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Hotel Highlights

  • Exceptional contemporary spa with hydrotherapy pool
  • Glorious Rosemary Verey gardens and Cotswolds countryside
  • Fabulous Italian-influenced cuisine using home-grown produce

Overview

Designed by its former owner Rosemary Verey, the famed gardener, designer and writer, Barnsley House hotel – on 11 gloriously manicured acres in Gloucestershire – is one of the most stylish country-house hotels in the Cotswolds. The current owners have stripped the manor house of the old cottage chintz, but have maintained and restored historic original features. The cool modern furniture, stunning bathroom sand gleaming spa blend seamlessly with this 17th-century country pile.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Barnsley House with us:

A Barnsley House cocktail each – or a glass of champagne or Pimms in the Village Pub across the road – on arrival.

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Barnsley House

Christmas Concert And Stay New Year's Eve Weekend Special New Midweek Spa Break

Facilities

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Barnsley House hotel – Cotswolds – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

18, including 11 suites.

Check–out

Midday (5pm check-out subject to availability on payment of a £75 supplement). Check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $261.86 (£167), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include English breakfast.

Also

There are occasionally afternoon or evening film screenings; you can also hire the cinema, from £200 for three hours. Consult the purple book in your room to see what DVDs are available to borrow.

At the hotel

Landscaped gardens, tennis court, helipad, holistic spa with hydrotherapy pool, private 30-seat cinema, DVD library. In rooms, plasma-screen TV with surround-sound system, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, free broadband connection, mini fridge with complimentary water and juice. Fresh fruit and tea and coffee also available. Bikes to borrow.

Our favourite rooms

Bathrooms are a big draw here, with features such as roll-top baths, twin sinks, walk-through showers and flatscreen TVs. Room 1 has two bathtubs, side by side; Room 2 has a Jacuzzi. Room 8 has a sitting room, and Room 7 has its own conservatory and garden. Stableyard Rooms are attractive duplexes with upstairs bathrooms and wet rooms.

Poolside

The spa – which focuses on holistic treatments – has a hydrotherapy pool. It's best to book treatments before your stay.

Packing tips

CDs or iPod, tennis kit, swimming costume (for the spa's hydrotherapy pool).

Also

Minimum two-night stay at weekends, including bank holiday weekends. Make sure you book ahead at the restaurant and the Village Pub.

Children

This romantic hotel is for grown-ups only: leave the kids at home!

Food & Drink

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Barnsley House hotel – Cotswolds – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

The secret of the Potager’s super-fresh Modern European dishes is home-grown vegetables, salad leaves and herbs plucked straight from the kitchen garden (when you see zucchini soup and deep-fried courgette flowers on the same menu, it’s easy to tell what’s ripe for the picking). Breakfast, 7.30am–10.30am (noon for room service). Tables are wooden-topped, linen napkins are rosemary-sprig-topped, and the general feel is relaxed and comfortable.

Hotel Bar

The cosy country-style bar is warm, woody and willowy, and is open until late for guests.

Last orders

Food: 9.30pm Monday to Thursday; 10pm Friday and Saturday. Bar opens late for guests. Breakfast is available between 8am and 10am (till 10.30am on weekends). Lunch 12pm to 2pm (till 2.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

Room service

Food can be ordered while the kitchen is open (8am–10pm); they may be able to rustle up snacks out of hours.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Relaxed but stylish; leave ripped jeans and elderly T-shirts at home.

Top table

Table 4, in the bay window.

Local Guide

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Barnsley House hotel – Cotswolds – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Grab a pair of gumboots and a walking map from reception and explore the countryside (if you’re really keen, ring ahead and reserve wellies in your size). A walk through Coln Valley, just 10 minutes away by car, is very enjoyable. Staff can also arrange fantastic activities from rowing along the Thames with a picnic hamper to side-saddle riding lessons. Have a picnic and watch a game at Cirencester Park Polo Club (+44 (0)1285 653225; www.cirencesterpolo.co.uk) or Beaufort Polo Club, favoured by the Prince of Wales and his sons (+44 (0)1666 880510; www.beaufortpoloclub.co.uk). Horse-riding and fishing can be organised by the hotel. Try ballooning with Balloon Flights, Cheltenham (+44 (0)1242 675003; www.hot-air-ballooning.ltd.uk), or clay-pigeon shooting at Chatcombe Estate Shooting School (+44 (0)1242 870391).

Local restaurants

Jesse’s Bistro in Cirencester (+44 (0)1285 641497) is a small, relaxed restaurant with its own cheese shop, serving fresh fish and meat roasted in a wood-burning oven. You’ll find it in a stableyard behind the highly regarded butcher’s, Jesse Smiths. The Bell at Sapperton near Cirencester (+44 (0)1285 760298), where most ingredients of its gastropub menu are locally sourced. With two Michelin stars, Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham (+44 (0)1242 573449) serves English and French cuisine.

