The Maytime Inn, Cotswolds
Once a coaching inn with it’s own blacksmith workshop, set amidst the stunning Cotswold countryside, this boutique bed and breakfast is the type of thing American tourists swoon over. In fact it’s setting, in the village of Asthall is so utterly idyllic and picturesque that the latest Bridget Jones film used the church for its recent filming. Yes, Bridget Jones – Queen of the Minibreak.
The Maytime Inn has six individually designed and immaculately presented rooms – including The Hunting Room, The Boot Room and The Tack Room. Think Farrow and Ball, and Harris Tweed with a little bit of Soho House mixed in.
You’ll immediately feel as if you’ve entered a blissful cocoon, where the outside world is a distant memory and you only need reminding of emails and social media if you can be tempted to connect to WiFi.
Otherwise, it’s time to draw up the drawbridge and bunker down. Easy to do when you’re engulfed in Egyptian cotton sheets, there are sweet treats left in your bedroom and the bathroom offers every Cowshed toiletry imaginable.
Fiercely independent, The Maytime Inn just does it’s thing food wise, and boy do they do it well. They’re big on sourcing especially their meats, and the menu will adapt to the English seasons – which you can enjoy/shelter from at the comfort of your cosy table by the fire.
Portions are generous so choose a light starter (or the seared pigeon breast because it’s utterly delicious) then a hearty main; both the loin of local venison and the South Coast seabass were excellent.
You’ll need a bottle of the Pinot Noir to accompany dinner, and a nightcap is essential with their seriously impressive spirit offering.
Its proximity to London makes this an ideal spot and you can play it anyway you like. Avoid the Friday night traffic and arrange to leave on Saturday morning together (girls; this means you can use Friday for full pampering and packing preparations). Meet on Saturday and make like Bridget and Darcy in the car out of the big smoke.
Visit nearby Burford for a spot of lunch and browse the shabby chic streets for antiques shops and country clothing. You’ll easily convince yourself of your absolute need for a tweed rug, a wicker basket or even an entire Shaker kitchen – this place gets you.
Arrive at The Maytime mid afternoon. Peruse the Gin menu (their tonic selection is equally impressive) and have a drink at the bar before a “nap” in your room.
If you fancy a stroll, you merely need to step outside and you’ll find yourself ensconced in fields and fresh air. Dinner is the main event so be back by 6 ish to scrub up and seat yourselves in the dining room, detached from reality.
Chances are you’ll sleep better than you have in months so set an alarm and rise and shine for the bountiful breakfasts on offer here. Fresh coffee, timers for your tea leaves and a handsome dog called Alfie all included.
You need a car for this one, but rent one – done.