Skip to Content

Where to Stay in the Cotswolds for Boutique Hotel Lovers

The Cotswolds England is known for lots of lovely accommodation options. It can often be overwhelming to figure out not just which places to visit in the Cotswolds but also which hotels Cotswolds within those places.

There are many Cotswolds hotels and B&Bs. So I have curated them down to two fantastic places to stay in the Cotswolds.

When it comes to where to stay in the Cotswolds UK for those that love a good boutique hotel and some fantastic food it doesn’t get much better than these two stylish options.

The outdoor element of the pool at Whatley Manor

Where to Stay in the Cotswolds – The Painswick

Tucked in one of the side streets of lovely Painswick is this stylish but oh so comfortable boutique hotel. The Painswick is all about the detail – from the design to the copywriting.

The hotel is in a beautiful old classic Painswick style house. The Painswick is one of the best places to stay in the Cotswolds UK.

The Layout of The Painswick

The ground floor of The Painswick is home to check-in as well as a coffee/drinks area. To the right on entry is the restaurant, home of dinner and breakfast.

The Painswick

The first floor at The Painswick has a very cool bar that screams order a cocktail. Next to it is another large room for relaxing, coffee, drinks. There is even a room with a pool table.

My favourite areas at the Painswick were those that were outdoors. There is a gorgeous balcony off the first-floor living room. It was covered in trademark Cotswolds wisteria when I visited and was just stunning.

Lush outdoor relaxing at The Painswick

There are then two other outdoor areas which are next to each other. One is a long slim patio which ends in a half stage.

The second area is a bit funkier with outdoor couches and heaters on a lovely green. The best bit is this area has a lovely view over the hills of the Cotswolds.

Such a cute bar at The Painswick

Rooms at The Painswick

I loved my room at The Painswick. It was on the top floor and was huge. I had lovely Cotswolds views in 2 directions. My bed was fantastic. So soft and comfortable.

The attention to detail at The Painswick continues in the room. The counting sheep sign next to the bathrobes. The handwritten welcoming note.

The treats box filled and ready to be enjoyed. The woollen hot water bottle. The retro radio. A carefully curated small selection of books in case you didn’t bring one.

The very comfortable bed at The Painswick

The design is simple and stylish in the soft colours of the Cotswolds. The bathroom at The Painswick was a wonderful mix of funky stylish and classic.

The taps and claw tub bath speak of another time. But the funky tiles and main light are a modern twist. The toilet roll/magazine holder was a nice twist.

The Painswick also has treatment rooms and uses Elemis products. This is a great option if you are looking for a Cotswold hotel and spa.

The Restaurant at The Painswick

Dinner at The Painswick is an easily manageable shortlist of European treats. I enjoyed an amazing cauliflower velouté with salsa verde to start. Wow. So rich and creamy but not too heavy and infused with flavour.

Enjoy breakfast and dinner in this lovely restaurant

Next up in my seafood frenzy was grilled salmon with broad beans, peas and herb gnocchi. The gnocchi was so soft and creamy.

Dinner at The Painswick

Breakfast in the morning is served in the same room as dinner. There is a great buffet filled with lots of delicious cereals, yoghurt etc etc. Hot options come in a small menu.

I very much enjoyed the homemade crumpets with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. [separator type=”thin”]

Read more reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now [separator type=”thin”]

Yummy breakfast with homemade crumpets at The Painswick

One of the best things about The Painswick is that it is located in Painswick! In my opinion, this is the best village to visit in the Cotswolds.

Here are some of the best things to do in Painswick:

1. Painswick Rococo Gardens

Painswick Rococo Gardens were designed as a “flamboyant pleasure garden” to delight guests at Painswick House in the 1740s. It was considered very experimental at the time with an eclectic mix of different quirky buildings. When it comes to the Cotswolds where to go this is a great option.

Monkey guarded entrance to the Painswick Rococo Gardens

The Painswick Rococo Gardens were restored in 1984 after being neglected for some time and are now run as a charity. After entry, a short stroll takes you to an overview of the Painswick Rococo Gardens.

