Two English country-house hotels up the ante

Heckfield Place in Hampshire has a kitchen overseen by Skye Gyngell, while the Cotswolds’ Thyme has a Quo Vadis alumnus in the kitchen

Thyme hotel in the Cotswolds has a restaurant overseen by a Quo Vadis alumnus
Thyme hotel in the Cotswolds has a restaurant overseen by a Quo Vadis alumnus

The English country-house-hotel paradigm got a high polish late last year when Heckfield Place (heckfieldplace.com; from £300) opened in Hampshire, with interiors marrying contemporary art, 20th-century and fine Georgian antiques, and a kitchen overseen by Skye Gyngell. In the Cotswolds, there’s now Thyme (thyme.co.uk; from £285) to further the shift. Though “now” is a bit misleading: the estate, across which the 31 bedrooms, spa, pub, cookery school and 150-acre working farm are spread, dates back to the 11th century and was owned by Wadham College, Oxford, for some 320 years. Caryn Hibbert’s family acquired it in 2002; its considered, entirely sustainable restoration has been their work of 15 years. The pièces de résistance are the exquisitely rehabilitated farm buildings, one of which holds Thyme’s restaurant, The Ox Barn – overseen by Hibbert’s son Charlie, who made his bones at Quo Vadis.

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