Local bars

Lively Montpellier Wine Bar in Cheltenham (01242 527774). With polished-wood tables, crackling fires and exposed beams, The Village Pub (+44 (0)1285 740421), across the road from Barnsley House, is not only a wonderful place to nurse a pint (or a Pimm’s), but also does fantastic food. On Tetbury’s Cirencester Road in a converted jail, Trouble House Inn (+44 (0)1666 502206) is an option for country-pub grub. Just outside Cirencester in Ewen, 16th-century Wild Duck Inn (+44 (0)1285 770310) is a step-back-in-time treat, with oak panelling, an enormous fireplace and ancestral oil paintings. It's a lovely place for a few drinks; there’s real ale on tap and a killer wine list, but the big draw is the canopied courtyard with an ancient apple tree at its, ahem, core. 

Local cafés

Deli-café The Rectory Kitchen & Cellar at 2 Templar Mews off Black Jack Street in Cirencester (01285 644700) is a foodie’s paradise, with locally sourced produce and fresh, delicious home cooking. Eat in or take away for future enjoyment. Squirrel away some freshly baked biscuits for the car journey home, or a jar of the Rectory's lemon curd as a souvenir.

+ Enlarge
Gorgeous Gloucestershire gardens

Barnsley House

Barnsley, Cirencester, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire GL7 5EE, United Kingdom

Planes

London Heathrow is the closest major airport – it's around an hour and a half from the hotel, following the M4 west to Swindon, Cirencester and eventually Cheltenham.

Trains

The nearest train station is in Kemble, around 20 minutes from the hotel. Direct trains go from here to London Paddington in an hour and 20 minutes.

Automobiles

Driving distance from London is 80 miles. From the M4, exit at Junction 15 and use the A419 towards Gloucester, exiting when you spot the B4425 for Bibury. Alternatively, you’ll need to take the A40 towards Cheltenham once you’ve left the M40 at Junction 8.

Reviews

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Barnsley House hotel – Cotswolds – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Jim McNulty , Travelling tour manager

I sail boats, and I live by the sea in Brighton. In fact, when I’m reborn, I’d like (karma willing) to come back as a pirate. With that in mind, you’ll understand that when I’m not living and breathing the buccaneer’s life, I’m probably dreaming about it. So imagine my bewilderment as, roused from my seafaring slumber, I find myself being bundled into a car &nda…
Read more

Barnsley House

Anonymous review by Jim McNulty, Travelling tour manager

I sail boats, and I live by the sea in Brighton. In fact, when I’m reborn, I’d like (karma willing) to come back as a pirate. With that in mind, you’ll understand that when I’m not living and breathing the buccaneer’s life, I’m probably dreaming about it. So imagine my bewilderment as, roused from my seafaring slumber, I find myself being bundled into a car – and not a boat. No cutlasses or pieces of eight here. Just three large weekend bags, two Ms Smiths, and one very bleary-eyed, hung-over would-be pirate. While I’m fighting off the waves of nausea from a stag do the night before, Mrs Smith gently reminds me of our mission: to review the luxury hotel Barnsley House in the Cotswolds, with our four-month-old daughter Delilah. Now, if I can only stop my stomach churning like I’m about to walk the plank, we might make it there in one piece.
 
Although many manor houses have an unfortunate tendency to be inland, they have always seriously impressed me, and, pulling up at this 17th-century Gloucestershire skyline-loomer, I’m not disappointed. By the time we’ve disembarked at the ivy-hugged, hilltop mansion, I’ve completely recovered my land legs. There’s something about the aged Cotswold stone and manicured setting that sends me back to childhood summers at my grandmother’s Ireland home, and it takes the sultry French tones of a Barnsley House staff member to pull me out of my nostalgic reverie. Dispensing with the formality of check-in, she guides us straight to our room. We’re in the new Stable Yard, with a split-level suite. The ground floor consists of a marshmallow-comfy double bed and a sleek, spacious lounge area with windows overlooking the courtyard.
 
Now is the moment of truth. Mrs Smith is a fashion stylist and has a laser-guided eye for the tiniest design flaws. As she conducts her silent survey, I await the inevitable ‘tsk’ that greets even the most invisible aesthetic faux pas. But, miraculously, none comes. I sigh with relief, and a smiling Mrs Smith disappears up the wrought-iron staircase into the crow’s nest of our suite – a bathroom on a floor all of its own. Running up to join her, I find a glass wall that gives a perfect view of our bedroom below. A claw-foot roll-top bath presides over the space, partnered by a freestanding shower with a frying-pan-sized head, a TV set into the wall and a soapstone basin almost a metre in length.
The courtyard below boasts a waterfall surrounded by a medley of meadow flowers: pansies, foxgloves and heather – but it’s the beautiful main gardens that have caught our eye. So, having transferred Delilah from armchair to pushchair, we set off for the formal lawns.

