English eccentricity at Cowley Manor

Destination Cotswolds

Exploring the Cotswolds’ most luxurious hideaways.

By Camilla Smith

Cowley Manor is the epitome of good old-fashioned English eccentricity. While it offers everything you would expect from a luxury country house hotel, the contemporary and downright flamboyant interiors are not what you’d expect from a nineteenth-century manor. Its spirited charm was an instant draw when deciding on a location for our autumn campaign photoshoot.

While references to Cowley Manor date back to as early as 1036 (mentions of Cowley can be found in the Domesday Book), the stately home we know today is far more youthful. The Main House was built in the nineteenth century by Sir James Horlick, of malted milk fame. Defined by a striking Italianate exterior inspired by Villa Borghese in Rome, Cowley was destined to always be a little out of the ordinary.

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Once heralded as the ‘height of modern living’, Cowley Manor was built using traditional, local materials, albeit with a decidedly forward-thinking aesthetic (it was the first private house in England to use concrete).

The manor is surrounded by a vast 55 acres of Cotswolds countryside and boasts meticulously manicured lawns, grand architecture and natural water springs. Rumour has it that Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland while staying nearby and drew much inspiration from the stunning grounds. 

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The totally unique Cowley Manor has become one of the Cotswolds’ most lusted-after destinations. The hotel’s on-site restaurant, Malt – named, of course, for Sir Horlick’s famous drink – is a celebration of England’s diverse cuisine. From the decadent afternoon tea of champagne and finger sandwiches to the ever-evolving dinner menu, Malt celebrates the very best of English produce.

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It’s hard to talk about Cowley Manor without mentioning its famous C-Side spa. This little oasis offers the latest holistic beauty innovations in an unconventional setting: think Cotswold stone, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and only the great outdoors to distract you.

Don’t worry if solo relaxation time is off the menu: family stays are just as common at Cowley. There are child-friendly attractions aplenty just a short drive away, from an adventure playground fit for a king at Sudeley Castle, to the charming petting zoo at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park.

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Booking is essential at Cowley Manor – whether guests want to breath in the fresh countryside air, G&T in hand, or enjoy a traditional Sunday roast with the family, Cowley Manor is slowly becoming the Cotswolds’ worst-kept secret. 

Tags: getaway destination cotswolds top UK destinations

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