Cotswolds, United Kingdom

Thyme

Rates from (ex tax)$288.20

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP270.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Elegant epicurean estate

Setting

Model village

A cosy local pub, and serenely grazing livestock: Thyme boutique hotel – 17th-century cottages and refined rooms dotted throughout Southrop Manor’s 150-acre estate – encapsulates a William Blake-penned vision that’s lured London’s fashion set (a certain supermodel proved its pull by holding her nuptials nearby). With an on-site farm and fruitful kitchen garden, the hotel’s cookery school is revered among foodies, too.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A half-bottle of local Poulton Hill English sparkling wine in your room

Facilities

Photos Thyme facilities

Need to know

Rooms

13, including two stand-alone cottages.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in: 4pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $288.20 (£225), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP270.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include a hearty Continental breakfast (home-made granola, sourdough and preserves, seasonal compote and fresh fruit) and two hot dishes (locally cured ham or fish, coop-fresh eggs and garden-harvested veggies).

Also

Celeb gardener Bunny Guinness’s Olive Garden is a lovely lounging spot too.

Hotel closed

For 10 days after the first Monday of the year.

At the hotel

Cookery school, farm, petanque pitch, gardens, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV and DVD player, free bottled water, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle and a selection of teas, Miller Harris bath products. Tallet and Old Walls cottages have a wood-burning stove.

Our favourite rooms

Set under beamed eaves, Nepeta is decorated in an earthy palette; it's dotted with antiques from Tetbury, but in such a way that it feels like you could be settled in amid your own collection. In the ensuite, you can play chess in the bath tub, and the shower's skylight lets you stargaze while you scrub. If you desire rustic seclusion, check in to Tallet, a pretty stone cottage in Thyme's courtyard with a log burner to warm winter nights and an alfresco dining area for sunny afternoons.

Packing tips

Wellies and a casual ensemble for rambles through the farm. Clear a little space in your suitcase for Thyme’s generous home-made treats, including little bottles of elderflower cordial or jars of jam.

Also

Masseurs, nail techs and hairdressers can be summoned to your suite with 48 hours’ notice.

Pet‐friendly

Dogs are welcome in the Old Walls cottage only. See more pet-friendly hotels in Cotswolds.

Children

Over-12s only in the hotel; they'll need a separate room too. Younger children can only stay in Old Walls cottage. The Swan has a special 'cygnets' menu and staff will warm baby food. Babysitting (£8–10 an hour, plus a £7–12 booking fee) is available.

Eco‐friendly

With few exceptions, everything on your plate is grown or farmed on site. Thyme has a two-acre kitchen garden for herbs and vegetables; eggs come from the resident hens, quail and geese, and lambs and pigs are reared in the grounds. The hotel recycles and composts waste, heating comes from a wood-pellet-fuelled boiler or a ground-source heat pump (in the Tithe Barn and cookery school).

Food and Drink

Photos Thyme food and drink

Top Table

In the Swan, we like either the round table by the stone fire, or a window nook. The outdoor picnic tables offer a convivial atmosphere come summer.

Dress Code

Town to country.

Hotel restaurant

Despite an influx of A-listers, the Swan at Southrop has stayed true to its country-pub roots, championing localism (ingredients’ ancestry is traced on the menu) and dishing up hearty portions. Chef Matthew Wardman rewrites the menu each week – sometimes daily – but dishes are mostly mod Brit (gourmet Scotch eggs, Cornish hake), with a little Italian and French influence (cep mushroom risotto with Chianti, Fowey mussels with white wine). Sunday lunch remains sacrosanct: slabs of sirloin and estate-reared lamb are served with traditional trimmings, but be sure to nab a table ahead of time. Breakfast is served in the Tithe Barn.

Hotel bar

The Baa (see what they did there…) has a cocktail list with culinary clout: damsons from the garden are muddled into the cosmopolitan, home-made marmalade is swirled into Moscow mules and garden herbs are sprinkled into whisky sours. Brit spirits and fine wines from home and abroad are served too. By day, pop in for a coffee, tea or herbal infusion, and try the excellent home-made cakes: honey and quince cake (made with home-grown ingredients), blueberry and lavender friands, and clementine and polenta cake. The Swan has real ale on tap, picks from the local micro-breweries and a 100-bin wine list.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 8am–10am. In the Swan, lunch runs from 12 noon–2.30pm, dinner from 6pm–11pm. The Baa runs dry around 11.30pm. The Swan is open for lunch (12.30pm–2pm) and dinner (6pm–11pm) every day except Sunday, when lunch is served.

