The trend for smaller, quirkier hotels in the UK doesn’t seem to be slowing down and while there are plenty of new openings setting up camp in the big towns and cities, we often find ourselves craving some peace and quiet in the country. Combining all the traditional hotel comforts with glorious views, romantic country walks and seriously good farm-fresh food, here are our favourite countryside openings to escape to this year.
After reopening late in 2015 following a stylish facelift throughout, this is one of our favourite new Cotswold boltholes for 2016. At The Trout you can trundle up in your wellies or better yet, float in by canal boat along an infant and serene River Thames and moor-up right at the bottom of the garden. Then, all that’s left to do is settle down at the smart copper bar to a pork and apple scotch egg and a Sipsmith G&T or indulge in whole chargrilled rainbow trout and aged steaks in the restaurant. The six bedrooms are everything you could want in stylish retreat; lovely calming tones, sink-into-me claw foot tubs and a hint of vintage in the form of brass beds and reading lamps. The idyllic location – a gateway to fly fishing streams, long riverside strolls and shooting adventures – means you can control the pace if you feel like swapping the wine by the fire for the great outdoors.
It’s hard to beat the Pig hotels when it comes to boutique shabby-chic and this year’s hotly anticipated opening in Devon’s Otter Valley is tipped to become the pride of the litter. There’ll be the same laid-back style and home-grown food ethos but this time presented with a certain Downton-esque charm in the form of Combe House, a grand Elizabethan manor. After the mile-long approach through some of its 3,500 acres, within the Grade I-listed house there’ll be classic country romance in the period décor and restored Victorian glasshouses, as well as flawless food straight from the garden kitchen. The 33 rooms will come with the Pig’s trademark characterful touches, including a spacious attic suite, while outside a 600-year-old thatched longhouse offers the perfect spot for private luncheons or dinner parties.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Painswick then earmark this new opening for your 2016 diary. The postage-stamp Cotswold village is your archetypal chocolate-box scene with tiny grey-stone streets studded with adorable vintage boutiques and antiques shops. The Painswick will be opening its doors in spring when you’ll have a choice of sixteen rooms to rest your head, each promising snug Cotswold comforts, as well as a few pampering treatment rooms to sweeten the deal, but it will be the feasting menus and tasty treats from the chef’s larder that will be the true feather in The Painswick’s cap – the restaurant team here are aiming for high gastronomic status and with Michelin-starred chef Michael Bedford at the helm, you can rest assured that these guys can really cook.
Nicole Harley is Editor at The Epicurean.