The English Countryside, what a dream! I absolutely love the countryside during the cold months – the fresh crisp air, the starry sky, the winter stillness. You get a Christmas feel like no other.
We went to Cirencester which is part of the Cotswolds, you could tell as they have idyllic houses, made with yellow brick stone and perfect porch doors.
We stayed at the Stratton House Hotel & Spa which is just outside the town of Cirencester. It is the place to stay if you want a traditional, unique English countryside feel. It was originally a manor house, which is evident from the elegant high ceilings and entrance hall and wide staircase.
The room was a mix of traditional wood furniture, a fireplace (not in use), all finished with a rich tartan mix of soft furnishings. The bathroom had more of a modern feel, with a bath and rain shower and it was quite big for a bathroom which I liked.
The hotel had a spa with a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and a relaxation room where you could have lemon water (or normal), relaxation music and there was mood lighting. I could have very easily fallen asleep. It was lovely to have the spa element with a countryside stay.
The drawing room was lovely to sit in with a tartan carpet, plates decorating the walls and armchairs in relaxing shades of blue, brown and mustard yellow. It felt for me like someone’s sophisticated grandparents’ home, making you feel warm and cosy.
We had a meal in the garden restaurant, serving a wide range of options as well as very good wine! The waiters/waitresses were very kind and attentive.
The next morning, after a buffet breakfast or as I had a yummy scrambled eggs with salmon on toast, we explored Cirencester and their unique independent boutique shops. A church sat in the centre of town and I can just imagine what the area would look like covered in snow it would be magical.
The Stratton House Hotel & Spa is the ideal place to base yourself to discover the many delights of the English Cotswolds.
Set in the beautiful English countryside sits the Cotswolds region, famed for its honey-coloured stone architecture that enhances the charm to the already very pretty towns and villages of the region.
In under a 2 hour drive from London, the rolling hills scattered with flocks of grazing white sheep and the autumnal vistas begin to relax you in readiness for the destination ahead.
Located just outside the Cotswold capital of Cirencester is the village of Stratton, from which the Stratton House Hotel and Spa gets its name.
Dating back to Jacobean times, the original owner was a wool merchant and in WWII the building was used as a military hospital for the American army. Today it offers 43 elegant en-suite bedrooms, a wonderful traditional bar and a Garden Restaurant with a delightful walled garden terrace.
The hotel also has a modern spa located in the garden and offers a Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, quiet room and mood power showers that all allow for pure indulgence, relaxation and rejuvenation.
From the grand front door you feel the city stress begin to ebb and even as you enter the lobby you know you are in the real deal as there is reassuringly and as you would expect from a grand country house, a wellington boot stand!
The entrance hall is inviting with a glistening chandelier and the natural warm honey yellow stone slab flooring offers a grand staircase with paintings of the past lining the walls.
Once checked into our gorgeous room for the night, we headed for the long awaited R&R in the spa. A wide variety of pampering wellbeing and beauty treatments including, massage, body wraps, manicures/pedicures, are on offer alongside the use of the spa facilities. The whole experience whether a day long or a few hours, will nourish your mind, body, and soul.
Pre-dinner drinks from the traditional low ceiling beamed Oak Bar with a real log fire burning in the corner made you want it to be snowing outside for extra cosiness! The serene blue decorated drawing room with plush furnishings gave a modern yet elegant feel to the room.
Dinner was in the Garden room. Although dark outside, it would be wonderful in the lighter months with the big patio doors opening out onto the terrace and lawns on warm summer evenings. With a great selection of wines and food, there is something for everyone and no request was too much trouble. The restaurant is open to guests and locals, so there is always a buzz about the place.
Back in our room, the calming décor was a mix of traditional and modern, while giving a luxurious feel to the whole environment. The modern bathroom as huge with a pedestal bath and rainforest shower.
After a good night’s sleep a crisp autumn morning greeted us with a view over the surrounding countryside. A simple but plentiful continental breakfast was on offer with a variety of cooked breakfast options.
It would be easy to get used to the calm sophisticated vibe of the Stratton House Hotel all too easily, but exploration waited.
The hotel caters not only for leisure, but also has three function rooms suitable for a range of events and sizes. There is also the added bonus of plenty of parking onsite and wifi across the venue as well as all the usual essential equipment required for such events.
The hotel can accommodate up to 100 for a sit-down meal or 80 if you are including a disco and 120 guests for a buffet. The Library is on offer for smaller meetings/training. While the Stratton Suite is the largest room and breaks down into two smaller meeting rooms.
The staff were wonderfully friendly, keen to help and make you feel home from home.
Although we have been to the Cotswold’s before, there is also so much to discover. This time we explored the city of Cirencester which is the second oldest town in England after London. With traditional stone architecture and a wonderful array of independent and regions shops, time passed easily. At the heart of the town centre is the St. John the Baptist church and market square.
The city has a number of attractions too, but do not miss the Guinness Book of World Record holder for the longest and tallest Yew Hedge in the world! The 300 year old hedge is part of the Bathurst Estate, a grade II listed country mansion. The hedge grows in a semi-circle around the house and was planted in 1720 by the first Earl of Bathurst. Today is measures 40ft high and 150ft wide.
Enroute into Cirencester we pasted through Kemble which is famous as being the source of the River Thames. Driving down picturesque country roads towards Burford we passed through the gem of a village; Bibury, an idyllic village which captures the Cotswolds perfectly, complete with a babbling river and stone bridge; so typically a English chocolate box scene. Here you will find the famous Arlington Row of cottages, recognised nationally for their architectural significance. This very small village is highly popular with tourists in summer, but even now we could not find a parking spot, so it is on the list for next time!
Burford is another of the regions quintessentially English Cotswold villages and is a delight. Known as the gateway into the Cotswolds, the medieval town was once a centre for the wool trade. It has a pretty town centre church, and is bustling with cafes and unique shops.
With a perfect stay in the heart of the region at the Stratton House Hotel & Spa, it is an ideal base for discovering this stunningly beautiful region of England. And with the prospect of a relaxing spa at the end of each day, what more could you wish for!