Mini-break: The Painswick, Gloucestershire

Lucy Ford enjoys the cream of the Cotswolds.

Built in the late 18th century, in the time of the Slad Valley’s booming wool trade, The Painswick was once the local vicarage. Today, it’s a 16-bedroom hotel—voted The Sunday Times Ultimate Hotel of the Year when it opened in 2016—nestled deep in Laurie Lee country, in the historic hilltop village known as the Queen of the Cotswolds.

Described as a ‘country-cool restaurant with rooms’, the feel of the interiors, by Nicky Farquhar and Cathy Birtles, is urban style meets rural charm.

In the entrance hall, a central staircase leads straight up to the bar, which was once the building’s chapel.

With light from the curved window illuminating the rows of bottles, it’s an elegant setting for a drink. Part of The Calcot Collection, The Painswick has struck a winning formula.

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the painswick


  • Chef Michael Bedford presides over a relaxed Franco-British menu in the hotel restaurant—choose melt-in-the-mouth ham hock followed by raspberry soufflé. After supper, head out to the balcony with a strawberry-cheesecake cocktail. Upon arrival at the hotel, look out for the freshly baked ‘chef treats’ in your room.

  • Help yourself to one of the maps of local walks—there’s a whole rack of them alongside Wellington boots and umbrellas available to guests. If your journey ends in a local pub, as all great country rambles should, the hotel will happily send a car for the trip back.
  • Make time to visit the Temple Guiting Shop & Tearoom, just a 40-minute drive north of Painswick, where you can enjoy crumblingly delicious cakes and pastries with rich hot chocolate. Just be sure there’s room in your case to take home some of the local artisan produce.

Rooms from £274 (01452 813688;