Cotswolds, United Kingdom

Wild Thyme & Honey

Price per night from$181.66

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 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP145.83), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Herbal remedy

Setting

A swoop from Cirencester

The sensory invocation of Wild Thyme & Honey’s name is no empty promise; here the hours drip by slowly and deliciously, herbaceous scents transport you, and a land of plenty gives generously in feeding and watering you. This centuries-old inn and its neighbourly country pub offer up the agrarian dream of the Cotswolds, with its bursts of wildflowers, simpler-times style and pastoral pursuits, but there’s also plenty of polish to keep it in step with the times, not to mention barkeeps who mix a mean negroni, espresso martini and more; haute-rustic rooms; and a bank of heated glass dining domes given an all-access pass to scenic views. An all-thyme great in the making. 

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of red or white wine on departure

Facilities

Photos Wild Thyme & Honey facilities

Need to know

Rooms

24, including the luxurious No 3 London Road apartment.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible. Earliest check-in, 3pm; subject to availability, both are flexible if arranged with the hotel before arrival.

Prices

Double rooms from £175.00, including tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast, a – not insignificant – Continental buffet or impressive full English with St Ewe organic eggs, Sandridge Farm bacon, Cumberland sausages, sage-and-onion rostis, black pudding and cider-apple rings.

Also

The hotel has ramps and an accessible restroom to help guests with mobility issues get around. The Serenity Suite is also partially assisted for those with reduced mobility.

At the hotel

Courtyard and garden, lounging space, Hunter wellies and umbrellas to borrow. In rooms: Decanter of sloe gin, selection of books, flatscreen TV, Nespresso machine, tea-making kit, free bottled water, bathrobes and slippers, storage for muddy walking gear, Verden bath products. The No 3 London Road apartment has a private terrace, barrel sauna and hot tub.

Our favourite rooms

The hotel’s mood-board seems to have borrowed heavily from a Midsummer Night’s Dream, because these are the kind of fairy-tale bowers we could happily bunk in. Each is replete with organic materials: natural linen curtains tied with rope, woods laid bare, woollen throws, tweed upholstery, rattan matting… And reclaimed vintage pieces (mirrors, church pews, steamer trunks) and Crittall-glass panels in showers add a modern edge. The Waterside Suites are perhaps the most serene, with the brook running past, and they have a bit more space and most have a romantic freestanding bath tub in the bedroom. But, the No 3 London Road apartment – which has a cooler-than-your-average-cottage, New York loft by way of Bibury feel to it – is certainly the stand-out stay for its outdoor space, private sauna and hot tub – plus a dressing room (ideal for any bridal parties staying) and separate sitting room.

Packing tips

No need to fill your suitcase with muck-about footwear – the hotel has Hunter wellies to borrow. Load up your Kindle with lazy reads and bring a pack of cards for lingering-by-the-bar nights.

Also

Shooting parties or groups of horse riders can arrange private group meals in two private dining rooms (the Hide and the Eaves): one set in the rafters with a rustic chandelier and intimate feel and another with sliding barn doors and flowers.

Pet‐friendly

A furry companion is welcome to join you in any of the ground-floor rooms for £30 a night. Beds, bowls, biscuits and a towel are provided. See more pet-friendly hotels in Cotswolds.

Children

Various interconnecting rooms make stays possible for all family sizes and generations. Close by, the only distractions are setting kids free into the leafier surrounds, but there’s more to do a short drive away, and the pub has a menu for smalls.

Sustainability efforts

The hyperlocality of produce served at the Crown at Ampney Brook pub is a source of great pride, most coming from Cotswold farms and growers.

Food and Drink

Photos Wild Thyme & Honey food and drink

Top Table

If there’s anything cosier than a cushioned nook, we haven’t found it – the pub has plenty to burrow into. Groups should go the novel route of dining in one of the heated ‘igloos’ set up by a babbling brook outside.

Dress Code

A loose waistband will be a life-saver.

