The Lygon Arms in Broadway is a hotel with history. Since opening in the 14th century, its guestbook has been scribbled in by the names of many dignitaries, including Charles I and Prince Philip. The hotel’s retained its rural charms, offering suites filled with locally sourced antiques and period features such as stone fireplaces and beamed ceilings. Nothing says country retreat like cosying up under a tartan blanket by the fire, although the spa’s pool, sauna and steam rooms may be enough to coax you out.
Get this when you book through us:
A half-bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates a stay
11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £144.38, including tax at 5 per cent.
Some rates include a full-English breakfast; for guests staying on a room-only basis, breakfast costs £20 for adults, £12.50 for kids. A 12.5 per cent service charge is added to any incidentals and extras, such as dining services or massages.
The Lygon Arms has been hosting guests since the 14th century; Charles I stayed here (in the Charles I Suite) before battle in the 1640s, during the English Civil War.
At the hotel
Spa; gym; wellies to borrow; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV; Floris bath products; Nespresso coffee machine; tea-making facilities.
Our favourite rooms
Sleep like royalty in the Charles I Suite, where the namesake sovereign slumbered before a battle in the 1640s. With a king-size bed and a comfy sofa bed, the Junior Suites have room for the whole family, even four-legged family members can stay here.
The indoor pool area has the feel of a Victorian bath house with metal pillars supporting a raised walkway and a retractable glass roof for sunny Cotswolds summers. At the end of the 13-metre, heated pool, there’s a steamy spa bath for deep relaxation during kid-free hours (there are specific pool times for water-babies).
Set within three acres of tranquil gardens, the spa includes saunas for both sexes, a eucalyptus-scented steam room, nail studio and both single and double treatment rooms. As well as individual treatments (facials, massages and specialised scrubs), the spa offers personal-training sessions, nutritional advice and all-out spa days, with lunch at the Spa Kitchen & Bar. The menu includes fruit-filled smoothies and veggie-laden meals; but don’t worry, this isn’t a healthier-than-thou kind of place: wine, beer and puddings can be ordered too.
Come winter, keep cosy in cashmere. Hunter wellies are essential, whatever the weather.
All public areas of the hotel are wheelchair accessible and the Courtyard Suites are specially adapted for guests with limited mobility.
Welcome – baby cots (free) and extra beds (£25 a night, including breakfast) can be added to some rooms. There are lots of family-friendly activities nearby.
Baby cots and extra beds for children can be added to certain Deluxe Rooms and Junior Suites, and all Suites and Master Suites.
Kids of all ages will enjoy the hotel, perhaps more important to consider is whether they’re countryside friendly – teenagers may not appreciate the limited 3G.
The Chamber Master Suite can fit three extra beds (free) in its two living rooms. The Courtyard and Junior Suites have sofa beds that sleep two kids; two of the Courtyard Suites interconnect. Baby cots (free) can be added to the Master and Junior Suites.
The hotel hosts a variety of children’s activities throughout the year; previous favourites include giant-chess tournaments on the lawn, croquet and seasonal treasure hunts.
So that adult guests can swim in peace and quiet, there are scheduled kids’ swimming times: Monday from 9am to 10am, Tuesday 10am to 11am, Wednesday to Sunday from 9am to 11am, and everyday from 3.30pm to 6pm. There are floating noodles for children.
Children are welcome in the lounges, Lygon Bar & Grill and Wine Bar; all have highchairs and the chefs are happy to heat up milk and baby food. Kids can take their pick of the children’s menus which offer paired-down versions of the adult’s dishes. They also offer seasonally themed afternoon teas, such as the Teddy Bear picnic, and Mad Hatter’s Tea party; in December, Santa stops by for a mince pie or two.
Babysitting can be arranged with the local Cotswold Angel crew for £15 an hour, with a three-hour minimum booking (a day’s notice needed).
Book a banquette for a spot of people watching in Bar & Grill, and bagsy one of the deep, fireside sofas in the lounges.
Swap your wellies for well-heeled brogues and sandals.
It may be located within a grand 16th-century hall, but the sleek marble tables and laidback leather seats of Lygon’s Bar & Grill set a decidedly modern tone for the restaurant. The carefully crafted menu features classic dishes such as veal cutlets, chateaubriand steak, and grilled sea bass. Nothing says Cotswolds country break like afternoon tea by a roaring wood fire; the hotel has several lounges where you can tuck into cake, sourdough sandwiches and gourmet burgers served with hand-cut chips.
Tucked away at the back of the restaurant, the seductively lit cocktail bar has a speakeasy feel; the drinks list includes many boozy botanical beverages, the highlight being Lygon’s signature lavender negroni. The Lygon Wine Bar specialises in European wines, served with a selection of light Italian bites and pizzas. If you get a taste for a certain tipple, all the wines cantilevered in the wine wall are available to buy in the hotel’s boutique.
Breakfast is served in the Lygon Bar & Grill from 7am till 10.30am; the restaurant reopens for lunch and dinner at 12 noon and closes at 9.30pm. The lounges open 9.30am to 11.30pm. The Lygon Bar & Grill bar serves till 9.30pm, the Wine Bar till 10pm.
The full Bar & Grill menu is available from 12.30pm to 9pm, after which a selection sandwiches is on offer.
The Lygon Arms is in the bucolic Cotswolds town of Broadway.
Birmingham International is an 80-minute drive away. Fly direct from cities across Europe, or if travelling from further afield, fly to London and then catch the train to Evesham. Our Smith24 team of travel experts are on hand round the clock to arrange your flights and organise transfers to the hotel (£195 from Birmingham airport).
