Thyme – Cotswolds
Hotel Type: A family run village within a village. Thyme is a sophisticated English country retreat made up of luxuriously restored farmhouses & barns to form a peaceful hamlet environment that reflects the natural beauty of the surrounding area.
Location: Situated in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold Village of Southrop. Thyme is about a 90 minute drive away from London or a 40 minute drive away from Swindon train station, an hour’s train from London. Transfers to can be organised from London airports and the train station.
Style: Quintessentially British lavish and peaceful country retreat.
Rooms: 30 unique and beautifully designed bedrooms dispersed across Thyme hamlet.
Our Favourite Room: Philippa’s favourite is The Garden Room, the private garden and fire pit really gives you privacy and the big glass windows gives a sense of outdoors indoors!
Ideal For: A relaxing escape to the country to reconnect with nature, feast on gourmet food, and to unwind from your normal busy life with a loved one.
Swimming: Open all year round there is an outdoor spring water pool and hot tub, sheltered by Cotswold stone walls.
Dining: We recommend dining in both the Ox Barn and the Swan during your stay. Both utilize fresh ingredients produced in the kitchen garden and on the farm meaning that the menu changes almost daily and certainly seasonally. Head to the Ox Barn for a more fancy but fun affair with head chef Charlie Hibbert or to The Swan for a more country-pub vibe. The Baa is open for hotel residents only and is the perfect place to enjoy a garden infused cocktail. If you are after a somewhere private to celebrate something special then head to the Tithe Barn for a unique private dining experience.
Activities: It is about a slower pace of life here. Take part in a Cookery lesson. The Cookery school was born first and is the beating heart of Thyme. Get your wellies on and stomp around the garden and the farm, making sure you say hi to all of the animal residents or take a garden tour. Explore the local Cotswolds Villages. Take a set of bikes with baskets and follow the hand drawn map on a 5km tour of the estate. Relax in the gorgeous spa or take a floristry or cocktail master class.
Spa: The Meadow Spa is a botanical spa with 5 treatment rooms (the products here all come from natural ingredients), outdoor pool and hot tub. The spa is a space for guests to embrace the peace and tranquillity of county living.
Children: Children are welcome, but only to stay in the two-bedroom, self-catered, Old Walls cottage.
Furry Friends: There are areas of Thyme that are dog friendly such as the village cottage. Just let them know prior to your arrival!
Accessibility: There are 12 ground-floor rooms that can be accessed by wheelchair users.
Low Season Price From: £245 per night for a Cosy Double Room.
High Season Price From: £340 per night for a Cosy Double Room.
Open: All year round!
Organically evolved over the last two decades, Thyme is a beautiful collection of barns, a rectory and manor house, meticulously restored and transformed into a luxury rural village haven. Set in one of the most beautiful spots in the Cotswolds, it’s an intimate and wholly unique English country retreat. We couldn’t resist Thyme’s story – one of a family’s passion for conservation, sustainability and a love of the land, where nature is the most important element. It’s a 150 acre working farm, with water meadows, gardens, orchards and a natural spring, with much of the produce grown and reared here. Exquisitely decorated with touches of nature everywhere – flowers straight from the cutting garden, botanical infusions and cocktails, and early bird walks – it exudes freshness and life. This is the place to come for quiet weekends, special celebrations, or simply to breathe deeply and restore your own natural balance.
Each named after flowers and plants found in an English country garden or wayside, the hotel’s 30 bedrooms are spread across the Farmhouse, Lodge, Courtyard and Garden Rooms. Intimate and individually styled, their interiors are delightfully crisp and fresh, with elegant furnishings and exceptionally comfortable beds. Each of the rooms are sold on a B&B basis with a delicious breakfast served in the Ox Barn. Except for the self-catering cottage (where children and dogs are welcome) which is only a short walk from Thyme in the village.
The Farmhouse – It’s hard to distinguish the 17th century Farmhouse between a private country house and a hotel. Traditionally honey coloured and sitting in formal gardens it can be taken in its entirety. Varying in size, from Cosy, to Elegant and Divine, its eight bedrooms are gloriously luxurious (some can be twinned), and all have their own character. Some have low beams, others have window seats looking over the garden, whilst others have free-standing baths in the room. It’s impossible to choose a favourite. The antique filled drawing room is sumptuously decorated, and has a large open fire, and there’s a snug for some peace and quiet. Best of all are the enormous kitchen and the grand double height dining room that can seat up to 22 guests. You can book the Farmhouse by the room or exclusively.