Hotel restaurant

The Crown at Ampney Brook, set across the courtyard from the hotel, has been a linchpin of the community since the 16th century. And no matter that it’s the only pub in the village, it’s just the kind you hope for when you head to the Cotswolds, with plenty of friendly faces, a fireplace to get cosy by, and dining rooms of beamed ceilings and crumbly local stone. And, they’ll feed you like a worried grandmother, using cream-of-the-crops produce from local farms. Hot-smoked Bibury trout piled on a crumpet with a dollop of caviar mayonnaise, Armagnac-enriched prawn and crab cocktail, Sykes Farm ox-cheek bourguignon with beef-fat-roasted veg and Tunworth-cheese soufflé will fuel you for any length of country walk, or possibly polish you off for the night, especially if you make it to the dessert menu with its Bristol cream trifle and citrusy baked Alaska. A robata grill turns out za’atar-spiced aubergine, emperor prawns, Gloucester Old Spot tomahawks and steaks that have spent some time in a Himalayan salt chamber; hearty roasts are religiously served on Sundays; and for lunch there’s an elite selection of baps and burgers (hello, to the upgraded house club with smoked chicken, seared duck liver and Sandridge Farm bacon). And, there’s no sleeping on breakfast, when the chefs whip up hashes with chorizo and organic eggs, hot buns filled with belly bacon and ‘nduja ketchup and poached pear and cinnamon granola.

Hotel bar

The Crown at Ampney Brook, which has been whetting punters’ whistles for hundreds of years now, has all you could want from a traditional Cotswolds drinkery: a roaring inglenook fireplace, wonky walls in honey-hued brick, cushioned nooks and wood beams… But, while you may find yourself nursing a pint of Meantime with a good old boy in wellies, you’re maybe more likely to be gossiping over rounds of smoked old fashioneds, negronis, passionfruit-laden Rockstar Martinis, or the signature drink of Cotswold gin, lemon tonic, honey syrup and a sprig of thyme (naturally). Or perhaps something chilled from the enomatic machine – the well-travelled wine list makes for a fascinating read. And, with no-gronis, virgin mojitos and gourmet soft drinks, abstainers can merrily join in too. In winter, sheepskin rugs are slung over the chairs in the hotel courtyard and a fire is lit, so you can still take drinks under the stars, or you can gather in one of three glass domes set by the brook.

Last orders

Breakfast runs from 8am to 10am, lunch from 12 noon to 2pm, and dinner from 7.30pm to 9pm. Drinks flow till 11pm.

Location

Photos Wild Thyme & Honey location
Address
Wild Thyme & Honey
Ampney Crucis, Cirencester
Ampney Crucis
GL7 5RS
United Kingdom

Wild Thyme & Honey comprises two of just a handful of buildings, set by a babbling brook, in dinky Gloucestershire village Ampney Crucis, a five-minute drive from Cirencester and 30-minute drive from Cheltenham.

Planes

Arrivals from Europe can touch down at either Birmingham or Bristol airports, each just over an hour’s drive from the hotel. Heathrow is the closest London hub at around a 90-minute drive away. The hotel can help to arrange transfers on request.

Trains

Kemble train station is the closest, a 15-minute drive away; frequent services from London Paddington run direct, and to Swindon and Stroud, both of which are around a half-hour drive away.

Automobiles

With its large green expanses and somewhat scant public transport, even the hardiest of ramblers will admit that a car is nigh on essential in the Cotswolds, and it’ll help you hunt down those pubs the locals seemingly know by osmosis and teeny villages time forgot. There’s free parking at the hotel, and Ampney Crucis is easily reached via the M4 and A419 from London, and the M4 and A249 from Bristol.

