Barnsley House hotel is a perfect example of why you should escape the city and head straight for the Cotswolds
Atop a sweeping driveway stands Barnsley House. An ivy-hugged Cotswolds hotel set in a 17th-century manor house. But the house isn’t the only beauty that’ll have you stunned. The gardens, designed by a horticultural legend, attract guests from overseas (more on this in a moment).
Set in twee Barnsley Village, you might feel in the sticks but the hotel is a mere two-hour drive from London and a little less from Birmingham. The nearest train station is Kemble – around 20 minutes away by car.
A leisurely ramble around the village will have you nipping through kissing gates, exploring narrow country lanes and stumbling across dairy farms. All the time taking in romantic views of honey-coloured cottages and rolling Cotswolds hills.
A dream for the green-fingered, the four acres of formal gardens at Barnsley House was the work of former owner and gardener Rosemary Verey. She designed gardens for Prince Charles, Sir Elton John and many more.
In 2009, Barnsley House was bought by the owners of Calcot (also in the Cotswolds) who transformed it into a hotel. The gardens remain a top priority, with a dedicated team lead by Richard Gatenby (whom Rosemary herself previously employed). There are tours if you’d like to learn more about the gardens.
Boutique Barnsley House has 18 bedrooms, including more affordable house rooms, two-storey stable suites and a handful of standout signature suites.
We were in Room 7, The Rosemary Verey Suite. It’s set to the side from the main house and is one of the hotel’s best rooms. (I say room; it was more like a private cottage.)
Entered via its own courtyard, Room 7 is out-of-this-world amazing. First, the Grotto; an enormous conservatory with skylight and stone waterfall. And yes, it’s all yours to enjoy.
Then there’s the fairytale-like four-poster bed – a constant reminder of the natural beauty both inside and out in the gardens.
There’s also a plush living space and a spacious bathroom, with freestanding tub, walk-in shower and his and hers basins.
Design-wise, it’s all about creating synergy with the gardens. A sage green and creamy brown colour palette work well with the contemporary furniture and carefully selected artworks.
Underfloor heating keeps the suite snug, while classical features; the fireplaces and wing-backed chairs, celebrate the hotel’s heritage.
There are plenty of home comforts. Help yourself to artisan teas and home-baked biscuits, pop on your favourite album with the Bluetooth Bose speaker or dive into the hotel’s DVD collection on the flat-screen TV that magically appears out of the chest at the foot of your bed.