A beguiling collision of the landscaped and the wild, the grounds of Barnsley House are the stuff of period-drama fantasy. Shaded paths weave around hidden statues, curvaceous topiary and bountiful berry bushes. We find ourselves resting in an ivy-draped gazebo, looking out onto a lily-capped carp pond. We can see why horticulturalites from around the world head to this garden of delights (although presumably they don’t get presented with delicious apple martinis by a passing barman while they’re inspecting the cabbages).
 
Arriving at seven o’clock on the dot, the hotel’s babysitter enables us to enjoy an aperitif before dinner. Sinking into red tulip chairs beside a marble-topped bar, I order monkfish tempura with Barnsley House-grown vegetables. Mrs Smith announces she is not hungry – a claim belied a few minutes later when most of my monkfish has fallen victim to her scavenging fork. I order another, then top it with a delectable helping of fresh strawberries, rich cream and crumbly shortbread. Happy, we saunter to our enormous bed (post-nightcap, of course), tuck the snoozing little one between us, and sleep the sleep of the fabulously stuffed.
 
After waking to a leisurely 11 o’clock breakfast in bed (muesli, yoghurt, jams and croissants), we’re tempted to linger longer in the linens, but also determined to squeeze every last drop of grade II-listed glamour from this hotel. We take the path to the new spa building – all glass and Cotswold stone – under the shadow of the neighbouring farm. There’s a steam room and sauna (as well as bowls of crushed ice on hand for the necessary post-steaming facial cool-down) and a massage menu that’s relaxing just to read, but it’s the heated outdoor hydrotherapy pool that really gets me excited. Then I realise I’ve forgotten my swimming shorts (why would I need them this far inland?). Not to worry; the staff seem only mildly alarmed at the sight of a man in his boxers bottle-feeding a baby.

Alternately wallowing and being pummelled by the giant overhead jets of water, I feel a million miles away from the hung-over pirate of yesterday. Shuffling into the relaxation room, we find ourselves reclining on black leather loungers and sipping ginger tea, against a backdrop of inimitable Cotswolds countryside spied through floor-to-ceiling glass walls; it’s a drop-dead delicious denouement to our already perfect day.

It’s tempting to skip dinner, but the Village Pub (Barnsley House owners Tim and Rupert’s other baby) has a reputation not to be resisted. Rupert himself provides a spot-on wine recommendation to suit our gourmet pub supper, and Richard, the head gardener, regales us with a lesson in veg-growing that reminds me that sometimes the land does have its advantages over the ocean – after all, you can’t grow cauliflower on a catamaran.

We’re scheduled to leave Barnsley House tomorrow morning, and normally I’m straining at the moorings to get back to my beloved marina, but – shiver me oak-beamed timbers – I never thought I’d be this reluctant to return to the sea.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Barnsley House from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We liked the clean and comfortable room, the very pleasant staff. The hotel also had lovely gardens, peace and quiet and that fresh country air. I had a very relaxing massage there and overall we enjoyed our stay very much!

Rating: 9/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved everything! I couldn't fault it. The manager was excellent and the spa was heaven.

Don’t expect

I noticed that some guests didn't want to go up and down a flight of stairs to reception.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the five-star service and surroundings, but friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere and staff.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is a quiet peaceful place, great for relaxation. I loved the very friendly and helpful staff, and the excellent food at the restaurant.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the beautiful surroundings; very romantic. The hotel is small, typically English, with amazing food, a spa and cinema which is lovely touch! What's more, the rooms are stunning.

Rating: 10/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the beautiful gardens and house, and the outstanding service from lovely, caring staff. The restaurant was outstanding and food was to die to for…

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The lovely barman, Tomek, makes a mean cocktail; all the staff were friendly and accommodating without smothering; our room was spacious and beautiful and I loved the Swedish massage and all the food.

Don’t expect

Local craft ales in the bar would be good; the smoking chimneys need to be fixed.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

There are beautiful rooms and wonderful decor at the hotel.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Since our last visit, they have redecorated the restaurant, which makes it a lot more welcoming.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel was a little oasis of luxury, combining a picture-postcard pretty house and gardens with fashion-magazine styling and good technology (big flatscreen TVs, iPod dock, etc). We loved the fruit basket with produce obviously picked from the garden, and whole relaxed atmosphere. Breakfast was delicious and set you up for the day, but the star was the garden with all its little nooks and hideaways where you can enjoy a lazy cocktail.

Don’t expect

Going on a lovely warm sunny late summer weekend meant we could make the most of the gardens, but also meant we battled lots (and lots) of wasps, both outside and inside the hotel. My only other really small quibble is that the bathroom we had was great, but the hotel did not supply bath oils or salts, so you need to remember to bring your own bubble bath if you want to make the most of a pampering soak.

Rating: 8/10 stars