In beautiful Gloucestershire countryside, with a high street bursting with 17th and 18th century buildings, and just a short drive to Bath, we’ve found the perfect spot for a short break this autumn
Make a base camp
Spend a little while wandering through the village of Marshfield and we’ll guarantee you’ll find something that catches your eye. Whether it’s the mullioned windows or unusual shell porches, or maybe a “step back in time” quirky shop, it’s an almost mile long visual treasure trove.
One of the stand-out buildings is The Catherine Wheel; its elegant frontage dates back to around 1680 and the interior is even older. It’s a great pub, with ales from Cotswold Spring and Butcombe, which also happens to do rather nice food. It’s very popular with the locals – always a good sign, as is the fact that it’s been under the same ownership since 2001. Roo Allison and her team have hit the mark with a combination of relaxed, welcoming appeal and a high quality offering.
Chef Chris Hicks’ menu includes favourites like wild boar sausages and venison burgers alongside more exotic dishes like Moroccan lamb with couscous, and Norwegian style fish stew – look out for the curry nights too.
Recently refurbished, there are a few different spots inside to hole up in – including a snug with handmade tables and chairs, cushions and sheepskin rugs. There are also three ensuite bedrooms, so you can hit the menu and wine list, then retire upstairs. If you are staying, make sure to corner Roo for her personal insider’s tips on where to visit nearby – she’s lived in the village nearly all her life so she knows all the good walks and nearby cycle rides.
Perry And Deer At Dyrham
Take an afternoon to explore the ancient deer park grounds of Dyrham Park where you can feed the deer in the winter months. The late 17th century National Trust mansion is undergoing restoration of its roof, which you can see via a rooftop walkway, and there are tranquil gardens – including a recently reopened hidden Dutch water garden – and acres of grounds to explore. Try the homemade perry from pears in its orchard while you’re there.
Walk in the woods
Marshfield is not very far from Westonbirt Arboretum and for a magical winter experience, head there for its annual Enchanted Christmas event. A 45 minute walk takes you through the woodland where coloured lights illuminate the trees. It takes place every weekend from November 27.
Don’t miss a trip to the Bath Christmas Markets, where over 170 traditional woodland chalets containing a host of unusual gifts line the streets surrounding the city’s Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. From November 26.
Hiking on the famous Cotswold Way begins – or ends – in nearby Bath, or explore other pretty villages, like Lacock, which is like stepping into a period drama. And if you’re in the mood for a bit of decadence, drift over to the Manor House at Castle Combe for afternoon tea at its Michelin-starred restaurant. There’s more Michelin luxury at Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa which is also not far away.
Marshfield on ice
You can’t visit Marshfield without scoffing a few scoops of its famous Marshfield Farm Ice Cream, which has its HQ on Will and Dawn Hawking’s organic farm. Call ahead to stock up on supplies or find it at local restaurants.