Burleigh Court Hotel is a hidden gem nestled in nature in a quiet Cotswold valley. A boutique hotel where country house charm coalesces with contemporary comfort in an 18-bedroom, Grade 2 listed, Georgian Manor House.
Romantic four posters, sumptuous sofas, irresistible log-fires, equine portraits, hunting scenes, many a doggy sculpture and of course a warm welcome for dogs and their owners. A true home-from-home escape to the country.
Deck-chairs, hammocks and wooden benches are strategically placed for peaceful panoramas across Golden Valley, famed and named for its spectacular autumnal colour shows. Though Burleigh Court, with its leaflets detailing walking routes and an Art Deco plunge pool, is a destination for all seasons.
A wild food foraging experience is a unique education. Walking through local footpaths and lanes with guide Emanuelle – who rarely buys more than flour, oats, pasta and rice from the shops – for some is a Damascene moment that forever halts their progress along the road to Aldi, Tesco et al.
Beginning with the advice, “Never munch on a hunch,” Emanuelle takes a forensic detective’s approach to her foraging: aroma, leaf, stem, season, habitat and reference books are all investigated before taking the smallest nibble. Beware plants changing from friend to foe as the seasons change. Tender nettle leaves, once a source of soup and pesto, become toxic as they age, though their seeds become a food source.
Enthusiastically, Emanuelle explains how there is far more to foraging than gathering wild mushrooms for a risotto, elderflower for a cordial and rosehips for a jelly. Taking what looks like a mere weed to she explains that it’s spears are like asparagus. Returning to those multi-purpose nettles, they can be ground into a “coffee” powder for a decadent latte served with cinnamon and honey.
Over a foraging three-course lunch served back at Burleigh Court Hotel’s romantic wood-panelled dining room, guests mull over a thought-provoking experience of slowing down and seeing what the natural world has to offer, reflecting on how much knowledge we have lost since the Industrial Revolution took us from country dwellers to urbanites.
Although the emphasis is on food, Emanuelle tells of how a daily spoonful of elder syrup is thought to boost the immune system and that conkers provide a soapy lather for the washing. Who needs a box of Persil?
It’s a thoughtful approach to sustainability in keeping with Burleigh Court’s two AA rosette restaurant. Emanuelle doubles up as the kitchen gardener providing the heritage tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and micro herbs for a starter of Forager’s Salad. Though the most popular starter on the menu is a Celeriac Fondant creatively paired with pickled girolle mushrooms and a sautéed king oyster mushroom.
Suet pudding is reborn as one of the menu’s main course stars. Fluffily light as it cossets venison in a jus of beef and red wine that has simmered for two days, the mini-pudding accompanies medallions of haunch of venison cooked sous vide for an hour at 58 centigrade. Such precision, aligned with creativity, seems to be accelerating the restaurant towards a third rosette.
Although Burleigh Court is within striking distance of Cheltenham, Highgrove, Slimbridge, Stroud, Westonbirt’s Arboretum and countless quaint Cotswold villages, most guests decided to make the most of Burleigh Court as a peaceful haven. If the air seems a little purer in this quiet corner of Gloucestershire, rest assured that it is. A rare moss, requiring the cleanest of air, thrives on the trees overlooking the croquet lawn.
At the end of the day, perhaps after a walk across neighbouring Minchampton Common’s 600 acres searching for wild orchids and wild cyclamen, guests retire to their bedrooms. Each of the bedrooms, named after a wildflower or tree, is individually decorated but occasional Georgian flourishes remain. Though this is quintessential English country-living and if the dawn chorus is likely to be too early or too loud, thick wooden shutters can be closed to provide a few more precious hours of deep restorative sleep.
Burleigh Court Hotel fact file
Michael Edwards was a guest of Burleigh Court Hotel, a boutique hideaway hotel with a 2 AA Rosette restaurant in The Cotswolds.
Prices begin from £119 per night for a double room. For travel in November, a room only stay in Burleigh’s new four-poster ‘Romantic’ category suite is priced from £209 per night (Sunday-Thursday) and £229 per night (Friday and Saturday).
For travel in December, the room is priced from £219 per night (Sunday-Thursday) and £239 per night (Friday and Saturday). Dinner, Bed, and Breakfast packages are also available and there are a range of special offers featured under the ‘Packages & Offers’ tab on the website.
The Wild Foodie Foraging Experience is priced from £65 per person or £130 per couple, the group sessions run from 9.30-2.30pm and are available on 4 and 18 November. It includes a guided foraging walk with Burleigh’s in-house Kitchen Gardener and Foraging Expert plus a Wild Food Lunch. Burleigh can also accommodate private foraging experiences on request for additional dates through late 2021 and into 2022. For more information, see wild-food-foraging.
To book a stay at Burleigh Court, please call 01453 883 804 or visit Burleigh Court Cotswolds.
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Images courtesy of Burleigh Court Photography.Last modified: October 28, 2021