It was the perfect time to escape somewhere new, somewhere neither of us had been before, somewhere we could relax. January brought the flu and February brought a busy social schedule, so as soon as March sprung I couldn’t wait to escape Cheltenham for a weekend at The Fleece in Witney…
#AD – This hotel stay was kindly gifted, but all opinions are my own and my love for good pub grub and a peaceful night sleep is real.
Situated in the beautiful market town of Witney (the largest town in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds), The Fleece is a boutique hotel oozing with charm and charisma. It overlooks Church Green, which I can imagine is a hot spot in sunnier and warmer weather.
There is a small car park behind the pub (through the arch) but it does fill up quickly apparently on a Saturday. Luckily we had no trouble when we arrived, but I’d suggest getting there before dinner time.
We were warmly welcomed by the staff and general manager Mike, who informed us about what we could expect from our stay and the amenities.
I really value friendliness and good customer service wherever I go and always appreciate a bit of banter too, which the team had plenty of. First impressions were good.
As soon as Mike gave us our room key, like an excited kid at Christmas, I rushed up the stairs to inspect our room for the night – leaving Dan behind to carry the bags!
Straight away I felt at home.
The room exuded cosy and comfortable vibes. Traditional, in line with it’s Georgian roots, but with a stylish twist. With dressing gowns in the wardrobe (they know me so well), Classic FM on the radio and snacks on the table left for us to devour when we got peckish, I was happy and content in my surroundings – and then I opened the door to check out our bathroom….
Hello bathroom goals!
It’s all in the details, here at The Fleece.
I’m so obsessed with the tiles and the lamps that I’ve even made a note that I want something similar when we move!
Owners Peach Pubs have given the fine Georgian building an elegant new look that’s still very much in keeping with its historic roots. The best room in the house boasts a fabulous four poster bed for sleeping in style, best enjoyed after a long relaxing rain shower. Good food and drink are just a staircase away.
The view from our room wasn’t bad either…
This weekend getaway was the perfect antidote after a busy few weeks.
Even though grey skies had followed us it didn’t deter us from exploring, so we decided to take an afternoon stroll into town to find food.
The town has a lot to offer, whether you’re after some retail therapy or just fancy some time to relax. For us, it was about spending quality time together so we really enjoyed mooching around the charity shops, stopping for coffee here and there.
We didn’t have the time over our weekend in Witney to explore further, but with the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Bicester Village not too far away, it’s an idyllic location.
There’s nothing quite as appealing as an informal inn offering good, fresh food made with great ingredients, cosy rooms with a touch of style and a warm welcome to match, especially when it’s starting to feel distinctly chilly outside.
Returning to our room after a lovely leisurely walk, we had some time to chill before our dinner reservation. With a movie on in the background, I relished in some reading time. I say reading, I had picked up an Audrey Hepburn book from one of the charity shops and it’s basically all pictures…
Before we knew it, it was time to head down for dinner.
Stomachs rumbling, we feasted our eyes on the menu which offered something for everyone’s taste.
Steak, chicken, fish, duck, pie, vegetarian options… so much choice, it made our decisions difficult.
First things first though – fizz and olives!
Our waiter Sam came over and tempted us with the Specials menu.
We ended up choosing our starters and main courses from the main menu, but I had my eyes on that treacle tart for dessert. It’s rare that I order three courses so it was quite the occasion, if not a bit daunting at the thought of so much food!
Soon after toasting to a wonderful weekend away, our first courses arrived.
I opted for the Garlic & Rosemary-studded Camembert, whilst Dan chose the Dorset Chorizo, Peppers & Kale – both dishes served with Grilled Bloomers.
I had died and gone to cheese heaven. Wow. The warm salty bloomer dipped into the rich Camembert was phenomenal (not a word I use often), and was complimented well by the sweet red onion jam.
I stole a mouthful of Dan’s dish, which was equally delicious (although I stand my cheesy choice). He had the small plate, which could also be ordered as a main, but he did help me finish the Camembert so I could save room for round 2.
Bellies pleasantly full, our empty plates were taken away as we made room for our next course.
General Manager Mike let us sneak into the kitchen to meet the chefs and capture our meals being plated up. I can report that there was no Gordon Ramsay behaviour in this kitchen, just a lot of banter!
We sat back down to be served our main courses, which looked (and smelt) incredible.
I chose the succulent 28 Day Dry-aged 8oz Rump steak and rustic chips, with Bernaise sauce – and a glass of Merlot! Usually a Peppercorn kinda gal, I switched it up and there were no regrets.
It tasted like proper pub grub! Top quality food that could rival dishes served up in restaurants like The Ivy, but with a far more relaxed atmosphere. I sensed that the restaurant is a popular spot in town, not surprising with the fantastic food and service.
Dan went for the Merrifield Duck Breast, Dauphinoise Potato, Red Cabbage and Juniper Ju, with a side of skinny fries. From the mouthful I had, the meat was so tender and gave me serious food envy!
My stomach was starting to feel very full mid-steak, so Dan happily helped me out (again!)
We ordered two Espresso Martini’s with our pudding, as they sounded too good to pass up.
It was the Sticky Toffee Pudding for my love, and the Treacle Tart for me. Both served with a large scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.
It’s hard work eating all this delicious food… I take it very seriously.
After devouring two tasty savoury courses, the dessert hit my sweet spot perfectly. Although we did feel like we needed to walk it all off…
We went back up to our room so I could throw on a jumper and a coat, but our evening stroll was quickly put on hold due to heavy rain.
Instead, we decided to pop back downstairs for coffee.
This is the face of a very happy and content woman, fuelled by coffee.
Serving the coffee with a handful of Smarties is such a sweet idea (pun intended), and very well received.
After finishing our drinks, we retired back to our room and fell asleep mid-movie – a sign of a very good night!
Next morning, after a wonderful night sleep, we were up bright and early to enjoy our final few hours at The Fleece.
Frasier on the TV and a hot cup of coffee, it was a perfect Sunday.
After a refreshing shower, we packed our bags ready for check out and headed down for breakfast.
Start with a continental breakfast, go straight in for a hot dish, or do both!
But first, coffee.
Perusing the menu, I opted for a slice of toast to take the edge off my appetite. There was a DIY station at the bar for you to use with a variety of toppings to choose from.
I had eyed up the American style pancakes but as I usually do, I went for a savoury option instead. As the chefs awaited the salmon to arrive for the Eggs Royale, I decided to replace it with bacon instead.
The eggs were cooked perfectly, with a not-too runny yolk and crispy bacon underneath, drizzled with creamy Hollandaise.
Dan ordered a Sausage and Bacon Bloomer, which looked (and tasted) amazing.
I actually ordered a side of sausage as I felt like I was missing out.
Full of food, we took our final stroll into town to walk it off before returning to the Inn to check out. The rain had started to get heavy again, almost like it was reflecting how we felt about leaving.
A huge thank you to The Fleece for inviting us to stay! From the beautiful accomodation to the food and drink, I couldn’t fault a thing.
We look forward to returning again, perhaps when the sun shows it’s face!
We don’t do many mini breaks, especially after a busy year of travels last year and now saving up for a house, but it’s inspired me to try and do a few more when we can.
You can find more about The Fleece inn over on their website here, with booking details and the restaurant’s spring menu.