“A cool spin on a traditional Cotswolds coaching inn, with a cosy bar, gorgeous bedrooms and top-notch gastropub grub”
Georgie clearly had fun decorating the 14 rooms; all balance style and eccentricity with quirky touches - mirrors made from vintage cogs, Harrods crates for bedside tables - providing a dash of theatricality. Floral Lewis & Wood wallpaper, snuggly mohair blankets and swathes of tweed nod to the country setting, while striking artwork adds contemporary cool.
No room is huge, but all have comfy Hypnos beds and snazzy Bang & Olufsen TVs, plus complimentary bottled water and nibbles. Bathrooms (many open-plan) are even plusher, with walk-in rain showers and/or freestanding tubs. Lovely touches include gorgeous 100 Acres organic toiletries, tubs of bath salts, fluffy robes, and hessian bags of cotton wool and other sundries.
Our Excellent Room (Room 1) lived up to its name, with double doors leading to a vast bathroom with a sparkling zinc slipper bath - though the Krüger painting of a twisted face (reminiscent of Munch’s ‘The Scream’) might not be to everyone’s taste. Other stand-outs include Excellent Room 9, whose lofty bathroom has exposed stone walls, Very Good Room 6 - perhaps the sleekest of the lot with its masculine grey and black palette and open-plan shower - and pale-and-pretty Very Good Room 10 and Excellent Room 11, both with their own entrances off the garden terrace.
We’d happily stay in any, though light sleepers should avoid Good Room 5 above the kitchen.
It’s not every day you dine in the company of Kate Moss, whose portrait gazes down from the walls of The Wheatsheaf's convivial 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 next to open fires.
Chef Anthony Ely focuses on robust flavours, with local ingredients featuring strongly on his daily changing menus. We feasted on melt-in-the-mouth cheddar and mustard soufflé, followed by a tender sirloin steak - slightly overdone, but the blue cheese sauce and fries were excellent. The generous portions left us full, but in the name of research we shared a ridiculously rich chocolate and peanut ‘Marathon pudding’ - a good name, as it based on a marathon bar and was a struggle to finish alone.
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.
The continental breakfast was equally appetising. We sampled croissants, perfectly ripe avocados, berry compote with Greek yoghurt and granola, homebaked ham, cheeses and toast; all washed down with fresh orange juice and coffee. For those suffering from a sore head, pour-yourself Bloody Marys were also on offer alongside a big jar of more traditional medications. Though it cost extra, our pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup were well worth the spend!
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.
If you fancy a change of scene, you’ll find plenty of options within a short drive. Cirencester bistro Made by Bob (20 minutes away), The Tavern in Cheltenham (also owned by Sam and Georgie) and Daylesford's super-stylish organic farm shop, cafe and restaurant come recommended.
The Wheatsheaf may be super-stylish, but its laid-back ambiance makes it a good option for families. There's no need to feel self-conscious about lively children in the sociable communal areas, and children will find board games and toys to enjoy. In warmer months there's a small garden with a Wendy house to play in.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
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 can be arrange via a local agency recommended by the hotel.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The restaurant has a children's menu, featuring gastropub spins on all-time favourites (Shepherd's pie, pasta, corn-fed chicken with mashed potato, lamb with roasties), and staff will happily prepare packed lunches and heat baby food or milk.