Hotel Highlights

  • Fantastic location – on a working Worcestershire farm
  • Acclaimed cookery school just across the courtyard
  • Beautifully designed rooms

Overview

A marvel of a medieval mansion in the Cotswolds, the family run Eckington Manorhotel has been handsomely updated with modern fittings and decor. Set on 260-acres of working farmland, there is a famed cookery school located just across a courtyard and the rolling fields provide the perfect environment for long hand-in-hand walks in the country.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Eckington Manor with us:

An Eckington Manor Cookery School foodie gift, such as one of the school's branded relishes or dressings

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

Fifteen: five in the main house (two of which are singles) and four in the Cyder Mill and six in the Milking Parlour (including one suite).

Check–out

11am; earliest check-in, 3pm. Eckington Manor can arrange late check-in (after 5pm) with at least 24 hours' notice.

Rates

Double rooms from $179.79 (£108), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include full English/Continental breakfast.

At the hotel

Free WiFi, on-site parking. In rooms: flatscreen TV with Freeserve digital channels, free bottled water, king-size beds, tea- and coffee-making facilities, White Company toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Room Five is spacious and striking, and comes with an original-beamed sloping ceiling; there’s also a huge TV that begs movie-watching from bed. Room Three has a spectacular weeping willow-embroidered silk wall feature commissioned from Fromental, as well as cute purple love chairs and a lovely mosaic ensuite. The Deluxe Suite in the Cyder Mill – beautifully renovated barn – stretches the length of the building.

Children

Over-eights are welcome at the hotel, and extra beds can be provided for an additional £35 a night (including breakfast).

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

The restaurant at Eckington Manor is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday; the home-grown and locally produced delights are served in the light-filled and laid-back dining room above the reception. If you arrive on a sunny day head to the outdoor terrace for lunch or afternoon tea. Cold 'supper trays' – consisting of a posh Ploughman's – are available every night (it's advised to order these in advance), and evening meals for groups can be arranged in advance. Breakfast includes home-made, home-grown everything – from muesli, bread, preserves and marmalade to tasty eggs and award-winning breakfast sausages. Much of the meat is from the farm. If you'd like to get more involved and cook yourself, Eckington Manor Cookery School is located above reception.

Hotel Bar

Eckington Manor is fully licensed, and there’s an informal bar area close to the restaurant, which is popular for pre-dinner drinks. A fully-stocked honesty bar can be found in the large main hall, where guests can get cosy on comfy sofas beside a wood-burning stove.

Last orders

Breakfast is served in the cookery-school dining room 8am to 9.30am in the week (till 10.30am at the weekend). The Restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday from 12 noon to 2pm and 7pm to 9pm.

Room service

Officially, room service is not available, though we’re sure that staff will rustle up a snack for you if you give them enough warning.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Whatever you like, with an apron thrown on top. There are wellies to borrow (as originally sported by the cast of The Apprentice who filmed here).

Top table

There’s a communal dining table in the house.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Belle House (Bridge Street, Pershore; 01386 555055), was originally run by Eckington's owner Judy but now in the capable hands of chef Steve Waites, offers Mediterranean-inspired cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients. It also operates a lovely deli. Russell’s of Broadway (20 High Street, Broadway; 01386 853555) serves up a quality Modern British restaurant at very reasonable prices.

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Working Worcestershire farm

Eckington Manor

Hammock Road, Eckington, Worcestershire, WR10 3BJ, United Kingdom

Planes

Birmingham International is 45 miles away, and is linked up with Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow by BMI Baby (www.bmibaby.com). Taxis and hire cars are both available.

Trains

First Great Western runs a direct service from London Paddington to Pershore (four and a half miles from the hotel). The station also serves Worcester and Oxford.

Automobiles

Cheltenham Spa and the cathedral town of Worcester are both around 25 minutes away. There's free parking.

