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Hotel Highlights

  • Home-from-home interiors, antique-chic decor and a super location for exploring the Cotwolds
  • Wood-panelled restaurant with imaginative menus by talented chef Peter Fairclough, a Slow Food fan
  • A heated outdoor pool and walled gardens add to this unpretentious family-friendly hotel's appeal


A 12-room former rectory, this family-friendly Cotswolds charmer is blessed with walled gardens, a heated outdoor pool and a talented chef. With its open log fires, canoodle-perfect armchairs and all that crisp Egyptian linen waiting for you in the bedrooms upstairs, Rectory Hotel is the ideal place to kickstart or rekindle a romance – with or without the kids in tow.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Rectory Hotel with us:

One pre-dinner cocktail each when dining at the hotel restaurant


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The Rectory Hotel – Cotswolds – UK

Need To Know




11am (can be extended to midday in some cases). Check-in, 3pm, but flexible subject to availability.


Double rooms from $140.71 (£88), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast. There's a two-night minimum stay over bank holiday weekends or public holidays.


Book a massage, either at the hotel or at a nearby spa. Try a game of pétanque on the lawn.

At the hotel

Heated outdoor pool; gardens with croquet lawn; library of books, CDs and DVDs; free WiFi; loaner iPod and digital camera; wellies and walking maps. In rooms, flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, Organic Conscious Skincare toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Every room has a view over the gardens; they are similarly decorated in pale, soothing colours, but all have unique details, such as a fireplace or wooden beams. Of the Deluxe rooms, we like Leckhampton for its huge bed and roll-top bath; Sudeley has a four-poster. Standard rooms Nympsfield and Cam Peak can be combined for families.


There's a heated outdoor pool in the hotel's gardens.

Packing tips

Your swimsuit in the summer, if you fancy a dip in the outdoor pool.


Canine guests welcome. For New Year's Eve, the Rectory is available in its entirety for £5,000, including dinner, canapés, champagne and a party for 24 people.


As befits the former home of a rector who had 14 children, the hotel is very family‑friendly. Cots and baby monitors are available; an extra bed costs £15 a night, including breakfast. Organic children’s menus. Babysitting is £8 an hour.

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Dogs stay free at the Rectory, though they'll have to stay out of the restaurant.

Food & Drink

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Rectory Hotel – Cotswolds – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

You can’t fail to enjoy Peter Fairclough’s Modern British menu of fresh, seasonal produce – mostly organic – especially in summer, when it’s served outside in the Victorian gardens. The restaurant comprises two spaces: a handsomely wood-panelled dining room and a bright, airy conservatory. For pub-style fare, skip to the Potting Shed.

Hotel Bar

Smart armchairs, comfy sofas and Perspex tables strike just the right balance between homely and stylish. If G&Ts aren’t your thing, there’s an excellent list of wines and whiskies; the bar closes when the last guest has gone to bed.

Last orders

From Sundays to Thursdays, last orders in the restaurant is 9pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 9.30pm.

Room service

A full menu is available during restaurant hours, but the kitchen can usually magic up a sandwich, salad or omelette if you’re peckish at peculiar times.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Battered casuals won’t do your genteel surroundings any justice, but things are very low-key here.

Top table

The light and the garden views are wonderful, so choose a table by the windows.

Local Guide

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The Rectory Hotel – Cotswolds – UK
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Westonbirt Arboretum ( has one of the world’s most spectacular tree collections. You can happily spend a day kicking up leaves and gazing at the neck-crickingly tall redwoods. Take a picnic – and binoculars. Malmesbury Abbey ( is the oldest abbey in England, and ambling around the town there is a pleasant way to while away an afternoon. Go for a helicopter ride or aerobatic flight at nearby Kemble airfield, or try your hand at piloting a light aircraft. Your partner can join you in the plane’s cabin if you book a one-hour trial lesson, or there are instructed return trips to the Isle of Wight (stopping for a civilised lunch). For details, contact the Flying Club Kemble (+44 (0)1285 771025; If you're feeling inspired by Rectory Hotel's vintage-chic pieces, roam around in Stow-on-the-Wold which is the Cotwolds' epicentre for antiques – but equally worthwhile is a pokeabout in the dusty shops of Burford, Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh and Tetbury. There's also horse riding and clay-pigeon shooting available near the hotel.

