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Hotel Highlights

  • Stylish design and art gives this trad coaching inn a chic update
  • Beautiful copper baths in upper-tier rooms
  • Locally sourced produce and killer cocktails
  • Central Cotswolds location, within easy reach of historic towns and rolling countryside

Overview

A 17th-century stone inn brought up to the present time with oodles of rustic modern style and good taste, the Wheatsheaf Inn hotel is a country charmer in the Cotswolds. Paintings – historic and contemporary – grace the walls, the just-coiffed-enough gardens are the perfect place to hide with a book, the regional cuisine is superb, the ales and ciders are well-chosen and the cocktails are spot on.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Wheatsheaf Inn with us:

A bottle of 100 Acres hand wash

Facilities

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The Wheatsheaf Inn Hotel - Northleach - UK

Need To Know

Rooms

14 suites.

Check–out

11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $156.25 (£100), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include a Continental breakfast. A full English breakfast costs an additional £12; à la carte hot dishes start at £4. Z-beds for adults are £50 a night.

Also

The Wheatsheaf doesn't host weddings but would make a swell spot for a reception dinner, with bespoke banquets including whole hogs for a rollicking rural send-off. Guests at Cotswolds-fan Kate Moss' nuptuals bedded down here, and it would also be stylish for a stag or hen do.

At the hotel

Small spa, snug/TV room, private dining room, poker room, wine cellar, board games, cinema club, free WiFi throughout, gardens. In rooms: flatscreen Bang & Olufsen TV with free Sky channels, Bramley bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Once a piggery, Excellent Room 9 flaunts high ceilings and original stone walls. Very Good Room 6, in the former stable block, mixes masculine black suede and tweed, and Excellent Room 1 boasts a blissful freestanding bath. For garden access, opt for feminine Excellent Room 11. Tip: if you're lugging lots of luggage, ask for a room with a wardrobe or chest of drawers – they don't all have them.

Packing tips

Shooting – of the real and clay-pigeon variety – is up for grabs near this rustic retreat, and if you bring your own rifle there's a gun cabinet for storing it safely. Pack country clobber for hearty walks, although the hotel can provide handy Hunter wellies.

Also

Canine companions can stay in the three larger ground-floor rooms (10, 11 and 12) for £10 a night, with dog beds, bowls and treats provided.

Children

Welcome. Baby cribs can be supplied for £20 a night (or the bedding only, for £15), or fold-out Z-beds for older kids for £25 a night (£50 for over-16s). Babysitting with a nanny can be arranged for around £7 an hour, with a week's notice.

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Food & Drink

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The Wheatsheaf Inn Hotel - Northleach - UK

Hotel Restaurant

Chunky wooden tables and leather-backed chairs tempt you to linger in the Inn's inviting dining room, where paintings of historic Brit tobacco barons add to the olde worlde feel. By contrast, German artist Sebastian Krüger's pop art portrait of Kate Moss factors in the funk. Nosh is rustic and regional, with seasonal produce the star in a daily-changing menu. Chef Anthony Ely's signature devilled kidneys on toast take some beating but the Colchester rock oysters and chocolate 'Balthazar' dessert give them a run for their money. The full cooked English breakfast is a must, and the all-day brunch at the weekend is best washed down with a Bucks Fizz. Make dinner reservations when booking – the restaurant is packed every night (but please note you can't book an 8pm slot, only before or after).

Christmas Day lunch is £75 a person (£20 for children) and an evening buffet is included in the room rate. A limited menu will be on offer on Boxing Day.

Hotel Bar

Beside the dining room, the Wheatsheaf Inn's convivial bar is a relaxed affair, popular with loyal locals. As well as a changing roster of regional beers, including Cotswold Lager and Festival Pride bitter, you'll find delicious Dunkertons organic cider on tap. The staff also mix killer cocktails and have taken out the title of Cotswolds Bloody Mary champions. Miss the mean Bellinis, glammed up with rum-flambéed peaches, at your peril. Expect a backing track of Pavarotti in the morning, segueing to Johnny Cash come the afternoon.

Last orders

Lunch in the restaurant is served from 12pm–3pm, tea from 3pm–6pm, and dinner from 6pm–10pm. The pub pulls pints until 11pm, and the back-garden bar keeps the same hours.

Room service

Available through the day, with cracking breakfast and tea (think scones and cake), but the team will try to accommodate any requests.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Informal gastropub gear, but a tad of tweed will tally with the hunting, shooting and fishing crowd.

