Find out why we recommend the Lords of the Manor Hotel for a weekend in the Cotswolds…
Spreading some hundred miles or so through Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, the Cotswolds are renowned for their beauty and the soft-hued, honey-coloured stonework which is synonymous with the region. Often tucked away in gentle valleys, gurgling streams and meandering rivers, these little gems satisfy some inner desire to recapture a lost way of life, to develop an inner calm and to step away from the hustle and bustle of 21st century life – making them the perfect place for a UK weekend break.
Where to stay in the Cotswolds
There are few large towns in the Cotswolds. Cirencester claims the title of the region’s capital (not surprising when in the Roman times it was second only to London) but you also have Chipping Campden, Chipping Norton, Moreton-in-Marsh and Burford whose picture-book high street slopes down through the town to the banks of the River Windrush below. However, it’s often the villages who manage to upstage their bigger, better-known neighbours. Settlements such as Bibury, the Slaughters, the Rissingtons and Lechlade, which nestle on the banks of the infant Thames, take the breath away and provide a real sense of oases of tranquillity, untouched by modern development and free from the hectic urban life of today.
We’ve often stayed in beautiful Bourton-on-the-Water, which is quite a tourist hub these days, so were excited to try somewhere a little more tranquil but just as (or possibly more!) picturesque on our recent visit -– Upper Slaughter.
Upper Slaughter’s a much more peaceful spot than Bourton; no real shops to speak of, aside from a quirky spot next to the village water mill and cafe, which is also a hop, skip and a jump from the village’s lovely pub, The Slaughters Country Inn. The main thing to do here is go for a stroll out in the country air, past the chocolate box houses alongside the River Eye, out into the fields, or down to the pub.
Lovers of history and architecture will be in awe of some of the buildings here – the mill makes a gorgeous photo, but there’s also the highly impressive Upper Slaughter Manor and Eyeford House; which was once named England’s favourite house by Country Life. Rumoured to be where John Milton began writing Paradise lost, sadly it’s not always open to the public, but often takes part in NGS open days, so keep your eyes peeled.
Similarly, the Elizabethan Upper Slaughter Manor is a private home (house goals!) with a driveway to dream of, so isn’t open to the public. However, as a part of the Historic Houses collection, it does open up to the public for tours of the house and gardens during the summer months. For the next open day dates, keep an eye on the Historic Houses website.
If, like me, you love historic houses then I have just the hotel for you. Lords of the Manor Hotel is right next door to Upper Slaughter Manor – it was actually part of the same estate until 1852, giving you a chance to live a life of classic luxury, if just for a day or two!
Who could possibly be better to show you the ‘best of the Cotswolds’ than the lovely bloggers that live there? Here’s the insiders’ guide to the Cotswolds…
Cotswolds hotels – The Lords of the Manor Hotel
A Jacobean building, the Lords of the Manor building began life back in 1649 and was converted into a luxury hotel back in the ’70’s. The property is very impressive, when you arrive you feel like you’re entering a BCC period drama!
Going through the grand entrance we were greeted by a member of staff who took us to reception and got us checked in. I loved the entrance, with its worn, well-loved rug, grandfather clock and row of wellies for guest to use if they want to go out and explore the eight acres of grounds and beyond. This is what we did on the Sunday morning after breakfast – the hotel can provide guests with a map of local walking routes and so we picked the easiest, donned some wellies and headed out. First we went for a wander around the gorgeous gardens and grounds of the hotel, but then we headed off towards the village, following the Warden’s Way public footpath through some fields and along the river. Even though it was a grey and occasionally rainy February that we visited, I enjoyed every second of that stroll, even splashing through the puddles like a big kid.
But if you’re after something more relaxing and well, warmer, the ground floor of the hotel has a number of quaint little lounges, where you can relax with a book or a drink, or like us, a board game or two.
Before dinner we also headed down to the bar for a drink and I loved the decor – classic with a modern twist. The room next door; one of the largest lounges also had a gorgeous fireplace, a lovely spot to spend the evening and also, where I later discovered, where the hotel serves afternoon tea. I’d definitely love to come back and try this out for myself.
Rooms at Lords of the Manor Hotel
After checking in, we were escorted to our room, Lyttleton, on the first floor of the main building. Decorated in fitting with the property, the room was spacious, with a desk, two nightstands and all the usual suspects like TV, tea making facilities etc, as well as two cosy armchairs by the window, which overlooked the beautiful grounds we would explore later.
The highlight was the bathroom though; which had a large shower and a massive standalone tub next to an old fireplace – I set aside some time to enjoy that beauty and had a decadent deep bath, sprinkling in some jasmine bath salts which was part of the Damana toiletries set.
What makes the room stand out were the little touches, like the note welcoming us, the freshly baked biscuit left for us to enjoy, the shower mat rolled up with a little bow and even the folded toilet paper!
Dining at Lords of the Manor Hotel
The Lords of the Manor is renowned for its dining options, and during our stay we were very impressed with the quality of service – staff were always attentive and had a smile.
The Lords of the Manor Hotel has two restaurants; the award-winning Atrium offers a tasting menu, while the Dining Room offers guests a more relaxed setting and an a la carte menu.
The latter was where we had our evening meal, after enjoying a game and a drink in the bar. We started with some gorgeous warm sourdough and a dish of olives with a strong flavour and a good spicy kick.
I found my ham hock starter to be sadly bland, but this was made up for by my main; a masterpiece of red wine-braised beef, served with a rich sticky jus that made my tastebuds squeal with joy. This was served with a potato puree, which was perfectly creamy, a sharp salsa verde and some steamed broccoli.
I also have to say the restaurant was very good when it came to my food intollerances – I let them know I was on the low fodmap diet before I arrived and they made sure that the food I had was safe for me to eat. Usually the steak would be served with onion, but as I requested to avoid that, they kindly gave me some extra carrots instead. Another example of the exceptional service I had here.
Finally, we treated ourselves to a dessert. Well, I also had some lovely vanilla ice cream, but Justin’s sticky toffee pudding looked so good he had to share! The sponge to toffee sauce ration was spot on, but this dessert got extra points for the clotted cream topping and the caramelised pecan nuts. We’d come back for this alone!
Breakfast at Lords of the Manor is also head in the Dining Room, with a side room turned into a buffet area where you can get fresh fruit juices, cereals and pasties etc (these I highly recommend as they were light and flakey, and finished off with a dusting of icing sugar).
Again those special touches came out – our breakfast tea was loose leaf and served with a pot of hot water to refil, and as well as the buffet we had a choice of porridge oats or half a fresh grapefruit as well as a cooked english breakfast, eggs benedict, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or grilled smoked kippers. We went for the first two options, which we both enjoyed thoroughly.
Discover what to do in the Cotswolds in winter with this handy guide…
I really enjoyed my stay at Lords of the Manor – our room was lovely, the food was great and the service brilliant. The property and grounds are absolutely beautiful and provide a great base for getting out into the country air, exploring Upper Slaughter or even further afield in the Cotswolds.
Personal highlights were the main meal at dinner time, that bath and the quality of the service. Every member of staff was always happy to help, take the time to chat with you and offer their own tips and advice on what to eat, or what to go and visit. Our visit to Lords of the Manor was a wonderful way to spend an early Valentine’s break, if you’re looking for somewhere special for a weekend escape this won’t disappoint.
Rooms at the Lords of the Manor Hotel (including breakfast) start at £180 on their website at time of writing.
A weekend in the Cotswolds: Lords of the Manor Hotel review – Pin for later!
My stay was complimentary for the purposes of review, but all opinions are my own.