A 17th-century stone inn brought up to the present time with oodles of rustic modern style and good taste, the Wheatsheaf Inn hotel is a country charmer in the Cotswolds. Paintings – historic and contemporary – grace the walls, the just-coiffed-enough gardens are the perfect place to hide with a book, the regional cuisine is superb, the ales and ciders are well-chosen and the cocktails are spot on.
11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible subject to availability.
Double rooms from $94.55 (£75), excluding tax at 20 per cent.
Rates usually include a Continental breakfast with à la carte hot dishes (not included for room-only bookings).
The Wheatsheaf Inn would make a swell spot for a reception dinner, with bespoke banquets including whole hogs for a rollicking rural send-off. Guests at Cotswolds-fan Kate Moss' nuptials bedded down here, and it would also be stylish for a stag or hen do. If you're planning a smaller special evening, ask the hotel to have a bottle of champagne waiting in your room.
At the hotel
Snug/TV room, private dining room, poker room, wine cellar, board games, free WiFi throughout, gardens. In rooms: flatscreen Bang & Olufsen TV, Bramley bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Once a piggery, Excellent Room 9 flaunts high ceilings and original stone walls. Very Good Room 6, in the former stable block, mixes masculine black suede and tweed, and Excellent Room 1 boasts a blissful freestanding bath. For garden access, opt for feminine Excellent Room 11. A few of the rooms have the bath tub or shower at the end of the bed; ask when booking if you'd rather have an ensuite. Tip: if you're lugging lots of luggage, ask for a room with a wardrobe or chest of drawers – they don't all have them.
Shooting – of the real and clay-pigeon variety – is up for grabs near this rustic retreat, and if you bring your own rifle there's a gun cabinet for storing it safely. Pack country clobber for hearty walks.
Throughout the year, the hotel shows big rugby, tennis and cricket matches live on the telly in the snug.
Welcome. Baby cots (free), or a limited number of fold-out Z-beds for under-14s (£25 a night) are available on request. Babysitting with Rocking Horse Nannies can be arranged, a week's notice is advised.
Kids of any age will enjoy a stay at the Wheatsheaf Inn, especially those old enough to play out in the garden.
The ground-floor rooms (10, 11 and 12) and several of the Very Good rooms are large enough to fit extra beds.
Kids will love the huge toy box, board games and Wendy house out in the back garden. Child-friendly capers in the nearby countryside include walking, cycling, horseriding, waterskiing and sailing; adventurous kids will like the climbing wall at Far Peak. For animal encounters, they can feed the lambs at Cotswold Farm Park or go wild at Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens. Magical, traditional Giffords Circus performs locally, too.
The restaurant offers an appealing children's menu and welcomes nippers at any time. Staff can whip up packed lunches for picnics or heat baby food or milk.
Staff can give advice on local babysitting companies; we recommend giving a week's notice.
No need to pack
Highchairs. If you need to bring a baby monitor, they're most likely to work in most of the rooms above the bar (numbers 1–4).
The Wheatsheaf offers baby cots (free) and a limited number of fold-out Z-beds for under-16s (£25 a night). Make sure you book them in advance, though.
Park yourself at a cosy table beside the long banquette for top people-watching. The private dining room, which seats 18–20, is pretty magical, should you be in party mode.
Informal gastropub gear, but a tad of tweed will tally with the hunting, shooting and fishing crowd.
Chunky wooden tables and leather-backed chairs tempt you to linger in the Inn's inviting dining room, where paintings of historic Brit tobacco barons add to the olde worlde feel. By contrast, German artist Sebastian Krüger's pop art portrait of Kate Moss factors in the funk. Nosh by chef Peter McAllister is rustic and regional, with seasonal produce the star in a daily-changing menu; we're partial to the signature Colchester rock oysters and 'marathon pud'. The full cooked English breakfast is a must, and is available until 10am. Make dinner reservations when booking – the restaurant is packed every night.
Beside the dining room, the Wheatsheaf Inn's convivial bar is a relaxed affair, popular with loyal locals. As well as a changing roster of regional beers, there's delicious Dunkertons organic cider on tap. The staff also mix killer cocktails:. miss the mean Bellinis at your peril. Expect a backing track of Pavarotti in the morning, segueing to Johnny Cash come the afternoon.