They are almost in a little valley so it is a stunning vista of the entire grounds. There are then options to walk in different directions around and then into the gardens.

In the Rococo Gardens

The grounds at Painswick Rococo Gardens are just stunning with a variety of landscaping styles, flowers and even a maze. Obviously much is dependent on the time of year.

I was lucky enough to visit when a sculpture exhibition was about to kick off – the sculptures were cute and quirky and most importantly very photogenic.

2. Stroud Farmers Market

Running every Saturday in the village of Stroud, Stroud Farmers Market is perhaps the most well-known market in the South Cotswolds. There are actually two markets – the Shambles Market and a Farmer’s Market.

The Stroud Shambles Market is more bric a brac with some food items whereas the Stroud Farmer’s Market is much more food-focused. The Shambles Market has both an indoor and an outdoor area.


Stroud Farmer’s Market has a big range of ready to eat food and a seating area. This varies from local pies to a very long queue for falafels to some interesting vegetarian pasties which I enjoyed.

Stroud Farmer’s market is held at Cornhill Market Place and in the surrounding streets between 9 am and 2 pm every Saturday. There is plenty of parking but all will involve a bit of a walk – try the church carpark.

The Shambles Market runs every Friday and Saturday between 8 am and 4 pm.

Ooey Gooey gorgonzola heaven at Stroud Farmers Market

Top Tip – many of the cute Cotswolds towns have farmer’s markets. Tetbury normally has one on a Friday and then Berkeley, Dursley and Nailsworth each have a market one Saturday morning each month.

3. Painswick Yew Trees

Painswick is my favourite Cotswold England towns. Painswick is very beautiful but not as cutesy as some of the other villages of the Cotswolds.

The highlight of Painswick is the churchyard and its unique yew trees. There are arches within the grounds made from the Yew Trees which are just lovely.

If you’re looking for some boutique luxury cottages in the Cotswolds check out the Boutique Luxury Retreats website.

The Yew Trees of Painswick

Painswick is also filled with little backstreet and made for wandering. The backstreets contain some cute pubs, shops and restaurants.

The town is also a great kick-off point or base for walking The Cotswolds Way. This is the most famous walking trail in the area.

The church at Painswick

Where to Stay in Cotswolds – Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa

Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa is one of the best-known spa hotels in the Cotswolds and a great place for a Cotswolds stay. The arrival to Whatley Manor is a little lane lined with lovely trees.

I immediately felt calmer as I drove down to the house. This is definitely a hotel that is made for relaxation and it very much feels like a home away from home.

Rooms at Whatley Manor

My room at Whatley Manor was large with a lovely view over the kitchen garden. It had a king-size plus bed which was split into very large twin beds.

The linen was outstanding. And as a fan of a high thread count on my sheets, I loved that there was a brochure all about the company in Yorkshire that provides the very comfortable mattresses.

This bed felt as good as it looks

There are lots of lovely touches in the room. In particular, I liked the pencil that wants to be a plant when it grows up.

Once the lead has been used it is possible to plant the stub and it will then grow into the plant written on the pencil – in our case thyme.

View from my bedroom at Whatley Manor

The room contained a proper coffee machine and tea facilities as well as some freshly made biscuits. There were a large couch and comfortable living space within the room.

Bathrobes and very plump slippers made getting to the spa comfortably easy. I did wear my robe to breakfast the next morning but was the only guest to do so.

The pencil that turns into a plant!

The bathroom at Whatley Manor was so cosy! It featured a claw foot tub and a separate shower.

The Spa at Whatley Manor

The spa was my highlight. There is a nice “tunnel” that can be used from the main hotel to get to the spa area.

I didn’t have time to have any treatments but I am sure they are lovely. I was far too busy using the many facilities on offer for all guests.

The outdoor element of the pool at Whatley Manor

Let’s start with the hydro pool. I quickly understood why the guy on reception had smiled deeply when I said I might swim some laps. That would have created a high level of dizziness in the circular pool.

The middle of the pool holds a little whirlpool with steel that needs to be clasped to stay in the one place. There are then these fantastic steel couches that sit in the water and become enveloped in bubbles.

