The George Townhouse
A beautiful historic property set in the pretty market town of Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire, the town so often described as the ‘gateway to the Cotswolds'. Full of timber framed buildings, independent shops including a lovely watch repairer and cake shop, it’s not surprising then that Shipston-on-Stour earned the title as best place to live in the Midlands by the Sunday Times. There is a thriving community feel here and The George Townhouse sits proudly at the centre of it, as it has for hundreds of years.
In early 2016 it was treated to a huge makeover including all 15 en-suite bedrooms and boy does it show. The ground floor is very spacious with a cafe area and fire place and what stood out for us was the lovely relaxed atmosphere where you could just chill out with either a coffee or beer. Little alcoves and quiet corners mixed with dining at the bar area or in the main restaurant, it just flowed seamlessly to create quite a distinctive ambience.
We were looked after during our stay by Luke, who worked tirelessly in all of the areas and nothing was too much trouble for him, that sort of attitude always leaves a lasting memory and enhances your experience. We were in room 16, a beautiful suite that was at the top of the hotel and overlooked the market town below. First impression, apart from the vastness of the room was the quality of the furnishings.
A kingsize bed boasting a Feather & Black mattress and bed frame, a wall-mounted 26″ TV with digital Freeview, free WiFi and an alarm clock, Nespresso coffee machine and kettle with a selection of Canton Tea Co drinks, as well as still and sparkling water.
Beautifully tiled and high specification bathrooms, ours had a roll top bath, which I just had to try, having never bathed in one before, it was set below a roof top window overlooking the nearby rolling countryside. If a bath is not your choice then in the centre of the large bathroom is a Burlington rainfall shower. Complimentary toiletries from Temple Spa were a nice touch.
Although having received a make-over, the 18th Century Townhouse still retains its quirkiness with those lovely exposed beams and exposed brickwork in certain areas. Tasteful decor extends out on to the stairs and landing too with an elegant light hanging over and stunning wall decorations.
The Snug and Parlour are great for a quick bite to eat and The Garden room looks out onto the lovely patio area, you can imagine what a nice al fresco dining experience it would be in the summer months sitting outside here.
The George Townhouse prides itself on sourcing local produce where possible and this definitely shows in the pride and quality of each dish they serve. The head chef is passionate about sourcing British and local, seasonal produce wherever possible, outdoor reared pork and beef from nearby Todenham Manor Farm and eggs from Hazelwood Manor Farm.
Breakfast was delicious with myself opting for the full English and there was cereal, yoghurts, croissants and toast available.
Dinner was very tasty, my wife had roasted chicken supreme with saute potatoes, spinach, chorizo and saffron aioli. Myself, I fancied the Brakspear battered haddock, with mushy peas, tartare sauce, chunky chips and lemon slice. A bottle of Prosecco was our choice of drink, although thoughtfully the 'wine of the month' was left on each table if desired. Service was excellent and as previously mentioned the ambience was very informal and relaxed.
The beer range includes Brakspear Bitter and Brakspear Oxford Gold. These two Brakspear classics are brewed at the Wychwood Brewery in Witney, only a 40 minute drive from Shipston on Stour. Cotswolds Gin and Tonic is also available on the premises, made with a locally distilled award-winning dry gin from the Cotswolds Distillery
For dessert we had a lemon posset with almonds and a chocolate brownie with ice cream. The restaurant was busy which was good to see, especially just after the Easter break on a Tuesday evening.
The location of the hotel being just on the edge of the Cotswolds allowed us to spend the afternoon in nearby Stratford upon Avon, famed for its Shakespearian links. I had wanted to visit the burial site of the Bard for sometime and so we headed to the Holy Trinity Church just a 10 minute walk from the town centre. For just £3.00 you can stand next to his last resting place along with his wife Anne Hathaway and other members of his immediate family. A truly magical experience.
To complete the afternoon we also visited Broadway Tower and the village of Broadway, one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.
Parking is available at the George Townhouse. The small car park is located at the rear of the hotel, accessed via Church Street. Public car parks are also available on Mill Street and Telegraph Street.
The hotel is also dog friendly, offering two rooms for your pet. An additional £20 cleaning charge is included for this service.
Thank you to The George Townhouse for having us to stay!
Our stay was complimentary. As always, all opinions are my own.