The Wheatsheaf Inn

Northleach, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom Book from Book from £120 per night

A cool spin on a traditional Cotswolds coaching inn, with a cosy bar, great food and gorgeous bedrooms
Centuries ago The Wheatsheaf was a coaching inn on the road to London. Weary travellers, wayward wanderers and the occasional highwayman would stop here to refuel, and its beamed halls hosted many a raucous party. In some respects little has changed: the dining room still buzzes with conversation, and ale flows freely in the bar. But the present-day incarnation is altogether more stylish, and the stables where horses once rested are now hip rooms for visitors of a different kind.

Set in the idyllic town of Northleach, the rambling property has been cleverly transformed into a chic gastro pub. With no formal reception, a loyal local following and an emphasis on culinary pleasures, it's a well-balanced dose of sophistication and relaxation. There are 14 bedrooms, where eclectic décor blends Farrow & Ball with a dollop of rock‘n’roll (Sebastian Krüger artwork, black metro tiles, retro furniture), and the Hypnos beds are superbly comfortable. Back downstairs, delicious locally sourced food and fantastic wines await, plus a suntrap of a garden for relaxed afternoons.

Highs

  • Perfect for a special-occasion stay: romantic rooms with enormous beds and indulgent bathtubs
  • Foodies will adore the gastro fare: gin-cured trout, Middle Eastern spiced lamb shoulder and amazing puddings
  • Refreshingly laid-back
  • Great walking and biking nearby, plus idyllic Cotswold villages
  • A pretty little treatment room for massages

Lows

  • Rooms lack tea- and coffee-making facilities but room-service drinks are a phone call away
  • We found the diffuser scent way too pervasive
  • Light sleepers should avoid the noisier garden-facing rooms
  • Not ideal for friends - no twin beds and some open-plan bathrooms
  • It’s very popular, and deservedly so - book well in advance for weekend stays

Best time to go

Come at any time of year. Cosy rooms and crackling fires make for fantastic autumn and winter breaks, and the terrace and surrounding countryside are lovely come spring and summer. Nearby Cheltenham is renowned for its festivals, including the Cheltenham Festival in March, the Jazz Festival in April/May, the Science Festival in June and the Literary Festival in October. Book well advance for weekends.

Our top tips

Have an evening drink at the Ox House Wine Bar on Northleach's main square. It has a pretty panelled interior, wines by the glass, and a shop where you can stock up on bottles from a carefully chosen selection.

Great for...

Foodie
Great Outdoors
Romantic
Family
Spa
  • Boutique Pub with Rooms
  • 14
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages 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
  • Bicycles Available
  • Gun safe
Room:

Rooms

The 14 rooms balance style, comfort and eccentricity. We especially loved the quirky touches - mirrors made from vintage cogs, Harrods crates for bedside tables - and the striking contemporary artwork.

No room is huge, but all have comfy Hypnos beds, Dyson hairdryers and Bang & Olufsen TVs, plus homemade brownies to welcome you. Bathrooms (many open-plan) are even more luxurious, with walk-in rain showers and/or indulgently deep tubs. Lovely touches include gorgeous Bramley bath salts, Acqua di Parma toiletries and fluffy robes.

Excellent Room 1 is popular with honeymooners, its double doors leading to a vast bathroom with a sparkling zinc slipper bath. Other stand-outs include Excellent Room 9, whose lofty bathroom has exposed stone walls, and Very Good Room 14 (where we stayed), which has 2 enormous windows and a fabulous deep bath. Pale-and-pretty Very Good Room 10 and Excellent Room 11, have their own entrances off the garden terrace and are dog friendly.

There are no tea- or coffee-making facilities, but you can ring reception and they'll bring up a tray.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

It’s not every day you dine in the company of Kate Moss, whose portrait gazes down from the walls of The Wheatsheaf's dining room. It’s a hint of rock'n’roll in an otherwise traditional setting, where chunky wooden tables, lovingly weathered armchairs and padded banquettes sit atop flagstone floors.

