With weekends feeling shorter than ever, making the most of them and taking some time to switch off and relax is high on my agenda these days. With so many beautiful places on our doorstep, travelling to far flung destinations for a little ‘R & R’ isn’t always necessary, and a relaxing retreat could be just around the corner (or a short journey on the train at least).
With a break from London life on my mind, I headed 93 miles west of the city, to the Cotswold town of Cirencester, an old market town which is the largest in the Cotswolds region.My home for the weekend was the Kings Head, an old coaching inn that is now a restaurant with rooms – 45 boutique style ones to be exact. The Kings Head is situated right on the high street of Cirencester, so a perfect location for amenities and those looking to explore the picturesque town.Having had a total refurb in recent years, the décor is modern, bright and welcoming yet still plays to its historic past and original features.
My room was practically palatial. A giant, marshmallow soft bed with similarly comfortable sofa at the foot, took centre stage, whilst the light filled bathroom sat atop my split-level residence.The décor has a homely, rural feel but with a modern twist and appliances; think leaf green floral wallpaper and plump neutral textiles, juxtaposed with a large flat screen TV and sleek coffee maker; essentially everything you need for a restful country escape. It wasn’t long before the sofa was calling, and I settled down under a blanket for an afternoon nap.
Feeling rested, food was next on the agenda and The Kings Head has arguably one of the best restaurants in Cirencester, so after a short walk down the stairs and I was ready to embark on my culinary adventure.The restaurant feels rustic yet polished, with its homely autumnal colour scheme and open kitchen. It also has a sophisticated cocktail bar, which was buzzing with well-heeled locals this Friday night.The menu is typically British, with lots of locally sourced ingredients and modern twists on classics. It is refined without being fussy.I opted for the sirloin steak and triple cooked chips, which were served ‘Jenga’ style, along with roasted vine tomatoes. The steak was juicy and perfectly cooked, whilst the rest of the plate was equally flavoursome.I make no secret that dessert is always my favourite part of a meal, and I was spoiled for choice at the Kings Head. The rest of the table had a similar conundrum, so we ordered them all in an attempt to identify a favourite. Every dish that arrived was beautifully presented and delicious, making it difficult to pick a winner, however the overwhelming choices were the Lavender & Honey brulee and the Autumn Fruit. Ordinarily these types of dessert would never make my shortlist (as a self confessed chocoholic) however the accompanying madeleine’s that came with the brulee and the combination of textures of the fruit dish, definitely won my vote.
After a hearty meal of that calibre, the thought of retiring to my cosy bedroom was at the forefront of my mind, and the realisation I was only steps away from my cloud-like bed, made the ending to my evening even sweeter.An uninterrupted night’s sleep later and I woke feeling refreshed and ready for the day’s activities – but first breakfast!
Breakfast is served in the restaurant again, however it takes on a completely different, but equally lovely ambience in daylight hours, which is a rare quality.The open kitchen becomes home to the buffet part of the breakfast, which you can tackle as a prelude to the A La Carte options.Many say a hotel is only as good as its breakfast, and if that were the case, The Kings Head would pass the test with flying colours. The Full English I ordered ticked all the boxes, both in terms of taste and flavour, and accompanied with a pot of tea, was a perfectly British way to start the day.My final stop at The Kings Head was the spa. Described by the hotel as ‘Subterranean’ I ventured down the stairs where I met my therapist in a candle lit corridor in the vaults of the hotel. The original features of the building give the spa a very calming, cosy feel, where too often they can feel quite clinical. I took my place on the therapist’s bed and embarked on 60 minutes of pure relaxation, before retiring to a ‘chill-out’ area of waterbeds draped in faux fur throws.
It was almost time to check out, and I had firmly checked out, so with my goal complete, I bid a reluctant farewell to my weekend retreat.In a bid to savour the last moments of the trip, we set off to explore the local area.There are plenty of things to do and places to explore nearby, so no worry of getting bored. Londoner favourites, Bicester Village and Daylesford are a short drive away, whilst for those looking to try their hand at some local pursuits as I did, Clay Pigeon shooting at Ian Colley is a fun way to get in the country spirit – tweed jacket and cap optional.
For more information on The Kings Head, Cirencester visit their website>
The Luxe Life was a guest of The Kings Head, but all views my own.