Want to escape the grind and go off -grid for a couple of days of feasting, resting and reconnecting? We’ve handpicked five of the region’s best off -the-beaten-track retreats
Wild Thyme & Honey, near Cirencester
The Cotswolds is crammed with charming little hotels hidden down winding country lanes, so let us help you whittle away the options by recommending this boutique country inn near Cirencester.
Since opening in 2022, Wild Thyme & Honey has featured in The Times’ Hottest New Hotel Openings and Top 50 Hotels lists, and gained widespread attention for its creative renovation and beautiful styling. Guests wishing to make their Instagram followers green with envy will be overwhelmed by gorgeous interior options for the backdrop of their holiday snaps.
Wild Thyme & Honey’s 24 bedrooms are connected to its own cosy pub, The Crown at Ampney Brook. The 16th‑century inn is where guests can enjoy a hearty breakfast, post‑walk pints at the rustic bar and a seasonal supper in the dining room or riverside courtyard.
The Bradley Hare, near Warminster
Those seeking an idyllic retreat in quaint English countryside will find it at this refined Wiltshire pub with rooms.
Nestled within the grounds of the Duke of Somerset’s estate, The Bradley Hare combines traditional hospitality with contemporary interiors and a welcoming village atmosphere. It’s the kind of place where you can play a post‑walk game of Scrabble by the fire with a pint of local ale before scrubbing up for a smart dinner in the dining room.
The kitchen team work closely with Maiden Bradley Community Garden, resulting in a constantly evolving menu brimming with seasonal ingredients. Dishes such as tagliatelle with cavolo nero, egg yolk and Somerset pecorino are simple in composition yet complex in flavour.
Fully replete, retire to one of the gorgeous bedrooms (designed by ex‑Soho House design director James Thurstan Waterworth) for post‑dinner slumber among 18th‑century antiques and elegant fabrics.
Lewtrenchard Manor, near Okehampton
If disconnecting from reality (read: phone, email and the internet) is your definition of an off‑the‑beaten‑track break, may we suggest temporarily relocating to a different era altogether via a trip to Lewtrenchard Manor in the wilds of mid Devon.
Crossing the threshold of this Jacobean manor house is like taking a step back in time. Wood‑panelled walls, stucco ceilings, ancestral portraits and antique furniture transport guests to a bygone era, yet there are also touches of modern luxury that make it a wonderfully comfortable place to relax and reconnect with someone special.
Spend the day exploring the countryside that envelops Lewtrenchard and then reward your step count with an exquisite dinner at its Trencherman’s‑rated restaurant. Many of the ingredients are plucked from the manor’s walled kitchen garden by head gardener Martin.
Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor
Dartmoor’s undulating hills and dense woodland hide all manner of mystical secrets, but potentially one of the most delicious discoveries to be made is the Two Bridges Hotel near Princetown.
The historic hotel’s restaurant has a longstanding reputation for crafting high‑quality seasonal food. Executive chef Mike Palmer turns out exceedingly good multi‑course menus, crafted with ingredients sourced from the area’s best producers. Smoked Dartmoor beef scrumpet, for example, is served with blue cheese, pickled onion and watercress.
Two Bridges’ cosy interiors, friendly staff and location at the end of one of the moor’s most popular walking routes make it a great base from which to explore the area. After an all‑weather stomp, put your feet up in front of the fire and treat yourself to a pint of local Jail Ale.
Thornbury Castle, near Bristol
Hidden in plain sight in the pretty Gloucestershire market town of Thornbury, this hotel and restaurant is steeped in history. It was once the property of King Henry VIII and, although he only spent a few nights at the castle, it’s almost frozen in a time when the Tudors holidayed amid its towers and grounds.
Relaxing in a suite dressed with rich fabrics, royal portraits and four‑poster beds, you couldn’t feel further away from the modern world of social media, to‑do lists and rolling news coverage. There are a few contemporary touches, such as TVs and Nespresso machines, but if you want to go full 16th century they can easily be switched off.
Within the regal, wood‑panelled dining room, executive chef Carl Cleghorn serves three‑AA‑rosette dishes using ingredients from the castle’s own walled garden. The six‑course seasonal tasting menu is a journey of gastronomic discovery and features elegant compilations such as Orkney scallop with kohlrabi, lovage and shellfish bisque.
Read our review of Thornbury Castle here.
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