We recently featured the launch of the exclusive Epicurean Club in the UK, which is effectively a mobile app driven, luxury getaway club offering unique deals to its members. The club essentially allows its members to partake in a range of hand-picked, unique experiences around the South of England, whilst staying at some of the finest luxury inns.
We recently had the opportunity to experience the Club’s offerings first hand, staying in Gloucestershire’s Best Pub 2018, The Lion Inn, situated in Winchcombe, at the very heart of the Cotswolds.
But before we share our experience, if you’re someone who enjoys a last-minute escape to the country, you should certainly consider The Epicurean Club. Membership is a very reasonable £99 for the year, allowing you to immediately benefit from discounts on a selection of wines and champagne, complimentary room upgrades and members’ rates on midweek lunches in all of the Club’s partaking Inns. What’s more, you’ll enjoy 10% off all experiences aligned to each location, from English wine tasting classes to golf, to clay pigeon shooting to a spa experience. Whatever takes your fancy!
So, let us now share our unique experience, which took place at a quaint and intimate Inn in a small picturesque town called Winchcombe. If you’ve not experienced this part of the world, then you’re truly missing out. This is arguably one of the prettiest parts of the UK with its quintessential sandstone architecture, miles of sweeping country roads and views to die for at every turn. This is also hiker’s paradise.
Winchcombe is a classic Cotswolds town that hasn’t changed for decades, with independent shops and decadent eateries providing an affluent feel, narrow roads and acres of character. At the very heart of the town lies The Lion Inn, a hidden gem steeped in history. As soon as you enter the pub you’re hit with a sense of nostalgia for days of old, with a grand stone fireplace, low ceilings and a very cosy atmosphere. This was going to be our abode for the night, how lucky were we!
After a friendly welcome with a complimentary G&T (perks of being an Epicurean member!) we were taken to our room with garden view at the back of the pub. The Lion Inn offers guests eight luxury en-suite bedrooms, all without TV’s, so you can get some welcome time away from a screen. The pub had kindly agreed to accommodate our two young daughters and provided super comfy beds for them in the lounge area – they were also very excited to have their own sofa! After a couple of hours relaxation in the pub, it was time to head out and experience my tour at The Cotswold Distillery, an award-winning producer of fine, small batch spirits. Lasting 90 minutes I came away with a fountain of knowledge around the distillery process and a desire to start making my own gin! If you haven’t yet tasted Cotswold Gin or Cotswold Whisky, then you definitely need to. It’s obvious why these guy’s trophy cabinet is growing by the year! Just make sure you’re not the designated driver when you go for your tour, schoolboy error on my side, however I did treat myself to some gin which I am enjoying as I write!
On arriving back at The Lion Inn, it was dinner time and our chance to experience the culinary delights that had been wafting from the kitchen on our arrival. The pub’s dining area is really quite pleasant and offers a similar style of décor to the bar – cosy, inviting and intimate. We had no problem choosing from the delightful menu and cruised through three courses, with the kids being catered for with half portions. The highlights for us were The Lion’s gigantic crispy pork scratchings and caramelised apple sauce, slow-cooked pork belly, poached peach, scorched cabbage and creamed potato and my delicious ox cheek main course, all of which were incredibly reasonably priced in our view. Off to bed we went with full bellies!
The rooms are tastefully decorated with soft neutral colour palettes, the vintage quirkiness and premium-feel furnishings all making for a very relaxing escape for sure. There’s something about staying in a luxury inn, maybe it’s the knowing you are just a few yards from the bar and your bedroom. Clearly locals and loyal customers from the London to overseas come back time after time to enjoy good food, company of friends and an atmospheric setting. We’ll certainly be putting our Epicurean membership to full use over the next 12 months with and without the kids.
After a peaceful sleep, it was time to hit the road but not before enjoying one of the Lion’s breakfasts, which is also well worthy of a mention. With delicious ingredients sourced locally, the Full English will certainly set you up for any challenge ahead, whether it be a hike or long journey home.
Our second and final experience of our Cotswolds weekend break, resulted in not only a beautiful country drive, but a visit to the exclusive Bamford Haybarn Spa nestled deep in the heart of Gloucestershire’s countryside. It was my wife’s turn to enjoy this incredible tranquil haven.
The spa is the perfect to relax, reconnect and truly disconnect from everyday life. Outside you are surrounded by nature and uninterrupted views, and inside the clinical feel coupled with organic touches leaves you speechless – this wellness retreat is wonderfully breath-taking beyond words. With Bamford tea and juice to sip during her treatment my wife thoroughly enjoyed her luxury Kure Bazaar pedicure which incorporated a scrub, deep moisturising treatment and foot massage. She loved that the polish used is up to 90% natural made with potatoes, corn, cotton, wheat, bamboo and vitamin E which helps to preserve the nails. I was told the pedicure was out of this world and as a gift she was given a bottle of polish of the colour she had chosen, which we thought was a lovely memorable personal touch. Hand on heart, I know she was impressed and will definitely be back again (maybe for her 40th this year!).
To sum up, we had a fantastic and truly memorable Cotswold family adventure thanks to The Epicurean Club, the Lion Inn, Cotswold’s Distillery and Bamford Haybarn. If you are one of the growing number of people looking for adventure and relaxation at a moment’s notice, then you may want to consider joining The Epicurean Club, which could quite easily cover its cost from just one stay. You’ll experience some of the finest hospitality, heartiest food as well as a chance to see what the UK’s delightful countryside has to offer. We also want to note that there is a selection of very fine pubs aligned to the club in central London also, so if you fancy an escape to the city… you’ve got one!
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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