So come on, who hasn’t always wanted their own country mansion set in 400 acres of rolling English countryside? Foxhill Manor, a boutique hotel in the Cotswolds, offers you precisely that. With just eight bedrooms, a gifted chef at your beck and call, and hosts who’ll make you feel more at home than your home does, this is your chance to play lord of the manor.
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A hot-water bottle handmade in the Cotswolds to take home for each guest
Noon. Earliest check-in 3pm (you can hang around in the communal areas if you need to leave later, though).
Double rooms from $363.18 (£291), excluding tax at 20 per cent.
Rates include use of the Dormy House spa (and transport there and back), a full breakfast spread of breads and pastries, as well as à la carte options, drinks – alcoholic and soft – and snacks from the trolley and the pantry. Oh, and cake.
Inclement weather or just feeling lazy? Book some time in the screening room, plonk yourself on a Fatboy bean bag and indulge in a spot of home cinema action (with complimentary popcorn, naturally). The Manor has a vast stash of DVDs available and the TV is – excuse us for getting technical here – bloomin’ massive.
At the hotel
Gardens, screening room (with film selection, consoles and games), ballroom, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, tablet computer, iPod dock, Nespresso machine, kettle, Temple Spa bath products. Wellies are available to borrow, and all the facilities of Dormy House and Farncombe Estate (including the spa, swimming pool, tennis courts and gym) are free to use.
Our favourite rooms
If you’re of a four-poster, twin-clawfoot-tubs-by-the-window, cosy-lounge-area-with original-fireplace sort of bent, you should probably secure the keys to the oh-so-romantic Oak Suite on the ground floor. If, however, you like your hotel rooms to resemble a cross between a rockstar afterparty and a Bedouin tent, head on up to the Maple room on the second floor, which has a king-size bed that can be curtained off from the rest of the room, a massive corner sofa and Fatboy bean bag, and a charming writing desk by the window. Our vote for the best views, however, goes to Birch, which looks out over the Vale of Evesham to the Black Mountains of Wales.
The 16m indoor infinity pool at the Dormy House Spa is two minutes’ drive away (Foxhill staff can shuttle you over), as is its outdoor hot tub.
Foxhill guests can cadge a lift over to Dormy’s award-laden House Spa whenever they fancy, and take advantage of the full-on Scandi-style thermal suite (featuring a Finnish sauna, lavender steam room, thalassotherapy room, experience shower and ice bath), the Veuve Cliquot champagne bar-cum-nail-parlour and six sleek treatment rooms, including a ‘couple’s closet’ for pampering pairs. The array of Temple Spa treatments on offer runs the gamut from grooming and beautifying to relaxingly indulgent. Treat your face to diamonds and black truffle, rejuvenate with a rhassoul mud bath or have yourself massaged into serenity before a healthy (or not) lunch on the Greenhouse terrace.
Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten something – Foxhill’s one of those places where staff will work miracles to ensure you have everything you need. There are wellies to borrow and the kitchen can fix you up with a picnic, but if you’re planning on running or rambling around the grounds, bring suitably outdoorsy attire. (And don’t forget your swimming stuff for use over at Dormy House).
You can book all eight bedrooms for exclusive use (if you want to book more than three rooms, you'll have to take over the whole place, and liaise with the events team). The Juniper bedroom is suitable for guests with mobility issues.
Dogs are welcome in all rooms for £30 a night, which gets them a bed and bowl. They even get to sample the chef’s own cooking, with specially prepared dog food from the Foxhill kitchen. There’s a maximum of two dogs in each room. See more pet-friendly hotels in Cotswolds.
Over-12s are welcome at Foxhill Manor (Dormy House is better for younger kids). The Hazel Suite, which has a separate lounge with a sofa bed, is the best bet for families with teens in tow.
The Dining Room’s small enough for it not to matter where you sit, but in summer, ask your host to have a table set up on the lawn and get a glorious eyeful of Cotswolds while you dine.
While you’re staying here, you’re Lord and Lady Smith of Foxhill, so dress with the eccentric swagger of the modern-day aristocrat. Or stick to your civvies – no one’s judging.