The Garden Rooms –Located at the eastern side of the Ox Barn terrace. We love the contemporary Divine and Elegant Garden Rooms with their floor to ceiling glass doors out into their own private gardens, each with a firepit. Spacious, with super king sized beds, some have in-room baths, whilst Comfrey has an indulgent free-standing circular one.
The Courtyard – Opposite the Ox Barn restaurant is The Courtyard, a beautifully restored set of farm buildings, which now house three Divine Doubles and a four bedroom cottage, The Tallet, with its own courtyard. Ox East and West have their bathrooms and dressing rooms upstairs and the Dairy (which can be made into a twin) has a living area with wood burning stove downstairs.
Tallet is taken exclusively, sleeping up to eight (four bedrooms and three bathrooms) and comes with a well appointed kitchen and dining area – designed for entertaining. When the weather is warm, the garden couldn’t be better for al fresco lunches and dinners.
The Lodge – Once the village rectory, the elegant Georgian Lodge is now eight beautifully decorated hotel rooms, with a further room with a private garden. Set in formal gardens it looks out over Thyme’s farmland, with each room and bathroom uniquely and fabulously designed and decorated. If you choose Pinewood, you’ll get your own projector and cinema screen!
Old Walls – For families, Old Walls is a little detached self-catered cottage with a traditional English country garden, overlooking the surrounding farmland. With two double bedrooms – one can be twinned – guests can bring their four legged friends here too.
It’s food steps at Thyme, not food miles. With fruit, vegetables and herbs picked daily from the kitchen garden, Southrop lamb from the fields, and eggs from their own hens and ducks, the menus are seasonal and utterly divine. Further afield, Artisan producers from around the UK are handpicked for their ingredients and quality. The gloriously airy Ox Barn is meticulously restored with a modern feel designed and guests dine in style.
Thyme’s own pub, The Swan, was once a coaching inn, and keeping its role in the centre of the village, it’s an informal and relaxed place for lunch or dinner. Make sure you leave room for pudding! The old lambing sheds are now The Baa – a comfortable space for soup, a sandwich, afternoon tea or cocktails. If you’re looking for a private dining venue, the grandly restored Tithe Barn can be booked, with its mouthwatering and seasonal menu.
This is a retreat for grown ups. Children are welcome at lunch, but are not able to stay, except in the two-bedroom, self-catered, Old Walls cottage.
Thyme began as a cookery school, and we would definitely recommend booking a lesson or two, whether it’s to learn how to make bread or pick up some top dinner party dishes. You’ll be taken through the kitchen garden to pick seasonal ingredients and taught by one of Thyme’s chefs. There are also demonstrations, tastings, foraging tours and talks. If total relaxation is what you’re after, there’s no better place to appreciate the tranquility of country living than in Meadow Spa. You’ll find a range of bespoke treatments, all using natural ingredients, designed to restore your balance. In the walled garden, there’s an outdoor pool and hot tub, fed by water from Thyme’s own spring, naturally filtered through Cotswold limestone. For exercise you can take bikes to explore the local surroundings and villages, or play tennis on Thyme’s court. For us, it’s just as tempting to find a quiet spot in the garden with a book.
The prevailing ethos at Thyme is a profound respect of the past and the future, and most importantly, a love of the land, nature and the seasons. From the painstaking renovation of the buildings to the careful farming of the land, every aspect of the estate and its operation has sustainability at its heart. The landscape is managed to encourage biodiversity, and the evidence is all around. Otters, kingfishers, water voles and much more, together with a huge ecosystem of wild flowers are all in abundance. Set on the water meadows of the River Leach, the land is rich and fertile and productive all year round. From rare breed sheep grazing in the pastures, to heritage fruit and vegetables grown in the kitchen gardens and honey from Thyme’s own bees, much of the produce on the menus comes from the estate. Relationships with local producers and suppliers are strong, ensuring a thriving local economy and reducing the carbon footprint, and all the while, their packaging all strictly reusable. Suppliers further afield are chosen for their quality and sustainability, and likewise, any overseas producers have proven records in helping their community. All this has gained Thyme three stars (the highest rating) in the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and it is also a member of the Slow Food Movement. There is a strong commitment to the local community too, with involvement in charity projects and events, and more globally, in conservation programmes such as Tusk. The entire estate is energy efficient, with the use of ground source heat pumps, wood chip boilers and revolutionary heat recovery systems. Thyme is committed to removing the use of single use plastics, with refillable bottles, pencils not pens and beeswax food packing. Nothing is left unused – plate waste is anaerobically digested and used as natural fertilizer, or composted and returned to the gardens. Everywhere you look, there is a connection to nature and the land.