Knutsford has so much to offer you’ll need some serious R&R after a visit, so it’s lucky Knutsford also has Cottons Hotel & Spa to offer, too.

Cottons Hotel & Spa is part of the Daniel Thwaites Group, founded in 1807 by Mr Daniel Thwaites himself, who set out from his home in the Lake District to create his own brewery, and six generations later is still a family-owned business, now with pubs, inns hotels and spas – and you can tell. When it’s your family name over the door, attention to detail and a desire to ensure every customer knows how welcome they are, is all important, and this is very much the sense you get from the moment you arrive at Cottons – a warm welcome from the reception tea and big smiles from every member of staff you come across, and there are loads.

Great British Life: Sleep right, in comfort and styleSleep right, in comfort and style

We checked in not long before the time we’d booked dinner for, but moving it was the work of a moment for the receptionist, giving us a little more time to breathe after a rushed, later than planned, arrival. The room was great, a suite with a separate sitting area (with huge TV), and a second TV at the end of the bed. It’s only in hotels I watch TV in bed, and it feels wonderfully lazily decadent.

Great British Life: Every dish is beautifully presentedEvery dish is beautifully presented

Dinner was huge. There are no pretentions to fine dining here, it’s really excellent pub food, with loads of choice and generous portions. I’d be amazed if anybody ever made it to pudding. We enjoyed starters of a Smoked Haddock Fishcake, served with a white wine, lemon and dill sauce and a Duck Leg Hash, with a Clarence Court duck egg, watercress, and their own brown sauce. Both were pure comfort food, and both plates were scraped clean. This may have been a mistake, as generous starters mean less space for generous mains. Mike opted for the Beer-battered Fish and Chips – a vast piece of fish with all the traditional sides - and I chose the Steak and Thwaites Ale Pie, with creamed potato, stock pot carrot, and red wine jus. Oh my – why can’t I get my beef to cook so tender? Excellent pastry, soft chunks of steak in a lush gravy, a giant carrot and soft, creamy, delicious mash. Comfort food perfection. We were both beaten, not even close to clearing our plates, so couldn’t even contemplate the puddings menu. After a very cold day in Knutsford, Cottons was doing a simply marvellous job of warming us up, piling layer upon layer of comfort and relaxation.

After a great night’s sleep, and a great breakfast, where else to head but back into Knutsford? A walk in Tatton Park called – but I didn’t hear it, I was too busy chilling in the Spa. Having cleverly booked a treatment for mid-morning, I had two happy hours to kill by doing absolutely nothing. I swam a little, sauna-ed a little, soaked in the jacuzzi a little and dozed on a chaise a little, before heading to the spa for a massage. A Templespa My Kinda Massage, in fact, and wow, was it my kind of massage.

Great British Life: And relax...And relax...

My therapist, Sharon, has been with Cottons Spa for two decades, and her experience and love of what she does showed in every stroke. I asked what her favourite treatment was, and it was (unsurprisingly) massage. She loved, she said, helping people lose their tension and simply relax. Nailed it. My Kinda Massage is a full-body massage that starts with choosing which of three aromatic oils you are most drawn to - for me, the Frankincense, Lavender and Patchouli, which promised to soothe and calm frazzled nerves, wind down an active mind, and melt away stress and tension. It kept its promise and over the next 50 minutes I pretty much melted into the warmed treatment bed while Sharon soothed away my always tight shoulders, had a gentle word with me about my posture, and generally made me feel like the most important thing in her day.

I think this is what Daniel Thwaites has got so right at Cottons – you just feel important. It doesn’t matter if you’re there for business or pleasure, they end up being the same thing – comfort and relaxation and being made ready to go out into the world and build up those tense shoulders all over again.

Sharon – expect me back.

What’s on in Knutsford

Great British Life: The famous Gaskell Tower can be found on Knutsford's King Street. Photo courtesy of @knutsford_nowThe famous Gaskell Tower can be found on Knutsford's King Street. Photo courtesy of @knutsford_now (Image: @knutsford_now)

February 4: Knutsford Makers Market,

February 10: Taste Knutsford Food Tour,

February 11: Japanese Ink Painting Workshop,

February 14: Creative Writing with Joy Winkler,

February 21: Family Smartphone Photography Workshop,

March 3: Knutsford Makers Market,

March 9: Taste Knutsford Food Tour,

March 17: Luxury Cheshire Wedding Fayre,

March 30: The Knutsford Bunny Hop,