Oak House No 1

Gloucestershire, Cotswolds & Chilterns, United Kingdom Book from £375

Reviewed by Laura Dixon
This fabulous B&B brims with Warhols, wellies and a welcome to remember - the countryside has never been so cool
In the town where Camilla Parker Bowles is a member of the WI, austere wisteria-clad hotels with expensive spas are to be expected. But not this: a rock’n’roll haven in the centre of Tetbury (antiques centre of the Cotswolds), where chandeliers dangle and modern art overstimulates your senses to the point of giddiness. Attracting city couples in need of a countryside fix, this B&B has just 3 rooms and is full of the kind of party spirit you want to bottle and take home with you.

You’re close to Westonbirt Arboretum and the wider countryside for fantastic walks (there are Hunter wellies to borrow); Highgrove's glorious gardens are a short drive away, and with 2 polo clubs plus the Badminton horse trials nearby, there are plenty of opportunities for hearty outdoor pursuits.

If you run out of ideas, the exuberant owners Gary and Nicky are on-hand to offer personalised itineraries, and book you polo lessons or a table at one of the local restaurants. We absolutely loved it.

Highs

  • Complimentary afternoon tea on arrival - tea, cake, scones and jam
  • Design freaks will love the unique furniture and original artwork by some of the world's most famous artists
  • Popular with A-listers - Gary will regale you with his Who's Who of former guests
  • You get a really genuine service from Gary and Nicky, who will even place their resident dachshund at your disposal should you need a walking companion

Lows

  • If you’re looking for somewhere impersonal where you don’t have to talk to anyone, you won’t like it here
  • You'll need to book in advance as it’s very popular, particularly for long weekends in the summer
  • No twin rooms
  • Children are only welcome if they're under 1 or over 11 (a bonus for some)
  • Breakfast is a communal affair - not to everyone's taste - and evening meals are only served for large groups (on request)

Best time to go

This is a year-round property and is only closed for Christmas and New Year. Most visitors come for 2-3 nights - bear this in mind when booking as it can be very busy in summer and over bank holidays. Walking here is a delight whatever the time of year - spring brings blossom and birds, summer the sun and autumn the turning leaves; winter is the perfect time if you like to walk in the cold then hole up at a country pub to warm up.

Our top tips

Book this place out for a hen night, family celebration or birthday treat. And make sure you’ve got plenty of space in the car if you’re on the antiques trail - Fulham Rd antiques dealers prowl Tetbury for gems to take back to London and mark up.

Great for...

City Style
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 3
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • Babes in arms or 11+ year olds welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are 3 lavishly designed bedrooms upstairs, each with their own character, plus a lounge and dining room downstairs. You can also wander in and out of the kitchen at the back to see what delights Nicky is cooking, or relax and take afternoon tea in the garden.

The most glamorous and luxurious room is the Cavalier Bedroom, which has a four-poster bed, Frette sheets (as with all beds here), a hand-embroidered silk duvet cover and an overall sexy ambiance. It's full of sculptures, Murano glass and art, including a Madonna + Child oil over its magnificent fireplace. This room also has a small sitting room (aka the 'Library Room'). Despite the Library Room's small size it is still rather lovely, with stacked bookshelves and black and white wall art.

The Prince's Suite is the second-biggest room, a bold-red space with a superking four-poster bed, period art and Philippe Starck fixtures in its bathroom. It faces out to the front. The Garden View Suite at the back is light and airy (this was our favourite room), filled with beautiful metallic vases, elegant antiques and paintings of nudes.

Bathrooms are exquisite throughout, with Molton Brown products and all mod cons including TVs set into the bath. Our only gripe is that rooms have a handheld shower over their tub but no shower screen so having a proper shower isn't an option.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Pillow menu
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Silver tea set
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Oak House No 1 operates as a B&B with extras. On arrival you’re treated to afternoon tea - cakes, scones and jam - which we absolutely loved, and in the evening, by arrangement, parties of 6-8 can have dinner. You do need to book this in advance and will be consulted on the menu. Otherwise your evening options are wide open - we’d recommend browsing the restaurants in Tetbury. The Potting Shed in Crudwell is gastro pub-grubbery at its best and makes a perfect weekend lunch option.

Breakfast in the morning is a communal affair - guests share the long table in the dining room and eat an excellent gourmet feast of homemade muffins and croissants, cereal, toast and jam, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or the pièce de resistance, a traditional full English. The Gloucester Old Spot sausages come from a local supplier, and the black pudding is sent down from Scotland, it being the most delicious one we could find!

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Go antiques shopping in Tetbury, the centre of the trade in the Cotswolds
  • Lace up your walking boots and traverse the nearby countryside, or take Woody the dog for a local stroll
  • Westonbirt Arboretum is 30 minutes away, for stunning autumnal trees and stellar rock concerts in the summer
  • Visit the biodiverse gardens at Highgrove, home to Prince Charles (open March-October, book in advance). Created using organic and sustainable gardening methods only, they include a beautiful wild flower meadow, with ox-eye daisies, yellow rattle and common spotted orchid
  • Watch the polo in Cirencester or at Beaufort polo club (Nicky and Gary can arrange passes to the private members’ enclosures), and afterwards take a polo lesson
  • Badminton Horse Trials are a great day out - (April/May each year) - as is Gatcombe Park (Princess Anne's home)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Polo
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being

Kids

Babies aged 1 or less are allowed, as are children over 11, but the focus is on adults. Baby cots can be provided but there are no twin rooms or extra beds

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
8/
Value
10/
Overall

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Rates for Oak House No 1