The Marlborough Arms, Woodstock, hotel review
Pack a good pair of walking shoes and a camera before heading to The Marlborough Arms. Set against the picture-perfect backdrop of Woodstock, Oxfordshire and a stone’s throw away from historical landmark Blenheim Palace, there are plenty of things to see and do during your stay.
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Once a 15th century coaching inn, The Marlborough Arms now stands as a cosy bed and breakfast overlooking the charming streets of Woodstock. Boasting grand interiors, spacious rooms and easy access to Oxfordshire’s stunning countryside, it’s a dream destination for lovers of the great outdoors – or even those craving a relaxing mini-break among comfortable surroundings.
Why it’s great
One of the hotel’s greatest assets is its location. Situated in the heart of the Georgian town and a five-minute walk from historical landmark Blenheim Palace, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-situated place for visiting one of the country’s finest stately homes.
The building of the hotel itself is another major selling point. The hotel has been refurbished to retain plenty of its original character and feels a little like the film-set of a period drama. The open-plan foyer downstairs is grand and luxurious, boasting a big arching fireplace with squishy red sofas. Adjoining this room is a quaint, cobbled courtyard – perfect for enjoying a drink from the bar on a warm summer’s evening.
The real intrigue of the place, however, lies in all its original imperfections. Floorboards creak as you climb the stairs to its first and second floors while sloped ceilings and narrow corridors all add elements of charm and character.
What’s the food like?
Breakfast is served in a bright and spacious dining room where you can choose from a well-presented buffet – cereal, toast, mini pastries and fruit – or a selection of cooked options. Off the menu, you’ll find familiar crowdpleasers including a classic full English (vegetarian option available), smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and avocado on toast. Note: the chef serves up very generous portions – you’ve been warned.
The hotel does not currently have it’s own restaurant however there are many options situated nearby.
What’s in the rooms?
All 10 rooms sport a traditional aesthetic that fits with the historic nature of the rest of the building. We stayed in the Sienna room, a sizeable suite on the top floor of the hotel with an especially spacious ensuite bathroom (you have to walk down a little corridor to get to it). The super king size bed only filled a small portion of the room, leaving space for a smart sofa bed, coffee table, two armchairs and a wood-burner. Other luxuries include a flat-screen TV and coffee machine.
Large wooden beams add to the grandness of the place, but not in an overbearing way. Wooden furniture, old-fashioned lampshades, Tudor-style windows and neutral tones contribute to the clean, comfortable and understated decor.
The bathroom deserves its own accolade, too. It’s almost as big as the bedroom itself with more than enough space to house both a large roll-top bathtub and a power shower. Your eyes are drawn immediately to the black and white checkerboard floor (which feels remarkably on-trend in a retro sort of way) and is offset by the building’s regal wooden beams, which have been painted black in contrast to cool, cream walls.
Potter over to Blenheim Palace for a slice of British history (it was built in the early 1700’s and the birthplace of Winston Churchill). Entrance to the palace and gardens starts at £28.50 per adult, but a ticket buys you access for the whole year.
Alternatively, make the 8-mile drive to Oxford where you can visit its famous university, meander around a museum or go shopping in Westgate shopping centre.
Getting to the hotel: the nearest station is Hanborough which is accessible by bus (10 minutes) or car/taxi (5 minutes).
What’s not so great?
For convenience, the hotel would perhaps benefit from a restaurant but there are plenty of good options nearby. The hotel also offers 10% off many neighbouring restaurants, so do ask for recommendations when you arrive.
What’s the damage?
Rooms start at £104 for a double per night, including breakfast.