Great British Boltholes: This cosy Oxfordshire inn is a Nest you’ll never want to fly
- The Mail on Sunday’s Jennifer Cox checked into The Feathered Nest Country Inn
- It is set in a 350-year-old converted malthouse and has four bedrooms
- The Inn’s chef, Kuba Winkowski, was recently named Chef of the Year
The Cotswolds has to be one of the prettiest parts of England: a vast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty spanning five counties, where honey-coloured villages slip into the crevices of gently rumpled hills and shaded woodland.
The Oxfordshire Cotswolds is where picture-perfect villages look like something out of a film set.
And are! Bampton doubles as Downton village, and in Lower Slaughter we came across a crew shooting period drama Emma.
The Feathered Nest Country Inn in Nether Westcote, Oxfordshire, is set in a 350-year-old converted malthouse and has four bedrooms
In the hamlet of Nether Westcote, quiet lanes of handsome houses are interrupted only by birdsong and views out across the Evenlode Valley.
At its heart, The Feathered Nest Country Inn is set in a 350-year-old converted malthouse. The Inn’s chef, Kuba Winkowski, was recently named Chef of the Year by his peers.
Inside, the inn is all original slate floors, reclaimed beams and ‘country squire’ knick-knacks. It combines cosy corners – snugs with squishy sofas and wood-burners – with a friendly bar featuring slightly mad horse-saddle stools.
There is also a bright dining area and garden rooms with double-height windows showcasing amazing views.
There are only four bedrooms. My husband Nick and I stayed in the Cuckoo room, a huge hideaway up in the eaves. It was tempting to loll on the vast, comfy bed and watch swifts bombing around outside, but it felt a waste not to go exploring.
A terrace overlooks the inn’s landscaped gardens and 47 acres of grounds sloping down to the valley.
Inside, the inn is all original slate floors, reclaimed beams and ‘country squire’ knick-knacks. The friendly bar also features slightly mad horse-saddle stools
Local walking trails vary from 40 minutes to four hours; there’s also fishing and horse-riding, and it’s a short drive to Bourton-on-the-Water, Burford and Witney.
It was our wedding anniversary, and as the waiter greeted us in the dining room with a glass of fizz, it couldn’t have been more romantic.
Unfortunately, this was to change. Kuba has created an imaginative tasting menu and we marvelled at the delicious cured salmon with pureed beetroot and wild black garlic.
And my husband had eyes only for his plate during the moist guinea fowl with morels and egg yolk. I lost him completely at the parmesan crusted Sika deer carpaccio. All was forgiven, though, when he shared his Valrhona chocolate pudding with Horlicks ice cream.
The USP: A true gourmet bolthole in an untouristy corner of the Cotswolds. No wonder Sam Mendes and The Beckhams have property around here.
The Feathered Nest is located in Nether Westcote, Oxfordshire. B&B starts from £260 per room. To book, visit thefeatherednestinn.co.uk.
The rooms: Very comfortable, decorated in neutral tones with touches like antique writing desks. A lovely bright bathroom with rain-shower, plus coffee machine.
The food: Dinner is a selection of small plates. Breakfast is equally amazing: Kuba cures and smokes his own bacon and sausages in a smokehouse outside.