a long-established favourite with the locals. It’s not hard to understand why. The warm and welcoming atmosphere had me wishing that lunchtime could last all day. Whilst it was really busy the service was personal and attentive.
They call it Cotswold pub dining at its best, and I wouldn’t consider arguing. Sunday roasts are a big deal for me and thankfully, this one met all of my culinary wishes. Their ingredients are sourced locally and seasonally - we feasted on a trio of meats, crispy roasties, greens, creamy but crispy topped cauliflower cheese. Plus, a yorkie so big that it probably should have requested its own plate and all washed down with a bottle of tasty Argentinian Malbec.
After a short restful moment back in the room (I was having withdrawal symptoms from the free-standing bath tub, naturally) we made our way down to the hotel’s dining room for dinner. It's open to non-residents too and its charming setting is worth travelling for. The food doesn’t disappoint here either. Wondering how we possibly have space for more food, we decided to taste a selection of starters.
Highlights were the Gruyère and Dorset truffle toastie, buratta with blood orange and fennel, and short rib agnolotti with Taleggio fondue, but the stand-out plate was the grilled Brixham scallops with N’duja butter and preserved lemon. A true delight of a dish! Very full, but putting mind over matter we had to sample the cheese trolley IRL. Extra. To end our ultimate foodie day, we ordered the very apt English Garden cocktail from the bar (gin, elderflower, apple, cucumber, mint) and moved onto the drawing room to unwind and discreetly unbutton [my jeans].
Unsurprisingly still a little full from the night before, but eager not to miss out on any of The Rectory's gastronomical offerings we found ourselves at their serene breakfast setting, The Glasshouse (in the summer months they also serve dinner here). It’s the sort of place where you'd want to sit all morning and order a healthy first course (toasted sourdough with avocado) and follow with an indulgent second course (buttermilk waffles).
Reluctant to check out we began the trip back to London, via Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, to walk off the most indulgent past 24 hours. Their tree top walkway gives incredible views of the magical garden and we were lucky enough to visit during blossom season. Literally, the perfect countryside escape from London.
Room rates from £130 per night double bed and breakfast, visit therectoryhotel.com to book.
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