Chilling in the Cotswolds: A Relaxed Autumn Retreat
By Katie Monk
I’ve just returned from a thoroughly relaxing staycation at Temple Guiting Manor, right in the heart of the Cotswolds.
The village of Temple Guiting is a mere half-hour taxi ride from Cheltenham. The manor spans 14.5 acres and consists of a collection of gorgeous barns and outbuildings that you can book individually or together, all built from honey-coloured Cotswold stone. If you’re familiar with Henry’s Townhouse in Marylebone, this is its countryside counterpart.
Each of the buildings has its own unique style, fabrics, and furnishings, all curated by the owners, Steven Collins and his wife Jane, who are avid art collectors. Steven’s background is with the Chelsea Harbour Estate, while Jane’s is in the world of fashion. So, wherever you look in Temple Guiting Manor, you’ll see paintings, antiques, vintage pieces, and bookshelves brimming with design, history, and art books.
The Granary has a contemporary vibe, the Cow Byre oozes romance (it’s a small self-contained house, so you won’t bump into anyone if you prefer solitude), and the Barn has a spacious and cosy feel with its open-plan rooms leading onto a patio garden. Oh, and there’s even a private hot tub for those balmy evenings. The Barn has five themed bedrooms, ranging from the exotic African suite (where I chose to stay) to the Pink room with its daybed and roll-top bath.
The pièce de résistance? The 15th-century Manor House, without a doubt. It’s been in private ownership since the 15th century and has a snug, historic feel with its grand banqueting hall, huge fireplaces, exposed beams, and Jacobean leaded windows. Remarkably, it even earned a mention in the Domesday Book. The five bedrooms are nestled up in the eaves, and are brimming with character. I was particularly taken with the hidden staircase! Kids will absolutely love it.
There’s also a brand-new fantastic outdoor heated pool, an absolute lifesaver on hot days, and it’s still brilliant even in spring or autumn when the water remains warm. Plus, there’s a natural wood play area and a secret cinema room (tucked away in the old dovecot with its nesting holes still intact!) for the film buffs (or children) among us.
The property overlooks the stunning River Windrush, so you can enjoy wild swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, and boating in the summer. Additionally, you can book horse riding, fishing, shooting, or a game of tennis on the all-weather court. Rest assured, when you arrive here, all your needs are met. Massages, private Pilates sessions, and even an autumn wreath-making workshop – they offer a wide range of experiences.
And on to the gardens, which are absolutely stunning, all thanks to the designer Jinny Blom. Brimming with softness and tranquility, they have winding pathways, secret doorways, manicured lawns, and an abundance of purple, yellow and white flowers.
As it’s an exclusive-use property, you have a chef and housekeeper at your disposal. Rebecca and Libby looked after us very well, serving up a delicious, locally-inspired Tuscan tapas for lunch, and smoothie bowls followed by poached eggs and wild mushrooms for breakfast. I also enjoyed the English fizz served on arrival (my preference to champagne).
If you’re in the mood for more culinary adventures, you have a variety of gastro pubs nearby. We had the great pleasure of dining at the Halfway House in Kineton one evening. Previously owned by Corpus Christi College of Oxford and now managed by chefs Nathan Eades and Liam Goff, it’s all about hearty British cuisine. Think cheese and ale rarebit, mushroom pie, Brixham bass – and let’s not forget the English wines. We chose the Maud Heath Bacchus – one of my favourite English white wines from Wiltshire, which you can also purchase these days from Waitrose.
Temple Guiting Manor is like a fusion of a historic home with the sophistication of a boutique hotel. My stay was far too short, but it served as a delightful reminder that top-notch British hospitality is still absolutely on point.
TEMPLE GUITING MANOR AND BARNS
Temple Guiting, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 5RP
Bookings – email@example.com / 07748 118288