As late spring draws bright blooms and an intense verdant hue to our gardens, woods and meadows, we’re relishing long days in the great outdoors. So it feels like a natural time to revive our Take Me To… series, unveiling destinations across the British Isles that put the best of nature at our fingertips.
In these special places, you’ll also find our land&water collections, ready to reinvigorate your mind, body and senses.
Green and tranquil, where rolling hills meet honey-hued cottages, the Cotswolds are well known for their old world charm. Here in the region’s heart sits the next stop on our Take Me To… tour – Barnsley House Hotel & The Boot in Barnsley, near Cirencester.
Undulating stone walls and centuries’ weathered slate lay the foundations for The Boot’s thoughtfully renovated village inn with six light-flooded rooms. Reimagined by Timothy Oulton’s design house – the minds behind London’s Chelsea Pig – roaring fires and low-lit corners, dark wood furniture, patchwork art-covered walls and stalwart Turkish timbers set the tone. Eccentric flourishes also mean the irreverent eye of an antique hippopotamus may just be sizing you up as your sip from your bespoke Boot pewter tankard.
History pulses through Barnsley village (not to be mistaken with the eponymous Northern town), where droves of shepherd-led flocks once meandered the lanes towards the Welsh wool markets from the early 1700s.
Now, centuries on, while the humble essence of ‘a pub with rooms’ still sits at its core, The Boot’s kitchen quarters have taken their offerings up a level or three with chef John Jewell. Menus burst with the finest local produce, including artisanal beef from Paddock Farm Butchery and the freshest from their own vegetable patch, picked just moments away in the gardens of Barnsley House Hotel, part of the same family as The Boot. Think exceptionally well turned out takes on classics like The Boot Beef Wellington and their famous Old Spot Scotch Egg.
While a muddy-soled welcome is part of the inn’s charm, next door its more grandiose neighbour spins a more refined air. With elegant interiors, imposing stone fireplaces and castellated cornices, this 17th-century manor house delicately balances bygone Cotswold charm with the contemporary luxury of a spa escape.
But the feather in its cap is the four acres of exquisitely tended gardens. Brought to life by revered garden designer Rosemary Verey, her well-known talents enticed pre-coronation King Charles III to become a regular visitor to the gardens. The soon-to-be King also awarded her the Order of Merit (OBE) for her contributions to the gardening and design world.
“Bees blew like cake-crumbs through the golden air, white butterflies like sugared wafers, and when it wasn't raining a diamond dust took over which veiled and yet magnified all things” ― Laurie Lee
This impressive green-fingered legacy lives on in the billowing flower borders, herb lined paths and bountiful potager heavy with fruit trees, vegetables and bright popping petals. Watch long enough and you’ll see the chefs’ daily pilgrimage to pick the best of the crop before heading back to work their magic in their respective kitchens.
Beyond the inn’s welcoming walls, 800 square miles of Cotswolds landscape is yours for exploring. Discover author Laurie Lee’s birthplace in Slad, less than half an hour away; or the lively market town of Cirencester just a four mile drive. Catch Cirencester’s outdoor market on a Monday and Friday for fresh local produce, and with the calming flow of the River Churn, miles of grassy hills to walk and quaint villages galore, there’s a reason the Cotswolds holds a special place in people’s hearts.
PRODUCT ESSENCE OF BARNSLEY HOUSE HOTEL & THE BOOT
After long days drinking in the Cotswolds’ old-world appeal, weary walkers have more than the promise of a pub to spur them on. With beautiful baths in all the rooms tempting guests for long soaks, we can’t think of a better pairing than our reviving bath salts. Bursting with lavender, linden and geranium – which may even be starting to flower in the gardens outside – they soothe adventure-tired limbs and ‘prepare the ground’ for a good night’s sleep.
The blend of Himalayan, Epsom and sea salts works to deeply cleanse, draw out toxins and improve hydration – with the antioxidising properties of vitamin-rich rosehip and blackcurrant seed oils.
From an English country garden to wild Atlantic views from every window – head south to Atlanta Trevone in north Cornwall…