Once the Manor’s library, the Dining Room is modern and intimate, with a log fire on one side and a full-service bar on the other. You’re not limited to the dining room, however; Foxhill has a ‘whatever, whenever’ policy when it comes to meals. You’ll sit down with head chef Richard Thorpe to discuss your tastes, and he’ll then recommend a selection of options that fit with you. These can either be tried-and-tested dishes from his black board in the kitchen, or an entirely bespoke creation. At Foxhill you can wander into the kitchen whenever you like and request a picnic or a barbecue on the lawn – if it’s doable, they’ll do it. And of course, Dormy House down the road has two restaurants to choose from, too.
As you’d expect from any manor worth its stemware, there’s a vast and wide-ranging wine cellar for the plundering (with some surprsingly inexpensive options, too), as well as a wide array of spirits and regional Cotswolds ales housed in the Dining Room bar. Warmed by the open fire, the Living Room’s a lovely spot for pre- or post-prandials, or head out onto the terrace for a sundowner.
No such thing.
Anything you fancy can be delivered to your door 24 hours a day.
Foxhill Manor is cosily ensconced within Farncombe Estate – a 400-acre sprawl of scenic woodland just outside the quintessentially Cotswolds-y village of Broadway.
An hour’s drive away, Birmingham Airport is the closest international gateway, although, at 90 minutes by car, Bristol Airport isn’t too far a stretch. London’s headliners, Heathrow and Gatwick, are around 82 and 118 miles away respectively.
Moreton-in-Marsh train station is an easy 15-minute taxi ride from Foxhill – the hotel will arrange for a pick up if you ask. Moreton’s on the First Great Western network’s Cotswold Line, 90 minutes direct from London Paddington, an hour from Reading and 40 minuutes from Oxford.
The Cotswolds is made for pootling around country lanes, and there’s plenty of free parking available at the Manor, so a car can be very handy for exploring your surroundings. Foxhill is reached via Farncombe Estate’s private road, accessed from the A44 (the Fish Hill stretch) about a mile outside Broadway village. From London and the south, take the M40 and A44; from Birmingham and the north, you’ll want the M5 and the A44, bypassing Evesham via the A46.
The Farncombe Estate helipad is at your disposal (and Foxhill can arrange a helicopter for you if you don’t have one to hand). Coordinates are: W150.32.18/ N522.4.12.
Worth getting out of bed for
At Foxhill Manor, you have a 400-acre woodland playground on your doorstep, so grab a pair of wellies/bike/horse/shotgun and go explore. Staff can arrange any outdoor pursuit you fancy pursuing and pack you a picnic to enjoy while you do it. And if you’re into swinging, Foxhill Manor can make you a member of neighbouring Broadway Gold Club for the day. Make time to have at least one ramble around the estate while you’re here.
The closest of the Cotswolds signature chocolate-box villages is Broadway, around a 40-minute ramble away. Dotted with dinky shops and cosy cafés, it’s also home to the Gordon Russell Design Museum, dedicated to the Arts-and-Crafts-inspired 20th-century designer who lived here, and the Ashmolean at Broadway, the village’s outpost of Oxford’s most famous museum. Capability Brown’s Broadway Tower is also close by; the 20-metre turreted folly offers some of the most breath-snatching country views you’ll find in the Cotswolds (and that’s saying something). Chipping Campden – historic centre of the Arts and Crafts Movement – is a short drive from Foxhill and a haven for fans of tearooms and indie boutiques. Almost any of the villages in these parts rewards a visit, but the star attractions are Stow-on-the-Wold (for art and antiques), Winchcombe (for history, thanks to Studely Castle and the ruins of Hailes Abbey on its doorstep) and Burford (for an insight into what the world might look like if time had stopped during the Tudor dynasty). Want brighter lights and bigger cities? Horsey Cheltenham, bookish Oxford and bardish Stratford-upon-Avon are all less than an hour away.