Other

For seafaring Smiths, temporary and overnight moorings are available on the River Avon, a short walk away.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Sophie Dening , Professional weekender

Very precise instructions (turn right at the third pony) lead us to a farmyard on the edge of the Cotswolds. Around it are half a dozen buildings, and we're wondering which one houses the cookery school. Is it the bally-well-ancient timber-framed beauty of a mediaeval hall with a tiny formal herb garden laid out in front? Is it the handsome but scaffolding-festooned red-brick outbuilding opposi...

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Eckington Manor

Anonymous review by Sophie Dening, Professional weekender

Very precise instructions (turn right at the third pony) lead us to a farmyard on the edge of the Cotswolds. Around it are half a dozen buildings, and we're wondering which one houses the cookery school. Is it the bally-well-ancient timber-framed beauty of a mediaeval hall with a tiny formal herb garden laid out in front? Is it the handsome but scaffolding-festooned red-brick outbuilding opposite? Perhaps the pig stys? Parking up, we fix our culinary hopes on a converted Dutch barn, all clean lines, wood and glass. Entering, we find ourselves in a reception-cum-shop, appropriately full of choice edibles and kitchenalia, with stairs leading to the state-of-the-art cookery school above. The welcome we experience, from mother and daughter Judy and Jane, is so enthusiastic and friendly that, once we're in the privacy of our room, Mr Smith derides me for believing they haven't rumbled our reviewer status. I stick to the script: I guess some people are just genuinely nice.

We're sleeping in the bally-well-ancient part of the set-up, Eckington Manor , a boutique bed and breakfast in its own right, with two singles, three doubles, a connoisseur's honesty bar and a big sitting room that is has its poshness tempered by cowhide rug, dog-picture tapestry cushions and a leather piglet. In the gleaming country kitchen, used for events, there's a collection of antique farm tools framed on the wall; upstairs, we find a handful of not-very-agricultural design features, such as a turquoise devoré chaise-longue and a chandelier made of antlers. Room 5 doesn't need any design features. It has great 800-year-old beams A-framing the eaves, and a monumental, asymmetrical stone chimney-breast, on which hangs an outsized flatscreen television, pointing straight at the bed. We're here to learn the finer points of Indian cookery, not to snuggle under the duvet watching telly, but we end up doing both, and walking up a big hill. And going to the weirdest pub in England. But first: mackerel masala.

Eckington Manor Cookery School has one super-skilled chef, teaching everything from Indian, Thai and Italian to mastering an aga and bread-making, as well as special classes for men, youngsters and beginners. We're uncertain about how one person can be an expert on rustling up jalfrezi and ciabatta – even if he is from Birmingham, unofficial curry capital of the world. But we are proven doubting Thomases, because the class is just brilliant: engaging, fun, confidence-building and manageable. There are demos – deft fish filleting – as well as tips (try damp kitchen roll to anchor your chopping board), and chef's commonsense views on fat in meat (good), German knives (great) and oily fishbones (rubbish for stock). None of the class, largely young couples, have attended a cookery class before, and the difficulty level is spot-on. We make lamb meatballs, naan and a very nice Goan mackerel dish, and we all feel pretty clever. The meat we use is from the farm's award-winning livestock, and there are even views of the countryside from the windows, so it all lives up to the owners' 'eat local' ethos.

Staying the night – before and after our class – makes the whole experience exceptionally relaxing. Once we've wiped down our individual kitchen stations, hung up our stripy aprons and boxed up doggy-bag leftovers, we retire to Room 5 – what a treat to get into bed in the middle of the afternoon. Well, we have been working quite hard, slaving away over hot stoves… There's time for a bit of an explore later on, though. We drive to the Monkey House, a pub we've heard being celebrated for its magnificent old-fashionedness up there with the Red Lion in Snargate, Kent, and the Three Stags Heads in Derbyshire. When we mention our pilgrimage to Judy, her faintly quizzical response leads us to question whether it's a pub at all. Perhaps it is truly a place of abode for primates, suggests Mr Smith. ‘Or a strange Cotswolds slang for a brothel,’ he smiles. We find, with delight, that it is someone's house with a hatch serving cider, a garden with a flower-filled shopping trolley, and a tiny extension with a tall chimney and an open door, full of locals smiling and singing. No flatscreen television, or even electricity, at a guess. The only reason these metropolitan voyeurs don't stay long, is that we’re shy.

