Magni cent Blenheim Palace
Monday, 30 November -0001


Enjoy perfect peace and quiet in charming accommodation in the Cotswolds

Written by Wendy Gomersall
The Cotswolds, with its honey-coloured houses and beautiful countryside, is by reputation one of England’s most picturesque areas. But you don’t appreciate quite how gorgeous it is until you drive across a little bridge into the village of Minster Lovell and there in front of you is a scene more idyllic, more romantic, than even the best Hollywood  lm-makers could imagine; it’s so pretty, you can’t help but smile.

The Old Swan and Minster Mill, nestled beside the River Windrush between Witney and Burford, were acquired by Lana de Savary, wife of entrepreneur Peter de Savary, in 2010. Both properties have undergone refurbishment.

The 15th-century Old Swan, a traditional coaching inn, has 16 beamed rooms, a bar and dining rooms – former famous visitors have included Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Harold Wilson, who spent his honeymoon there. Meanwhile, the neighbouring extended former woollen mill has 44 contemporary rooms. Swan Cottage, a threebedroom stone cottage with private garden and housekeeping service, can be rented, too.

Food, using local produce where possible, is an important part of any stay here, and it’s all simply delicious – don’t miss Fish Friday, when seasonal dishes such as trout with lovage and girolles and a legendary  sh pie are served.

Indulge yourself with a spa visit, too – the Windrush Spa o‘ffers treatments using Paris skincare brand Yon-Ka.

On-site activities include catch-and-release  shing on the Windrush with a ghillie, badminton and tennis, and there is a fitness room.

Out and about, there are more picturesque villages – pick up the hotel’s guide to local antiques shops, and stock up on wonderful cheeses at The Cotswold Cheese Company shop in Burford. And glorious Blenheim Palace isn’t far away. See the website – – for special events.

The Old Swan and Minster Mill has 65 acres of gardens and many walks on the pawstep if you want to relax closer to ‘home’ – dogs are welcome. In fact, you could sign Fido up for Canine Country Etiquette classes organised by Cotswolds Pet Services. An hour’s one-toone tutorial costs £70 and includes a certi cate and dog treats. Dog-friendly rooms cost from £235 per night including breakfast, plus £20 for your furry friend.

In the gardens you’ll also find an Archimedes Screw, which can be seen in action. A 2 x 5-metre giant screw is turned as river water šflows through it, activating the turbine and harnessing up to 87 per cent of the energy from the falling water. Any fish that enter can swim freely through it, making The Old Swan and Minster Mill fishfriendly, too.


Rooms at Minster Mill cost from £169, and the Old Swan, from £179 to £395. Swan Cottage costs £425 per night for two with full breakfast; each additional bedroom used costs £85 per night.


Contact Wendy at  
Prices are correct at the time of going to press.

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