Top table

Park yourself at a cosy table beside the long banquette for top people-watching. The private dining room, which seats 18–24, is pretty magical, should you be in party mode.

Local Guide

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The Wheatsheaf Inn Hotel - Northleach - UK
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Active country pursuits abound here, from walking to cycling, horseriding, tennis, rock climbing, golf, exceptional fishing and water sports (at the Cotswolds Water Park on South Cerney Lakes), all of which can be organised by your hosts. For riding, trot to Talland School of Equitation (talland.net), near Cirencester. Clay-pigeon and game shooting are a blast, too, with sessions for all levels and regular competitions to test the best. Try Ian Coley Shooting School (www.iancoleysporting.co.uk), near Cheltenham, or one of the private estates recommended by the Wheatsheaf crew.

To unwind after, book a massage or facial in the spa treatment room by the garden. Mr Smiths are well catered for, with chilled-out grooming options (one of the therapists, Damon, is the stylist for Morrissey when he's on tour – and he's also shaved the English cricket and rugby teams). The Wheatsheaf is also starting a cinema club from November 2011 for guests and locals, screening an arthouse movie every Sunday.

History buffs can check out various stately piles within an hour's drive, including Sudeley Castle (www.sudeleycastle.co.uk) and Blenheim Palace (www.blenheimpalace.com), or ask the hotel team to arrange private tours of one of the glam gardens in the area. Northleach is also brilliantly placed for missions to the heritage-toting, grey-stone Cotswolds towns of Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water and Moreton-in-Marsh. Cheltenham's Everyman Theatre (www.everymantheatre.co.uk) should amuse the thespians.

Closer to home, the Wheatshelf keeps up a busy calender of wine, beer, cocktail and champagne tastings, dining deals and sports events, as well as celebrating everything from New Year's Eve to Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night. If you'd rather just relax, laid-back types can luxuriate in the landscaped beer garden, where Cotswolds-green picnic tables, striped deck chairs, sunloungers and a tiny walled nook for sneaky pints beckon.

Local restaurants

Sunday lunch is a must at gastropub the Horse & Groom in Bourton-on-the Hill (+44 (0)1386 700 413; www.horseandgroom.info). It's bagged awards for its regularly changing menu, which runs the gamut from rib-eye steak to beer-battered hake. A brill bistro by the owners of the Wheatsheaf Inn, The Royal Well Tavern on 5 Royal Well Place in Cheltenham dishes up modern British and French tavern fare, with a focus on fresh local seafood and meats (+44 (0)1242 221 212; www.theroyalwelltavern.com).

Local bars

The Village Pub in Barnsley near Cirencester (+44 (0)1285 740 421; www.thevillagepub.co.uk) and The Swan at Southrop (+44 (0)1367 850 205; www.theswanatsouthrop.com) are both smart bets for sipping a pint in stylish surrounds, with tasty food options to see off that hangover. Overlooking the main square in Northleach, The Ox House Wine Bar has about 20 wines available by the glass, a cosy wood-lined interior and an airy courtyard outside, leading to a handy Wine Barn shop (+44 (0)1451 860 649; www.oxhousewines.com).

Local cafés

A top tip for simple food done well is restaurant, café and deli Made by Bob in The Corn Hall, 26 Market Place in Cirencester, which serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea (+44 (0)1285 641 818; www.foodmadebybob.com). Chef/owner James 'Bob' Parkinson uses quality ingredients, and the London culinary vibe here keeps folk coming back for more. Don't miss hybrid café, farm produce shop, and chic garden and homewares boutique, Daylesford Farmshop & Café (+44 (0)1608 731 700; www.daylesfordorganic.com). Set on a Gloucestershire organic farm, it also has outlets in London, and blends impeccable style with gorgeous sustenance.

+ Enlarge
Northleach market town

The Wheatsheaf Inn

West End, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3EZ, United Kingdom

The Wheatsheaf Inn is in the Cotswolds, in the Gloucestershire market town of Northleach, within easy reach of both Cheltenham and Cirencester.

Planes

Fly into London's Heathrow Airport (www.heathrowairport.com) – from here it's about a 90-minute drive to the hotel. Gatwick Airport (www.gatwickairport.com) is just over a two-hour drive away. Recommended local firm Rainbow Taxis (+44 (0)1285 740 070) would be happy to pick you up and whisk you to the Wheatsheaf.

Trains

The nearest train stations are Kemble and Kingham, reached in under an hour and a half from London Paddington (www.nationalrail.co.uk), and Cheltenham Spa, which takes two hours and 15 minutes, with connections from most major UK cities. All three are about a 25-minute drive away.

