A Cotswolds road trip: Artist Residence and The Fish Hotel
Back in October, Oliver and I travelled up to The Cotswolds on a mid-week road trip to celebrate our recent engagement.
If you hadn’t already heard, The Cotswolds is a pretty unique (and beautiful) patch of the UK: a collection of individual villages spread across four of Britain’s counties, and famous for its ridiculously photogenic scenery: think sandstone houses set amidst rolling hills (basically an Instagrammer’s dream).
Rewind back to October, and the two beautiful boutique hotels that we stayed at.
We drove up to Oxfordshire in the evening, and after losing our way a couple of times, repeatedly exiting the roundabout at the wrong turning, and bickering over who was supposed to be taking directions, we finally arrived at the Artist Residence Oxfordshire. The boutique hotel makes the perfect autumnal hideaway: it’s essentially a renovated pub called The Masons’ Arms, with rooms upstairs.
After warming up by the fire with some snacks, the extremely friendly hotel manager Phil showed us to our bedroom…whilst we had originally booked a Farmhouse Loft, Phil had kindly upgraded us to the Barn Suite - the best room in the house!
The Barn Suite is located in (yep you guessed it), a renovated barn that’s separated from the main house, so you get that extra bit of privacy. Upcycled features such as a vintage wardrobe and mirror, a jewel-coloured bathtub, and a comfy sofa with colourful embroidery give the suite a cosy sense of home; the piece de resistance, however, is without a doubt the incredible four-poster bed, that looks like it’s straight out of a woodland fairytale. There’s more than enough space for two in the bedroom, whilst also feeling incredible intimate.
After collapsing for the night, we had a leisurely morning and ordered room service, (something I often like to indulge in when on holiday). After enjoying our feast of eggs, toast, and pancakes, it was time to check out; as we’d arrived late in the evening, I really wish we’d had more time to enjoy the hotel, but this means that I’ll definitely be returning - now onto the Cotswolds, which is only a half hour drive away!
Our first stop was the village of Bibury (famed for Arlington Row), before driving on to Burford for lunch with Oliver’s mum at The Lamb Inn. The last stop was Broadway, a village in the north Cotswolds, to spend the night at The Fish Hotel on the Farncombe Estate, which is also home to its two sister hotels: Foxhill Manor and Dormy House Hotel. Our ‘Hilly Hut’ room here was pretty much the opposite of our suite at Artist Residence: a tiny (but extremely cosy) renovated Shepherd’s Hut with breathtaking views over The Cotswolds. From the outset, it was truly idyllic.
There are only five Hilly Huts on the estate; each has a private terrace and outdoor hot-tub, and is surprisingly roomy inside, fitting a double bed, sofa, and wood burning stove. Once we spied the outdoor hot-tub, we obviously had to take a dip; and it just so happened that the most spectacular sunset was happening at the same time.
The hours sped by and before we knew it, it was time for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant: The Hook, which unsurprisingly specialises in seafood - the haddock scotch egg was spectacular. We finished the meal with homemade fudge and a cup of tea, before retiring to our Hilly Hut to watch a movie in bed.
The room was honestly one of the cosiest I’ve slept in, and I was genuinely so disappointed to leave the next morning (you get a breakfast hamper delivered straight to your bedroom!). The Cotswolds is a beautiful part of the UK all year round, but personally I prefer it best in autumn. It’s not too cold outside, yet it feels cosy enough to snuggle up inside. The sandstone villages also ‘wear’ autumn very well, and I can’t recommend staying at the Artist Residence or The Fish Hotel enough.