Re-opened after a full refurbishment, The George in Shipston-on-Stour is a welcome Cotswolds retreat
With the summer holidays looming, it is always somewhat of a relief to discover that you don’t have to jump on a plane, and travel millions of miles, to get some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Just a couple of hours east of London, you will find The George Townhouse, tucked away in the northern tip of the Cotswolds in Shipston-on-Stour. Less than 30 minutes from Banbury, and the M40, it’s 15 en-suite rooms are the perfect stop-over for those travelling deeper into the West Country or as a weekend staycation. We visited for the latter, soon after it re-opened following a mammoth makeover.
This facelift hasn’t done anything to detract from the quirks and charms of the George’s listed building; the floors are still wonderfully wonky and there are exposed beams a-plenty. Instead, there’s a new, cool, complimentary colour palette, ludicrously comfortable beds and generously proportioned bathrooms. Our attic suite came complete with a claw-foot bath and separate shower.
Clever management have also given the service a reboot. Pre-empting a weary traveller’s forgetfulness, there was a tidy box stuffed full of essentials. Rather handy given that both of us had failed to pack a toothbrush. The fresh cookies and milk and luxurious spa products went down equally well.
Downstairs, the central bar is undoubtedly the George’s heart, which, on the night we stayed, was buzzing with both locals and visitors. A Cotswolds Gin cocktail is always the tipple of choice and tours of the distillery, a couple of miles down the road, come highly recommended.
It is also worth booking a table at the restaurant. Tucked into separate nooks and crannies, and an outdoor terrace, it serves hearty and unpretentious food, all locally sourced, where possible, from the surrounding countryside. Staff were knowledgeable when faced with questions regarding the menu and kindly suggested we sample a couple of wines before committing to a bottle.
Although easy to travel to by train, we really appreciated having a car with us, with gardens such as Sezincote, chocolate-box Cotswold stone villages and Blenheim Palace all a stones throw away. In fact with so much on offer, you may it hard to tear yourself away. When we finally departed, somewhat reluctantly, it was via the Daylesford Organics Farmshop, to stock up on some essential and not so essential treats for the working week ahead. A fitting end to a fantastic weekend.
Double rooms from £100 per night (01608 661453; www.thegeorgeshipston.co.uk)