WILD about the Cotswolds? 10 WILD Cotswold Ideas to EAT, STAY, ENJOY

  • The WILD Rabbit Country Pub and Rooms
  • WILD Thyme Inn and rooms
  • The WILD Duck Inn
  • WILD Air Bed and Breakfast
  • WILD Garlic Restaurant and Rooms
  • WILD Camping at the Tunnel House Inn
  • WILD Rock Climbing
  • WILD Swimming
  • WILDLife Trust
  • Cotswold WILDLife Park and Gardens
 Wild about the Cotswolds?
I am and right now I’m in Los Angeles beating the drum for the Cotswolds and launching my book Cotswolds Memoir: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17th Century Cottage. (Travel Guide included).
In addition I am launching the newly released Audible Book version of Cotswolds Memoir and giving talks and book signings to persuade visitors to come stay this summer in what is surely the most beautiful place on the planet. I am letting American visitors know that there are hotels and restaurants in the Cotswolds that will give London a run for its money, breathtaking scenery and yards of history.
Of course, lots of potential visitors are delighted to learn about this area as I  show them gorgeous photographs and video. However, for every person newly introduced to the Cotswolds there are two or three who tell me I am preaching to the converted and they already have their plane ticket.  The Tinsel Town crowd over here have decided that the Cotswolds is the cool place to be for a vacation and some of them are on their way already. Great to know that there are lots of travelers in the U.S.A. who are already wild about the Cotswolds.
“Where do you recommend we go when we get there?” is a frequent question and this gave me the idea of putting together ‘I’m just WILD about the Cotswolds list of great places to eat, stay and enjoy in this lovely region together with descriptions and contact info.

WILD about the #Cotswolds? 10 WILD Cotswold Ideas to EAT, STAY, ENJOY


The WILD Rabbit near Stow-on-the-Wold in the charming and tranquil village of Kingham.

The Cotswold stone building that houses The Wild Rabbit dates from 1750. After a thorough and very tastefully done renovation, The Wild Rabbit opened in September of last year.

Typical Sunday lunch menu includes starters such as potted rabbit, pickled vegetable salad and crab and scallop cannelloni and crab bisque.

Mains might include: roast rump of beef, poached tongue, bone marrow, and all the trimmings or skate wing, braised celery with beurre noisette

All the bedrooms are individually decorated and named after woodland animals. There are twelve in all,  four of which are garden rooms and dog-friendly.


The Wild Rabbit, Church Street, Kingham, Oxfordshire OX7 6YA

01608 658 389


Wild Thyme

WILD Thyme Inn and Rooms in Chipping Norton

Ideal if you want to indulge in the restaurant and simply stagger up to bed, or if you are looking for a base to explore the Cotswolds – three stylish rooms are located within this charming 400 year old, Grade 2 listed building.
The rooms are double bedded and en-suite with all the usual facilities. Breakfast is a substantial continental, served in the restaurant, or in your room.
Nick and Sally own and personally manage Wild Thyme Restaurant with Rooms and there is space for 35 diners. It is possible to hire the whole restaurant for exclusive use, or The Garden Room, which seats up to 14 people, for a smaller celebration.
Many original features have been retained within the Cotswold stone walls and a wonderful window seat blends perfectly with more contemporary elements to create a stylish decor.
A typical starter might include: Oven baked buckwheat blinis, Upton smoked salmon, lemon prawns and hollandaise.
Pan fried filet of Cornish mackerel, parmesan, parsnip puree, sauté girolles and crispy pancetta.
A main course might include: Barrington Estate partridge; roasted breast, ragout ravioli, savoy cabbage, roasted celeriac, girolles, crispy pancetta, Madera cream, game jus or
Pan roasted Cornish brill, Brixham mussels, truffle mash, baby spinach, parsley root and chives

The WILD Thyme Restaurant and Rooms, 10 New Street, Chipping Norton
+44 (0) 1608 645060


The WILD Duck Inn   Ewen near Cirencester

This charming twelve bedroom 16th Century Inn is situated near the River Thames in the tranquil Cotswold village of Ewen near Cirencester.

Featuring old beams and portraits, the warm dining room at The Wild Duck serves a modern European and British menu. The chefs use local, organic produce, including some meats from the Prince Charles’ Highgrove Estate. The Post Horn Bar serves traditional ales and wine.

Surrounded by the Cotswold Water Park, The Wild Duck Inn is close to 80 different lakes. Local activities include fishing, jet-skiing and sailing, and Cirencester is just 3 miles away

Some of the individually designed rooms have a stylish 4-poster bed, and all have tea/coffee facilities. The Grouse Room lounge has a cozy fireplace, and there is free Wi-Fi in the public areas. The Wild Duck Inn offers elegant rooms with flat-screen TVs and DVD players. There is a garden terrace for open air dining.