Hotel staff can shuttle you back and forth to Dormy House, where you have the choice of hearty gastropub pie-and-pint-style dining in The Potting Shed or inventive dress-up dinners in The Garden Room. Both are helmed by Foxhill’s Jon Ingram, so if you fancy a change of chef, head to the historic Childswickham Inn(+44 (0)1386 852461) just outside Broadway for exposed-beam cosiness and hearty country-pub cuisine. For fresh seafood, meander over to next-door-neighbour The Fish Hotel and snag a seat at Hook; start with crusty bread smothered in seaweed butter, warm your cockles with ginger-spiced crab risotto and tuck into plates of scallops or pan-fried brill.The Seagrave Armsin Chipping Campden (+44 (0)1386 840192) is a showcase for Cotswolds-sourced ingredients and ales. The 17th-century Lygon Arms, also in Chipping Campden (+44 (0)1386 852255) is set in a vaulted minstrel’s gallery boasts a cocktail list as enticing as its pie-and-platter-laced dining menu. Close to Moreton-in-Marsh, honey-toned country pub TheHorse and Groom(+44 (0)1386 700413) is a consistent high-ranker in the region’s best-of lists.
Of all Broadway’s cutesy-cosy cafés and tea-and-cake pitstops, The Market Pantry (+44 (0)1386 858318, www.marketpantry.co.uk) ticks Smith’s boxes for atmosphere (Edwardian-style kitchen), top-drawer cream tea and moreish cake.
The Cotswolds is hardly known for its night scene, but if you fancy joining the locals for a lazy ale by the fire, you could do far worse than popping into the Swan Broadway (+44 (0)1386 852278, www.theswanbroadway.co.uk).
We’re sitting by a roaring fire, two bottles of champagne down, chatting with our new friends from Cheshire:
‘The trouble with these Man City players,’ she tells us, ‘is that none of them speaks English.’
‘Well how do they communicate with the manager and the team?’ Mr Smith queries.
‘They all have interpretlatators.’
Her husband corrects her – “It’s ‘interpreter’ darling,” and we all fall about laughing. Their ‘cropped and docked’ Doberman – imported at great expense from Russia – sits by their feet, and we can’t decide who’s wearing a more impressive chain: Nika or her master. Now, clearly Mr Smith and I love a good chat, especially with people as fascinating as these, but it’s been nearly two hours since we arrived at the hotel and we’re yet to check in or be shown to our room. The champagne flows from the complimentary bar in the drawing room, and while we’re having a wonderful time we are starting to wonder if we have wandered into someone’s home, instead of luxury Cotswolds stay Foxhill Manor.
Eventually, I nudge Mr Smith and he goes off to investigate, returning with a man offering yet more champagne. ‘Sorry, your room has been ready since you arrived, but I didn’t like to interrupt, you looked like you were having such a good time’. And so, the tone is set for Foxhill Manor – it’s a hotel, but not as you know it.
Foxhill Manor is set in the Worcestershire hills, just north of Broadway, which is an outrageously pretty village in wonderful yellow Cotswold stone. The manor itself is a beautiful Grade II-listed Arts and Crafts house, set in 400 acres of countryside on the Farncombe Estate, which is also home to Dormy House, its sister hotel. We arrived in January for a couple of nights’ respite from the dog and the baby, and it’s testament to the hotel that all rooms were full, mid-week, some with guests returning for a second or third time – quite a feat for a hotel that’s only been open for two years.
Our room is enormous, with two bath tubs lying side by side in the centre. We sip more champagne while waxing lyrical on the joys of bathing together yet separately. Mr Smith lies on our fabulous four-poster bed and turns on both the televisions in our room, while I play with the ‘press for fresh milk’ button on the in-room iPad – it duly arrives in 30 seconds.
Dressed and ready for dinner, we venture off to discuss our evening meal with the chef. We find him in the open kitchen teaching two fellow guests how to make the pasta they fell in love with the night before. There are no menus here, everything’s either grown on-site or sourced from within three miles, so you eat what’s fresh from the suppliers that morning.
Three courses are suggested, but don’t be afraid to demur, as the kitchen is very flexible; they’ve previously recreated a couple’s first-date meal for an anniversary dinner. The food is exceptional, and the quality never wavers, course after course, meal after meal. It’s without a doubt the best hotel-dining experience Mr Smith and I have ever had.