Back at our 13th-century lodgings (so wonderfully wonky that the beds have bespoke varying leg lengths), we settle for a supper tray, rather than driving miles to the nearest decent restaurant. We're expecting cheese and biscuits, and that's what we get, but in glorious Eckington style. It is copious and beautifully presented: hams, dates, tomato salad of red and yellow fruit, two mustards, three breads, four chutneys, posh black crackers and oatcakes. All that to accompany a fine selection of local cheeses. We eat alone in the warm, homely dining room – nothing at all like a hotel – and a feast that beats a burger in the village pub. In the interests of fairness, we checked out the Bell, Eckington's local, and it's friendly and clean and fine for lunch, but it's not as romantic as a wedge of Double Worcester, the honesty bar and that lovely bed just up the creaking stairs.

This part of the Cotswolds is less-trodden but still as lovely as the familiar Gloucestershire hills, and on the Sunday, we drag ourselves away from eating and idling to find windy, baa-lamb happiness up Bredon Hill, a short drive from Eckington. We stomp towards what we think is 'the top', crossing acres of farmland, grazing pasture and forest to reach a folly and a standing stone called the Elephant. It makes a bracing chaser after yesterday's gastronomic concentration and steadies us before the drive back home. Eckington Manor is a true find: there's the social, active, learning side; and plenty of private downtime in the beamed bedrooms. We arrived with all sorts of townie tiredness, and we're leaving with fresh air in our lungs, vastly improved spice skills, and several Tupperware containers of the finest curry money can't buy.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Eckington Manor 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 14 Feb 2014

We loved

I had a beautiful room in the 900-year-old manor house, and I loved the homemade cider in the honesty bar and great dinner in the restaurant (there are very good options for vegetarians).

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 8 Nov 2013

We loved

Our room (number 12) was fabulous and the supper trays when we arrived were a real treat!

Don’t expect

The breakfast was a little bit basic and we felt that dinner was a bit rushed.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 17 Oct 2013

We loved

The elegance and style of Eckington Manor, combined with the friendly, warm service and first rate food (especially breakfast!) made for a perfect stay. I'd strongly recommend it.

Don’t expect

The towel rail was a bit hot and burned my bottom!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 11 Oct 2013

We loved

This is a great location in the lovely north Cotswolds countryside. The hotel is as lovely as it looks, and the restaurant is exceptional with food that comes from the farm. We would definitely return; the hotel would appeal for those who want a quiet break.

Don’t expect

A coffee machine in the lounge with newspapers would have been nice. To be fair, we didn't ask – I have no doubt the hotel would have obliged. (The lounge and main accommodation is in a separate block from the restaurant.)

Rating: 7/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 6 Oct 2013

We loved

The location is completely peaceful. The accommodation is immaculate. The breakfasts are amazing. The supper trays are a great idea if you do not want to be bothered with going out. You can dine in as well – super. The family who run this establishment work very hard and care about their customers enjoying their break. All of the staff are cheerful, helpful and professional. In short I liked everything about my stay which is why I have visited several times.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 28 Sep 2013

We loved

Very comfortable and a lovely location. Excellent food and a lovely room.

Don’t expect

One slight annoyance was the noise that travelled up to our room from the lounge below. More sound proofing would be better.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 27 Sep 2013

We loved

The hotel was great and also offers cookery courses. The food was delicious and staff very helpful. The perfect situation to explore the Cotswolds.

Don’t expect

We thought we were going to get a Mr & Mrs Smith gift, which we didn't – maybe we should have asked for one!

Rating: 10/10 stars