Room service

Breakfast baskets with eggs from the hotel’s hens, home-made bread and preserves, and milk and butter can be delivered to Old Walls cottage.

Location

Photos Thyme location
Address
Thyme
Thyme Southrop Manor Estate
GL7 3NX
Southrop
United Kingdom

Planes

Bristol Airport, where flights arrive from major European destinations and North Africa, is a 90-minute drive away on the M4. International hub Heathrow, around 90 miles east, is a 90-minute drive; London Gatwick is around two hours by car. The hotel can arrange transfers from London airports from £150 for a one-way trip.

Trains

Swindon station, a 40-minute drive away, is the closest. Direct trains arrive in around an hour from London Paddington, Cardiff, Bristol, and Oxford. One-way transfers are available from £40, and chauffeur-driven Mercedes are available on request.

Automobiles

Thyme can easily be reached via the M40 and A40, or the M4 and A420. If driving from London, it's possible to stop off at Oxford along the way, via the A40. At Burford, turn onto the A361 to Lechdale; Southrop’s four-and-a-half miles down the road. On-site parking is free.

Other

Chopper in to get a bird’s-eye view of the Cotswolds and make quite the entrance. A £150 landing fee is required and helicopter operators need to contact the hotel and RAF Brize Norton in advance.

Worth getting out of bed for

Southrop’s estate has topiary-studded gardens, wildflower-strewn meadows and a farm. Pull on your wellies and start walking, stopping to greet the resident pigs, sheep, geese, pheasants and hens. Then stroll by the River Leach – in early summer, you may see swans with their cygnets. Learn how to forage; cook a globetrotting range of dishes; and perfect your breads, pasta and pastries at Thyme’s superb cookery school. Classes are two-to-six hours in length, priced from £145 to £225 (for full-day classes). Pop to Cirencester (about an hour's drive away) on Friday to catch the weekly market and pick up some local produce to take home.

Artist William Morris's country escape Kelmscott Manor (+44 (0)1367 252486) is a 20-minute drive away. The house is filled with the artist's personal effects and lavish furnishings from the manor's co-owner, Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. From April to August royals and enthusiasts hoof it to the fixtures at Beaufort and Cirencester Park polo clubs. Wills, Kate and Harry have been known to attend matches, and if you’re a dab hand with a mallet, temporary membership for 15 chukkas is £250 at Beaufort, and one-to-one tuition or two-day intensive courses are offered at Cirencester. Give the hotel two days’ notice and they can fill a picnic basket with sandwiches, cakes and other goodies to take with you.

Unesco world-heritage site Blenheim Palace (+44 (0)800 8496500), the 18th-century home of the first Duke of Marlborough and Churchill’s birthplace, is a sprawling colonnaded confection of a residence atop Capability Browns’ grounds. Marvel at the palace’s grandeur, then pop into the butterfly house and solve the hedge maze. Touring the Cotswolds’ teeny villages is a must: their quintessentially British charm is rendered in golden-hued stone, intertwined with flowers, petite shops and country pubs. Bibury is perhaps the area’s most famous for good looks, Bourton-on-the-Water is known as the Little Venice of the Cotswolds, Broadway lies in a vale of the Worcestershire Hills, and Chippings Camden, Norton and Sodbury are home to gilded historic marvels.

Local restaurants

A mere waddle away, the Swan’s cosy ambience will draw you back until you’re on first-name terms with the clientele. However, the Cotswolds prides itself on grass-fed meats and buttercream-slathered cakes, and we recommend taking your taste buds on a tour. Northleach is a 25-minute drive away; set in this pretty village is The Wheatsheaf Inn (+44 (0)1451 860244), a fellow Smith stay with serious gastro cred. Dishes such as wood-pigeon saltimbocca and ox cheek, and oyster pie showcase excellent Brit produce in tasty style. A 20-minute drive away, by Burford, on the banks of the River Windrush sits The Swan at Swinbrook (+44 (0)1993 823339); the menu is staunchly local, with 28-day-aged beef from Hereford's University Farm and high-quality meats from supplier Aubrey Allen. 

Local cafés

Arrive early to sample the delights of thronged bistro and deli Made by Bob (+44 (0)1285 641818) in Cirencester. Their style is decadent simplicity: truffle-sprinkled linguine, red onion and taleggio tartlets and mussels in a saffron-infused cream are our picks from the tempting menu. Visit in the morning for freshly baked pastries and brunching treats. A 15-minute drive from the hotel, the Burford Café (+44 (0)1993 823117) dishes up seasonal local ingredients (Todenham Manor ham Upton Smokery mackerel, Hobbs House sourdough and picks from Burford's fisheries) in tasty light lunches, soups and salads. Their afternoon tea is sinfully creamy too. Daylesford Organic Farm (+44 (0)1608 731700), roughly a 40-minute drive away,  has a healthful menu of cold-pressed juices, broths and superfood-enriched salads, but – let's be honest – fat brownies, freshly baked scones and in-house cheeses are what you're really here for.