After breakfast, we decide to go for a walk, and set off out the door, past the line of wellies for guests to borrow. In confident Londoner style, we don’t listen to the directions we’re given and stride off down the drive on the walk to Broadway. The beautifully executed and clearly delineated map (with accompanying directions through woodland and fields and over stiles) lies unfolded in Mr Smith’s pocket. Holding hands, we set off into the snow-covered landscape. Some 20 minutes later we find ourselves walking along a busy A-Road, no longer holding hands and being pelted by slush from passing cars. On our arrival two days earlier we drove along this exact road, and commented on a pair of figures trudging along it. Who on Earth wanted to go for a walk here? We had wondered. The answer was becoming horribly clear: silly Londoners who prefer to ‘follow their nose’. Luckily, we had listened to the part about picking us up if we didn’t fancy the walk back, so we took refuge in a local pub while waiting for our driver.
We sheepishly arrived at breakfast at 11.45am on our last day, after our first lie-in together since our baby was born. We had no need to be embarrassed; the dining room was still full of other lazy guests and a breakfast tray was being delivered to a room at 12.30pm as we left. Beyond the food, location and the house itself, Foxhill’s trump card is its service. The hotel has a motto: ‘what you fancy, when you fancy it’, and it’s no empty corporate line. They approach service so freely, that it’s completely different from anywhere else I’ve stayed. It makes you question the way other hotels are run… Why use a room key when you trust and like the other guests and staff? Why sign for every drink and meal, or even at all? If you want to pretend you’re Anna Wintour for a few days and madly request lobsters at 3am and snow in July, I think the staff here would rise to the challenge and love every minute. They truly want you to be happy, relaxed and have a good time; and –as our minibreak proved – they succeed.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Foxhill Manor’s Guestbook below.
The attention to detail that was provided by all of the staff is truly incredible. They truly care about providing you with a one-of-a-kind experience. We stayed as part of the Full Fox package for our 10 year anniversary: champagne was brought to the room as a welcome surprise and the staff organised spa appointments for us at nearby Dormy House – someone even drove us there and picked us up again. We then went for a meeting with the chef who prepared us a lunch on the terrace which overlooks the nearby village of Broadway. In truth, this description doesn't do justice for the fact that no stone was left unturned in their effort to guarantee a wonderful stay.
To find a stuffy atmosphere – this was a very laidback experience.
Stayed on 27 Jun 2019
The personal attention from the staff, nothing was too much trouble. Excellent food and service. Superb bedroom suites with all mod cons. Lovely grounds. It felt really quiet even though all the rooms were full. We will certainly be back.
Stayed on 23 Jun 2019
Very relaxed and intimate atmosphere with extremely friendly and professional staff. Nothing was too much trouble. Somewhere you can really unwind and get away from it all. Great spa at Dormy House.
Stayed on 9 May 2019
Superb professionalism but delivered with absolute friendliness. There is nothing starchy about Foxhill Manor, it is a place to relax in. It is a hotel but not as you know it. The staff quickly recognise any needs or wants that a guest has and respond to it. There are so many splendid reviews for the staff and accommodation and I can only say that in my experience, they are true. We can only count the days before we visit again.
Noisy nightlife. Typical hotel check-in. Restaurant menus or dining times for breakfast, lunch, dinner – its whatever you want, when you want and where you want.
Stayed on 1 May 2019
Everything. It's like having your own stately home for a few nights with charming, attentive staff and a wonderful location.
Too much structure, as things revolve around you and your wants.
