Review: Wild Thyme & Honey, Cirencester
- Credit: Jake Eastham
Laced with Cotswolds flair, the cosy Wild Thyme & Honey left Eve Smallman in love
Capturing the essence of the Cotswolds is a seemingly impossible task to do. There are so many intricacies to the culture, style and taste that make it such a romantic place to be. But as I step into the effortlessly polished Wild Thyme & Honey, I wonder if it’s possible.
The newly-opened boutique inn, which is paired with the cosy The Crown pub, sits in the idyllic Ampney Crucis, and is ideally located near to Bibury and Cirencester. With event space, 24 bedrooms and The Crown pub on site, it has ample room to welcome many. But for me and my boyfriend, its cosiness and intimacy instantly enveloped us as just two. We were given the keys to private apartment No.3 London Road, and unlocked ourselves a cosy haven.
I say cosy – it was outstandingly spacious yet still felt homely, with Cotswold stone walls and wooden beams padding the ceiling. The space was laid out cleanly, with a living room with mini bar and cocktail-making kit, a walk-in shower and standalone tub, plus a four-poster super king bed. Together with the patio, fit with a hot tub and sauna, one could easily live here and be quite happy. But where to begin? We decided there was only one way – a glass of bubbly in the bubbles.
The outdoor space was luxurious in its views of the countryside, but we were grateful for the screen and roof that gave us privacy while enjoying the view. The tub pre-heated being meant we were able to jump straight in, and the settings were easily adjusted while soaking too – no shivering and fiddling about for us. Afterwards we headed for the sauna, before wrapping ourselves up in the cosy dressing gowns and sampling the sloe gin.
When I got ready for dinner in the master bathroom, I was glad for the roomy his and hers sinks – although I did morph it into hers and hers with my makeup collection. I did manage to get the button plug stuck in one of them, but that’s the advantage of having multiple sinks. Luckily with the pub being an enclosed minute walk, I could faff about without worrying about being late.
While The Crown is sweet and comfortable during the day, in the evening it transforms into a gorgeously warm restaurant. We were able to peep the chefs working in the kitchen downstairs before being whisked upstairs to our own comfortable booth.
For starters I had mushroom terrine and my other half had vegetable bouillon, both which were rich and hearty, and had us wishing we’d ordered bread to go alongside to savour more. But that arguably would have filled us up too much for our celeriac mains – one smoked with horseradish gremolata and one salt-baked with goat’s cheese fondue. We did realise they forgot to bring out the peppercorn sauce for the smoked celeriac steak after we’d finished, but luckily it was still delicious without. And of course, we couldn’t not have dessert – chocolate and hazelnut cheesecake. It was a velvet dream, and I could have eaten the whole cake. I’m sure the staff might have let me if I asked – they were so kind and accommodating to us.
Filled up, we were grateful our bed was quick to walk to and dive into. Blackout curtains shut, it made it blissfully impossible to wake up in the morning. This called for a slow wake up in the bath. While it would have been good to have proper bath bubbles, the Bramley shampoo and conditioner did make my hair soft and shiny. The Nespresso machine was also a need for awaking us, which was very swish and slick. We did find ourselves missing the choice of tea – while there was a kettle in the communal pantry, for those wanting a midnight brew or a quickie in the morning, it was slightly inconvenient.
But the gasp for a cuppa was quickly rectified at breakfast, where we were presented with an incredible chef’s table continental spread. As well as this the menu was substantial, able to cater for my sweet tooth and my boyfriend’s savoury one with a full fry up. Staying on brand, I went for the Wild Thyme & Honey pancakes, which were just the right balance of sweetness and tartness early in the morning. Topped up with juice, croissants and shortbread from the table, we were stoked up for the day.
As we were leaving, I spotted the wine dispensary, where you can fill up your own glass instead of bothering going to the bar – great if it’s busy and you’re just enjoying drinks. Truthfully, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t see it in the evening!
But the inclusion of this made me think just how the Wild Thyme & Honey and the accompanying The Crown excelled at service and style. From the room itself to the food to the staff, every need was catered to, often before we knew we needed it.
It worked wonderfully as a love bubble escape, but I imagine it would also work beautifully as an all-encompassing wedding venue, with the amount of space and facilities for entertaining. Couples and friends, families and parties… For all those looking for romance and comfort in quintessential Cotswolds style, Wild Thyme & Honey will wrap you up in oodles of it.