After our sleepy step back in time in Castle Combe, we headed for the bright lights of Cirencester.
Cirencester felt like a capital city compared to Castle Combe (it has a House of Fraser!) but it’s still very Cotswolds: steeped in history with gorgeous buildings and plenty of tea rooms to hide away in.
Now I should start with a full disclosure before we dig into this post: we were guests of The Kings Head hotel. I’d been asked if I’d like to review it last year but hadn’t had time, so when I booked the Castle Inn stay I had the (somewhat brilliant) idea to see if I could combine the two trips. And I could, they had a room available! HURRAH! The Kings Head is only a 40 minute drive from Castle Combe, so it worked perfectly.
As soon as we arrived at the hotel I knew we were going to love it. I was basing this purely on the velvet sofas in reception, but when we were taken up to our room it turned out I was right to assume that this was my spiritual interiors home.
Please do feel free to note the wallpaper, the cushions, the coffee table, the curtains, the textures, the lighting and the general ambience. (But also feel free to forget all this and pretend it was all MY idea if I do ever manage to recreate this look in one of our bedrooms).
We really did adore this room, not just because it came with homemade chocolates and cake slices (although all hotel rooms should, I have now decided) but because it was truly very comfortable.
The bed wasn’t just king size, it was the kind of size where you could easily forget anybody else is in the bed at all. (Call me unromantic, but that is my dream sleep situation). The sofa was so sumptuous that I very nearly took it apart to try to see who made it and then there was the window seat which proved to be the perfect place to lay with a book.
There was also a GIGANTIC terrace which, if it hadn’t been a comically freezing January day, we’d have thoroughly enjoyed.
Then the room also had the little extra that always makes any hotel room feel that bit more swanky: stairs.
Yep, our bathroom was up a flight of stairs. I LOVED THIS SO MUCH.
We headed back out to explore Cirencester a bit more, starting with the Corinium Museum as I was desperate to see the Tony Meeuwissen exhibition that I’d spied being advertised in the window. The museum was really interesting and I’m ashamed to say I would never have known about the rich Roman history of the area if we’d not gone in, so it’s worth a visit. Understanding the significance of various local historical artefacts meant we could better appreciate a lot of the local art we’d seen too – and understand the love of giant hares! (I really want a giant hare).
A casual 2nd century mosaic.
There were loads of places we could have gone to for lunch but the sweet treats on the counter of Jack’s lured us in. I could have had something sensible like a toasted sandwich but I “didn’t want much” as I was having a massage back at the hotel shortly after. So I just ordered a slab of cake the size of a small baby. Ok then!
After exploring the church and nosing around some of the shops, it was time to head back to the hotel for my spa appointment. YES.
It was a great disappointment to realise I wouldn’t be able to smuggle the spa reception chairs home in my suitcase.
The vaulted subterranean spa is a wonderful little hideaway. I didn’t bring my cossie (WHY?!) so I couldn’t make use of the jacuzzi and steam rooms, but I did enjoy chilling out on the fluffy relaxation beds with a stack of magazines. I was lucky enough to be the only one down there and I’m sure I’d have fallen asleep if I hadn’t been heading off for a treatment.
I had the full body massage and it was really lovely, particularly because there was a decent playlist (no whale music here) and my therapist was really good at making sure the pressure was ok and that she wasn’t going over any bruising and so on. (Sounds obvious, but communication does make a big difference).
Before long it was time for my favourite activity – cards in the hotel bar! I need to give a shout-out to Danilo who was working in the bar the evening we were there, he could make a mean vodka martini. When I used to write about bars, I was always told that martinis were one of the best cocktails to judge a bar by and it does make sense. They are very simple drinks, but with so many variations to consider (dry, wet, perfect, dirty, ya de ya da) there’s a lot that can wrong. Danilo’s were exceptional. (He used to work in Bull in a China Shop, so it’s no big surprise that the drinks were so good).
Heading over to the Kings Head’s restaurant for dinner, we were again treated to fabulous service from our waiter Matteo. He really looked after us when we had a problem with one of the starters, rectifying it quickly. Having worked in some great London kitchens himself, it was nice to chat to someone so passionate about the food he was serving. He really made our evening.
Now I know I said in my post yesterday that I was thrilled to have anything-but-risotto as the veggie option, but I did opt for risotto at The Kings Head. It was my favourite type – beetroot, goat cheese and walnut – and it was what we had on our wedding day, so I wasn’t going to pass it up 😀
It was ridiculously lovely and the standout highlight of the four courses.
The wine list was really good too and we were so very excited to see our favourite English wine on the menu…
Do try it if you ever see it on a wine list!
The next day, breakfast was just what the doctor ordered…
And then all that was left before check-out was a tour of the hotel to see the rooms we’d otherwise not have stumbled across. A guided snoop around, essentially.
I was glad we did the tour as I’d have never dreamed the hotel was so big otherwise. THERE ARE SO MANY ROOMS. It’s like a tardis. I found five different dreamy spaces for imaginary parties/weddings and I was a bit gutted there wasn’t a wedding going on that day which I could have gatecrashed.
We also took a look at the other category rooms (I’m always slightly wary of raving about a hotel when it may be that you were just given by far the nicest room for review purposes) and let me tell you straight up…ALL the rooms at every category are gorgeous.
This is an entry-level room, for gawd’s sake…
We were sad to say goodbye to The Kings Head but we weren’t going home just yet…we had a Tudor castle to stay in first! More on that in tomorrow’s post 😉
Thanks very much for having us Kings Head, we had a fab time.
B&B rates at The Kings Head start at £140. Our room was a “Feature Room” where B&B rates are from £179. You can find all the hotel info on their website here.
We were incredibly lucky to be guests of The Kings Head Hotel. You can read more about how I work with brands here. This is not a paid-for post.