Local bars

A 30-minute drive from the hotel lies The Kingham Plough (+44 (0)1608 658327), on entering this pub you’ll encounter a vintage piano and a life-size model of a pig by the fireplace. Ooti the pub dog might even pop by to say hello. Pull up a stool and order a pint of the draught local ale accompanied by a famed handmade pork pie. Quizzes take place on Sundays, or entertainment is provided by the aforementioned piano.   

Reviews

Photos Thyme reviews

Anonymous review

The Cotswolds may be a notorious honeytrap for A-listers – or at least for those who find the idea of having Jeremy Clarkson over for dinner attractive – but after 15 minutes of driving in circles trying to find our bed for the night at luxury hotel Thyme at Southrop, I decide the celebrity I’m most expecting to spot is Mr Tumnus. This place feels distinctly like Narnia for grown-ups, except the back of the wardrobe is bloody hard to find.

Indeed, the velvety darkness that has settled over Southrop – pronounced ‘Suth-er-up’ if you want to blend in with the locals (Kate Moss, Gary Barlow and the like…) – is so profound we end up reversing along the length of the main street and pulling a very dodgy seven-point turn by the pub, before we finally hear the welcome crunch of expensive gravel beneath our tyres. Thank God there’s nothing so vulgar as street lighting here… The place is so perfectly still once we switch the engine off, I can’t help worrying that the White Witch might appear to eject us from paradise for a breach of the peace.

In reality, a lovely lady in a floral dress appears to escort us to our tiny, honeyed-stone home-from-home – complete with a log burner, glossy magazines and a jar of homemade biscuits worthy of Tumnus himself. I’m all for going into hibernation (a couple of furry throws complete the hygge experience), but the chauffeur desires something stronger than a Nespresso; so, rather reluctantly, I allow my shoes to be jammed back on for the short trip across the yard to the Baa.

Yes, the Baa – I rolled my eyes too, until I experienced the pleasure of drinking strong spirits while sitting on a life-size fleecy sheep. The drinkery has pools of lamplight and plump sofas; it’s so quietly tasteful that it’s tempting to order a Sex on the Beach just to see if the Farrow & Ball-painted panelling cracks in protest. But, in obedience to the homegrown, authentic country-pub ambience, I request a Myrtle Martini instead.

As a martini snob, I do not approve of anything bearing the name which contains ingredients other than gin and vermouth, and perhaps an olive if I’m feeling peckish. Yet, while I’d like this version to be a little larger (or perhaps a little cheaper), the slightly juniper-like flavour of the myrtle is a revelatory pairing with Cotswolds-distilled gin. The only thing that prevents me from ordering another is a gentle reminder that we have a table waiting for us at the Swan, Thyme’s sister pub down the road. (‘Oh yes,’ we say, the one we nearly demolished en route).

The Swan’s barely a five-minute walk, albeit in inky darkness. When Thyme’s on-site restaurant opens in early 2018, it’ll be heartily welcomed by those looking to go full hermit for the weekend. For now, the Swan’s enormous open fireplace makes an excellent dining companion, and we’re both charmed by the homegrown nature of the menu – the pickled damsons accompanying the game terrine move me to put a reminder in my phone calendar, so I can make some when they come into season in September. The chocolate fondant and malt ice-cream only one of us orders causes a small tiff relating to the joys of sharing.

When we stumble back to our room, reunited by a close shave with a speeding tractor, we find a nightcap of vodka infused with apple and mint next to a single, delicate glass. ‘Romantic isn’t it,’ I say, ‘sharing?’ Romantic or not, the enormous bed proves so absurdly comfortable we both fall asleep immediately (though I do wake in the night in a panic thinking I’ve squashed the absent dog, only to realise there’s a luxuriantly furry hot-water bottle between us. Cotswolds problems, eh?)

More used to sirens than silence, we almost miss breakfast, and find ourselves sharing the communal table in the vaulted tithe barn with a crowd of fresh-faced yogis on a detox retreat. An envious sigh escapes my glowing neighbour when we order fried eggs and home-cured bacon (I’d advise visiting the farm after breakfast) – her beetroot juice looks good too, I comment, smugly.