Automobiles

A two-hour drive north-west of London, Northleach is just off the A40 between Cheltenham and Burford. Parking behind the hotel garden is free.

Reviews

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The Wheatsheaf Inn Hotel - Northleach - UK

Anonymous review

by Harriet Whiting , Circumnavigating scribe

Honestly? I was a tad disappointed when Mr Smith said he’d booked a pub for the weekend. Being seven months pregnant, I was hoping for something luxurious for our last weekend à deux for some time. Turning off the motorway, we swung onto a country road shrouded by dark forest, punctuated with glints of cute, hidden cottages. I wondered if Mr Smith had thought this one through. He knew…
Read more

The Wheatsheaf Inn

Anonymous review by Harriet Whiting, Circumnavigating scribe

Honestly? I was a tad disappointed when Mr Smith said he’d booked a pub for the weekend. Being seven months pregnant, I was hoping for something luxurious for our last weekend à deux for some time. Turning off the motorway, we swung onto a country road shrouded by dark forest, punctuated with glints of cute, hidden cottages. I wondered if Mr Smith had thought this one through. He knew my litmus test for an overnight stay by now – amazing beds, huge bathtubs, brilliant but unfussy food, and sophisticated but not too try-hard. Could the unassuming-sounding Wheatsheaf Inn deliver? 

Perched on bar stools several hours later, encouraging Mr Smith onto his second pint of local ale by a warming log fire, I had to admit he had nailed it. Formerly a coaching inn, beyond the ivy-clad stone façade, Wheatsheaf Inn keeps the same friendly atmosphere I imagine it had when welcoming weary days-gone-by travellers. Original stone flags are suitably worn and roaring hearths keep the pub toasty.

Checking in, squeezed between locals at the bar, was a little more cosy than I had anticipated, but we were ushered into the fold with cheerful banter. Around us other weekend-awayers were crashed out in padded alcoves for wind-down drinks, lively chatter floating in from the two dining rooms flanking the bar. Subdued green walls, exposed Cotswold stone and antique armchairs hemmed in by the low-beamed ceilings conveyed chintz- and clutter-free charm and impeccable taste.

And oh our room! My smile stretched to a broad grin when I spied the most welcome sight in our Excellent Room: a freestanding claw-footed slipper bath. Bath lovers can attest just how exciting little details such as a big pot of bath salts and a stack of plump white towels warming on the rail are. Open-plan, apart from a small room for the loo, opposite the bath is an enormous bed with robust oak headboard. This passed Mr Smith’s super-king test: lying widthways across the bed still leaving plenty of room. Contemporary flair was there too in the dusty pink and grey goose colour scheme, the Lewis & Wood wallpaper and a vast B&O television. (Due to my burgeoning bump the bath stood little chance of accommodating us both, but the all-in-one design of the room ensured an easy bed/tub rotation.)

Dinner in the Wheatsheaf proved a convivial, noisy affair. Huge tea towels masquerade as napkins and foil-wrapped Gloucestershire churned butter accompanies freshly baked bread. Great British fare, but excellently executed: perfectly pink partridge, whole plaice with shrimp butter and an oozing ginger sticky toffee pudding. The wine list, perhaps reflecting the better-heeled clientele stretches into the hundreds.

Waking the next morning I wondered why I couldn’t move. I was just that comfortable. It wasn’t only the Egyptian cotton or the comforting weight of blankets; turns out it was because the beds have Hypnos memory-foam mattresses. The Wheatsheaf Inn has a knack of making guests happy – just as it’s met one set of demands, it throws you a little something extra to really warm the cockles. Mmm… afternoon toast and peanut butter in the snug by the crackling fire… a bowl of gourmet chocolate eggs in the room (perfect with a cuppa)… O-Check Design Graphics notepads to hand. OK – who needs the hotel to have five stars when you've got touches like that?

The village of Northleach, a 500-year-old market town, is well worth a mooch around, with its pretty vaulted church, the bells of which we could hear from our room. It’s what Americans would call ‘quaint’, but lacking the saccharine-sweet chocolate-box veneer that some villages in the Cotswolds have. It’s window-shopping gold too – we found ourselves in the extraordinary Dolls House shop and then in a time-warp emporium selling antique clocks and tiny music boxes.

