With quirky decor, manicured gardens and a gourmet restaurant, The Swan Inn is an English countryside bolthole offering a bucolic escape from London.
Only an hour's train ride from London's Marylebone station, this 16th-century inn has been revived in the form of a rustic restaurant with rooms. Nestled in the village of Ascott-under-Wychwood, owners Sam and Georgie Pearman (co-founders of boutique Cotswolds hotel group, The Lucky Onion) have carefully curated interiors, pairing traditional English style with quirky modern artwork and eclectic decor. Spend days cosied up by the fireplace and feasting on gourmet dishes at the hotel's much-lauded restaurant.
Double rooms at The Swan Inn ooze countryside comforts, with roughly hewn wooden beams stretching across ceilings, scallop-hemmed lampshades and walls which alternate between eclectic wallpaper and exposed brickwork. Arise from a deep slumber to soak up views across the gardens before taking a soothing soak in the room's deep bathtub. If you're travelling with children, the family room offers a large sitting room, double room, twin room and bathroom.
What's for breakfast?
The hotel provides a buffet breakfast of cold meats, pastries, yoghurt and cereal, but if you're after a hearty English breakfast opt for the cooked menu. Sip tea or coffee out of floral, hand-painted mugs as you choose between the scrambled duck eggs with Chapel & Swan smoked salmon or the Cacklebean eggs benedict - with extra truffle for a touch of morning decadence.
How about lunch and dinner?
Come evening, the inn springs to life as locals spill into the restaurant. Book a table in the back room to admire artwork and curios curated by Georgie - we were particularly taken by the portrait by Keith Tyson and the mood-setting red lampshades - before turning your attention to the menu. Start with the Rockefeller oysters and follow with the Huntsham Farm Middlewhite pork pie. Finish with the jaffa-cake chocolate pudding, served with a deliciously creamy pistachio ice cream and topped with candied pistachios.
Is there a bar?
Not exactly, but nab a spot in front of the brick fireplace in the lobby to sink into velvet, crimson-coloured armchairs and order a few aperitifs before you head into the restaurant.
Rooms come with a selection of magazines perfect for lazy leafing, and kettles and tea bags are ready and waiting for a morning cuppa. Shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath, moisturiser and the like are from 100 Acres Apothecary, an eco-friendly brand making 100% natural bath and body products inspired by the British countryside.
Things you should know
While England isn't known for its weather, the inn does have a garden complete with firepits and metal tables and chairs for sunny days.
Within a short walk you'll find…
Fields, fields and more fields - this is the Cotswolds, after all. One of the prettiest parts of England, we recommend simply wandering down country lanes until you stumble upon the next village, Shipton-under-Wychwood, almost a half hour walk away. Alternatively, order a cab to drive 10 minutes for lunch at The Chequers, The Swan's sister restaurant. Traditional British dishes are served under towering ceilings, flagstone floors and walls decorated with antique furnishings and trinkets. Be sure to order the twice-baked cheddar souffle doused with spinach and mustard sauce, and follow with the beer-battered haddock and chips.