Stay here: The Wild Rabbit, Kingham
Well, this is a no-brainer. Anyone who lives in or near the Cotswolds has no doubt already heard of The Wild Rabbit, the super-chic 12 room boutique hotel that revolutionised the humble inn with its pretty stone, Farrow & Balled ledges, and gorgeous reworking of rural luxury.
This one of those rare glorious features where the photos will do most of the talking – yeah baby, I’m gonna rest my fingers right here! But just to set the scene, Kingham is on the Oxfordshire side of the Cotswolds in a foodie’s paradise of local villages and towns that includes Kingham, Churchill and Chipping Norton. You’re spitting distance of Daylesford Farm and its food shop and spa (reinforce your wallet, it’ll get a battering), the National Trust beauty of Chastleton House, and the luxury of Soho Farmhouse in Great Tew. So if you’re heading towards this part of the Cotswolds, set your face to smug, because you’re going to have a really stylish time.
The Wild Rabbit is owned by Carol Bamford, doyenne of all things organic, tasteful and foodie and truth be told, if you’re not averse to that now typical Cotswold style of exposed stone, Farrow & Ball everything and bleached wood, there’s little to fault here. Slick service, attractive surroundings, and excellent good in relaxed surroundings – it awarded Pub of the Year 2015 in the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs guide, and has just been awarded a Michelin star (as of Oct 2016 for 2017).
The main dining room is gorgeous, as you can see, but there are also lots of smaller spaces – nooks, crannies, open fires that allows for a more relaxed space too, so ideal if you were planning to come out for a lunch with friends.
But back to the food. My steak was well presented, beautifully cooked to my medium-medium-rare request (oh come on, aren’t you particular too?!), and followed with an exquisite dessert of lemon pannecotta, lemon curd and yoghurt sorbet.
On the bedroom front, mine was average in terms of luxury – yeah I know that sounds a bit like I’m hanging out in The Connaught every week (er, nope!) but I suppose what I’m trying to say is that my basic double room was no better or worse than any other high quality Cotswold inn.
The bathroom is modern and great, bed is firm and comfy, there are cool books left out for my perusal and a clever rustic touches like this branch hook. A small double as I had would set you back £150 which is very reasonable. There are, however, much more ‘wow’ luxury rooms like the one below (a luxury double, £275) if you really want to push the boat out, with 4 that lead direct to the garden and a family room option too (£375). You’d be pretty happy hanging out in here I think!
Anyway, back to real life. In the morning, the fun started again, with a beautifully-presented buffet breakfast, beetroot juice and – bugger it, why not? – an eggs benedict.
Thank God there are so many walks around here – I desperately needed to walk off my food, so we set off to Churchill, ending up at its which has a beautiful church complete with replica church spire to Oxford’s Magdalen College Spire.
The Wild Rabbit looks very pretty in the sunshine, but its warm Cotswold stone and log fires will undoubtedly come into their own as the autumn/winter takes hold. There’s little in the way of outside space but then who needs it with the Cotswolds as your back garden? Put this one at the top of your list for romantic nights away, family walks and lunches, foodie jaunts from the city and venues certain to impress the in-laws.
The Wild Rabbit, Church St, Chipping Norton OX7 6YA. Tel: thewildrabbit.co.uk