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A stay at Barnsley House

Within two minutes of arriving at Barnsley House in the Cotswolds I had completely fallen in love with it – and that’s before I’d even tried out the private cinema, outdoor hot tub or delicious food.

All these things were yet to come, but the welcome itself at this 18-bedroom luxury Cotswolds hotel was so cheerful and friendly that I already knew I was in for a treat.

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barnsley house exterior

Barnsley House is a 17th-century stone manor house with just 18 rooms

I arrived in the middle of what could be called controlled chaos: it was a wintery Saturday afternoon and a recent storm had cut all power to the local village. However Barnsley House hotel has its own generator and so alone still had heat, power, light and all the essentials of life.

barnsley house gardens

Barnsley House is surrounded by beautiful gardens designed by famed garden designer Rosemary Verey

Arriving at Barnsley House

Staff were welcoming waifs and strays from nearby houses, sending out food parcels to guests on site, welcoming in cold and hungry visitors from the power-free Village Pub – also owned by Barnsley House hotel – and had even found a dog basket to house someone’s dog temporarily in reception.

There were roaring fires, and cosy sofas, and coffee with biscuits: the whole atmosphere was busy but still relaxed and welcoming, and instantly made you feel as if you were in safe hands.

Looking for hotels in the Cotswolds?

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A classic English estate at Bowood hotel, spa and golf
The Greenway hotel and spa, Cheltenham – luxury with the fizz factor
A picture-perfect stay at The Manor House, Castle Combe
Cosy Cotswolds charm at the award-winning Painswick hotel
Snug Cotswolds luxury at Dormy House, Broadway
Calcot Manor, family-friendly luxury in the Cotswolds
A traditional Cotswolds pub stay at the Kings Head, Bledington

Barnsley House bedrooms

The feeling continued when I finally tore myself away from people-watching downstairs to find our room – number six, at the top of the immaculately-carpeted stairs. It was beautifully designed (as were others I saw when I was given a guided tour later, one of which had a bath at the foot of the bed).

barnsley house room number 6

Our room, no. 6, had high-beamed ceilings, great views and all the mod cons including smart TV and minibar

Book Barnsley House on Booking.com

Visit Barnsley House on Tripadvisor 

barnsley house gardens designed by Rosemary Verey

Barnsley House is famed for its gardens designed by renowned gardener Rosemary Verey (this was the view from our bedroom window)

There were twin beds at one end of a long room, lovely old-fashioned ceiling beams, a sofa and coffee table, coffee machine and various treats and wonderful views of the Rosemary Verey-designed garden (she was a favourite of Prince Charles). There was also a large bathroom with stand-alone bath (with an impressive fountain-style tap) and separate walk-in shower at the far end.

barnsley house bathroom with bath

Our bathroom with standalone bath, twin sinks and lots of space

The only slightly strange thing was having the wardrobe in the bathroom – but it was all beautifully done, right down to the personalised card which not only welcomed us to Barnsley House but helpfully listed our booked treatments and meals.

Barnsley House private cinema

There was no time to spare though – the cinema had been booked for us from 3pm till 6pm. In the room was a list of 500 films to choose from, and it was a very impressive list too, from classics to the latest releases, Oscar-winners, old favourites, romantic film and comedies.

Aafter much dithering we plumped for An Affair to Remember which neither of us had seen, and headed off to spend the afternoon with Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, some freshly-made popcorn courtesy of the friendly staff, and lots of gins and tonics (brought by us).

barnsley house private cinema

My mum thoroughly enjoyed the luxury of our own private cinema at Barnsley House for the afternoon…

barnsley house private cinema screen

Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr start their Affair to Remember…

Such indulgence! We emerged afterwards feeling incredibly relaxed and as if we’d been at Barnsley House for a week or two (rather than an hour or two).

Barnsley House restaurant

The food and atmosphere in the restaurant at Barnsley House that evening were both first-class. I had risotto with Jerusalem artichoke and black truffle to start and then parpadelle pasta with venison which were both delicious and perfect for a winter’s evening.

barnsley house seasonal soup

Potage seasonal soup to start

barnsley house parpadelle with vension

… parpadelle with vension to follow

My mother had the potage seasonal soup followed by the chicken breast with wild mushroom and declared herself delighted by both. We shared a perfectly-done creme brulee and a sorbet and then rolled upstairs to bed, very content indeed.

Barnsley House breakfast

Breakfast at this Cotswolds gem was relaxed and friendly. Staff were helpful but not intrusive or fussy, the buffet was full of nice touches such as Kilner jars full of homemade jams and honey with little saucers next to them you could fill up and take back to your table.

Options even included porridge with whisky, Drambuie or clotted cream (in case you weren’t feeling indulged enough).

barnsley house breakfast buffet

Breakfast in the lovely garden room at Barnsley House is a friendly and relaxing meal

barnsley house breakfast pastries

… with a huge buffet and good cooked options to choose from

Barnsley House spa

Barnsley House spa is just across the gardens so I headed there after breakfast for a dip in the outdoor hot top, a rose body polish and Swedish massage – again, incredibly indulgent.

barnsley house spa hot tub

It’s cold outside but the hot tub was a perfect warm to warm up

It was also the first spa I’d seen which actually had a section on the form you fill in before your treatment which asked what kind of music you wanted (classical, jazz, traditional spa, chill out) and whether or not you wanted your therapist to chat while doing the treatment, which was a very thoughtful touch.

barnsley house spa relaxation room

The post-massage relaxing room with its countryside views

A relaxing spa experience in the Cotswolds

I found my mother reading the papers in the relaxation room looking as if she never wanted to leave, and indeed it was a wrench to check out from somewhere so welcoming and relaxing.

Everywhere you look there are little touches which show that someone is really thinking about you, from baskets full of walking guides and information about the gardens, to the rosemary sprig on napkins at dinner and the walking boot-shaped ‘do not disturb’ signs for your bedroom door.

With just 18 rooms it is one of the nicest places I’ve stayed in all year and certainly in my opinion one of the best hotels in the Cotswolds.

barnsley house wheelbarrows

Barnsley House was full of lovely little homely touches

Hotel information and to book Barnsley House

Barnsley House, Barnsley, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5EE
Phone: 01285 740000
Rooms start from £200 per room per night, including VAT.

Book Barnsley House on Booking.com

Visit Barnsley House on Tripadvisor 

Barnsley House is a member of the PoBHotels group, is in the Editors Choice – Spas in the Good Hotel Guide and has been named one of the world’s best hotels by CN Traveler.

Looking for amazing spa hotels?

Chewton Glen hotel, New Forest: luxury from spa to treehouse
Lucknam hotel near Bath: a luxury Palladian mansion stay
Rockcliffe Hall, Darlington: a luxury family spa escape
Relaxing spa break at Ragdale Hall, Leicestershire
Whatley Manor Hotel and spa: a luxury Cotswolds gem
Luxury spa break at South Lodge near Horsham, West Sussex

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