Worth getting out of bed for

Gloucestershire village Ampney Crucis looks like it belongs in a snow globe or perhaps on the lid of a tin of gourmet biscuits. It’s the kind of Cotswolds village that bears much historic beauty within its diminutive borders and plenty of glorious greenery rolling out beyond them. For fun, you could join the weekly pétanque club (you’ll need to pay the £5 annual membership fee), or see what’s playing at the local cinema for its monthly screening. Or, you could visit what’s left of the Holy Rood church – parts of which date back to the 15th century – but beyond that, country rambles and spells in the Crown pub are the remaining distractions, which very well may be why you came to this charming rural enclave in the first place. But more entertainment can be found in the ancient Roman market town of Cirencester, a five-minute drive or hour-long country hike away. See the remains of an amphitheatre and artefacts dating back to the Stone Age at the Corinium Museum, or splash about in the open-air lido. A moveable larder of local brews, chutneys and pickles, home-baked cakes and cookies, fruit and veg and other edibles, the Farmers’ Market is perhaps the most sensually engaging in Cirencester – it’s held on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. And, complete the village-hopping circuit with a tour of crowning-beauty Bibury, indie-shop-filled Burford and antiques-trove Tetbury (close to Prince Charles’s Highgrove estate). You might be far inland, but the Cotswold Park has its own beach and a range of watersports (SUP, kayaking, pedalos and electric boats) and a huge inflatable obstacle course come summer, while the Cotswold Water Park is rich in lacustrian beauty, encompassing 140 lakes and wetlands. Country pursuits, such as clay-pigeon shooting and horse rides from the Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre can be arranged, or you can get lightly sloshed at the Cotswold Gin Distillery, where tours are followed by a tasting of their gins, whiskies or a cocktail-making class. Within 30 minutes’ drive, you can see exotic animals in a quintessentially English setting at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, admire the regality of Sudeley Castle and its 10 landscaped gardens (or William Morris’s country retreat Kelmscott Manor), and have a dramatic or musical evening at the Barn Theatre.

Local restaurants

Ampney Crucis has much going for it (timeless charm, a gently babbling brook, cottages to ‘squee’ over…), but its only claim to gastro glory – and not an insignificant one – are the meals you’ll eat at the pub next to the hotel, which serves as its eatery. To mix things up at mealtimes you’ll need to head into restaurant-blessed Cirencester. Fellow Smith stay the Kings Head fires up serious longhorn and wagyu steaks at the Grill, and soups, pastas and other more casual eats at its MBB Brasserie. While Barnsley House’s the Potager is an eatery befitting its elegance with superlative seasonal fare: duck breast doused in miso butter, red wine- and star anise-braised octopus, stone bass with a slick of burnt-lemon pureé. And, to the east of the hotel, near Lechlade-on-Thames, the 17th-century Swan at Southrop has flagstone flooring and roaring fireplaces, and a menu that plucks the finest ingredients from the neighbouring estate, from hogget and organic eggs to a cornucopia’s worth of fruit and veg. 

Local cafés

New Brewery Arts is a community hub of makers, with a craft shop, art gallery and a welcoming space for sandwiches, cakes and coffee. Keep an eye out to see which all-ages workshops they’re holding too. And trays of ‘cookie pies’ (a sort of muffin -cookie hybrid), mini bundts and warm-from-the-oven cinnamon buns will lure you into Pretty & Pip, who also serve a tempting array of savouries. And, it’s a 40-minute drive away, but the Daylesford Organic Farm Shop in Kingham holds legendary status in the area for its top produce, stylish homewares, and covetable beauty products, and a cookery school where you’re connected with local farms and suppliers for courses covering dinner parties, brunches, vegan dining, pudding and pastry making and many more. The Trough café serves much more elegant fare than its name implies, with grass-pastured beefburgers topped with pale-ale rarebit, Jerusalem artichoke risotto with truffled brie, market-garden salads and cheese plates from its house creamery.

Local bars

Somewhere Else’s stone façade might promise a slightly different night than you’ll have in its much more modern interior, but you won’t be disappointed by the cocktail list that balances classics and a few house favourites (we like the Elderflower Bramble with Chambord or the passionfruit-laced caipirinha), stomach-lining burgers and street-food pop-ups. And, we’re taken with Téatro’s flamingo-sporting accent wall, multicoloured parquet and large terrace – live music and a lengthy gin list ensures the atmosphere is as vibrant as the decor.