Local restaurants

The Wild Duck Inn is a lovely old pub in Ewen, less than 10 minutes’ drive away en route to Cirencester (+44 (0)1285 770310), with real ales, good food and an attractive tree-shaded courtyard. Also nearby, in Tetbury, Calcot Manor (+44 (0)1666 890391) has two restaurants: book dinner for truly fine dining in The Conservatory, or drop in on its gastropub The Gumstool Inn on your way home from Westonbirt Arboretum. Adjacent to Malmesbury’s mediaeval abbey, Wisteria-covered 13th-century inn The Old Bell (+44 (0)1666 822344) has an elegant Edwardian restaurant with a classic Anglo-French menu. There are outside tables in summer, but on busy weekends you’ll need a reservation for the dining room. A few miles east of Malmesbury, gorgeous Whatley Manor (+44 (0)1666 822888) also has two excellent eateries: splash out one of chef Martin Burge’s French tasting menus in The Dining Room, or have a relaxed Sunday lunch at Le Mazot, an informal brasserie. The Rectory Kitchen & Cellar (+44 (0)1285 644700) is a foodie’s paradise, with fresh, delicious home cooking to either eat in a sweet mews setting, or to take away. Squirrel away some freshly baked biscuits for the car journey home, or a jar of Rectory lemon curd as a souvenir.

Local bars

The Potting Shed Pub (01666 577833) is across the common right here in Crudwell, and is the sister pub to the Rectory; here you can enjoy an exuberantly British menu of seasonal produce such as honey-glazed roast rabbit in Farrow & Ball’d surroundin

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Walled gardens in Wiltshire

Rectory Hotel

Crudwell, Malmesbury, Cotswolds, SN16 9EP, United Kingdom


London Heathrow is an hour and a half from the hotel by car. Other airports include Bristol and Birmingham.


The nearest train station is three miles away in Kemble. From London Paddington, getting here will take an hour and 10 minutes.


The hotel is eight miles from Junction 17 on the M4. Driving time from London is around two hours. Past Malmesbury, follow the A429 towards Cirencester – Crudwell village is three miles away.


There's a lawn large enough to double as a helipad should you need it to.


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The Rectory Hotel – Cotswolds – UK

Anonymous review

by Emma Loach , Documentary-making matriarch

This review of Rectory Hotel in the Cotswolds is taken from our latest guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith: Hotel Collection – UK/Ireland Volume 2. When escaping for the weekend, there’s always a moment – usually just after the 14th ‘are we there yet?’ – when you wonder if this really was such a good idea. Especially when you’re headed for a place called Crudwe…
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Rectory Hotel

Anonymous review by Emma Loach, Documentary-making matriarch

This review of Rectory Hotel in the Cotswolds is taken from our latest guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith: Hotel Collection – UK/Ireland Volume 2.

When escaping for the weekend, there’s always a moment – usually just after the 14th ‘are we there yet?’ – when you wonder if this really was such a good idea. Especially when you’re headed for a place called Crudwell. Things weren’t looking good. With three scratchy boys fidgeting in the back and one increasingly impatient lad at the wheel, my dreams of a few restful days in the countryside were fading fast. Until we arrived at Rectory Hotel.

You could be forgiven for thinking we’d pulled up at the country pile of a very flush friend. It certainly doesn’t look like a hotel. There’s no reception, just a simple desk in the front room. No computers. No phone. And no fellow guests milling about. Just calm, hear-a-pin-drop silence. They say it’s golden, but when you have three energetic under-sevens in tow, all that peace and quiet is a worry.

I needn’t have fretted. While there’s none of the hubbub that comes as standard with ‘family-focused’ hotels, Mr Smith and I are pleased to report that this is an adult-friendly place to stay that caters for kids on the no-pressure understanding that they’ll behave.

Set in three acres of walled gardens, this 17th-century Cotswold-stone house started life as the rectory for the Saxon church next door. Its new owners, Jonathan (ex-Hotel du Vin) and Julian (an antiques/art dealer and interior designer) have given it a makeover that’s considerate of the architecture, yet has enough contemporary twists to make us feel at home, rather than trapped in a heritage piece. Wood panelling and hand-sprung mattresses, cream walls and muted plaid-and-floral fabrics – period detail with sufficient modern accents to assure its boutique-hotel status. While there is mobile-phone coverage and a computer available for guests to use, you’ll probably get more use out of the cricket bats and croquet sets piled up by the front door. I know we did.

