As the nights and days begin to frost, the desire to get out of London and truly feel the crisp crunch of walking boots on grass begins to set in, and a visit to the country is top of the priority list. But where to go? The scene from the popular festive movie, The Holiday, comes to mind with Cameron Diaz perusing an online website for her ultimate week of winter solitude.
When filtering by location, where does she happen to land? The Cotswolds.
Known literally and historically as an ‘area of outstanding beauty’, visitors to the area are hard-pressed to find a more serene and peaceful area to enjoy. With a wide number of accommodation options, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to choose a location – particularly when luxury is front of mind. Burleigh Court is a great choice.
Cosy, elegant and refined accommodation
The intimate country house-style hotel, reminiscent of a luxury manor, is situated in the green hills of the Cotswolds. A scenic drive, the approach to the stone building offers a gradually emerging building, hugged by 3.5 acres of lush gardens and panoramic countryside views – the result is really quite outstanding and dramatic.
A tranquil place to visit throughout the year, the autumn months really capture the traditional beauty of the architecture, steeping the foliage adorning the building in beautiful reds, orange and amber hues.
The friendly family-run team are on-hand to welcome you to Burleigh Court, carrying your luggage up the wooden staircases and handing over weighty and classic style keys. There are a range of room categories, from Comfortable to Top Notch, all the way to an on-site Holiday Cottage which boasts enough space to sleep up to six guests. The Lodge is slightly separate to the hotel and is surrounded by private gardens and features a decked area for alfresco dining, a patio area with wood-fired hot tub and a lawned area with a pretty floral border.
We checked into a splendid room which had gorgeous views over the sprawling gardens. A giant spacious and plush bed occupied the centre of the room with large windows to drink in the rolling fields. A step-down bathroom boasted a power shower and fluffy robes – all the touches you need for a comfortable stay.
Fine dining with a difference
A highlight of any visit to Burleigh Court should always involve a visit to the restaurant. Offering the best dishes served farm-to-fork, the menu is a revolving one – making the most of the best seasonal ingredients at all points of the year. The restaurant itself is cosy and classic, with intricate wood panelling and classy comfortable furniture. Boasting two rosettes, the most fresh ingredients are sourced from their on-site ‘Kitchen Garden’ and all wine is selected from local old world boutique vineyards. From intimate dinners, sumptuous Sunday lunches to divine afternoon tea all within panoramic views of the countryside, the spot is a must-do whilst here.
The fare is classic British with European influences and the night in question of our visit saw dishes such as hand-dived scallops, oven roasted chicken breast, sirloin steaks and other classic meat and fish dishes. Prior to our selection, we were served up four different types of ‘mini loaves’ each with a unique and distinct flavour. Most notable was the charcoal bread – which was black in colour and very rich in flavour – accompanied by a delicious candied apricot butter.
To start, we opted for a classic antipasti and olive selection, with a mountain of Italian meats and pickles, alongside goats’ cheese with beetroot and homemade sorbet. Delicately light and beautifully presented, the goats’ cheese starter was standout, accompanied by tasty walnuts and a wonderful accumulation of all the autumnal flavours.
For main, we were happy to be guided to the hotel’s renowned and generously sized 16 oz Wiltshire 35-day dry aged chateaubriand to share. This was recommended to be served medium and accompanied with roasted tomato, mushroom, seasonal greens and the most addictive triple-cooked chips. The meat is so rich and tender you hardly need an accompaniment, but all the same, it was served with a beef jus which married together all of the striking flavours.
If you’re a dessert fanatic, we would probably advise a lighter main course as we were too full for the final course. That said, with some friendly and energetic persuasion from our charming waitress, we were convinced to try some of the homemade ice creams – a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of salted caramel.
With bellies full, it can be tempting to slip off to the room for an early night, however there are a plethora of comfy spaces around the hotel to sit and enjoy a nightcap. These include the charming nook-style bar at the entrance of the hotel or the elegant lounge. Expertly-mixed cocktails are available including classics and more intricate pours.
A visit in the summertime will allow guests to fully enjoy the grounds which have a number of patios, hammocks and even a historic outdoor plunge pool that is open from mid-June-September. The pool isn’t heated and certainly beckons the brave in those colder months, but its classic style is worth the stroll into the gardens the whole year around.
Things to do in the area
With a hotel that offers this much charm and class, there’s hardly a need to leave the venue. That said, there are some beautiful areas surrounding the hotel that garner a mention. Stroud is close by, which offers a fantastic range of vintage, thrift and antique shopping options. Just a short drive away is the wonderful town of Cirencester, the ideal location to have a long, lazy lunch or visit one of the many high end boutiques. The famed Cotswold Water Park is also a stone’s throw away for lovers of water-based activity and sports.
Alternatively, a range of activities are also available to book through the hotel including, but not limited to, clay pigeon shooting, golfing trips and in-room massage and relaxation treatments.
If you’re looking for a classic destination outside of London that is friendly, opulent and standout in terms of dining, a trip to Burleigh Court is just what the doctor ordered. Certain rooms also allow pets too. It’s total Cotswold relaxation with a splash of luxury.
To discover more, visit: burleighcourtcotswolds.co
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All imagery courtesy of Burleigh Court.