Lunch in the restaurant is served from noon–3pm; bar snacks from 3pm–6pm; and dinner from 6pm–9.30pm (10pm on Fridays and Saturdays). The pub pulls pints until 11pm, and the back-garden bar keeps the same hours.
None – but the restaurant should keep you pleasantly full.
The Wheatsheaf Inn is in the Cotswolds, in the Gloucestershire market town of Northleach, within easy reach of both Cheltenham and Cirencester.
Fly into London's Heathrow Airport (www.heathrowairport.com) – from here it's about a 90-minute drive to the hotel. Gatwick Airport (www.gatwickairport.com) is just over a two-hour drive away. Recommended local firm Rainbow Taxis (+44 (0)1285 740 070) would be happy to pick you up and whisk you to the Wheatsheaf.
The nearest train stations are Kemble and Kingham, reached in under an hour and a half from London Paddington (www.nationalrail.co.uk), and Cheltenham Spa, which takes two hours and 15 minutes, with connections from most major UK cities. All three are about a 25-minute drive away.
A two-hour drive north-west of London, Northleach is just off the A40 between Cheltenham and Burford. Parking behind the hotel garden is free.
Worth getting out of bed for
Active country pursuits abound here, from walking to cycling, horseriding, tennis, rock climbing, golf, exceptional fishing and watersports (at the Cotswold Water Park on South Cerney Lakes), all of which can be organised by your hosts. For riding, trot to Talland School of Equitation, near Cirencester, or Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre. Clay-pigeon and game shooting are a blast, too, with sessions for all levels and regular competitions to test the best. Try Ian Coley Shooting School, near Cheltenham, or one of the private estates recommended by the Wheatsheaf crew.
History buffs can check out various stately piles within an hour's drive, including Sudeley Castle and Blenheim Palace, or ask the hotel team to arrange private tours of one of the glam gardens in the area. Northleach is also brilliantly placed for missions to the heritage-toting, grey-stone Cotswolds towns of Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water and Moreton-in-Marsh. Cheltenham's Everyman Theatre should amuse the thespians.
Closer to home, the Wheatshelf keeps up a busy calender of wine, beer, cocktail and champagne tastings, dining deals and sports events, as well as celebrating everything from New Year's Eve to Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night. If you'd rather just relax, laid-back types can luxuriate in the landscaped beer garden, where Cotswolds-green picnic tables, striped deck chairs, sunloungers and a tiny walled nook for sneaky pints beckon.
Sunday lunch is a must at gastropub the Horse & Groom in Bourton-on-the Hill. It's bagged awards for its regularly changing menu, which runs the gamut from rib-eye steak to beer-battered hake. Alternatively, get your roast at the Wild Duck near Ewen, where the Yorkshire pud is seriously good. A brill bistro by the owners of the Wheatsheaf Inn, The Tavernon 5 Royal Well Place in Cheltenham dishes up modern British and French tavern fare, with a focus on fresh local seafood and meats. The Chequersl in Chipping Norton is a cosy option for a drink or weeknight supper.
A top tip for simple food done well is restaurant, café and deli Made by Bob in the Corn Hall, 26 Market Place in Cirencester, which serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Chef/owner James 'Bob' Parkinson uses quality ingredients, and the London culinary vibe here keeps folk coming back for more. Don't miss hybrid café, farm produce shop, and chic garden and homewares boutique, Daylesford Farmshop & Café. Set on a Gloucestershire organic farm, it also has outlets in London, and blends impeccable style with gorgeous sustenance.
The Village Pub in Barnsley near Cirencester and Thyme hotel's popular drinkery theSwan at Southrop are both smart bets for sipping a pint in stylish surrounds, with tasty food options to see off that hangover. Overlooking the main square in Northleach, theCurious Cellar has about 20 wines available by the glass, a cosy wood-lined interior and an airy courtyard outside.