Karma’s not slow on the uptake: dense icy fog soon puts pay to our bike-hiring plans, but striding across the fields in fancy borrowed wellies proves a pleasant alternative. Indeed, the countryside around Thyme is ridiculously beautiful, and we earmark some idyllic-looking swimming spots for a repeat visit in warmer weather, before heading for the warmth of the Victoria Inn in neighbouring Eastleach – I can confirm it does a fine line in local ales and cheese-and-chutney sandwiches.

Back in the Baa, our nine-mile hike in sub-zero temperatures merits a wodge of gloriously squidgy almond and polenta cake; over coffee we lazily toy with the idea of booking a late massage in the room before dinner. But somehow it’s already apéritif time again, and – we sleepily agree – if we relax any further we might never make it back to the Swan for that second helping of fondant…

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 Thyme’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Beautiful rooms, fabulous breakfasts, the friendly staff, wonderful pub, best massage and facial I think I have ever had from Beth and most of all the wonderful Chase Distiilary Thymes Table event - great food from Charlie and the kitchen team! Lovely countryside but the towns are disappointing if you are expecting upmarket boutiques, restaurants etc as one would expect considering the wealth in the area. Lots of nice pubs but shops for the most part are tired and tourist orientated.

Don’t expect

Noise, much to do (except the pub and the Baa which was great).

Rating

Stayed on 25 Mar 2017

We loved

The main house, our room and the food in the pub

Don’t expect

Lively nights. But we were not looking for that at all, so for us was perfect.

Rating

Stayed on 4 Feb 2017

We loved

Peaceful location.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Nov 2016

We loved

Clean lovely interior

Rating

Stayed on 7 Sep 2016

We loved

Decor, very tasteful, perfect. The Swan, which is also owned by the hotel, is very nice, but bar area there could do with a rework. It is a bit too annexed from the restaurant and not at all cosy. But saying that, the restaurant is lovely. Other than that there is plenty to do and see in the area. Get out there, the Cotswold villages are just beautiful.

Don’t expect

Entertainment, although cannot stand noisy places. Feel they should offer maybe at least a pool/maybe Jacuzzi. Understand there are plans for a spa. Did recommend at reception that there should be magazines in bedrooms.

Rating

Stayed on 3 Aug 2016

We loved

We loved it all! We got married at Thyme and had a wonderful experience. We stayed before and after the wedding in one of the cottages. It had the most stunning bathroom. Everything about the room was spotless and stylish! The staff were warm and friendly and the breakfast was wonderful. The food at the Swan pub (part of the Thyme estate) is wonderful.

Don’t expect

Don't expect a lively party scene! Thyme is located in beautiful countryside - so go to rest and relax not party!!

Rating

Stayed on 15 Jul 2016

We loved

Lovely setting. Beautiful Cotswold stone houses. Quiet and peaceful

Don’t expect

Much sleep in summer! Our room was unbearably hot despite a fan being provided

Rating

Stayed on 9 Jul 2016

We loved

Loved the whole property, beautifully designed. Food was exceptional. Excellent wine and cocktails. Great walks nearby. The Swan pub is connected to Thyme but is a short walk up the road. Wonderful dinners!

Don’t expect

Nightlife. Take a glass of wine and soak in the bath in your room with a good book.

Rating

Stayed on 30 Apr 2016

We loved

Cocktails in the bar, delicious cake with afternoon tea and a luxurious room. Ask as reception for a map of local walks - beautiful countryside and a nice selection of pubs.

Don’t expect

A raucous night life!

Rating

Stayed on 23 Apr 2016

We loved

Everything! We were so spoiled. The hotel was absolutely beautiful and we can't wait to go back once the spa, restaurant and additional rooms are built. The breakfast was so delicious and the attention to detail in our rooms was second to none - hot water bottles and limoncello were a luxurious treat. We really enjoyed our meal at The Swan, superb food, well looked after and a short walk back to the wonderfully comfortable beds. Make sure you purchase some of the lovely homemade jams and chutneys to enjoy at home! 

There's everything you need and more - and just ask the friendly staff and you'll be well looked after! We recommend the Wild Rabbit - a 20 minute drive away - we had the most fantastic meal there. The walk Thyme suggest is perfect and it's great to walk along the Thames. 

Rating

Stayed on 2 Mar 2016

We loved

Gorgeous individual room, 'nothing too much trouble' friendly staff, top quality cocktails with botanicals from the garden. It's a lovely spot for a wholesome escape and great walks.

Don’t expect

Nightlife. Top-notch pre-prandials, yes. Martinis into the small hours, no.

Rating

Stayed on 13 Feb 2016