CHIPPING Campden is perhaps the most enchanting little town yet to be ruined by mass tourism. 

Set in the heart of the Cotswolds, the picture-postcard walkers’ paradise is an ideal weekend getaway in the coutryside.

After an hour’s scenic drive from the dreaming spires, finding the Cotswold House Hotel’s car park can be something of a challenge - take it as an excuse to see more of the charming main/only street, which is remarkably reminiscent of parts of Oxford.

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The four-star hotel sits among the town’s honey-stoned architecture and dates back to 1815. 

Impeccably polite staff, a creaking spiral staircase and warming open fire confirm the vibe: this is an old-school, quintessentially British gem with all the mod-cons.

The Oxford Times: The elegant but creaking staircaseThe elegant but creaking staircase

Boasting private cottages, 28 guest rooms, a spa, two restaurants, and a lovely garden, it is an ideal retreat after a few hours strolling along the Cotswold Way.

The Oxford Times: The garden is a delightThe garden is a delight

Ramblers looking down on the rural Gloucestershire town can see glorious views that occasionally stretch as far as Wales - according to the locals, at least. There is an indisputable closeness to nature, wildlife and a community feel about the place: if it’s wifi and phone signal you are after, it’s probably best to get those walking boots back on. 

Tired hikers will be relieved to find excellent food just a few steps away from your room - The Fig, next to the hotel reception, is ripe for praise.

The Oxford Times: Desert at The Fig. Picture: Harrison JonesDesert at The Fig. Picture: Harrison Jones

Its rotating menu offers limited choice, based on seasonal and local produce - and there is also a tempting tasting version. The three course option — well worth the £48.50 price tag for foodies — notes that it is ‘designed to satisfy you perfectly’, which can normally be translated into ‘there’s not loads, prepare for post-meal chips.’ 

Perhaps surprisingly, then, it is a decent quantity you find dished up, alongside the quality - and the pre-starter and pre-dessert increase the scores on both measures. First of the surprise additions on our visit is a garlicky amuse-bouche, sprinkled with truffles and pistachios; before a jar of fruity moose garnished with berries and nuts.

The Oxford Times: The garlicky amuse-bouche. Picture: Harrison JonesThe garlicky amuse-bouche. Picture: Harrison Jones

Both are served in keeping with the restaurant’s standards: immaculately cooked, first class food is presented with a flourish - and remarkably little pretentiousness. 

Highlights from the remainder of the ‘three courses’ include a prosecco and pecorino risotto punctuated with more than a hint of truffles and an impressive-looking octopus fillet — or perhaps tentacle — served with cucumber hearts, a beetroot puree and seaweed. 

The Oxford Times: The octopus main. Picture: Harrison JonesThe octopus main. Picture: Harrison Jones

The Bistro on the Square is also highly rated, but The Fig is the pick of the bunch, particularly as it overlooks the calming, colourful garden one on side, and the high street on the other. 

Breakfast is also served there. It’s an understated continental spread and the usual offerings of freshly cooked options, which are all nicely done, though it is hard to live up to the evening meal.

If you are not that fussed about walking, then there is a few other options after a meander through the quaint streets. 

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The nearby Hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate Court Garden are among a few local gems for plant lovers, while the Little Oak vineyard offers tours and tasting sessions for adventurous wine fans. 

Various other villages and towns are easily accessible by car, as is Broadway Tower, which offers stunning views of the Cotswold Ridge and closer to home is the characterful St James’ church, which has one of the oldest altar tapestries in England. 

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Most people, though, are here for the walking. 

One relaxing post-hike treat is at the hotel’s free-to-use spa, which has a menu of (paid for) treatments available. A modest steam room and small swimming pool with a jacuzzi feature are on offer in the shared venue; which is rather compact, and just slightly too warm, but otherwise tranquil. 

The Oxford Times:

The bedrooms are a more generous size and homely, stocked with a selection of cookies, cafetiere coffee and toiletries that you might expect of a hotel of this standard. The beds are comfortable and there’s not a cushion out of place.

It might not be too touristy, but if it is Chipping Camden you want to see, then its historic hotel undoubtedly makes visitors feel both spoilt and at home.

FACTFILE: 

The Cotswold House Hotel and Spa has 28 bedrooms and suites, two restaurants (The Fig - fine dining and The Bistro On The Square – casual dining). There are seven treatment rooms in the spa. 

Rooms are available from £140 B&B winter and £180 B&B summer. 

For more information and to book, visit cotswoldhouse.com