The Painswick, Gloucestershire, hotel review

The Cotswolds is known for lush green beauty, and if you’re looking for a relaxing break in the countryside, The Painswick hotel near Stroud is a winning location. Once a manor, it now boasts 17 stylish bedrooms and suites from which you can take in the views of Gloucestershire’s rolling hills.

The stellar tasting menu from chef Jamie McCallum and hearty breakfast offering means there’s nothing you will want for here. With so much to do in the area, from wineries and breweries to country walks, you’ll be reluctant to return home…

The Painswick, Gloucestershire, hotel review

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Overlooking the beautiful Slad valley in the ‘Queen of the Cotswolds’ Gloucestershire village after which it is named is The Painswick. Originally a grand manor known as Prospect House, it was built in the 18th Century. In the 1950s the building became a B&B, later transforming into a prim and proper hotel in the 1960s. Now, newly revamped post-pandemic, the hotel is a Palladian masterpiece offering beautiful gardens, views, wood-panelled, interiors and enormous comfy ensuite bedrooms which are quirkily finished in the style of the building. Another huge draw is the restaurant, which as well as an à la carte offering, boasts a six-course tasting menu to die for. If you’re looking for somewhere to log-off in the countryside, this might just be the ideal spot.

Why it’s great

The location is just one of the reasons to visit The Painswick – but the building is another. Most of the rooms look onto the verdant Gloucestershire hills, or, the property’s beautiful gardens, a view that’ll have you waking up feeling relaxed. The hotel’s understated grandeur is noticeable on arrival when you walk through the main doors and take in the slightly out-of-sync neon sign on the wall. We’re stately, it seems to say, but we know what year it is.

You’re met with a warm welcome from the team at reception who guide you, via a tour of the small but perfectly formed bar, lounge and grounds, to your room. The weather did not put on a show when we visited, but wellies and raincoats are on offer should you want to stroll around the countryside in less-than-perfect weather. The snooker table is free to use and a great alternative when the heavens open, and there’s a real log fire.


What’s the food like?

Currently helmed by Jamie McCallum, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant offers seasonal à la carte as well as an impressive 6-course tasting menu (Wednesday to Friday). The latter is an extremely well-thought out meal, which leaves you feeling full but not overwhelmed, and hits all the right notes. After appetisers (the Cornish crab cracker is extraordinarily well-balanced, like an elevated salt and vinegar crisp, but crabbier), expect bright and beautiful plates. A scallop dish with homemade XO sauce, girolle mushrooms, and English corn was a great introduction to the menu and was followed by the fish course of monkfish with coco de paimpol beans and a shellfish bisque. It was plate-licking territory, but we resisted.


Another stand-out was the Cotswold lamb rack, which was served with a slow-cooked lamb belly, artichoke, sheep’s cheese with buckwheat, and apricot. It’s an inspired combination of flavours, and makes a great case for serving local produce in season. The wine flight pairings added depth to an already spot-on experience, each complimenting its dish without too much acidity to interfere. The two dessert courses, a mango sorbet and a dark chocolate and praline delice were served with an American riesling and a French rasteau respectively and finished the meal off superbly. Take your time if you go for the pairings, as you’ll want to remember the dessert course as well as the starters!

Breakfast is served in the same restaurant as dinner, a bright room in which to start your day. An array of cold freshly squeezed juices sit on ice in a champagne cooler – and you can’t say fairer than that. There are pastries, charcuterie, cereals, fruit, and a breakfast menu offering a full English breakfast or smoked salmon and hollandaise with poached eggs amongst other things. There’s something for everyone, and you’re unlikely to need lunch.

What’s in the rooms?

The rooms are spacious, with quirky names (ours was called ‘Toadsmoor’) and each offers bright white linen, a Nespresso machine and various kinds of tea. Fresh milk and homemade cookies (straight from the oven) welcome you to your room along with a personal note. The bigger suites offer spacious bathrooms with a roll top bathtub and powerful shower, and all are fully kitted out with REN bath and shower products to enjoy during your stay. Our room boasted a sofa, large television, super soft bed, and large desk – and, get this: a sweet library nook, where you might find the latest Ann Patchett or David Sedaris novel to snuggle up with. And of course, the sash windows with a view of the Cotswolds valleys might just be enough for day-dreamers. Bringing a dog? Four-legged friends are welcome on arrangement.


What’s nearby?

For outdoorsy types, there’s an abundance of walking routes nearby, including farmland and ancient woodlands in walking distance – and picnics are available to take with you. For those with cars, Miserden is a 20-minute drive away and offers a 17th century garden overlooking a deer park as well as crafting options for the keen florist or jewellery maker. Woodchester Valley vineyard is a 15 minute drive away near Stroud where you can enjoy a wine tour and tasting, or pay a visit to Stroud Brewery (whose beers are in the room’s fridges) or The Woolpack, for deserved refreshment after a walk around the valleys. The beautiful St Mary’s Church just around the corner from the hotel dates back to 1377 and its yew trees are well worth a look.

What’s not so great?

It’s not easy to find fault with this peaceful countryside manor. The location means that it’s a little tricky getting to the hotel without a car. That said, there is so much to do near this pretty and historic village that it would be worth the taxi fare here if you didn’t have a vehicle. The restaurant is a big pull, but a word of warning that the wine flight is extremely generous, and you might find yourself a little unsteady on the journey back to your room…

What’s the damage?

Rooms start from £150 per night including the no-holds-barred breakfast. The Painswick is part of the Calcot Collection, along with the Calcot & Spa in Tetbury and The Lord Crewe Arms in Northumberland. Find out more about The Calcot Collection from their website here.

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