Cotswolds country estates don’t come more charming than The FishHotel, a clutch of smartly-styled rooms set on 400 rolling acres, two hours from London. Borrow a pair of wellies and roam the glorious grounds. Afterwards, kick back in the inviting bar and rest your feet by the fire. And, if you can help it, don’t miss the traditional family-style Sunday lunch with all the trimmings.
Get this when you book through us:
A glass of sparkling wine in the bar for BlackSmith and SilverSmith members; a bottle of sparkling wine in the bar for GoldSmith members
Double rooms from £170.00, including tax at 5 per cent.
A full breakfast and a Continental buffet is included in the room rate, with cereals, meats, cheeses and cooked-to-order egg dishes.
Feeling competitive? There’s a games room with a pool table and board games. From Monday to Thursday, guests can book spa days at sister property Dormy House (at an extra cost).
At the hotel
Four-hundred-acre grounds, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, work desk, alarm clock, Nespresso machine, kettle and teas, free bottled water and Temple Spa bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Whether you go for the room with a wood-burning stove or a private patio, you’ll find that the secluded and sprawling Bigger Suites are aptly named. Hang the 'Gone fishing' sign on the door and settle in.
No need to lug your wellies – the hotel has a whole kick-line of boots available for guests (both big and small) to borrow.
There are two rooms adapted for visitors with mobility issues. The reception area, restaurant and bar are all wheelchair accessible.
Welcome in eight Medium rooms, one Veranda Room, one Small Suites, one Bigger Suite and one Treehouse for £30 a dog a stay; check availability before booking. Your pup must be at least a year old and will be pampered with a bed, bowls, a towel and treats. See more pet-friendly hotels in Cotswolds.
Cots (for ages two and under) are free; those aged three to 11 can stay for £40 a child (£60 for older kids), each night in either existing or extra beds in Small and Bigger Suites and Treehouses. Babysitting is available, starting at £15 an hour.
Cosy up by the wood burning fireplace in the cooler months, and take to the outdoor terrace to soak up the top-of-the-hill views in summer.
Turn up with ruddy cheeks and your finest weekend-in-the-country plaid.
Living up to the hotel's name, Hook is a seafood restaurant headed by Chef Martin Burge. The catch of the day includes dishes such as griddled octopus with chorizo and white beans, and the menu includes many traditional British favourites. The tasty fare is complemented by interior designer, Hannah Lohan’s aux naturale inspired interiors.
Bright and inviting, the lounge-like bar is the buzzy heart of the hotel, with a place for everyone – flop on a sofa, snag a stool at the bar, or cuddle by the fire with your expertly mixed gin (pick from 11 distillers) and tonic or local ale. If you get peckish, sliders are served from noon to 9.30pm. We like the 'Made it pig-time' with smoked pork belly and Applewood cheese or the 'Prawn patty' with caramelised king prawns and chilli sauce. The bar is open from 10:30am – 11:30pm.
Breakfast is served 7am–10am; lunch is available noon till 2:30pm; sit down for dinner 6.30pm–9:30pm.
A room-service menu of handmade pizzas is available from noon to 10pm.
The Fish Hotel sits pretty on the rolling grounds of the Farncombe Estate in the Cotswolds.
Birmingham Airport is the closest and roughly an hour away by car. Bristol Airport is a 90-minute drive from the hotel and London hubs are further afield: London Heathrow is 82 miles away; Gatwick, 117.
The depot at Moreton-in-Marsh is 20 minutes from the hotel. First Great Western trains (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk) arrive direct from London Paddington in 90 minutes, Reading in an hour and Oxford in 40 minutes.
The drive from London without traffic is about two hours via the M40 and A40, and there’s free parking onsite.
Worth getting out of bed for
Strewn across 400 rolling country Cotswolds acres, the Fish lures ramblers of all stripes; the hotel has a dedicated boot room (a partnership with the Original Muck Boot Company) waiting when you return. Tramp across verdant fields and in 45 minutes you’ll wind up on the High Street of Broadway Village, lined with antiques shops, boutiques and cafés. And for fragrant souvenirs, make the 10-minute drive to Cotswold Lavender, a fourth-generation family farm that makes oils, soaps, candles and scents. Feeling sporty? Lace up your trainers for one very scenic jog.