Evesham Station is a 20-minute drive from the hotel: trains regularly stop here from Birmingham (80 minutes away) and London (just under two hours away) on their way west. The hotel can arrange transfers from the station for £20 each way.
A car is much needed in the Cotswolds; there’s free parking at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
It may be small, but the Broadway Museum and Art Gallery has some mighty works in its collection; and pieces are often loaned out from the Ashmolean in Oxford. If you’re in the market to buy, Trinity House Paintings has two commercial art galleries on the high street; on your right you’ll find works by Degas, Monet, Picasso and Sargent; and on your left, the modern gallery. If you’re partial to the hotel’s period pieces, the Gordon Russell Design Museum is just down the road, located in the original workshop of the celebrated 20th-century furniture designer. Spend an afternoon popping in and out of the boutiques on the high street (the OKA flagship store – a furnishing emporium founded by Viscountess Annabel Astor – is proudly positioned in a grand house at the end of the road), and the luxury-shop-lined streets of Cheltenham (a 40-minute drive away). Family-friendly attractions include the Cotswold Farm Park, a long-standing favourite where kids can meet local farm animals, or for more exotic beasts, the Cotswold Wildlife Park, home to zebras, rhinos, lemurs and lions.
Headed by chef George Santos, the daily menu at award-winning Russell's of Broadway features modern British food with a focus on ingredients from the Vale of Evesham: the area is known for its game, chutneys, jams and cheeses. High-street hit Number 32 is number one on our list of Broadway restaurants, serving home-made soups, stone-baked pizzas and antipasti sharing boards. Russell’s Fish & Chips is the perfect port of call after a chilly day out; warm up with a filling plate of its namesake dish (or sausage and chips, if you’d rather).
When the town clock chimes 4pm, head to The Tea Set for – you guessed it – high tea. As well as the traditional assortment of cakes, scones and finger sandwiches, this quaint spot has a luxurious offering with champagne. The team at the cosy Broadway Deli café uses the ingredients from the adjoining shop to make daily-changing dishes like carrot, coriander and lentil soup, and salami, mozzarella, red pesto and caramelised-onion toasties.
The Crown & Trumpet Inn is a traditional country pub within a picturesque 17th-century shell. Once you’ve ordered your pint either take a seat by one of the roaring fires, or, in summer, sit outside and let the world roll by. Set opposite the village green, you can’t miss the half-Tudor, half-Cotswolds stone structure of the Broadway Hotel. The drinks list at the hotel’s racing-themed Jockey Bar includes old classics like martinis and mojitos, and a few of the bar staff’s own inventions – try the Cherry Bakewell, a boozy take on your Cotswolds cake fix with gin, Chambord, pineapple and cranberry juice, or a refreshing strawberry and melon margarita.
One of my favourite paintings is Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent and perhaps we have to thank the warm hospitality of the Lygon Arms for this national treasure. The artist, whilst travelling to London, had an accident, bumping his head and was taken to stay at the Lygon Arms to recuperate. His convalescence resulted in him taking up residence nearby where he painted the famous masterpiece.
I imagine the painter was quite taken with this stylish hotel as it is at the centre of an unexpectedly charming and artistic community in the heart of rural Worcestershire.
As our little Fiat draws up outside the hotel, our overnight bags are swiftly gathered from the boot, the car disappears and we’re ushered into the lobby. This hotel is steeped in history and you don’t need to have much imagination to envisage Oliver Cromwell striding about in his riding boots plotting his next battle over a jug of beer.
It began life as a coaching inn, offering rest and merry-making for travellers coming to and from Wales. A few hundred years later, the guestlist got considerably more glamorous with the sovereign signatures of Charles I, Edward VII, Edward VIII and Prince Philip gracing the guest-book.
Even Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are known to have eloped here during their affair and I picture them huddled in one of the plentiful dark cosy corners sipping cocktails and flirting in silver-screen style.
It appears everyone has stayed here and I feel late to the party. Its appeal is instant. The lobby and bar area are divided into small areas where you can relax and chill. The restaurant, with its high vaulted ceiling, feels cool and contemporary while maintaining many of its original features to create a comfortable, atmospheric space. Dinner is casually formal, the service impeccable and the menu understated and tasty.
Our room is in the main house and the wooden beams and slanting floor make the room feel luxuriously old and we unwind. As I fall asleep between the crisp white sheets London seems like a long way away through time and space.
During breakfast, we plan our day and for a sleepy looking historical village there does seem almost too much to do. We start with a walk to the Broadway Tower via a picturesque church and idyllic graveyard then upwards through farms and fields to the Folly’s café high on the hill for a hot chocolate before the downhill trek back to the high street for some culture.
The Broadway Museum and Art Gallery is a hidden gem and has a great collection of paintings, porcelain and artefacts curated by the Ashmolean in Oxford. Later we visit the Gordon Russell Design Museum which celebrates the life and work of the renowned international furniture designer whose workshop was founded in Broadway.
Returning to the hotel, we take a delightful afternoon tea whilst the concierge books some tickets for the evening’s performance of Macbeth by the Royal Shakespeare Company at nearby Stratford-upon-Avon.
After a restful night, we have a lazy breakfast and cross the road to the famous Broadway Deli exploring the shelves of eclectic food fayre and finishing our trip off with yet another slice of cake.
As we drive back to North London I feel refreshed. A perfect weekend escape full of history, culture, countryside – and delicious cakes. Britain at its very best.