Click here for booking with Trip Advisor


WILD Air Bed and Breakfast

This delightful but affordable high-end Bed and Breakfast, more like a luxurious hotel actually, is close to Minchinhampton and Nailsworth. There is also accommodation available in a separate apartment. There are all the mod cons, fluffy towels and so on and a full English breakfast, locally sourced, is served either in the garden room or on the terrace.

Brendan and Kay Clements
Wild Air
Church End, Hampton Green, Nr Box, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL6 9AD
01453 887376
07966 031580


wild garlic

The WILD Garlic Restaurant and Rooms

All the food is made on the premises from fresh pasta and ice cream to the daily baked organic bread. Situated above the restaurant are three Four Star AA awarded spacious rooms available for Bed and Breakfast accommodation.

Wild Garlic Restaurant and Rooms 3 Cossacks Square, Nailsworth, Glos GL6 0DB

Tel: 01453 832 615



WILD Camping in the grounds of Tunnel House Inn

Near Cirencester Gloucestershire

Wild camping available all year round for tents in the stunningly beautiful grounds of the Tunnel House Inn which are on the edge of Hailey Wood.

The unique 17th Century Tunnel House Inn is set in an idyllic rural location nestled between the Cotswold villages of Coates and Tarlton It is close to the River Thames and sits between the Thames and the Severn Canal. The relaxed and welcoming bar has a unique character as it is furnished with a vast collection of memorabilia.

Good food served all day

01285 770280 info@tunnelhouse.com

far peak

WILD Rock Climbing in the Cotswolds

Email: info@farpeak.co.uk

Telephone: 01285 721090

The facility at Far Peak has ample free parking and camping facilities. Great for families. No shop or playground but plenty of free space for ball games and for children to explore.

There is a public house within walking distance across the fields and local amenities are available in the nearby Cotswold town of Northleach.

There are miles of wonderful walks to be enjoyed in the area and lots of villages and lanes to be explored by walkers and cyclists.

Farpeak Climbing Centre (formally Wildrock)

Far Peak, Northleach, Gloucestershire, GL54 3JL

Email: info@farpeak.co.uk


wild swimming

WILD Swimming in the Cotswolds

Discover the best wild swim locations in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, whether a river swim, a lake or even a waterfall.

Find local news and events in your area, water campaigns that might interest you or join a group or a meeting of like-minded people.

Includes Cotswold wild swimming locations in the Windrush River, Near Lechlade etc.,


wildlife trust

Wildlife Trust

Their web site has a ‘Great places to see’ section to plan a wonderful day out in the Cotswolds.

Find out about nature reserves, webcams, local wildlife sites, family Welly walks, nest box making, how to contribute to the preservation of wildlife and lots more.



Cotswold WILDLife Park and Gardens

A great day out with or without kids. A lovely restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating means you can take a break while spending all day with the animals. Scenic, gardens with so much of interest. See their website for all kinds of ideas for adults and kids  – like being a keeper for a day. Information about conservation, education and so much more. There’s a gift shop and a train – the list goes on.

Cotswold Wildlife Park is located 2 miles south of the medieval town of Burford, Oxfordshire, on the A361

SatNav Postcode for Cotswolds Wildlife Park OX18 4JP Look out for Bradwell Grove


Downton Abbey’s Portrayal of Debutante Presentation at Court by the author of Cotswolds Memoir


Downton Abbey paints a fascinating picture of a royal presentation at court in Episode 4 of the series. The purpose of this event was for the upper class debutantes and eligible bachelors to meet and make suitable marriages.



In Downton Abbey Lady Rose is presented to George V and Queen Mary. A very deep curtsey was required by a debutante as the presentation is made. Debutantes were advised to practice their curtsey and many were nervous about getting it right. Various disasters were reported with Debutantes either tumbling over or being unable to rise after the curtsey without the aid of a hastily summoned courtier.


At the presentation a debutante would be announced to the King and Queen and after a curtsey would make her exit, stepping away from the Royals without turning around, in order not show her back.

A court presentation signaled the beginning of the social season in Britain and Debutantes were required to have a sponsor. It was mandatory that this sponsor be someone who had already been presented to the King and Queen.

Linnie Irwin Sweeney, left, and Elsie Irwin Sweeney in 1923.

Linnie Irwin Sweeney, left, and her daughter Elsie Irwin Sweeney being presented at court in 1923

Court dress followed prescribed tradition, with most girls wearing white evening dresses, although pastel shades where also in order. Three ostrich feathers attached to a veil adorned the debutante’s hair and pearls and jewelry borrowed from family heirlooms were traditionally worn.

Debutantes were chaperoned at dances by any female member of the family who could be induced to volunteer. Many a great-aunt would fall asleep in the small gilt chairs that were provided at these formal balls while the Debutante in her charge would often secretly slip away unnoticed to a nightclub. To many a young girl this would be a far more exciting prospect than a society ball.