The menu is seasonal, with local ingredients featuring strongly. We started with a melt-in-the-mouth cheddar and mustard soufflé, and a gin-soaked trout with cucumber and salmon caviar; both were sublime. Unfortunately, our mains were a letdown in comparison - a chicken with tarragon jus was rather oversalted and we couldn't taste the tarragon, and a fillet cod with smoked tomatoes and bacon crisps sounded exciting but was distinctly average, its broccoli very undercooked. Luckily, dessert saved the day: a show-stopper of a peanut and chocolate souffle, with salted caramel ice cream.

Just as impressive was the wine list, which ran to 20 pages (we counted), and the roster of regional beers and international lagers in the bar.

Breakfast was truly one of the best we've ever had. Creamy yoghurt with incredible homemade granola; flaky pastries and strong flat whites. Better still were the cooked options - a whole menu of temptation. We loved the warm sourdough topped with avocado, zingy lime and perfectly poached eggs, and the smoked haddock with poached eggs was divine. Next time we'll try the French toast with blueberries. For those suffering from a sore head, pour-yourself Bloody Marys are on offer, as is Prosecco.

The restaurant is also open for cream tea from 4-6pm, and bar snacks and drinks are available throughout the day. You’ll need to book for lunch and dinner. In the summer, there's a pizza oven in the garden for light meals, along with jugs of fresh Pimms.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Mooch around Northleach, once an important wool trading town on the road to London, now a sleepy village with honey-coloured houses, a pretty church and a handful of antique shops

  • Other Cotswolds towns and villages worth visiting include Bibury, Stow-on-the-Wold, Burford and Cirencester, all within a 30-minute drive. Bike hire can be arranged if you’d prefer to explore on 2 wheels rather than 4

  • Lace up your walking boots, ask staff to pack up a picnic, and amble through rolling hills and wooded valleys. Maps showing suggested routes are available from the bar

  • History buffs will enjoy the mosaicked remains of Chedworth Roman Villa, 5 miles down the road, the restored gardens at Kiftsgate Court and Hidcote Manor, and the palatial piles of Blenheim, Sudeley and Rousham

  • Soak up the Regency splendour of nearby Cheltenham, and splash the cash in its many boutiques. Or don your glad rags and head to Cheltenham racecourse

  • Staff can arrange fishing and shooting (enquire when booking); there’s even a gun safe in the cellar in you have your own equipment. If you don’t fancy aiming at live birds, clay pigeon shooting is on offer nearby

  • Staff can also organise horse riding, and point you in the direction of the nearby Indoor Climbing Centre

  • Sailing, wind-surfing, kayaking and water-skiing are available at the Cotswold Water Park, a collection of inland lakes a 20-minute drive away

  • Back at the inn, unwind by the fire or have a massage in the small treatment room (book in advance)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Climbing
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Shooting
  • Shopping / markets
  • Water-skiing
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing

Kids

The Wheatsheaf is super-stylish and feels best suited to adults, but families are welcome and parents will appreciate the laid-back ambiance. Children will find board games and toys in the snug and there's a long thin grassy garden to run around in warmer months.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

A baby cot or extra fold-out bed can be added to all Very Good Rooms, and Excellent Rooms can accommodate 2 additional beds or cots. Most rooms have bathtubs as well as showers, but be aware that some bathrooms are open-plan, with a separate loo.

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arrange via a local agency recommended by the hotel.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Highchairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Children's menu

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Climbing walls at the Indoor Climbing Centre (5 minutes' drive)
  • Chedworth Roman Villa (10 minutes' drive)
  • Cotswold Wildlife Park (20 minutes' drive)
  • Watersports, a playground and a beach area at Cotswold Water Park (20 minutes' drive)
  • The Cheltenham Science Festival (June), with plenty of hands-on activities for youngsters
  • The magical Gifford Circus often performs nearby in summer
  • Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water

  • Distances:

    • Airport: 1 hour 15 minutes (Bristol or Birmingham)
    • Hospital: 25 minutes (Cheltenham)
    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    The Wheatsheaf Inn is located in the Cotswolds village of Northleach, just off the A40 between Cheltenham and Burford. It's a 2-hour drive from London, and around an hour from Bristol or Birmingham.

