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Short stay: Burleigh Court, near Minchinhampton, Cotswolds, UK

Virginia creeper branches, as thick and sinewed as a farm worker’s thigh, grow across the weathered Cotswold stone of Burleigh Court.  This is a hidden gem, a charming country hotel with a superb restaurant, where old world charm marries with contemporary comfort. Featuring 18 rooms, this boutique hotel, looks out across Gloucestershire’s Golden Valley: named after its kaleidoscope of autumnal colours, where honey-coloured farmhouses cling to steep hillsides. This is a restful haven for country walks, books by the log-fire, deckchairs on the terrace, relaxing over afternoon tea and possibly a spot of shooting: there is space in the safe for up to four guns. Surrounded by three acres of terraced gardens – and some of the Cotswold’s 4,000 miles of dry-stone walls – there are plenty of secluded spots and sun traps for relaxation. The welcome Camouflaged by country house sofas, an elegant fireplace and a mini-gallery of country-themed artwork – plenty of dogs and horses – reception is low key and relaxed. Formalities are minimised,  dinner reservations checked. We are relieved of our luggage and soon shown to the room. The room Foxgloves, Room 2, on the first floor, is a large room with a romantic four-poster bed. Two curved windows, with wooden shutters, one with a window seat, look out over the terrace and croquet lawn. Large enough to take a bold Amanda Ferragamo wallpaper of silver ferns and silver birds, there is a luxurious hint of a Georgian country lady’s bedroom with restful botanical prints and spacious dimensions from a bygone era. Yet, amongst the antique furniture, wide marble-topped dressing table and striped-back floorboards there are comfortable reminders of the 21st century: a digital radio disguised as an archaic wireless, a 55 inch wall-mounted flat-screen television and a Nespresso espresso machine. The bathroom With crystal chandelier-style lighting there is a spacious grandeur to a bathroom that is larger than some hotel bedrooms. Organic toiletries are provided in generous sized bottles. If you become addicted to their fragrances they can be purchased from reception. The facilities In this country retreat, walking routes for strolling through the locale are available in reception, deckchairs and a hammock are in place to take a break from croquet lawn. A plunge pool, surrounded by sun-loungers, is ready in summer for cooling dips. Throughout the day, the bar and restaurant are open for residents and non-residents, seeking out lunch, afternoon tea or settling in for dinner. Largely locally sourced, the two AA  rosette wood oak-panelled restaurant has sustainability as a key objective. Slashing transport miles, wines are only sourced from Europe, and plans are in place to become more self-sufficient by expanding the kitchen garden. A starter of a Forager’s Salad, garnished with micro herbs from that kitchen garden emphasises the theme. Though a celeriac fondant with mushrooms is one of the most popular starters. A creative main course is a duo of venison: medallions of loin cooked sous vide at 58 centigrade for an hour accompanied by a small suet pudding of flakes of venison captured in a beef and red wine jus. Vegans are catered for with an intensely flavoured King Oyster Mushroom Wellington. Location Although many Cotswold highlights are within a short drive including Cheltenham, Highgrove, Slimbridge, Westonbirt Arboretum, nearby Stroud and many picture-perfect Cotswold villages – most guests at Burleigh Court tend to park up and relax. The 600 acres of Minchinhampton Common are just a short stroll away, with orchids as an attraction in June and July: Bee, Common Spotted, Early Purple, Fragrant and Pyramidal are some of the orchids most frequently ticked off. Though look out too for wild cyclamen. Other nice touches Blankets are available for sitting on the terrace and taking in views of the Golden Valley as the sun sets. Dogs are very welcome, with a separate dining room for dog owners. The antique gramophone in the lounge is an heirloom from the owners’ family. Burleigh Court hosts occasional floristry courses, currently focusing on decorative wreaths, with forthcoming courses teaching The cost For travel in November, a room only stay in Burleigh’s new four-poster ‘Romantic’ category suite is priced from £209 per night (Sunday-Thursday) and £229 per night (Friday and Saturday). For travel in December, the room is priced from £219 per night (Sunday-Thursday) and £239 per night (Friday and Saturday). Wild Foodie Foraging Experience are available from £65 per person or £130 per couple, the group sessions run from 9.30-2.30pm and are available on 4 and 18 November. It includes a guided foraging walk with Burleigh’s in-house Kitchen Gardener and Foraging Expert plus a Wild Food Lunch. Burleigh can also accommodate private foraging experiences on request The best bit “Don’t munch on a hunch,” advises Emanuelle as she leads us on a foraging lesson, introducing us to a world of knowledge that has been lost to most people since the Industrial Revolution. Emmanuelle’s knowledge of foraging is forensic as she advises on cross-referencing aromas, leaf formations, stems, habitat and reference books as she introduces us to a world of healthy free food. We learn how to source a hedgerow ketchup, to add conkers to our washing as a fabric softener and how to gather ingredients for decadent looking nettle latte with cinnamon and honey. A foraging lesson is followed by a three course foraged lunch back at Burleigh Court. The final verdict Less than two hours from London but a world away, Burleigh Court is a relaxed escape from everyday life, with a welcoming home from home ambience. Since 2019, the new owners, ripping up the old carpets and throwing away formal white table cloths, have brought both style and an easy comfort. A consistently improving restaurant must be pushing for a third AA rosette. Locally renowned, having won the Muddy Stilettos Award for the Best Boutique Stay in 2021, Burleigh Court is now drawing guests from afar. Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Burleigh Court

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards is a travel writer from Oxfordshire, UK. Although Michael had his first travel pieces published nearly four decades ago, he is still finding new luxury destinations to visit and write on.

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  1. It’s an often a forgotten page of history that thousands of houses like Burleigh Court fell into a derelict state between the wars. It’s fantastic to see some of them being restored not just to their former glories but often to a much better state. From the pictures it’s as if Burleigh Court is really being cared for nicely.

  2. Not a part of the Cotswolds that I’m familiar with but it looks glorious and well worth a visit. I get the impression that it’s at its best in Autumn?

    1. I was there last week and autumn hadn’t arrived yet, the valley wasn’t that golden. It will probably take some frost to get the full autumnal golden colour. Perhaps the valley will be at its most colourful in early November.

  3. The foraging is an exciting and quirky option though I’ve always said that we really don’t make the most of God’s gifts that are all around us.

  4. I haven’t stayed at Burleigh Court since summer 2019 when the new owners had just taken over. The views of Golden Valley were stunning then. Any season would be the perfect time to land here for the warmest of welcomes, eminating ambience, beautiful rooms & exciting menus cooked to perfection by the young chef. Can’t wait to return very soon.

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