It was two and a half years ago that I visited Thyme, in the Cotswolds, for the very first time. It was a newly opened country property that was offering Londoners the perfect weekend escape and visitors to the UK the perfect first look at our idyllic countryside. It had also been the site of Kate Moss’s famous wedding to Jamie Hince, so it was most definitely a place that was in the public eye. But, the transformation from country property to hotel and restaurant was something that can only be described as enchanting.
For my second trip to Thyme, I was exploring the newest addition to the family – the Spa! As if a visit to one of the most beautiful properties in the UK wasn’t enough of a relaxing opportunity, right? All those years ago, the owner of Thyme had mentioned her hope of one day opening a spa on the property and I can certainly tell why it took them some time to do so. They were working at bringing about a perfect experience and it was indeed perfection from start to finish. From the calming interior, to the comforting hands of the massage therapist, I was in heaven. Combine it all with a hotel property that already leaves you feeling snug as a bug in a luxury rug, and you have a restorative afternoon like none other. It also had me wondering if I couldn’t somehow afford to make this a quarterly experience as every stress I had kept in my neck and shoulders was nowhere to speak of when I left a day later. This, for me, is simply a miracle.
Now while the purpose of the trip was to check out the new spa, it’s impossible to visit Thyme without eating. One tour of the gardens on the property and you will instantly understand that you are dealing with the ultimate foodies, who not only offer fine cuisine served around the clock, but also schedule cooking class throughout the day for anyone looking to sharpen up their kitchen skills. As I take more delight in eating than cooking, I opted for sitting back and letting someone else take charge in the kitchen. For breakfast, we started at the Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar and finished on waffles with fruit and syrup. I am pretty sure they won’t let you leave the beautiful breakfast nook (completely the wrong word as this is actually the biggest breakfast space I’ve ever seen anywhere in a hotel) until you are absolutely satisfied. Then later that afternoon we met for cocktails, in the bar where sheep stools are the name of the game. Yes, the famous sheep stools are still there (scroll down for pictures…. you can also buy one if you fall in love as much as I did). One cocktail and we were all off to dinner in The Swan. Every single dish was a triumph but I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again… the Scotch Eggs here will absolutely blow your mind. If you visit and don’t order this, you will be missing out on a culinary experience that deserves a write up by every major food critic going. Yes, it is as life changing as I’m describing.
The bottom line here is as follows: We all do a good job of talking about how busy we are in London. There’s always so much on our plate and we’re always moving a hundred miles an hour through the day. It’s worth it, occasionally, to take yourself out of the fast lane and just cruise for a while. Thyme allows that to happen. It should be a prescription for every big shot in the city that just needs to find a way to unwind, if even for 48 hours. If I were a doctor, it would be the first thing I’d recommend for people with high blood pressure. Just take a look below at these images and try to convince me that you aren’t feeling instantly more relaxed?
Southrop Manor Estate