Just under two hours in the car from London, having driven through the most picture-postcard countryside the Cotswolds have to offer we arrive in to the Roman market-town of Cirencester. Trundling the car down cobbled streets we pull up in the very centre of the town, opposite the beautiful St John the Baptist church, to The Kings Head Hotel.
Dropping our bags and moving the car to a nearby car park for the night we re-enter the hotel through its large glass doors into its vast exposed stone walled entrance lobby. The welcoming bar stretches out before us, all comfy sofas, fireplaces, wood and original brickwork with modern design touches that scream boutique hotel but before a drink at the bar we need to discover our room.
We settle into Room 101, one of 45 bedrooms where even the smallest room has acres of space. Ours is vast; oozing in heritage colours, greys, chocolates, warm earth hues, more exposed stonework, wood paneling, huge beds and sumptuous chairs and sofas. It’s an elegant representation of the Cotswolds. A welcoming gin and tonic waits for us, a much more appreciated offering than the usual bottle of wine which goes to waste. We clink our glasses and settle in, like the many thousands of others over the hotels incredible history.
No one really knows The Kings Head Hotels the exact age but it was in existence as a coaching inn from the middle of the Fourteenth Century and King Charles II is said to have slept here. Now a listed building of special architectural and historical interest the owners spent 7 years and £7 million on an extensive renovation making it a modern but historically contemporary hotel with history at its core but it never feeling like a museum. Even the original Roman mosaic that was discovered is now on display under glass in the reception lobby and the bricks, beams and irons from the original 17th-century hotel have been put pride of place in the design.
The unique subterranean vaulted spa gave my wife a massage to remember – with more exposed brickwork, scented candles and a peaceful setting under the hotel. We wandered round Cirencester, taking in the beautiful Abbey grounds, Cirencester Park, the Roman Amphitheatre and the most magnificent bookstore I’ve ever seen ‘Octavia’s Bookshop.’ Looking like something out of Diagon Alley, I urge you to pop in when you visit.
That evening we ensconced ourselves in the Kings Head restaurant which does British food brilliantly. The small but perfectly formed menu showcased the best of British, perfectly cooked lamb, fresh Cornish fish singing with flavour and a British apple tart tatin with salted caramel which makes my mouth water thinking about it. Midweek you’ll find the adjoining bar the perfect place for a quiet night-cap and board game but come the weekend you’ll find it packed with locals (always a good sign) who will happily share insider tips of what to see and do. If you buy them a beer of course.
The Kings Head is a delightful place to spend a quick night in the Cotswolds or an perfect starting point to explore close by villages like the ‘Venice Of The Cotswolds’ Bourton-On-The-Water or ‘the most beautiful village in England’ Bidbury. It’s a hotel full of rustic charm and incredible history with an overall feel is that of a warm hug! A snug, wonderful and affordable luxury hotel where you can rest your head and get full into the Cotswolds spirit.
Kings Head Hotel
24 Market Place