The Fish Hotel Review: Cosy Cotswolds Luxury
Dogs, wellies and families are welcome at this laid-back Worcestershire bolthole. Located on a picturesque 400-acre private estate, there’s room for everyone to feel at home at The Fish Hotel, near Chipping Camden, says Siobhan Grogan.
The Fish Hotel Review: Cosy Cotswolds Luxury
It’s not always easy to explore the Cotswolds without a car but The Fish is perfectly located to ditch the driving for a few days. Moreton-in-Marsh train station is around 20 minutes’ away and honey-coloured Broadway is just half an hour’s ramble so it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a weekend in the country without worrying about where you’ll park. The hotel itself is one of three – alongside adults-only Foxhill Manor and spa-focused Dormy House – spread throughout the idyllic Farncombe Estate and comprises a collection of quirky properties scattered across the hillside, including a stables block, farmhouse, shepherd’s huts and treehouses on stilts. Some of these have private hot tubs, wood burners and outdoor copper baths, while one hut even comes with its own paddle boat to row across a lake to your very own private island.
Rooms in the Coach House are perfect if you’re travelling with a family, with open-plan Scandi-inspired design, spacious bathrooms with free-standing baths and sweeping views down the hillside to Broadway. There’s a minibar stocked with flavoured popcorn and eco-friendly canned water and cocktails, deliciously scented Temple Spa products and a Monopoly board in the corner for quiet nights in. One central building known as The Lodge houses a lounge, bar and restaurant and boot room stocked with local walking maps and Original Muck Boot boots to borrow. Outside, there’s a dog agility course and dedicated dog bath plus a tree-shaded kids’ playground made of reclaimed wood from the estate and recycled aeroplane tyres. It’s also worth noting that the hotel sends 0% of waste to landfill and is powered by completely green energy.
The emphasis is firmly on the great outdoors here. It’s easy to spend hours just wandering the grounds but it’s worth strolling into Broadway itself to potter round the independent boutiques and delis then feast on a slap-up cream tea. Be warned it is uphill on the way back though. Just outside town, it’s possible to glimpse 16 counties from the top of Broadway Tower on a clear day, while Stratford-upon-Avon and picture-book pretty Chipping Camden are a little further away. The hotel can also help book off-site activities including tasting at the local gin distillery, rowing on the River Avon and creative workshops at the family-run Honeybourne Pottery.
Back on the Estate itself, there’s a daily programme of adventures to keep everyone busy, though be sure to pre-book. These include weekend morning yoga lessons and family-friendly archery and falconry. However, thrill-seekers should opt for a go on Farncombe’s land-based hovercrafts which can whizz round the estate’s circuit at up to 35mph, steered by handlebars and the driver shifting their body weight as the vehicle hurtles round corners.
Drop into The Fish’s welcoming bar throughout the afternoon for outstanding wood-fired pizzas and Cotswolds-brewed craft beers by a 360° fireplace. There are piles of magazines and board games for lingering, a pretty fairy-lit terrace overlooking the forest and even a fine wine dispensing machine if you fancy a glass when the bar is closed.
The hotel’s renowned seafood restaurant Hook is open each evening and for Sunday lunch. Candles, sofas strewn with faux-fur throws and tables spilling onto a terrace make dinner a gloriously relaxed affair, yet the menu means every night feels like a special occasion. Dishes include Thai mussel broth with steamed cod and sea bream and BBQ monkfish tail but dedicated meat-eaters won’t be disappointed with the juicy rib-eye and bearnaise sauce. Local produce is a priority: pork is even reared on the estate itself. Just save room for classic desserts including sticky toffee pudding and candied pecans and lemon tart with warm marshmallow. They’re all big enough to share but we don’t think you’ll want to.
THE FINAL WORD
If you’re looking for all the facilities (and food) of a boutique hotel but crave the stress-free privacy of your very own country crash pad, The Fish is a real rural gem where you’ll feel at home within moments of arriving. We reckon you’d be hard pushed to find a friendlier hotel in the Cotswolds – even if you have a dog or children in tow.
Nightly rates at The Fish start from £170 on a B&B basis, based on two sharing. Book at [email protected] For more information, visit thefishhotel.co.uk and to find out about the sustainable initiatives on Farncombe Estate, visit farncombeestate.com.
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