A two-day tour winding through the pretty and scenic roads of the Cotswolds in the delightful spring weather. This route includes small country towns, chocolate box villages and typically English countryside.
“The most English and the least spoiled of all our countrysides” wrote JB Priestley in 1933.
The honey-yellow stone towns and villages of the Cotswolds have enchanted visitors for generations and it is a perfect touring area with quiet, meandering roads and quaint architecture. This region is an area of outstanding natural beauty and our suggested route will take you along the most scenic drives, and offers plenty to do and see.
May be subject to change.
Arrive in Southrop any time after 3pm and check in to your room. For those arriving early, indulge in afternoon tea, enjoy a stroll through the village, relax in the Olive Garden or explore the kitchen gardens. Enjoy a dinner at The Swan just a moment’s walk away.
Today’s circular tour takes you round the northern part of the Cotswolds. Surrounded by rolling green hills, dotted with sheep that made the area so rich from the wool trade, visit the towns that prospered during those times. Start with lovely Northleach and then drive onto the stunningly pretty villages of Lower and Upper Slaughter. Head on to Stow on the Wold, a town that made it’s fortune on the medieval wool trade.
Continue on to the quintessentially English, hilltop village that is Snowshill, owned by the National Trust and then the pretty village of Broadway, just over the border in Worcestershire, where the Cotswolds join the Vale of Evesham. Broadway makes a great place to stop for lunch in one of the fine restaurants dotted along the wide main street. Proceed to Hidcote and the famous gardens and then on to Chipping Norton and Burford, before heading back to Southrop.
Visit the beautiful village of Bibury, with it’s famed Arlington Row, before driving onto Barnsley, where Barnsley House (now a hotel) has gorgeous gardens by Rosemary Verey. Then it’s on to the Cotswold Water Park followed by the lovely town of Tetbury. Westonbirt Arboretum is the next point of interest. Then turn north to Stroud and Painswick Rococo Gardens. Head onto Winchcombe and Hailes Abbey. Drive back towards Southrop, visiting Chedworth Roman Villa.
Depart for home at your leisure.
Thyme is a collection of 17th-century, honey-hued stone cottages scattered across the sprawling Southrop Manor estate and offers a classic country break in the Cotswolds. Well, almost: the green pastures, home-farmed cuisine and assorted heirlooms are present and correct, but look closer and you’ll spy mod-rustic interiors and a cookery school prepping future Michelin-star holders.
The rooms are situated in the houses and cottages around the courtyard to the north of the magnificent barns. They are a moment’s walk away from the reception and Baa which sits adjacent to the beautiful Tithe Barn. The Baa is an elegant drawing room where teas, herbal infusions and coffees are served throughout the day. There is a wonderful wine and cocktail list which specialises in carefully selected English wines, sparkling wines and botanical cocktails which take seasonal inspiration from the herbs growing in our gardens, water meadows and hedgerows.
With few exceptions, everything on your plate is grown or farmed on site. Thyme has a two-acre kitchen garden for herbs and vegetables; eggs come from the resident hens, quail and geese, and lambs and pigs are reared in the grounds. The hotel recycles and composts waste, heating comes from a wood-pellet-fuelled boiler or a ground-source heat pump (in the Tithe Barn and cookery school).
Dinner is recommended at The Swan pub, just a few moments away in the village centre, a lovely pub-restaurant that has stayed true to its country-pub roots, championing localism (ingredients’ ancestry is traced on the menu) and dishing up hearty portions. Dishes are mostly modern British, with a little Italian and French influence. Breakfast is served in the Tithe Barn.
- An extensively researched and carefully designed itinerary to optimise your trip