    By Air:
    Bristol (99km / 1 hour away) is the closest airport and has many domestic and international services. You can also fly to Birmingham International (101km / 1 hour away) or London Heathrow (150km / 2 hours away), both served by numerous flights.

    By Car:
    The inn is an easy drive from the M5, and you’ll need a car if you want to explore the Cotswolds. The Wheatsheaf has a free car park for guests. For car hire see our car rental recommendations.

    By Train:
    The nearest rail stations are Kingham, which is served by trains from Oxford and Worcester, and Kemble, which has trains from London, Swindon and Cheltenham. Both are around 20 minutes from The Wheatsheaf, and staff can arrange a taxi to meet you.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

    More on getting to the UK and getting around

    Airports:

    • Bristol 99.0 km BRS
    • Birmingham 101.0 km BHX

    Other:

    • Beach 65.0 km
    • Shops 0.4 km
    • Restaurant 1.5 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 9 independent reviews from i-escape guests

    8/10
    Room
    8/10
    Food
    9/10
    Service
    7/10
    Value
    8/10
    Overall

    Our first room (Room 10) smelt musty and we could not open windows fully due to window baskets - it felt slightly claustrophobic. We were then given Room 11 which was fantastic. The problem with the courtyard rooms is that in good weather there is a lot of noise from people in the garden.

    9/10,

    The pub was packed when we arrived at about 3.30 pm and full of locals Good vibe - Lovely decor - friendly staff - relaxed atmosphere and all pretty good for what we paid. Only things to criticise were after all the hype on their website about roaring log fires, there weren't any lit and it looked as though they may have run out of logs. The window frame in our bedroom (no 8) was completely rotten on the outside with a terrible draught and the rear entrance from the visitors car park was really shabby. However, we would go again because it was so lively and un-stuffy and the food so good.

    9/10,

    Start with the positives, we ate at the restaurant on the Friday evening, food good and staff very friendly and helpful. Now on to the negatives. Our room was on the ground floor and it was very dark, not inviting at all. The bathroom needed some upkeep. We found it overpriced.

    6/10,

    The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. Very warm welcome. Great breakfast and super comfy room. Only minus, we weren’t able to take a proper shower as the shower base was overflowing.

    9/10,

    the heating wasn't working in the room so we were supplied with electric heaters, but couldn't put one in the bathroom. We paid extra for a room with a bath but the bathroom was freezing! Overall overpriced and average.

    6/10,

    The room was small and I missed a place to put my clothes. The bed was really comfortable and everything else was perfect. We had dinner twice at the hotel and this was great.

    7/10,

    Really nice hotel and staff. Some nice little extra touches that were unexpected such as complimentary crisps, jellys, peanuts, teas and coffee. Also the gifts too. Highly recommend

    9/10,

    This is a great little pub with rooms. We booked fairly last minute, but a "Very Good" room was available and I requested Room 6 - it was lovely with a walk in shower and huge bed. The room itself wasn't very big but we were only there for one night, and it was more than adequate. The food at the pub itself is lovely, and the staff all really friendly and helpful. You definitely need a car to explore the beautiful villages around, but they have a car park at the hotel which is great. Nice touch with the i-escape members gift of 1000 Acres product as well. I would definitely recommend this place, great value for money and very well located for exploring the Cotswolds.

    8/10,

    We loved the fact that the hotel was so dog friendly. We liked that our room had its own entrance, which was easy with a dog. Our dining experiences were a real disappointment - plaice swimming in butter, dry turkey, eggs not fully cooked at breakfast.

    5/10,

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