Back at our 17th-century bolt hole, staff were revving up for the next busy mealtime so we retreated to the sanctuary of our room for another round of baths. We heard the pub door bang repeatedly as hungry customers eagerly arrived, reminding us that the chilled-out Wheatsheaf is not just a Cotswolds boutique hotel but a thriving boozer with a lively atmosphere – and thank goodness for that. It’s the way forward for a relaxed, stylish break. And, as Mr Smith later informed me, the hotel welcomes babies, children and even dogs (the hotel also has its own Labrador, Pudding), perhaps providing the perfect solution for our own growing Smith clan.

We loved the public house feel to it all. Pints of fine ale in the bath, a do-it-yourself Bloody Mary at breakfast, and everyone so smiley. So, you can keep your big country hotels where couples eye other couples over fancy martinis and dine formally in a Michelin-starred dining room, after all. And you can wipe that smug look off your face, Mr Smith.

 

 

The Guestbook

Reviews of The Wheatsheaf Inn 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

Bar, restaurant, location, beds, bath and showers. We stayed in both the "Excellent" rooms - Room 1 is the best.

Don’t expect

I felt service in the restaurant could've been better.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the great staff and food. Loved the style/decor of the hotel and the surrounding countryside is amazing.

Don’t expect

Room was a little tired (#5) and very noisy with the kitchens outside and an extractor fan. Room was also very hot.

Rating: 6/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The welcome was warm and we were really delighted with our room. Heavenly. Ten out of 10.

Don’t expect

A couple of members of the team had a disagreement as we were sat nearby in the lounge after breakfast. I am hoping that they didn't know we were there – it was not what I would expect for such a great venue. Such a shame as it gave an insight into the 'back of house' that wasn't expected.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the great breakfast, including a Bloody Mary and Buck's Fizz, and the great toiletries and useful extras, nice rooms and peaceful location. The staff was friendly and helpful.

Don’t expect

I thought it would have been nice if cappuccinos, lattes, etc, were included in price of breakfast; there was an additional charge for this, which seemed a bit stingy to me.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the gardens and the relaxed atmosphere.

Don’t expect

I think more parking would be a good addition.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the accommodation, restaurant, bar and service. I couldn't fault this hotel.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The Wheatsheaf is a great relaxing retreat set within a picturesque village in the Cotswolds. It manages to be elegant and classy without the stuffiness that you might expect. The room was beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean, and there's a fab garden. I particularly liked the snug, which was filled with books and magazines that I enjoyed while sipping a grapefruit margarita! The food is to die for and the staff makes you feel at home.

Don’t expect

The free-standing bath was fantastic for relaxing. but I would have liked a shower, too, for ease.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff were friendly extremely helpful from the moment we arrived right up time we departed.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the great room with fabulous bathroom; food and wine were great too. Staff were discreet and friendly.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the lovely decor, wonderful rooms and beautiful countryside nearby. And, the excellent breakfast!

Don’t expect

The shower is in the room behind a clear glass door, therefore not very private.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff and service WERE fantastic. The dinner we had was also exceptional.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The host, James, was a dream – in fact, all of the staff were attentive, charming and good fun. The food was fantastic, the fires well stocked, and (thank god for good weather in November!) the local countryside was beautiful for our rather novice hiking. Go there today! We could have stayed longer.

 

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The food was lovely, the ambience is perfect, the staff was really helpful.

Don’t expect

The bedroom had a bath but not shower and in hindsight I would have preferred one with a shower. But that's my fault, not the hotel's.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved this place and will definitely be going back. It's got a great location, beautiful garden and stylish interiors, and bedrooms with fabulous bathrooms stocked with lovely aromatherapy products. I spent a leisurely evening drinking cocktails and dining outdoors where there was a buzzy atmosphere and a good mix of locals and visitors. The food was delicious. The best bit, however, was outstanding service from a really friendly team.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved every single thing, from the "modern Cotswolds" decor to the amazing restaurant and beautiful garden. Spacious rooms with luxurious claw foot bathtubs. Most comfortable bed of our whole vacation. Perfect location in the Cotswolds to visit many other towns and villages.

Don’t expect

The room we stayed in didn't have a closet or wardrobe; be sure to ask for a room with storage if you're going to be there a few days.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on No

We loved

Really lovely, relaxed yet professional pub in the pretty market town of Northleach. Comfortable rooms, great beds, in-room toiletries were organic and most appreciated by both Smiths. I loved the breakfast – so many nice touches that showed they really thought about guests (gluten-free bread, delicious creamy yogurt, help-yourself bellinis and bloody marys…) Dinner in the evening was equally good – really delicious food and great service, and all done in an effortless way.

Don’t expect

Not sure I can think of anything to change – other than having to return home!

Rating: 10/10 stars