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Thyme, Lechlade, Cotswolds
A gorgeous world unto itself, Thyme is Britain's answer to those rural Tuscan hotels set across dreamy old villages. In this case the village is honey-stone Southrop, sat prettily beside the River Leach in the Cotswolds. With a spa and an acclaimed restaurant, it's a sublime retreat for adults, and attracts sybaritic foodies and city escapees as well as locals - such as Kate Moss. You live exquisitely here, but the pricing is steep even for the Cotswolds.
Thyme is on the eastern side of the River Leach, overlooking its own fields and made up of a farmhouse, the Swan pub, the village's former rectory, cottages and barns, and a few elegant new-builds. Enjoy walks from the doorstep and, best of all, morning tours of the magnificent kitchen garden (April to October).
Thyme Hotel & Spa is in Southrop Manor's 150-acre estate, surrounded by grazing sheep and farmland.
By car: Thyme is 2 hours' drive from London and 1 hour 15 minutes from Bristol. There is on-site parking at the hotel.
By train: Trains from London Paddington to Charlbury (via Oxford) take 1 hour 15 minutes. The station is a half-hour taxi ride from the hotel. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
Those wishing to recharge - and to relish living off the land in serious luxury - will love it here. The plant illustrations on the menus, drawn by Caryn, are beautiful.
Service & Facilities
Smiling staff are there if you need them but mostly keep a sensitive, low profile. Dogs are welcome at the Old Walls cottage.
- Tennis court
- Swimming pool
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
- 24-hour front desk
The most splendid room is English Rose, a suite in the former rectory, furnished with antiques and a chandelier in the bathroom. We love the little flask of mead left in the room at turndown.
Cosy Double, Elegant Double, Divine Double, Garden Rooms, English Rose, Cedar of Lebanon
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom, tea and coffee-making facilities, fresh linen, TV, free Wi-FI, newspapers, bathrobes, True Grace toiletries
Food & Drink
Dine under majestic beams in the strikingly converted Ox Barn, where some of the wonderful desserts include clementine and Campari sorbet.
The Swan: informal, pub-style food made from locally sourced produce. Currently closed.
The Ox Barn: fine dining, set lunch menu and seasonal dishes at dinner. Open for lunch 12-3pm Thursday-Sunday, and dinner 6-9pm Friday and Saturday. Mains from £16.
The Baa: cocktail list inspired by the seasons and the kitchen garden.