Kingham, England

Photo: The Wild Rabbit
Photo: The Wild Rabbit

The beautiful countryside? Check. A comfortable hotel? Check. A mouth-watering restaurant? Check. And a cozy pub? Double check. Sounds like everything you need for a long-weekend escape from London.

This time, you’re off to Kingham in the Evenlode valley. Travel two hours northwest of London, through the rural, rolling hills of the Cotswolds to the middle of nowhere. The little village has honey-colored stone cottages from the 17th and 18th centuries. The parish church of St. Andrew has a 15th century Gothic tower. Kids are playing football on the wide village green. Birds are chirping. The grass smells like its been freshly cut. This is definitely a place where you can relax.

And you haven’t even seen your hotel yet. The Wild Rabbit is on Church Street, right in the middle of town. Two topiary rabbits guard the front door. The stone house, built in 1750, has timber beams and log fireplaces. The rooms, located in the main building and out by the garden, are named after woodland animals. Boar, Hedgehog, Squirrel, and Mole. They have pine furniture, window seats, and beds you’ll never want to get out of. Plus an extra bed will be delivered if you bring your dog.

Photo: The Wild Rabbit
Photo: The Wild Rabbit

After unpacking and stopping for a quick pint at the Wild Rabbit’s pub—it’s never too early for an artisan ale—leave the center of town. You pass recently tilled farmland, blooming orchards, and a gaggle of geese crossing the road before reaching Daylesford Farm. Stop at the cafe for a pot of loose-leaf tea and a dark-and-sticky ginger cake for afternoon tea. Browse freshly picked purple broccoli, spring onions, and wild garlic at the market garden. Taste Daylesford cheddar and Baywell soft cheese at the creamery. Then stop to see the little lambs before walking back to Kingham.

With time to spare before your late reservation, stop at the Kingham Plough when you return to town. You’re so comfortable on the pub’s sofa with a glass of Weston’s pear cider that you decide to order scotched quail eggs, as well. Don’t ruin your dinner, though. You have pear-and-raspberry Bellinis, haricot blanc soup, and roasted partridge—plus Daylesford Organic Prosecco—to look forward to in the Wild Rabbit’s dining room.

The next morning, when you finally crawl out of that snuggly bed, you plan to go for a run or a bike ride, but the smell of field mushrooms, poached eggs, and strong coffee tempt you to stay. Exercise can wait. This has turned into an eating and drinking weekend. At least, it’s still relaxing.

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