It is just lovely sitting on them – and importantly very comfortable – while the water bubbles around you.

Whatley Manor from the front

For me, the highlight was the outdoor component of the pool. It is possible to swim outdoors from indoors via the pool. The water is heated so it is just lovely being so cosy in the cool fresh air.

There are more full on jets here for problem spots. And another shorter steel couch which is lovely to sit on.

The indoor action-packed pool!

Of course, there are lovely sun loungers inside and out and many big fluffy towels available. The spa has a café that overlooks the pool. Then it was time to explore the warmer area.

Up to a short flight of stairs, there was a good deal on offer. The Whatley Manor Spa has a classic sauna, lower temperature steam room and a Caladium steam room which was my favourite – some great aromas and my kind of temperature. In between are rain/tropics showers and seating areas.

More of the stunning gardens at Whatley Manor

There are salt showers where it is possible to have a good scrub. And a lovely indoor relaxation area which would be perfect for keeping warm post-treatment. [separator type=”thick”]

Restaurants and Bars at Whatley Manor

There are several good-sized living areas at Whatley Manor with comfortable couches, fireplaces and chairs that beg for a newspaper and a blanket and bad weather outside.

The Green Room at Whatley Manor

This is also a great spot for pre-dinner drinks. In warm weather, there is a lovely area just outside. We kicked off with some lovely South African Chardonnay.

There are 3 dinner options. The first is the formal dining option which offers a tasting menu – and is appropriately called The Dining Room. Second is Grey’s Brasserie (where breakfast is served).

The third is The Green Room. The Green Room has been at Whatley Manor for some time.

However, it is only in the last few months that they have re-launched The Green Room as a tapas bar of sorts. It is smaller than the brasserie but cosier.

Duck rolls

The room is dominated by a kitchen with counter seating. This allows guests to watch their tapas being prepared and have a chat with the chef.

There are some tables but only a few. As suggested, we started our meal here. We ordered four plates of tapas. The highlight was the cuttlefish with enoki mushroom.

I had never tried cuttlefish before and for some reason thought it would be something I didn’t like. I was completely wrong. It was absolutely delicious.

We then moved to Grey’s Brasserie for dinner. I ordered the lamb shoulder which was lovely but my friend Rachel trumped me with the crayfish fricassee which was amazing.


Not in the mood for sweet as we had had a few wines we enjoyed the cheese board for dessert. Breakfast is at Grey’s Brasserie.

There is no buffet – it is all ordered from a menu – and there are 2 courses. I so feel breakfast should be much more of a 3-course event. Anyway, we started with granola and Greek yoghurt.

We were also served delicious fresh croissants and strawberry pastries. For main was baked eggs with a vinaigrette and coriander – all with fresh sourdough bread.

Whatley Manor is a member of Pride of Britain Hotels, a collection of never more than 50 hotels to guarantee quality and exclusivity. They have some wonderful properties.

The grounds at Whatley Manor

The Grounds at Whatley Manor House

The grounds at Whatley Manor are so beautiful and lush. I recommend having a stroll in them around sunset.

I lucked out and got some stunning photos with dark stormy clouds in the amazing sunset light of the Cotswolds.

Whatley Manor under stormy skies

Whatley Manor is definitely one of the special places to stay in Cotswolds. And one of the Cotswolds best places to stay in my opinion. [separator type=”thin”]

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now [separator type=”thin”]

Malmesbury is the nearest of the Cotswold villages to Whatley Manor. There are some great things to do in Malmesbury and nearby. Here is my travel guide to the area near Whatley Manor.

1. Visit Castle Combe

So let’s start with the fact that this is a town and there is no castle. I didn’t realise this and couldn’t understand why none of the signs said castle. I had to pull over and google it.

Lovely Castle Combe

But Castle Combe is one of the cutest Cotswolds villages and easy to see why it is so popular. It is also super close to the main motorway M4. This is literally one to just walk around and take photos.

The bridge into Castle Combe

2. Westonbirt Arboretum

I had never been to an Arboretum before visiting Westonbirt Arboretum and wondered how good they can be. I will now be an arboretum aficionado moving forward. I just loved it.