Honestly? I was a tad disappointed when Mr Smith said he’d booked a pub for the weekend. Being seven months pregnant, I was hoping for something luxurious for our last weekend à deux for some time. Turning off the motorway, we swung onto a country road shrouded by dark forest, punctuated with glints of cute, hidden cottages. I wondered if Mr Smith had thought this one through. He knew my litmus test for an overnight stay by now – amazing beds, huge bathtubs, brilliant but unfussy food, and sophisticated but not too try-hard. Could the unassuming-sounding Wheatsheaf Inn deliver?
Perched on bar stools several hours later, encouraging Mr Smith onto his second pint of local ale by a warming log fire, I had to admit he had nailed it. Formerly a coaching inn, beyond the ivy-clad stone façade, Wheatsheaf Inn keeps the same friendly atmosphere I imagine it had when welcoming weary days-gone-by travellers. Original stone flags are suitably worn and roaring hearths keep the pub toasty.
Checking in, squeezed between locals at the bar, was a little more cosy than I had anticipated, but we were ushered into the fold with cheerful banter. Around us other weekend-awayers were crashed out in padded alcoves for wind-down drinks, lively chatter floating in from the two dining rooms flanking the bar. Subdued green walls, exposed Cotswold stone and antique armchairs hemmed in by the low-beamed ceilings conveyed chintz- and clutter-free charm and impeccable taste.
And oh our room! My smile stretched to a broad grin when I spied the most welcome sight in our Excellent Room: a freestanding claw-footed slipper bath. Bath lovers can attest just how exciting little details such as a big pot of bath salts and a stack of plump white towels warming on the rail are. Open-plan, apart from a small room for the loo, opposite the bath is an enormous bed with robust oak headboard. This passed Mr Smith’s super-king test: lying widthways across the bed still leaving plenty of room. Contemporary flair was there too in the dusty pink and grey goose colour scheme, the Lewis & Wood wallpaper and a vast B&O television. (Due to my burgeoning bump the bath stood little chance of accommodating us both, but the all-in-one design of the room ensured an easy bed/tub rotation.)
Dinner in the Wheatsheaf proved a convivial, noisy affair. Huge tea towels masquerade as napkins and foil-wrapped Gloucestershire churned butter accompanies freshly baked bread. Great British fare, but excellently executed: perfectly pink partridge, whole plaice with shrimp butter and an oozing ginger sticky toffee pudding. The wine list, perhaps reflecting the better-heeled clientele stretches into the hundreds.
Waking the next morning I wondered why I couldn’t move. I was just that comfortable. It wasn’t only the Egyptian cotton or the comforting weight of blankets; turns out it was because the beds have Hypnos memory-foam mattresses. The Wheatsheaf Inn has a knack of making guests happy – just as it’s met one set of demands, it throws you a little something extra to really warm the cockles. Mmm… afternoon toast and peanut butter in the snug by the crackling fire… a bowl of gourmet chocolate eggs in the room (perfect with a cuppa)… O-Check Design Graphics notepads to hand. OK – who needs the hotel to have five stars when you've got touches like that?
The village of Northleach, a 500-year-old market town, is well worth a mooch around, with its pretty vaulted church, the bells of which we could hear from our room. It’s what Americans would call ‘quaint’, but lacking the saccharine-sweet chocolate-box veneer that some villages in the Cotswolds have. It’s window-shopping gold too – we found ourselves in the extraordinary Dolls House shop and then in a time-warp emporium selling antique clocks and tiny music boxes.
Back at our 17th-century bolt hole, staff were revving up for the next busy mealtime so we retreated to the sanctuary of our room for another round of baths. We heard the pub door bang repeatedly as hungry customers eagerly arrived, reminding us that the chilled-out Wheatsheaf is not just a Cotswolds boutique hotel but a thriving boozer with a lively atmosphere – and thank goodness for that. It’s the way forward for a relaxed, stylish break. And, as Mr Smith later informed me, the hotel welcomes babies, children and even dogs (the hotel also has its own Labrador, Pudding), perhaps providing the perfect solution for our own growing Smith clan.
We loved the public house feel to it all. Pints of fine ale in the bath, a do-it-yourself Bloody Mary at breakfast, and everyone so smiley. So, you can keep your big country hotels where couples eye other couples over fancy martinis and dine formally in a Michelin-starred dining room, after all. And you can wipe that smug look off your face, Mr Smith.