ByRichard George, BlackSmith
Stayed on 28 Apr 2019
Everything! The most amazing experience from the moment were arrived to the moment we left. Absolutely loved the concept of this place: You're not staying in a hotel but with (very wealthy) friends, which the staff brought to life in the best possible way. There is no formal reception, restaurant or menu. Instead, you can go anywhere (including the kitchen to ask the chef to cook for you on demand), sit anywhere and eat anywhere you like. There is a mini bar in the lounge with spirits, mixers and bubbly, a pantry with premium sweet and savory snacks and a freshly made cake - and you can help yourself to any of this at any point. Want a real hot chocolate? No problem, the chef will make you one. There is a media room with a giant screen, Sky, DVDs and board games. There are loan Wellies if you want to go for a country stroll and a shuttle car that can collect you if you get lost out or just can't be bothered to walk back (they can also drive you to the nearby villages or to the Spa at Dormy House). The staff are friendly, enthusiastic, informal but very attentive, making you feel at home throughout your stay. The hotel is beautifully and tastefully designed with even the entry level rooms being spacious and luxurious. Overall, a truly amazing experience and we are already looking forward to returning to Foxhill Manor!
A lot of action and a lively atmosphere.
Stayed on 20 Mar 2019
We stayed in the Hazel suite and had a thoroughly wonderful break. The staff make this a great place to relax, and we just love going in to the kitchen to speak to chef.
Hotel style check-in.
Stayed on 4 Jan 2019
The lack of pretentiousness that sometimes comes with these sorts of establishments. It's a really chilled out, relaxed vibe. If rest and relaxation is on your agenda, then you won't go wrong here.
An on site spa, albeit you'll be chauffeured to the one on the Farncombe Estate, which is amazing (but book well in advance)!
Stayed on 16 Dec 2018
The pantry and the fact it's in a private house and you don't see many guests. You can eat what you want, when you want.
Nightlife, or second stays to be as perfect as the first time around.
Stayed on 5 Oct 2018
Chatting to chefs and picking exactly your personal choice of food for dinner. The layed back atmosphere of that home from home from the warm welcome to that genuine thanks and farewell departure. Dress up or down, whatever floats your boat! Visit chipping Camden, a short drive away, with stunning Cotswold properties and independent restaurants shops and coffee houses.
Banging doors, noises neighbors after they return to there rooms, loud music and parties.
Stayed on 4 Jun 2018
It is just simply a magical place. You really feel like this is your house, so comfortable and able to relax properly. The food is incredible...expect to roll away from this place! The staff are so friendly, accommodating and chatty. I could go back again tomorrow, honestly! The surrounding area is simply beautiful as well... Go go go! Gorgeous walks in the fields too – just be careful which one you embark on! We ended up on a 3 hour hike with no water! Beautiful though! And definitely stroll around Broadway village, it is so idyllic. And for sure visit next door neighbour Dormy House for lunch, and use of their beautiful spa!
Feather pillows! I was slightly surprised they didn't have them in the rooms, and couldn't get when we requested later at night. I feel like the house should have loungers available during the summer months as we did want to lay out in the sun. The main chef is great, but slightly fails to inspire you when you are trying to 'create your menu'.
Stayed on 5 May 2018
Playing croquet with help-yourself bubbly on ice and a glorious Victoria Sponge on a sunny afternoon! A wander into Broadway or Chipping Camden is wonderful (make sure you call the hotel to get a complimentary shuttle back with your bags of gorgeous Cotswold produce!)
Anyone to say no! You can eat what you want, when you want, where you want. Just visit the kitchen during the day to speak to the Head Chef and let them know what you fancy. We had a delicious steak kidney suet pudding and a summer pudding all completely off-menu one evening just because we could!
Stayed on 4 May 2018
This was one of the best experiences in our life. The staff in Barnsley are so friendly and the hotel environment is so special, which makes you feel as comfortable as at home; at the same time, you get the true luxury of a 5-star hotel. Will definitely recommend!
Stayed on 18 Dec 2017
The absolute attention to detail and personal service; you really do feel as though you are the only people staying there. The staff are young and upbeat and bring a real sense of pride to the place. Food and drinks are continual and all amazing. The spa was a haven for relaxation and the treatments were superb. The bedroom was fantastic, lovely products included. Nothing to fault, everything from arrival to departure is simply 5 star.
A bustling hotel vibe. This is laid back chic all the way.
Stayed on 17 Dec 2017
Everything, especially the room, the champagne on tap and the service. It's definitely worth booking in for an outdoor activity on site – we loved the Segways!
To lift a finger!
Stayed on 1 Dec 2017
The warm, relaxing manner of all the staff. A perfect balance.