Loved this unusual droopy tree!

Westonbirt Arboretum was originally set up by the Holford family in Victorian times. Westonbirt is now The National Arboretum of the UK. The entry is very modern and well set up.

Upon arrival, I asked what was most photogenic/flourishing at the moment. Wonderfully they do a weekly map that highlights what is in bloom where – what a great idea.

england cotswolds westonbirt arboretum tree

The Old Arboretum was highlighted as the area to visit on the map of the week. It was just stunning. There were unusual trees that I had never seen before. I was reminded of Edward Scissorhands.

The Old Arboretum has been in place since 1839, led by Robert Holford who inherited the estate. Some of the trees have been at Westonbirt since the 1850s.

Beautiful colours at the Westonbirt Arboretum

There are loads of benches throughout the Arboretum. With the birds tweeting away it is a lovely place to relaxing and rest. There is also a treetop walk, plenty of cafes and bathrooms and lots of things for kids.

For something different, you can also learn how to make chairs at the Westonbirt Arboretum. There are green woodwork courses as well as a woodwork workshop which can be visited.


3. Malmesbury Abbey and Gardens

Malmesbury is England’s oldest borough and known as the “Queen of the Hilltop Towns”. It is over 1000 years old.

It was originally intended to be a fort based on its hilltop location and the fact that it was encircled by two rivers.


It has a busy main street with lots of restaurants and shops. I enjoyed a delicious quiche and salad lunch at The Summer Café. If you feel like Italian the Birdcage is virtually next door and comes highly rated.

Malmesbury Abbey

Malmesbury Abbey originated in the 12th century and is in the centre of town at the top of the High Street – virtually impossible to miss. The abbey contains an actual café so you can enjoy coffee and cake whilst in this beautiful building.

Tulips in bloom with a hint of abbey in the background

But the highlight of my trip to Malmesbury was the stunning Malmesbury Abbey gardens. These gorgeous gardens are like something out of a storybook.

The gardens have over 1300 years of history. Apparently, the first “King of all England” is buried somewhere here, two saints were apparently thrown down the well and lots of other good stories.

Sculpture in the Malmesbury Abbey Gardens

They are beautifully sculptured. I visited in May and the tulips were out and stunning. This is also a great place to take photos of the Abbey with the gardens bursting in the foreground.

Plus the garden has some nice sculptures that are very photogenic. The gardens are located next to the Abbey and have an entry fee. To my mind, they are one of the best places Cotswolds.

Statue pool at Malemesbury Abbey Gardens

4. Tetbury

Tetbury is a classic cute Cotswolds village and a popular as a Cotswolds where to stay destination. It is most famous for its antique stores of which there are still many.

Don’t miss Lorfords on the main road – Europe’s largest collection of decorative antiques and it is recommended by Vogue.

The place for antiques shopping in Tetbury

Blue Zucchini is famous for its toasted sandwiches which were rather delicious. Plus there were some amazing looking cakes. There is a very cute outdoor seating area out the back of the café.

Prince Charles and Camilla live in this part of the Cotswolds in Highgrove. It is possible to visit their home – well the gardens – but this needs to be booked in advance. This can be done online.

There is also a Highgrove shop in Tetbury where visits can be booked and many souvenirs can be purchased.


Top Tip – if you’re visiting the Cotswolds between late April/early May to August visit the Hill Barn Farm to see its Cotswold Lavender Farm. Insta heaven as well as tea and cakes.

Toasted sandwich at Blue Zucchini

How to Get to the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is in South Central England – west of London. The area is 40km across and 140km long. The main town is Cirencester. The two boutique hotels in this post are both in the Southern area of the Cotswolds

If you’re coming from outside the UK then London is the best place to fly into for the Cotswolds. The easiest way to get to the Cotswolds from London is to take the train.

Paddington is the key station for trains to the Cotswolds – some great value options for UK rail passes are listed below. Option two is to join an organised day trip to the Cotswolds from London

Read all about the Best Cotswolds Tour from London in my full review of the options.

