With travel across Britain back, Harriet Compston visited the Double Red Duke in Oxfordshire.
The Double Red Duke is a wisteria-clad, 17th-century inn in the sleepy Cotswolds village of Clanfield, is the third outpost of Country Creatures, founded by Georgie and Sam Pearman (former owners of The Lucky Onion).
There are 19 restful rooms at the inn — ours was charming and tucked away with French doors leading out to the garden. Cotswold-based natural 100 Acres products filled the bathroom and neighbouring Kelmscott Manor — former home of William Morris — provided inspirations for the interiors: khaki-olive and floral-papered walls and plenty of plants. The fabrics and furniture have all come from great British brands, including Fermoie, Catchpole & Rye and Roberts (of radio fame).
Food is a focus here with a seasonal and local menu devised by two of the UK’s best chefs, Richard Turner and Richard Sandiford from Hawksmoor.
It’s an obvious hit: the garden restaurant, with its rattan, colonial-style chairs and flowering jasmine, and alfresco terrace was buzzing all day. The staff were delightful — particularly with children.
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I started with a Montgomery cheese and spinach soufflé — the best I have ever tasted — before sharing a chateaubriand with my guest, accompanied by duck-fat roast potatoes.
The joys of the Cotswolds are on the inn’s doorstep and Wellington boots line the entrance ready for walks, whatever the weather (not that you’ll want to leave).
While you’re there
• A shepherd’s hut in the garden doubles as a spa. Therapists use the same oils and lotions from 100 Acres in the hotel bathrooms.
• In the case of inclement weather, retreat to the snug, where there’s a roaring log fire and plenty of board games.
• Kelmscoot Manor, the former home of William Morris and Blenheim Palace are both within easy reach, as in Bampton Village where scenes in Downton Abbey were filmed.
• In Autumn, make for Batsford Arboretum when the turning leaves are at their most colourful.
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In one of England's most picturesque and unspoilt thatched villages is a glorious English inn and adjoining mill which offers