The Wild Rabbit: urban delights in the heart of the country

IMG_9625With the gentle Cotswolds hills and honey-coloured villages on your doorstep, you can spend your days out exploring, rambling around this beautiful part of the UK. Alternatively, you can bed down in the pristine Wild Rabbit, a modern-day inn perfect for city slickers looking for a manicured version of the country break.

 

 

The tiny village of Kingham is one of the Cotswolds’ prettiest: butterscotch-coloured buildings? Tick? Artistically-clipped topiary? Tick? Farrow & Ball-painted doors? Tick, tick tick. It’s also home to The Wild Rabbit, a ‘restaurant with rooms’ owned by Lady Carole Bamford who, at a cost of £1.4m, renovated a 1750s inn into a paean to rustic-luxe living.

 

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There’s a choice of 12 bedrooms, eight in the main building and four in the gardens. Bare-brick walls, crisp white Volga linen bedsheets and a cream-taupe colour scheme give a stripped-back yet charming feel. Creaking floor-boards, bleached beams and open fires add a touch of authenticity. Personality is injected with quirky rabbit motifs dotted about (from taxidermy hares to ceramic bunnies), a wall of Hugo Guinness prints and vintage metal garden accessories. The bathrooms are equally stylish with double sinks, Bamford toiletries and under-floor heating.

 

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The dining room may look like a posh, rustic pub with its bare tables, pots of herbs and copper pans, but don’t get too cosy for the food here will make you sit up, take note and ask for more. While the surroundings give a comfy, country house feel, the culinary offering is straight out of an urban kitchen, courtesy of chef Tim Allen, previously of the Michelin-starred Launceston Place in Kensington.

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Seasonal produce, artisan ingredients and foraged leaves are combined in stand-out dishes such as the Mackerel starter (served two ways with rhubarb, picked cucumber and frozen horseradish), The Wootton Estate Lamb with asparagus, white polenta and parmesan, and the Passion Fruit Soufflé with iced coconut. While the open kitchen has not gained its own Michelin star yet (it will surely soon), the cuisine is undoubtedly The Wild Rabbit’s own star of the show.

 

To complete the perfect pampering stay, head over to the nearby sister property Daylesford Organic, a brisk 20 minutes stroll away. Here, you’ll find the Bamford Haybarn Spa – think Scandi-cool meets cashmere-comfort. I had the Bamford Bespoke Facial – it’s very, very good. Ask for Kristy, who is the head trainer of the spa. She’ll tailor the facial to fit and will massage even the most jaded complexions to glowing radiance again. It’s pricy (£85 for 60 minutes) but it is utterly restorative.

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AND AFTER THAT…

You can pootle around the many nearby villages and quaint pubs or, for something grander, head to Sezincote House in Moreton-in-Marsh, a rather bizarre 200-year-old Mogul Indian palace based on the Taj Mahal. Alternatively, just along the road from The Wild Rabbit is The Kingham Plough, another noted restaurant and bar (with rooms) in the same village.

The Wild Rabbit, 01608 658 389, thewildrabbit.co.uk
A small double room for two people B&B costs from £150 per night.

Bamford Haybarn, 01608 731 713, bamford.co.uk
Treatments start from £35 for an express pedicure. There are a wide variety of spa days, treatments and workshops available.

 

A version of this feature was published in City AM on 9/05/16

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