Reviews

Photos Wild Thyme & Honey reviews
Tamsin Scott

Anonymous review

By Tamsin Scott, Floral designer

There's a reason people aspire to escape to the Cotswolds: it just flipping well glows. With its beautiful biscuit coloured buildings, sweeping countryside, flower-strewn lanes, shallow streams and beautiful bridges – this is Thomas Hardy country at its finest. And Ampney Crucsis is no exception…   

Mr Smith and I were travelling with our girls for a short break and had just been to nearby Giffords Circus, providing what we thought was the Terrys All Gold highlight of the hols, not realising the best was yet to come in the form of the heavenly, the slick, the sexy Wild Thyme and Honey.

Curling through lanes to the front of the hotel, a row of inviting cottages looks so like something out of a period drama, I had to check my bustle was in place. You wonder how a hotel can fit in but it does. Brilliant design meets sensitive restoration to create a really roomy sense of space. It feels both steeped in history but fresh and modern too.

From the moment you pull in here there's a sense of cosy luxury. Entering into a flopsome drawing room with heavenly sofas and armchairs, great books and flora and fauna illustration – you feel like putting your feet up immediately. 

Walls of lovely plants and herbs gave us all the outside feels too. The welcoming receptionist motioned for us scruff bags to pop back and relax after ushering us to our two lovely joining rooms. 

The perks of sloe gin and excellent coffee welcomed us as did the inviting large beds, walk-in showers and the sweetest hello note to all of us. And any hotel that chooses Bramley salts as one of its welcoming products gets my vote. Smelling these wafts and listening to the girls splash above the babbling brook with its gorgeous ancient trees – I felt quite heady! 
 
Our two adjoining rooms gave us the feeling of being in a lovely apartment, as a family we came with all the accompanying bric-a-brac (feat: odd socks and dead phones) but even so the space felt roomy and calm with enough power points for all the gadgets. It's the small things at WT&H that make all the difference to a stay at a hotel in my book, and this is a thoughtful hotel in so many ways.

The staff here are utter darlings – a direct quote from Mr Smith by the way, who can err on the grumpy side. Nothing was too much, eager information about the best seats in the house and the menu and chef were given enthusiastically and light heartedly. Maybe this enthusiasm for a place of work is just the WT&H way but it's infectious.

Dine at the Crown – its restaurant – and you won't be sorry. A gentle glass by the brook pre-dinner gave us a sniff of what was to come as piced scratchings and lobster arancini balls arrived to whet our appetites.

Ignoring the normal prerequisite pleas for McDonalds from the girls they were soon quietened by the menu, with something for everyone from Wagyu burgers to bang-bang cauliflower, melting monkfish to star anise roasted carrots and sumptuous styles of pork belly, mouthwatering fezzes to sunday roasts that were ridiculously ravishing. Gosh, foodies, this place is ace.

Breakfast here steals the show, though. Forget the lie-ins and set your alarms. I implore you. Local sausages and farm eggs, waffles with buttermilk fried chicken and avocado...and sublime veggie options that nearly turned me. 

I don't normally gush about places, by the way, but this is truly gushable. We slept like babies and bathed like seals during our summer stay – but would definitely go back to enjoy the cosy Scandi courtyard with open fires and sheepskins and candlelit evening tipples in the winter. 

This hotel feels so luxurious but also with all the love of an old friend. We pretty much stayed put and ignored the nearby parks and recreations, enjoying long soaks in their roll top baths, read paperbacks, watched movies, enjoyed a potter in the courtyard and over the bridge and felt so at ease we just simply enjoyed one of the loveliest hotels we've ever stayed in.

Elegant for parents, at ease for children – the perfect mix. It’s a hit with locals too, with gents propping up the bar with pints and pigs in blankets in the eve and ladies lunching in the courtyard.

As we clattered out with a million bits of luggage two days later, we left with full tums and hearts on to swooshing patchwork fields and blowy valleys, agreeing that even though there's no place like home, there's no place like Wild Thyme & Honey either.

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Price per night from $181.66