I head for our roomy, tastefully furnished pale-palette suite to unpack, where wooden beams and a fireplace combine to create a charming old-world ambiance that wouldn’t be out of place in a Jane Austen novel. Taking a minute to breathe in the views over the Victorian gardens, I can hear the distant sound of leather thwacking willow as Mr Smith tries vainly to share his cricketing prowess. I slip on a robe, eschewing the temptaton of a deep bath and its accompanying Arran Aromatics for a trip to the heated outdoor pool, blissfully happy about the fact that I’ll never have to understand the difference between a silly mid-off and deep gully.

It’s no wonder that this property manages to attract so many courting couples. With its open log fires, canoodle-friendly armchairs and all that crisp Egyptian linen waiting for you upstairs, this is the perfect place to kickstart or rekindle a romance.

While Mr Smith retreads the croquet- and cricket-induced divots, I take the boys into the woo-panelled restaurant for their high tea – chef Peter Fairclough’s pared-down version of what’s to come later. The setting may sound formal, but the glorious garden vistas (meals can be served outside in the summer months) must make dinner the most alluring element of the hotel for most guests, and the sneak preview merely offers more incentive to get the kids bathed and bedded as soon as possible so we can have our turn come dinnertime.

Chef’s a follower of the Slow Food Movement and serves up a very British menu (English asparagus, Welsh lamb, Pimm’s jelly, in case you’re curious) with everything locally sourced, seasonal, GM-free and organic. Mr Smith is tempted to finish off with a slice of Stinking Bishop from the nearby cheese-producing village of Dymock, which prompts no end of smutty innuendo.

The fact that as much as possible is sourced within half an hour of the hotel all sounds worthy. What is not so worthy is how Mr Smith, myself and all the little Smiths manage to devour enough produce between us to cause a Wiltshire-wide food shortage. However, we can now justifiably declare that Rectory’s modern British cuisine is, in the words of the three-year-old, ‘yum, yum, yummy and nice’. We retreat, replete, to a cosy corner complete with whisky and backgammon.

The following morning, we get up with the sun, on a mission to explore the area, away from all garden sports. First stop is Westonbirt Arboretum. Yes, it’s just a collection of trees. And yes, you have to pay for the privilege of walking through them. But there are 3,000 different species, in every imaginable colour, many of them rare and endangered. To my surprise, before long, the six- and three-year-old are compiling a list of their favourites and are kept captivated all through the walk – so, hey, let’s not knock the arboretum.

As the clouds roll in, we take cover in nearby sleepy Tetbury where I manage a crafty look round the antiques shops. Unfortunately, there’s no room in the car for the coffee table that catches my eye. Mr Smith’s relief is palpable. Dawdling back to the Rectory, the rain descends, scuppering the boys’ plans to spend all afternoon in the pool and Mr Smith’s thoughts of taking to the Cotswold Way – a mere 100-mile trail. I, on the other hand, make the most of the adverse weather conditions, curling up to work my way through about two dozen fashion and lifestyle magazines. As we head back
to London, we can’t help marvelling at how easy it is to spend so much time doing so little. And Rectory Hotel is a great place not to rush things.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Rectory Hotel's Guestbook below.



Stayed on

We loved

I loved the beautiful gardens and the swimming pool! The service was friendly and sincere.

Don’t expect

Perhaps a fan in the top bedrooms would be a good addition, as it gets very warm in summer.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

I loved the beautiful gardens, great service from all of the staff and the relaxed atmosphere. We had a wonderful stay with my parents; I wouldn't change a thing!


Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

I liked the rooms. They were spacious and beautiful, and the food was awesome too!

Don’t expect

In the Nimlet room we were woken up by noises upstairs very early in the morning. But our friends in the Leckhampton room (right next door) didn't hear anything.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

Excellent food, very homely.

Don’t expect

Our bed was very uncomfortable, which was such a shame as the room was beautiful.

Rating: 8/10 stars