Option three is hiring a car and driving yourself to the Cotswolds. Heathrow is a great place to pick up a hire car for the Cotswolds. Heathrow is the closest airport to the Cotswolds.

Also, picking up the car at Heathrow means you will avoid central London traffic which is always a good idea.

Getting to London and Getting Around:

Flights to London

I live in London and write about it frequently – I do believe it is the best city in the world. So if you’re spending some time in London you may want to read some of my articles:

⇒ Heading to London? Check out my posts on 13 Unusual Experiences in London, the best London Food Tours, my virtual London Travel Blog, some great Earlsfield restaurants, 14 Things to do in Notting Hill, restaurants near Clapham Junction and Victoria Station restaurants, 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe, a mad hatter afternoon tea party and a day trip to Brighton, 67 Fascinating Facts about London, 18 Landmarks of London from a local, 15 Places to see Sunsets in London, 9 Places to watch the Sunrise in London, 10 Bridges in London Not to Miss and Cotswolds tour from London options.

Best Ways to get from the Airport into London

London has several airports. It can be confusing and expensive to get from each of the airports into central London. And the last thing you need after a flight. It is much easier to organize tickets before you fly.


Heathrow is the most common airport for international flights. The fastest way to get from Heathrow into Central London is the Heathrow Express.

This train only takes 15 minutes to get from Heathrow to Paddington Station and runs 4 times an hour. The Heathrow Express is much faster than a cab or any other option.

Save £5 per standard ticket on Heathrow express tickets682788a1488748faad22a631d86f24a6 

Through the arches at the Painswick Rococo Gardens

The lowest cost way to get from Heathrow to central London is the tube. The tube is actually one of the fastest options as well – and will get you the closest to your final destination.

Avoid the Queue – Book Your Heathrow airport to London tube682788a1488748faad22a631d86f24a6

Apple Juice at Stroud Farmers Market

There is also a bus or coach option which drops passengers at Victoria Station. This is a cheap option but you will have to deal with London traffic. If you are taking this option during peak hour it could take up to 2 hours each way.

⇒ Book your national express Heathrow airport coach transfer682788a1488748faad22a631d86f24a6 

Wisteria-arama in Painswick

Gatwick Airport is south of London and can be quite the distance in a car. The Gatwick Express is the fastest option into London and runs directly from Gatwick to Victoria Station.

Book Here and Save £5 per standard ticket on your Gatwick express eticket682788a1488748faad22a631d86f24a6

A moving sculpture among the Yew Trees
The cute backstreets of Painswick

The third option is the national express Gatwick airport coach transfer682788a1488748faad22a631d86f24a6. This is the least expensive option but it can take some time with London traffic. There is one departure an hour and the average journey time is 90 minutes.


Who Paid for What in this Post

Whatley Manor and The Painswick were both kind enough to host my Cotswolds accommodation and provide me with dinner and breakfast. I paid for my own hire car and my meals outside of the two boutique hotels as well as entrance fees to the things to do mentioned. As always, all of the opinions are my own.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through on them and make a purchase I will receive a small commission.


Like this post? Why Not Pin It?

If you are wondering where to stay in the Cotswolds and love boutique hotels here are 2 fantastic options - and places to visit in the Cotswolds nearby #cotswolds #england
where to stay cotswolds

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Friday 14th of June 2019

Wow, that first hotel looks stunning!! This entire post is making me want to make a trip to the UK, and especially the Cotswolds!

Nancy at Whispered Inspirations

Friday 14th of June 2019

What an informative and long post this is. I am bookmarking this so when I visit, I'll know everything. Thanks so much for this!


Friday 14th of June 2019

I'd be happy to stay at either one of those hotels! I love boutique hotels because they are so unique compared to big chain hotels.


Friday 14th of June 2019

The Spa at Whatley Manor looks so welcoming! So many great boutique hotels I would not have known about.

Ruth I

Thursday 13th of June 2019

These hotels are so gorgeous! It would be so lovely to stay there, looks peaceful!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Like this post? Why Not Share It?

Thanks for Sharing!