George V portrait

King George V

A Sovereign presentation was designed to show off a Debutante as she entered society for the first time and to keep her selection of a husband confined to an elite, upper class circle. There was a lot of pressure on Debutantes to find their future husband at the various balls and entertainments during the first season of her presentation. But sometimes this was not possible and a second or even third season was needed to accomplish this goal.

In addition to the balls there were many other chances for Debutantes to meet a suitable prospective husband such as polo matches, Royal Ascot, tea parties, Thé Dansant and a Debutant’s own coming out party. This festivity was sometimes shared with a sister or cousin to defray expenses.


Court presentations were removed from the court calendar in 1958 by Queen Elizabeth II,  and attempts by society to continue them without royal patronage were unsuccessful.

This little bit of history portrayed so charmingly in these scenes in Downton Abbey are all the more interesting because, as mentioned, the ritual of court presentation is now no more.

by Diz White author of


Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17thCentury Cottage. Cotswolds Memoir Cover-2

A portion of the proceeds of every copy of  COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions. Available on


Cotswolds Memoir author writes of Downton Abbey featuring the Prince of Wales and Freda Dudley Ward

The Prince of Wales’ first love affair is alluded to in the storyline of Downton Abbey, however the real-life characters that are portrayed are just as fascinating as the action on the screen.
Edward VIII

The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, was the King of England for less than a year before he abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson. But before the king met her he had an affair with the textile heiress and socialite Freda Dudley Ward.



This affair, although of long duration, was one among many and Edward’s womanizing and reckless behavior so alarmed his father George V that the King talked openly of not wanting his first-born son to inherit the crown. “After I am gone”, George announced, “this boy will ruin himself within twelve months”.

Edward, Freda and her husband William Dudley Ward

The love affair between Edward and Freda Dudley Ward, (married to the liberal Member of Parliament William Dudley Ward), had begun over five years earlier in 1918 during a First World War Zeppelin Raid. Edward had hurried into a doorway as the bombs dropped around him and encountered Freda who had already taken shelter there. At the time Freda had two daughters and Edward subsequently became very fond of them. Her husband, sixteen years her senior, after discovering the affair, allowed the relationship to continue. Although the liaison was never referred to in the press it was an open secret among the upper classes.

Edward, or David as he was called by his close friends and family, considered himself the first ‘modern’ royal and participated fully in the nightlife of the nineteen twenties and thirties. He visited the Embassy Club and many other restaurant and dance clubs, which no royal had ever done before.

Edward met Freda Dudley Ward when he was twenty three years old and after an on and off again affair, broke off their relationship upon meeting Wallis Simpson in 1934. This led to the abdication crises in 1936.

William Dudley Ward divorced his wife in 1931 and in 1937 she married the Spanish nobleman Marques de Casa Maury. That marriage subsequently ended in divorce in 1954.

Wallis Simpson

Downton Abbey highlights an interesting glimpse of history as Freda Dudley Ward was Edward’s first serious love affair. Had he stayed with her and not transferred his affections to Wallis Simpson the course of history would have been significantly changed.

by Diz White author of COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: Discovering a Beautiful Region of Britain on a Quest to Buy a 17thCentury Cottage. Available on Amazon.

Cotswolds Memoir Cover-2

Cotswolds Memoir Author writes about Downton Abbey featuring Ambrose The 1920’s band leader

Ambrose 4

Come Back – the Embassy needs you – Edward. It was this message from the Prince of Wales in a 1925 cablegram to Ambrose, the band leader that finally persuaded him to return to England from New York. It must have been very flattering to have the heir to the British throne begging him to return to the Embassy nightclub with his band. Ambrose was in real-life, exactly as he was portrayed in a season four episode of Downton Abbey – an extremely popular band leader and violinist. He had been very much missed by the Prince while he was away from London. Only a year earlier Ambrose had left the Embassy Club for a much better offer to play at the Palais Royal in New York.

Ambrose 5

Born in the east end of London in 1896, Ambrose had divided his time between London and New York for several years before granting the Prince’s request. Eventually, after returning to the Embassy Club he moved on to the Mayfair Hotel in London where he remained for the following six years. He recorded many numbers with Decca, Brunswick and HMV helping to make him the most popular band leader of the era. Later he opened Ciro’s club and hired the legendary pianist Art Tatum and such talents as Ted Heath and Sylvester Ahola. He discovered Vera Lynn and much later Kathy Kirby.

Ambrose 3

Downton Abbey captures the glamour of this era in its scenes set in the Embassy Club and the viewer is given a fleeting glimpse of Ambrose as he plays his violin. Below are some recordings of how he sounded during the 1920s and 1930s.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7E0EAy1CQA?rel=0feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

If I had a Million Dollars was recorded for Decca at the Embassy Club in 1934

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcDkHwKQ2s0?rel=0feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Dancing in the Dark was one of his popular tunes

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzbTV_vJYnw?rel=0feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Hullabaloo, one of Ambrose’ more uptempo numbers was recorded in 1939