Swimming spots in the Cotswolds, this scenic swathe of England, are set inside garden-hugging spas and amid the elements with cocktails on call.
Loved for its natural beauty, rippling countryside and gold-stone villages, the Cotswolds has some of England’s most charmed hotels. Many have decadent dining, and seductive pools and spas for soothing and soaking after hiking, cycling and exploring this six-county-strong Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Here are our favourite Cotswolds hotels with pools that you’ll never want to leave.
Pioneering Cowley Manor, near Cheltenham, seduces with its Italianate mansion, rolling acres and elegant meals made from homegrown produce . But it’s the prize-winning Cotswold-stone C-Side spa that makes the real splash. Floor-to-ceiling windows channel the area’s natural beauty; the 17m (56ft) green-slate heated indoor pool overlooks forests; and there’s a sauna, steam room and gym, too. Treatments focus on Cowley’s own organic herb-infused products, which also feature in the colour-pop rooms, with rain showers and deep-set tubs. Whatever the weather, grab cocktails by the bamboo-bordered outdoor pool (warmed and balmy, year-round).
Just a ten-minute drive from Roman-ruin-filled Cirencester, this 1697 Cotswold-stone beauty is the chic, updated, unbelievably romantic, former home of garden designer Rosemary Verey. Naturally, the gardens steal the show; lavender, wisteria and other seasonal blooms mingle with gloriously fresh produce, that is reimagined into British-rooted meals in the restaurant. Admire it all from the open-air hydrotherapy pool in the garden-hugging spa, before hitting the sauna and steam room and settling in for personalised Elemis treatments. Among the soothingly luxe rooms, the Secret Garden Suite is our top choice for its hot tub and terrace.
Courtesy of Calcot Hotel & Spa / Booking.com | Courtesy of Calcot Hotel & Spa / Booking.com
Fancy idling away the afternoon in an open-air hot tub, surrounded by flaming lanterns, a crackling log fire and swirls of fragrant lavender? We thought so. Calming country-chic Calcot hotel, near Tetbury, hosts one of the Cotswolds’ most blissful spas, centred on a romantically lit heated indoor pool, off which you’ll find steam rooms and a sauna. The setting is a stylishly reimagined farmhouse with roots in the 14th century, enveloped by a 220-acre (89ha) estate. Local produce fuels the Conservatory restaurant and outdoor fun takes in hikes, tennis and gym sessions, plus dips in the al fresco pool.
The Elan Spa at the Greenway, a wood-beamed 16th-century manor near Cheltenham, is inspired by the Cotswolds’ natural bounty and distinctive honey-gold architecture. Slip into the hydrotherapy pool, the terrace-side hot tub, the sauna and the steam room set between stone walls, original beams and flickering lanterns. Many of the ESPA treatments use vegan products and there’s also a champagne nail bar. After a leisurely wander around the yew-fringed gardens and shimmering lily ponds, have a swish afternoon tea or dinner at the Garden Room with its market-fresh menus.
A quick hop from the peak Cotswolds’ villages of Chipping Campden and Broadway, 14th-century Charingworth Manor bursts with historical intrigue (it was once a favourite of poet TS Eliot). Undulating grounds and lush lavender gardens create a serene feel for kicking back in the antique-filled, country-style rooms (two with outdoor hot tubs) and the John Greville restaurant for fine-dining meals. Book a luxurious facial at the spa, where you can flop in the Scandi-style sauna, the eucalyptus-scented steam room and heated pillar-lined pool.
A river runs through the heart of this calming hydro-powered hideaway on the edge of the Windrush, not far from Burford and Unesco-listed Blenheim Palace. The stylishly converted 19th-century water mill is surrounded by 65-acre (26ha) gardens, with tennis courts, orchards and a deliciously peaceful spa, and you can go hiking and cycling though the Oxfordshire Cotswolds straight from the hotel’s door. Linger in the plunge pool and rock sauna before savouring the aromatic steam room, ice fountain, rain-effect showers and signature mud treatments.
At Broadway’s historical coaching inn, dating back to the 14th century, you’ll be following in the footsteps of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell. There’s dreamy treatments on offer at the inn’s elegant spa, including the heated indoor pool, that feels like stepping into an age-old bathhouse, tucked beneath a retractable roof. Saunas, a eucalyptus-infused steam room and a wellness-focused kitchen round things off nicely, so you’ll sleep soundly in your smartly-styled room – worthy of any king or courtier.
It doesn’t get more classically Cotswolds than this Regency townhouse in the heart of honey-coloured, history-rich Chipping Campden. Fairytale gardens lead to a spa set in what was once the coach house, where treatments include citrus-infused body wraps and warm-stone massages and you can lounge about in the steam room and gurgling hydrotherapy pool. To really up the ante, opt for the Hot Tub Suites to soak on your own private terrace – signature G&T in hand.