in the Cotswolds
We have long been fans of The Feathers in Woodstock and,
following our annual visit to the amazing Art in Action (in our
opinion the best festival of fine arts and crafts in the country),
we were fortunate enough to manage to reserve a room...
FEATHERS is what you dream of finding in the quintessential Oxfordshire countryside;
and in an historic village dominated by its stately home Blenheim Palace. Peter
Saunders, the general manager, together with his team, present an extremely
relaxed atmosphere inducing a feeling that you are actually staying in a private
house truly a home from home. This really is the ideal place just
to chill out and indulge yourselves.
couple of years ago, after recent renovations, the hotel opened a rather special
bar featuring a collection of 181 gins from around the world (with more being
added all the time) and last year acquired the Guinness World Record for the
largest number of gins on offer.
You must try the Blackwood 60 Gin with Q tonic it's probably one of
the most expensive but absolutely delicious. Another exceedingly good reason
to visit is that on 29 and 30 November they are staging a novel event: the
'Sloe Gin Challenge'. Check
The Feathers website for details.
is a tranquil courtyard garden where on a sunny day you can either enjoy the
Hendrick's Gin afternoon tea, one of over nineteen speciality teas to choose
from together with sandwiches and cakes, or an aperitif before dining either
al fresco or in the gorgeous dining room.
dining room with its old wood panelled walls now has what we think is the
pièce de résistance an amazingly bold and beautiful carpet depicting
peacock feathers in wonderful, flamboyant colours. Not for your home but great
theatre in an hotel. Throughout the hotel there is a mixture of contemporary
art and objets d'art, some tucked away in nooks, crannies and bedrooms.
is far more to
The Feathers than just
gin and chic
is good food and
Feathers' mixture of old world charm, with its antiques and the vibrancy of
lush new fabrics and papers by designers such as Designers Guild and Osborne
& Little, has really brought the hotel into the twenty-first century.
Each of the twenty bedrooms has been individually designed to complement the
character of the three small eighteenth century buildings that make up this
historic hostelry. Upstairs is a bit like being in Alice in Wonderland with
the many lamp-lit staircases, beams and little alcoves.
But we digress as there is even more to The Feathers than just gin and chic
surroundings. There is good food and wonderful countryside to explore. It
is well worth noting on your 2014 calendar the dates for the next Art in Action
17 to 20 July, 2014 you will not be disappointed as there really
is an amazing amount to see and do. The Oxfordshire calendar lists a whole
range of events to cater for wide interests.
DELIGHTFUL PLACE TO STAY, but totally different in character, is a rather
special B&B. Lower Brook House is set in the heart of the village of Blockley
and nearby there are many delightful Cotswold villages such a Chipping Campden,
Broadway (arguably the best preserved high street in the country), Stow-on-the-Wold
and Hidcote Manor Gardens... you get the picture.
In its heyday Blockley was able to support 20 shops, 8 pubs and 4 banks but
in 2007 the final remaining shop and Post Office closed its doors, although
there is now a community shop. However, it remains a perfect Cotswold village
with wisteria-covered stone cottages, a babbling brook and Lower Brook House.
Julian and Ann Ebbutt offer delicious home-cooked suppers and breakfasts,
either in the modern comforts of their 17th century house or, as we did, in
the delightful garden in the company of our fellow guests. As you would expect,
there are real log fires, original flagstone floors and four-poster beds in
the six comfortable bedrooms. This is an ideal base from which to enjoy everything
in the locality including BITE, The Cotswolds Food Festival to be held from
1 to 9 February, 2014.
BITE is an event for all food lovers with not just food, pop-up restaurants,
cocktails and fine wines but masterclasses, farmers markets and everything
else associated with such festivals.
If you're looking for somewhere for an interesting stay that will lift your
spirits then you need look no further than the this delightful part of England
with its eclectic mix and fine places to stay. We are certainly counting the
days until our next visit! Bonnie Stevens
The Feathers, Market Street, Woodstock, Oxon OX20 1SX Telephone: 01993 812291
Art in Action, Waterperry House, Waterperry, Near Wheatley, Oxfordshire OX33
Lower Brook House, Lower Street, Blockley, Gloucestershire GL56 9DS Telephone:
01386 700286 lowerbrookhouse.com
BITE: The Cotswolds Food Festival thebite.co