Two traditional Cotswold inns, with one settled in the idyllic town of Stow-on-the-Wold and the other amongst rolling Cotswold countryside. Stay at one or stay at both. This pair provides perfect bases for exploring the surrounding area. Driving time between the inns is 37 minutes.
Pairing notes: Romantic, Cultural, Walking, Country , Waterside, Dogs, Walking, Market town
England's oldest inn oozes history, tradition and charm, yet cosy contemporary rooms and good pub food make this ancient building a comfortable base for exploring the Cotswolds.
The striking, stone-built Porch House, in the heart of Stow-on-the-Wold, is reputedly England's oldest inn, dating back to 947AD. In its time it has also been a hospice, a family residence and a sweet shop. Now, transformed into an informal and stylish modern-day inn, the building still retains its ancient character and charm.
Expect worn flagstones, wonky walls and ceilings, low beams, exposed stone and blazing fires in period fireplaces. Rambling across the two floors of the building the 13 rooms showcase period features - beams, stone walls, old fireplaces - and all sport a fresh, contemporary feel.
Cosy 17th-century riverside inn with its own moorings reserved for guests, as well as a cosy bar, restaurant and six stylish bedrooms.
Nestled deep within the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, the 17th-century Trout at Tadpole Bridge celebrates the very best of British country life. Surrounded by fields and with the river Thames flowing just outside the door, the menus make the most of fresh fish and local game, while the cosy bar and boutique guest rooms are the perfect place to relax in classic Cotswold comfort.
It is well placed to explore the upper reaches of the river, whether sailing along it (there are four moorings reserved for guests) or following the tow path that runs alongside it.
Nearby Moreton-in-Marsh, just a short drive away, has plenty of country houses and gardens to explore. Batsford Arboretum has over a thousand varieties of trees including cherries, azaleas and rhododendrons: the colours are especially striking in spring and autumn. Or, situated to the west of Moreton-in-March, Bourton House Garden is an award-winning visitor attraction with spectacular topiary, superb herbaceous borders and a unique shade house.
History lovers should visit Chastleton House, a fine Jacobean mansion with a striking south front. The house was built by a local wool merchant in the early 17th century, who purchased the estate from Robert Catesby, one of the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
Horticulturalists shouldn't miss Hidcote Manor Gardens (pictured above). Full of rare shrubs and trees, herbaceous borders and unusual plants from all over the world, it's one of the country's finest gardens boasting superb views across the Vale of Evesham from the garden.
Located in the idyllic Oxfordshire Costwolds, an area known for its breathtaking scenery, pretty villages and open countryside. The area is rich in wildlife due to its location in the upper Thames floodplain whose traditional wildflower meadows are home to rare wading birds, butterflies and flowers such as meadow foxtails and green-winged orchids. Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Gardens, the largest privately owned zoo in the UK, is less than 10 miles away (pictured below).
For a culture fix, head to Buscot Park, which features one of the finest art collections in the country; Ashdown House, which was built for the "Winter Queen" - Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia - in 1662; Kelmscott Manor, the home of William Morris who founded the Arts and Crafts movement; or simply take a stroll around the charming market town of Bampton, which doubles as the village in the period drama Downton Abbey. Alternatively, make your way to Oxford, the "city of dreaming spires", to explore its historic architecture.