Cotswold Luxe Breaks

When you think of the Cotswold your mind instantly thinks of quintessentially English villages built in honey-coloured stone cottages, old churches; or maybe market towns to browse antique shops or foodie stores; plus some of the country’s greatest palaces, castles and country houses.

The Cotswolds actually covers a huge area almost 800 square miles and runs through five counties Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire. Exploring each is fun as the different areas; each has their own identity, yet all with those defining Cotswold features: golden stone and rolling hills, the ‘wolds’.

The Lakes by Yoo Cotswold England Mr & Mrs Smith (Check Availability)

The Lakes by Yoo’s luxury villas don’t have a straw of thatch on them; these family-welcoming, Cotswolds home-from-homes are contemporary country stays, in a traditionally bucolic setting. Sprung from the creative well of design collective Yoo Studio – co-founded by Philippe Starck – they were destined to be a little avant-garde: ghost chandeliers, egg-shaped bath tubs and a playful streak are present and correct. Alfresco diner Elsa’s menu shines a tractor beam on local produce, and the lakes are an endless source of fun, whether you’re kayaking or zip-lining across.

Foxhill Manor Cotswold England Mr & Mrs Smith (Check Availability)

Foxhill Manor, the little sister and near neighbour of boutique hotel Dormy House is a lot like its sibling, but that little bit, well, boutiquier. With just eight bedrooms, the revitalised Arts and Crafts mansion is a contemporary Cotswolds country home with 400 acres to play in, a kitchen at your beck and call, and a sprinkling of rock-star style (check out the comic-book-collage walls of the cinema room). This off-Broadway showstopper is where you come for a champagne-bucketload of privacy, rolling valley views, and one-step-ahead-of-you service.

Thyme Cotswold England Mr & Mrs Smith (Check Availability)

Pack the his ’n’ hers Barbours for Thyme boutique hotel, a collection of 17th-century, honey-hued stone cottages scattered across the sprawling Southrop Manor estate – this is a truly 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, a cookery school prepping future Michelin star-holders and model types holding court in the village local – so maybe throw a designer ensemble in the suitcase, too…

Calcot Manor Cotswold England Mr & Mrs Smith (Check Availability)

A 14th-century farmhouse set three miles from Tetbury, amid the leafy rural roll of the Cotswolds, Calcot Manor offers the acme of family escapes, with child-geared facilities at every turn and a parent-pampering spa. Family-friendliness, however, doesn’t mean that the hotel’s a passion killer – the couples-only rooms in the main house, sophisticated fine dining, and an outdoor hot tub mean the manor’s as appealing a destination for twosomes as it is for toddlers.

Dormy House Cotswold England Mr & Mrs Smith (Check Availability)

A boutique hotel in the Cotswolds, by honey-hued Broadway village – is a 17th-century farmhouse given a 21st-century twist by Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons’ interior-design talents, Todhunter Earle. Retro-chic rooms reflect the hotel’s cosmopolitan clientele, with cosy and clean-lined rooms in neutral hues and original features, or Emily Todhunter's bold geometric prints alongside bespoke Scandinavian-style furnishings. There's also an exclusive-use manor on site, and the hotel is set near Broadway Golf Club (on the 400-acre Farncombe Estate), offering timeless views from the rooms, the restaurant – where you’ll dine on cleverly composed Cotswolds’ fare – and the locally lauded country pub.

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa Cotswold England Mr & Mrs Smith (Check Availability)

Lucknam Park is the hotel that has it all: award-winning spa and wellness centre, Michelin-starred restaurant, 500-acre estate and even stables home to 35 glossy-flanked horses. Lucky fillies and stallions – their Chippenham stomping ground is peaceful and private, the gardens gorgeous. Tennis courts, croquet lawn, football pitch and a cookery school are further feathers in this handsome hotel’s hat.

Cowley Manor Cotswold England Mr & Mrs Smith (Check Availability)

Once you have taken in the astonishing grandeur of this Italianate stone house near Cheltenham, you may think yourself convinced that whatever is within cannot match it. To call the look 'designer' doesn’t do justice to Cowley Manor’s funky, flamboyant aesthetic; the effect of cowhide window seats and comical papier-mâché ‘hunting trophies’ is certainly a world away from the usual country-house hotels.

The Slaughters Manor House Cotswold England Mr & Mrs Smith (Check Availability)

Luxe drapery in opulent fabrics – yup. Sexy aubergine and taupe colour scheme – check. Enormous, Princess-and-the-Pea-dimensioned bed – can’t miss it. The Slaughters Manor House knocks the traditional formula for rural retreats on its head, with all the boutique-hotel trimmings you'd expect of a designer pad in town. Only, instead of busy streets and high-rises, at this stately country manor in the Cotswolds you're surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens, a tiny village and, beyond that, rolling fields. Perfection.
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