Oh Cotswolds…the destination of the rich and famous. I have yearned to see this jewel of weekend gateways for a very long time, so when the opportunity to visit this beautiful part of Gloucestershire came about, I didn’t need to think twice.
Armed with my best friend and a bottle of bubbly, we boarded a train for Honeybourne from London’s Paddington station, and headed for our little country adventure. In less than two hours we arrived at Honeybourne and after a short taxi ride, we found ourselves in the centre of Chipping Campden, a charming 14th century town.
We were hosted by The Kings Hotel – part of the Eden Hotel Collection. Crowned a “AA ‘Small Hotel Group of the Year’ for 2014 – 2015”, the Eden Hotel Collection is a privately owned portfolio of eight beautiful properties across the UK. The hotel sits right in the heart of this charming and endearing town, characteristics of which are present throughout the hotel premises. The décor was a mixture of traditional and modern, warmth and elegance.
Our room wasn’t quite ready yet when we arrived, so we took this opportunity to explore the local area. We took a stroll through the stunning market town lined with limestone houses, quirky little shops and cafes. After the, ahem, strenuous 30-minute walk around the town, we rested our tired little feet at the delightful Bantam Tea Rooms, where we indulged in homemade scones and coffee.
After a calorific refuel, we took to the hills and wandered some more. The air was fresh and the views spectacular. Needless to say, we worked up an appetite, so we made our way back to The Kings Hotel to check in. On arrival we discovered that we were to stay in a twin room named “Blockley”, which was one of a few rooms within a charming cottage, away from the main building.
After settling in, we headed down to the main restaurant for our dinner, set in a cosy room with rich wooden beams, an open fireplace, and artwork on the walls. We sat by the window – a perfect spot from which to gaze at the dim-lit square.
The restaurant has been approved by a Michelin guide inspector and has also been awarded 2 AA Rosettes, so our expectations were flying high. And I’m happy to say they were met! Our meals were outstanding. To this day the Wild Mushroom Arancini, Baby King Oyster Mushroom and Parmesan Crisp I had for starters holds a magical power over me and would easily convince me to hop on the train back to The Kings Hotel any day. It was so tasty both my friend and I indulged in another portion (one each!) the next day before leaving back to London.
For the main I ordered the Pan Fried Monkfish, Soft Herb Gnocchi with Braised Shallot and Onion Consomme – a meal with the same pulling power as my starter. I finished off with the delicious Baked White Chocolate Rice Pudding with Blood Orange and Passion Fruit. My companion opted for the Citrus Cured Sea Trout with Horseradish and Fennel, which was also exceptional. For main, she had the Sirloin Steak with Triple Cooked Chips, and finished off with the Rhubarb and ‘Ginger Arctic Roll with Duck Egg Custard.
Not only did all our meals taste amazing, they also came beautifully presented. The menu is seasonal and changes daily. So if you’re enjoying a longer stay than ours you’re guaranteed new delights each day. And I’m pleased to say that breakfast the next morning was as satisfying as our dinner, offering a wide buffet selection as well as hot food to order.
We loved our stay at The Kings Hotel – great comfortable boutique style room, warm and welcoming staff and what’s more, a true culinary experience. And I got a taste of Cotswolds so I can now understand its mass appeal. So, where can I get a good pair of wellies…
- An overnight stay at The Kings Hotel starts from £90 per room (based on two people sharing) and price includes full English breakfast. For bookings visit www.kingscampden.co.uk or call the hotel on 01386 840 256. The Kings Hotel, Lower High St, Chipping Campden GL55 6AW; Nearest Train Station: Honeybourne.