Like its nearby sister hotel, Calcot & Spa, Barnsley House, situated in the Cotswolds village of the same name, gets it absolutely right. It's a smaller, more boutiquey place on the whole, with the feel of an intimate stately home – and house party – with 18 spacious rooms divided between the main house and a converted stable block, and a purpose-built spa building that looks out onto the hotel's fantastic landscaped gardens. There's also a self-catering option, Home Farm Cottage – a three-bedroom home-from-home that comes with a basket of goodies on arrival.
All the hotel rooms have state-of-the-art TVs and docking stations, luxurious toiletries and robes, water and snacks, and pretty much everything else you need to feel at home. You're set for a lazy stay, with lots of comfortable lounges, an honesty-style bar and a couple of quality places to eat – the crisp and light Potager Restaurant or the deliberately cosy Village Pub – and the fabulous gardens, landscaped in the 1950s by revered garden guru Rosemary Verey and superbly maintained. Wander past the kitchen garden (much of the veg for the eateries comes from here) and out to the fields beyond – look out for the roaming chickens.
Barnsley House has a spa, too, housed in a specially designed building in the grounds and fitted with an outdoor hydrotherapy pool, a sauna and various treatment rooms that look out onto the countryside beyond. Sitting there in your fluffy robe and slippers is to enjoy the Cotswolds country escape par excellence, and makes you wish weekends were longer. And if you like this, try their north country cousin, the Lord Crewe Arms, in Northumberland, or The Painswick - we're big fans of them both.
18 spacious rooms divided between the main house and a converted stables.
- Barnsley House rooms are from £234.
Open all year.
The hotel is right in the centre of Barnsley village, four miles from Cirencester on the B4425 road between Cirencester and Burford. From London, take junction 8 off the M40 and follow the A40 towards Cheltenham; one mile past the Burford roundabout, turn left onto the B4425 (signposted Bibury), from where it's 11 miles to Barnsley. From the M4 (heading west), take junction 18 and follow the A429 towards Cirencester, then the B4425 towards Bibury; heading east leave the M4 at junction 15 and take the A417 towards Cirencester. At the roundabout, take the B4425 to Bibury.
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