Book ahead for a table at the award-winning Russell’s, with modern British cuisine from chef Neil Clark. Ingredients are locally sourced and so fresh that the wild duck comes with a warning: may contain shot. Set on the same estate as the Fish itself, the elegant Garden Room at Dormy House wows with its tasting menu and dishes such as Tamworth pig toad-in-the-hole, nettle risotto with sunflower-seed pesto and lemon posset with elderflower.
Broadway Deli is just the spot for picking up picnic provisions and sandwiches to go (they’ll create the ultimate gift hamper for you, too). Or, check the list of daily specials and squeeze in with the locals to catch up on the day’s news over coffee.
I’m in my pyjamas in bed in my Cosy Luxe room at the Fish and I hear… nothing. Sweet, blissful nothing. The silence you don’t get anywhere when you live in a city; the one that really lets your mind wander, your body relax and your whole soul drift off into a heavenly, peaceful slumber.
This is why you come to the Fish: to relax, zone out, escape the digital world (though there is excellent WiFi if you wish to connect), lie in, explore the countryside and eat well. And whether you’re here with your partner, a group of girlfriends, kids, or parents, you feel at home, welcome and in good company. Unlike a lot of boutique hotels, the Fish’s demographic is seemingly broad. Looking around the breakfast room while eating my eggs and soldiers on Saturday morning, there’s everyone from young couples and elderly lovers to sets of couples making up tables of six and four-generation-spanning families. To be here alone is frankly quite odd, and the waitress doesn’t hesitate to tell me, chuckling as she removes the extra placement. People obviously don’t do that so much here. Nevertheless, I quite like a solo retreat, and I’d argue that the Fish is a great place to do it: the rooms are pretty compact so you don’t feel lonely and there are plenty of sofas in the lounge on which to curl up with a book; then there’s the vast expanse of countryside that’s perfect for long walks and getting your thoughts together.
Getting here from London couldn’t be simpler. You hop on the train at Paddington and an hour and a half of countryside later, you jump off at Moreton-in-Marsh station, and take a 15-minute taxi to the hotel. Everyone around here knows the Farncombe Estate, and the drive across the grounds is certainly a lovely one, with picturesque views of the patchwork fields stretching right over to North Wales. Check-in is quick and easy; though with my room being down in the Stables and arriving in the dark, I could have done with a little more assistance in getting there. Call me fussy, but even if I am travelling with the smallest backpack of all, I do still like to be accompanied to my room.
My room, 98, is comfortable yet modest. It’s homely. Compact. Basic luxury — that’s the vibe of the Fish throughout, prices and all. It’s modern country chic with a nod to the Scandi aesthetic: a sheepskin rug on a leather basket chair; a statement blue rotary telephone; and a cream vintage radio on the desk. The bed is huge and wonderfully comfortable, with a green-upholstered headboard, piled up pillows and a rich, woollen bedspread. There’s a desk with tea and coffee supplies (a Smeg fridge in the foyer offers more fresh milk), a large mirror, bedside table lamps and, in terms of storage, a chest of drawers and hooks and hangers for clothes. The bathroom is pretty low-key. There’s a bath tub with an overhead shower and a basic Bramley toiletries — so you’ll be stung if you forget your toothbrush, razor, nail file and the like.
Dinner is a delight; unsurprisingly, it’s popular with residents as well as locals. There are tables of twos, tens and even a larger 80th birthday group. (Though after being advised to make a reservation, I do struggle somewhat with the restaurant not answering the phone for four tries!). The sea bass ceviche is delicious and surprisingly authentic — I was in Peru the month prior so it seems like the obvious choice — and the spring green risotto I have for my main is mammoth in size and equally big on flavour. Delicious.
Come morning, I’m struggling to prise myself out of the sheets. I’ve got until 12pm so there’s no real rush, but I’m determined to get out and soak up just a little more of that country air. Honestly, you could walk for miles around here. Down the hills, up the hills, around the little lake complete with lily pads, or up to Dormy House and Foxhill Manor.
While there is a modest fitness suite and a nice yoga studio, that’s about it when it comes to the leisure facilities. I mean, I could have splurged on a cross-country segway session or archery, but even with my country-girl roots engaged, I’m not sure I’m so interested in spending on those! If you’re craving a little TLC, you can book in for a treatment at Dormy House (which has one of the most sumptuous spas in the whole of the Cotswolds), though it can be tricky to score availability. However, for those satisfied with country air, a comfy bed and good food, the Fish is the perfect Cotswolds bolthole.