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Contemporary boutique rooms above a busy modern restaurant in the heart of Stow-on-the-Wold.

Perfectly situated right in the heart of the typically picturesque Cotswolds town of Stow-on-the-Wold, The Sheep is a clever and successful update of a previous business – a restaurant with boutique rooms that has quickly established itself as one of the best places to stay in one of our favourite Cotswolds locations.  Made up of three knocked-together honey-coloured cottages, it's part of the excellent Brakspears group, who have made a speciality of doing up country pubs in contemporary style while sacrificing none of their historic appeal. They are responsible for the atmospheric Porch House opposite, and they've scored another bulls-eye with this one – with a funky reception area, a large, bright downstairs restaurant that serves great food, and most importantly 22 rooms furnished in a classic yet contemporary style that feels both special and cosy at the same time. About half the guest rooms are located in the main building while the others are divided between two separate buildings behind. Like the rooms of their sister businesses, they come with king-size beds, TV and wifi and lots of rooms treats – tea-and coffee-making facilities, Nespresso machines, mineral water and whatnot; indeed only thing that differentiates each of them is aspect, bathrooms and size – the higher-priced 'Premium' rooms have walk-in showers and freestanding baths, while the garden rooms are perhaps the most peaceful, and one of them is dog-friendly. 

As for the restaurant, it's a large space featuring a lovely long bar and a flickering wood-fired pizza oven, which they don't only use to make pizzas but for cooking much of the meat and fish too. The menu includes everything from a fabulous Wagyu burger, excellent steaks, fish, scallops, salt-and-pepper squid – and, yes, those pizzas, which are good and well-priced. The garden outside is squeakily clean for the moment but should be well worn in after a long busy summer – for which we reckon this is the Cotswolds hotel, bar and restaurant par excellence!

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