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 The Wheatsheaf Inn’s Guestbook below.
We stayed in room 10 on the ground floor. We loved the room: gorgeous big roll top bath, king-size bed and Dyson hairdryer. Loved the little touches, too: complimentary brownies, room service, daily newspaper of choice and full size bath pampering products. The restaurant and the food was excellent- lots of choice available. All staff were very friendly and helpful.
You must book a table for supper as it's such a popular restaurant. We struggled to get a table until late without a reservation.
Stayed on 10 Aug 2019
We loved the look and feel of the Wheatsheaf Inn - a beautiful old building and a lovely landscaped garden, with two outside bars and a pizza oven, great interior design and amazing food. However, our room was not clean - all surfaces were dusty, including the wooden floor in the bathroom. The room, although it had a few good quality amenities, was pretty basic - no wardrobe, just hangers on hooks. For the cost of the room, it should have been spotless; there was a Henry Hoover left in the corridor outside our room and we joked we should give the room a good hoover ourselves! The food was of a great standard but was served very quickly, making lunch and dinner seem rushed, not the relaxed grown up meal we were hoping for.
Don't expect a quiet stay; this is a busy, lively pub with music playing in the garden until closing time at night.
Stayed on 22 Jun 2019
The food was really first class. The staff are also brilliant, especially the lad on the bar with tattoos on his arms - he was really friendly and couldn't do enough for us. Excellent service.
Posh nosh or high-end furnishings. This is a homely, rustic, warm atmosphere where you can come and go as you please. A real home from home.
Stayed on 21 Mar 2019
The outside of the inn is stunning and ivy-clad. There's a relaxed check-in at the bar, where you're offered a drink and your bags are taken up to your room for you. We had a complimentary upgrade, which was a nice touch. The room was lovely with a free standing bath and a big double bed. The food was very nice during the evening - I'd highly recommend eating here.
There is barely anything to do around the area, no restaurants or cafes.
Stayed on 27 Feb 2019
The whole stay was fantastic, we loved it all. The staff were fantastic, we arrived during their very busy Sunday lunch service but they were very attentive and friendly. Our room was lovely (room 1) food was fantastic. It was a perfect getaway for the two of us for my birthday. Id definitely go back and recommend it to anyone. Thank you for a lovely stay.
The village is very quiet, so don't expect lots to see.
Stayed on 6 Jan 2019
The staff, the food, the laid back vibe, the doggy bed and doggy treats.
Stayed on 30 Dec 2018
The lovely atmosphere and the friendliness of all the staff: nothing was too much trouble.
Stayed on 2 Dec 2018
Lovely, huge, comfortable bed with proper goose-down pillows. Huge bath with fast-flowing water to fill it and Mrs was particularly impressed with the creams, salts, bubbles and soaps. All of the staff were very helpful and friendly, and went out of their way to look after us. Our room opened directly onto the garden and on one of the evenings a few happy patrons gathered outside our room. We were concerned that we would be kept up due to noise, but we ordered tea to the room and without any prompting our host realised what was happening and thoughtfully moved them to another part of the garden. The food was absolutely outstanding and I'd go as far as to say that the tropical fruit pavlova was probably the best pudding I have ever had. I liked the fact that there was a good selection of wines which could be ordered by the small glass so that we could match each course with the right wine. Breakfast was also superb. We booked with breakfast included and at the time of booking I seem to remember it was an optional extra but it turned out only the continental breakfast included so we ended up paying for the full breakfast as well. It was worth every penny, outstanding food cooked to perfection, but if I booked again, I wouldn't pay for the inclusive option given the choice, Id just order off the menu on the day.
No tea and coffee facilities in the room, but you can just call reception and they will bring a fresh pot free of charge. I'd recommend that you confirm whether you have a bath or a shower in the room when you book. There was some confusion at check-in when we were shown to a room with only a shower and didn't look at all like the picture of the Very Good Room we had booked. Thankfully this was resolved without fuss by our hostess. Nowhere to put the suitcase and no drawers in the room, I didn't think it would bother me, and not a big deal, but scratching around in the suitcase on the floor I felt it didn't quite work for me.
