Time of year: March 2017
Purpose of trip: We don’t need an excuse to visit the Cotswolds as we love the area, but this was one of a series of weekend visits to research a possible property purchase.
Why we chose this place: Eynsham Hall describes itself as “one of Oxfordshire’s great country houses” and its impressively long driveway, extensive grounds and historic grand main house looks intriguing from the road. That, plus its central location persuaded us to give it a try.
How long we stayed: One night.
Our accommodation: The main building dates back to the 1700s and was reportedly “typically Georgian” then, but over the centuries has seen some famous designers extend and re-configure the house and grounds. It was rebuilt in the early 1900s by Sir Ernest George, who introduced stone fireplaces from French chateaux and extensive wood panelling. The feel of the main building is one of historic luxury, with impressive staircases and furnishings, and individually designed guest rooms. As it was a fleeting visit though, we opted for the more recently built accommodation in the grounds, where the hotel offers smaller but still comfortable rooms. Ours was furnished with stylish, contemporary fittings and bedding and an attractive tin of mixed tea and coffee sachets. The bathroom featured a double-headed shower and basic toiletries.
Service: All the staff we met were professional and friendly.
Location: The hotel sits in impressive grounds in the heart of the Cotswolds, close to the market town of Witney and not far from the magnificent Blenheim Palace.
Food: This was a late booking and we had already made plans for lunch before we arrived, and for brunch the next morning, so we didn’t book dinner or breakfast here, but did have excellent coffee before we left in the main guests’ lounge area near reception (beside the grand piano!). There’s a champagne terrace for brighter days and facilities for private dining, too. The Brasserie menu on offer when we stayed boasted a good range of dishes, described by the chef as seasonal, unrushed and uncomplicated, sourced from local producers. The Brasserie is in the former Billiards Room, and the Gun Room offers drinks and lighter bites.
What we paid: At the time we stayed, room prices ranged from £75 for a smaller room in the new accommodation block, to £190 for a Superior Room in the Main Hall.We paid £90 for our room (breakfast not included).
Activities close by: The beautiful Cotswolds area is the perfect location for walking and cycling. Also, meandering by car through the area’s picture perfect villages and small towns built from the famous honey-coloured stone. Close to Eynsham Hall is the busy market town of Witney, picturesque Woodstock and a little further, lively Chipping Norton with its beautiful little theatre and open air lido. One of the most popular attractions near the hotel is the stunning Blenheim Palace in its 2,000 acres of grounds. Oxford and Stratford upon Avon are an easy drive too. There are wildlife, farm and bird parks, and a wealth of historic and cultural attractions.Not far from the hotel is Charlbury railway, with a direct link to Oxford and London Paddington.
What empty nesters might really like about this place: This is a great location for exploring the Cotswolds. The main hotel is a historic and luxurious base for a weekend break or longer stay, and its facilities are on offer to guests in the smaller, contemporary rooms in the grounds, too. There is a health and fitness centre offering a pool, sauna and gym (classes available for guests), and beauty treatments. The grounds look as though they would be a lovely place to unwind and catch some sun in late spring and summer. There’s free wifi and ample parking.
What empty nesters might not be so keen on: Our room rate didn’t include breakfast, which was listed at £12.95 per person when we stayed–this could add a fair bit to your bill over several days, although room rates (and what is included ) do vary, and the hotel does have a “special offers” section on its website. While the rooms in the grounds are charged at a lower rate than the main hotel accommodation, they are notably smaller, so check dimensions before you book if that might be a problem for you.
For more information on Eynsham Hall, including room rates, click here.