Spending the weekend in the Cotswolds is something I look forward to more than travelling abroad. With just a two hour drive from London on the cards, it’s a chance to fully switch off, successfully avoid any long airport queues and be surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in England.
Images of Thyme have flooded my Instagram feed for weeks. From mouth watering flat lay food shots, to stand alone bath tubs on perfectly restored wooden floor boards, it became more and more apparent that Thyme was rivalling the likes of Soho Farmhouse, where London’s fashionable set seem to be flocking to by the shedload. When there’s this much hype around somewhere on social media, I feel a certain responsibility to the loyal followers of Gentleman’s Journal to go and discover what the fuss is all about. It’s safe to say that Thyme did not disappoint, and went above and beyond my expectations of a Cotswolds weekend away.
Thyme is a family owned business that celebrates all things quintessentially British. Nestled in the quaint village of Southrop, Thyme was a project that took over 12 years to complete, at the talented hands of the wonderful Caryn Hibbert. Working alongside her father Michael Bertioli, together they restored the huge barns and farm buildings into beautifully designed rooms that flow seamlessly together, creating an atmosphere that can only be described as a loving country family home. Meeting Caryn upon our arrival on a sunny Saturday afternoon, it was clear from the moment we were greeted how passionate she is about Thyme, only adding to the experience of feeling truly welcome in a project fuelled by creativity and love of the land.
It was ‘A Tale Of Two Farms’ that drew us to Thyme on a beautiful May bank holiday weekend. The first in the ‘Thyme’s Table’ series, these themed suppers aim to collaborate with the greats of the industry and bring some city glamour to the countryside. Kicking off the series was a much anticipated collaboration between chef Charlie Hibbert, founding family member, and James Chase of Chase Distillery. Childhood friends who both grew up in the countryside, Charlie and James share a mutual interest in food, drink and a love of homegrown produce, so it was a match well made to combine the two for an unforgettable evening set in the medieval Tithe Barn.
Charlie and James designed the menu, influenced wholly by what was seasonal and growing on Thyme’s estate, drawing inspiration from the botanicals and ingredients used in Chase’s gin and vodka. James created a range of cocktails to complement Charlie’s menu from English oak smoked vodka martinis, to their signature elderflower liqueur and vodka topped up with soda water. Admittedly, it was the first time I had paired spirits with a three course dinner and I was pleasantly surprised by how the botanicals worked so well alongside the fresh and summery nature of the food.
When staying at Thyme on a regular weekend, dining at The Swan should be high on a guests agenda. The 17th century village pub is also owned by the Hibbert family and acts as the wonderful dining room to the hotel. All produce served at Thyme is hand-harvested from their very own kitchen garden and farm, so it really is a foodie’s dream getaway. Once all of the walking around the estate and eating is done, retiring to the impeccably designed bedrooms is something of a highlight. The interior design mixes old with new, giving a luxurious feel yet perfectly in-keeping with the rustic surroundings.
48 hours is not a lot of time, so weekend breaks need to be easy and they need to be of high quality to really enjoy it and switch off. To jump in the car and be at Thyme within two hours couldn’t be easier and there couldn’t be a more peaceful location to land in. From wandering around the grounds and enjoying a pub lunch in the summer months, to curling up by the log fire with a good book in the winter , if you’re feeling at all tired or stressed or purely want to enjoy the wonders of nature, I whole heartedly suggest you jump in the car and head to Thyme.
Room prices start from £260 per night B&B, with the next Chef’s table taking place on 9th July. Alongside Charlie Hibbert, Oliver Rowe will showcase dishes from his upcoming cookery book, Food for All Seasons, with recipes adapted exclusively for the ‘Thyme’s Table’ dinner.