Stayed on 14 Sep 2018
Lovely pub with smart rooms in three price categories. Dinner for 12 in the private room was excellent. Staff great. Have been here many times.
A 5-star hotel. This is a pub with rooms and they do it very well.
Stayed on 22 Jul 2018
Service throughout our stay was excellent. We had a room (No. 8) overlooking the garden as we had been advised this would be quieter than one at the front on the main road. It had a lovely aspect though no one had mentioned to us that there is a music system playing loudly all over the garden and there was a speaker directly under our room! Music (and it was not to our personal taste) was playing when we arrived at about 5pm and carried on till 10 pm - to us this was a definite downside as the room was definitely not quiet as we had requested. We were there in very hot weather and as the room faced due west it was very sunny all evening and so very hot. There are lovely old sash windows but they have been fixed so they only open about 8-10 cms so provided no air at all and the fan provided did little more. Food was excellent, both our evening meal and continental breakfast the following morning and overall we enjoyed our stay.
There are no tea and coffee making facilities in the room - though we got good service when we rang reception to order this. Also we would have expected to be offered a cooked breakfast at this price. Our 'very good' room had nowhere specific to put clothes - just a few hangers on hooks on the wall and a rustic wicker basket on the floor underneath each of the bedside tables.
Stayed on 10 Jul 2018
Despite its name, the 'cosy' room was plenty big enough for a weekend break and was tastefully decorated and had Bramley toiletries. The pub itself is great with plenty of space indoors and a huge garden which was perfect as the sun shone all weekend. The food was good (elevated pub grub) and we enjoyed the breakfast buffet (especially the banana bread). Pretty extensive wine list too. Location was perfect as well, in a small village with another pub (which we didn't visit) and a wine bar as well as a couple of shops and cafes, but on the doorstep of lots of beautiful countryside. Service was great and the staff, whilst generally pretty young, were friendly and efficient. We walked to Hampnett (a nearby hamlet) which was a pleasant 90-minute round walk through the countryside. Coincidentally it was the Northleach Charter Fair on the weekend we stayed so we enjoyed the dog show, live music and food/drink stalls.
Bathroom privacy - the shower was in the bedroom.
Stayed on 29 Jun 2018
We loved the friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere, the slightly quirky rooms and the delicious food. The village and the area are great to explore.
There are no tea and coffee making facilities in the rooms but these come very quickly from room service.
Stayed on 12 Apr 2018
The huge bathroom with a deep roll top pewter bath tub, and luxurious Bramley Bath products, was great fun, and felt decadent. Large, very comfortable bed with crisp cotton bed linen and stacks of pillows. Big, soft towels and bathrobes. Friendly, helpful staff and chatty locals. Very good food, and nice atmosphere, in the pub restaurant. Music was pleasant and not obtrusive. Sky movies on the TV was a bonus, too. Ideal for a relaxing break in a stylish but very comfortable traditional pub, with plenty to do in the nearby area, and beautiful countryside all around. The Ox wine bar in the village was closed for a change of ownership, otherwise would have liked to visit. Bibury is pretty, especially Arlington Row cottages and Rack Isle. Sherborne (National Trust – the Spring Watch programmes were filmed here this year) has some good walks.
Lively night life, as the village is very quiet, and small.
Stayed on 9 Jan 2018
The room with a roll top bath and the location, within a 20 mins drive from most neighboring villages. The snug at the back of the pub.
A minibar, and sporadic room service. The service was mixed, some of the bar staff were excellent and charming, however, the restaurant staff seemed very busy and otherwise engaged. The food was "ok". The wine list is extensive, but check the bottle that you order, when they bring a different year to what you order, there is a difference in taste and price. Something they failed to grasp. A little too pricey for what was on offer.
Stayed on 30 Dec 2017
The decor across the entire hotel was out of this world, the food was just delicious. Best steak I've ever tasted. It was so warm and cosy, a beautiful location and super friendly staff. I will 100 per cent stay again and hopefully very, very soon. The loveliest little place I've ever stayed at.
Kids running around. Much to do within walking distance... apart from beautiful walking routes.