Stay, eat, shop, see - a note on Daylesford:
Daylesford: this is a one-stop-shop Disneyland for organic living. You can stay in one of their charming cottages, which vary in size, accommodating 2-8 people per house. You can stroll the trails to greet grass-roaming cows and pastured chickens. You can get your zen on with a meditation session or a massage at the Bamford Spa. You can take a class on Artisan Bread Making, or how about Ferments to Eat and Drink, at the Cookery School. You can also pick up a picnic basket along with everything you need to fill it, or dine at one of their restaurants. And for shopping... besides the incredible bounty of organic produce, homemade cheeses, biodynamic wines et cetera there is an amazing selection of sleek homeware, decorative objects, culinary books, and cashmere items from their ready-to-wear collection. Be prepared to empty your pockets!
Soho Farmhouse – Chipping Norton: if Daylesford is the ultimate destination for organic living, then Soho Farmhouse is that for rustic cool. Set on 100 acres of bucolic rural fields, the Soho House group brings upscale camp dreams to life. With chic timber cabins, a Cowshed spa set in a lovely stone cottage, pools set in a boathouse or on a lake, and their perfectly-designed lounge areas for socializing ,this retreat has it all. Even the main restaurant is housed in a barn. Activities are abundant, and include row boats and horse riding. P.S. you don't have to be a member to stay here, just plan in advance as it's perennially booked.
Farncombe Estate – Broadway: These hoteliers are experts in countryside chic hospitality, and on the grounds of the Farncombe Estate there are actually three options. There's the 17th century farmhouse, Dormy House , with panoramic views of the Cotswolds hillside, the chic Fish (think luxe huts and treehouses), and Foxhill Manor (aka you just got invited to your friend's fancy private house). These places are sophisticated yet cozy, with decidedly modern furnishings juxtaposed against historic structures and nature filled hide-out backdrops.
Wild Rabbit Inn – Kingham: part of the Daylesford family and just a few minutes drive from the flagship farm, this inn has several rooms as well as a cute independent cottage, all set in a quiet village yet near the action in Stow-on-the-Wold.
The Lygon Arms – Broadway: this boutique hotel is conveniently located in one of the Cotswolds main towns, Broadway. The hotel is housed in an ancient coaching inn, dating back to the 1300s. Steeped in history, the rooms have been made modern with contemporary furnishings yet antiques still dominate throughout the property. The dining room happens to be a 16th century hall roaring fireplace and all, and the spa features an amazing pool amongst columns and double-height ceilings that recall an elegant, bygone-era bathhouse. An excellent option if you are more of a luxury hotel-type vs. glamping cottage-type.
Barnsley House – Barnsley: a classic English getaway. This is an elegant country home, with fine dining and meticulously manicured gardens. Rooms are modern with bright and calming palettes. For those who want to head into the country, but never really leave the comforts of the city.
Old Stocks Inn – Stow-on-the-Wold: an updated take on a traditional coaching inn, dating back to the 1600s. Historic architecture gets a hipster makeover with modern interiors: cool palettes of white and grey, pops of yellow and turquoise, subway tile bathrooms, mosaic floors, graphic print textiles. Right in the center of town, a good base for antiquing.
The Wild Rabbit – Kingham: as part of the Daylesford empire the food here is locally sourced from one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK. The warm and sophisticated interior creates an inviting atmosphere to enjoy
Five Alls Pub – Filkins: if you’re popping by for supper, make sure to arrive a bit early to walk this pretty town’s lanes. Hearty plates of gastropub food, and a cozy atmosphere make this a nice place for a casual date.
Wheatsheaf Inn - Northleach: the beautiful façade of this 17thcentury stone inn disguises a rather modern upscale pub and cozy guesthouse. Classic English favorites.
The Chequers: rustic yet modern gastro-pub in Chipping Norton
Kings Head Inn – Bledington: Perfectly positioned on a clearing near a small creek in a little residential village. The Inn is set in a 16thcentury building, and serves up contemporary British food in a refined yet charming interior.
Broadway Deli – Broadway: stocked to the brim with typical English products, think chutneys, tea and biscuits, crackers and curry packs. Aside from the jam-packed (literally) grocery offering, the Deli is the place to go for take-away sandwiches and crisps. The perfect reward after a long hike up to Broadway Tower. The grilled cheese is divine.
Leaf & Bean Tea Room – Broadway: another post-hike option, sit down at one of their outdoor tables to people watch along this picturesque town’s main thoroughfare. Delicious scones and an overwhelming yet delightful list of teas and infusions.
Bantam Tea Room – Chipping Campden: Don’t be put off by the incredibly low ceilings in this excellent tea room. The building dates back to 1693. Head to the garden for classic cream tea, or indulge in any of their rich desserts tantalizingly displayed in their window just opposite the Market Hall.
Stow-on-the-Wold: this buzzing village is world-renown for antiquing
Chipping Campden: lovely architecture ranging from the traditional grass thatched homes in the residential area just outside the historic center, to the iconic limestone facades of centuries old buildings lining the main street. The Market Hall is nearly 400 years old, part of UK’s National Trust, and once the epicenter of this wool town’s trading. Still to this date a local wool trader sells sheepskins amongst other hides in this ancient market.
Broadway Tower: there's an option to arrive to the tower by car. Don't do it. The beauty of this region is its countryside, so take the four-mile hike up either pre- or post- your lunch at Broadway Deli. It's a loop on the Cotswolds Way called "Broadway Tower Walk" - and I suggest picking up Batford's Walking Guides The Cotswolds book to discover more great trails in the area. The trail starts walking through the town's Main Street, then heads into more residential lanes before ascending up the hillside to the Broadway Tower, passing peaceful little lambs and the occasional black sheep.
Rousham House: Rousham is more castle than house. It's less visited than some of the more famous estates in the area and lacks facilities like a tea room or shop, which keeps it off the radar from the tourist routes. It is the perfect place to bring a blanket, basket filled with Daylesford goodies, and plop down for a picnic all to yourself. Feel like a princess in wonderland, enjoying your picnic amidst the rose covered walled garden. The grounds are stunning, with Venus statues, porticos and grottoes, secret gardens, and labyrinths.
Sezincote House: Bollywood palace in the English countryside, this house was built in the early 1800s when India was the crown jewel of the British Empire. An example of Neo-Mughal architecture, it's a modern interpretation of typical Indian design from the Mughal period (16th-17th century). May sound tacky, but it's actually quite beautiful. The piece de resistance is the curving orangery, all white and windows and arches. Yes, there are elephant statues and temples in the gardens, but with grottoes, ponds, fountains, and waterfalls it's a fun place to explore.
Bibury: unless you're dying to get that photo (I'll admit I did... later regretfully) you can skip this. Save yourself the lines of tour buses, filled with selfie-stick wielding tourists. There's nothing else to see here other than Arlington Row, quite possibly one of the most photographed sites in England.
Cutter Brooks - Stow-on-the-Wold: the shop everyone is talking about, tastemaker Amanda Brooks’ new store is putting the Cotswolds back on the map. Chicly decorated, well curated, this is a must-stop destination for design inspo and home décor.
Laurie Leigh Antiques – Stow-on-the-Wold: nobody does vintage glassware better than Laurie Leigh. The absolute authority, come prepared to spend and send. Hard to find pieces from the Georgian up to Art Deco period, specializing in English and Irish glass.
Cotswold Cheese Company - Stow-on-the-Wold: more than cheese, you can pick up biscuits and crackers, jams and chutneys, and the fantastic Cotswolds Distillery small batch gin to take home. It's still relatively hard to find stateside.