The Cotswolds is famous for its classic and rustic country feel. With warm, comforting pubs, grand manor houses, stylish barn conversions and traditional yet modern hotels, it’s full of interior design inspiration.
We called on one of those hotels, Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham, to get some tips and tricks on how we can bring a touch of the Cotswolds into our own homes and gardens.
1. Colour, texture and practical spaces
Interior designer, Nina Campbell, is skilled in creating contemporary Cotswold style. She opts for flourishes of floral prints, stylish stripes, intricate statement wallpapers and shades of aqua tones and yellows throughout.
A boot room with a modern welly rack is an essential in all Cotswold homes for muddy days out. It’s the place in the home where wet clothes can air dry and boots can be polished and stored for future days out.
2. Planning and maintaining a cottage garden
Ellenborough Park’s head groundskeeper, Sean Morris, says: “The Cotswold garden embodies old-fashioned, English countryside charm, brimming with colourful flora that complements the region’s iconic period properties.
“A Cotswold garden should be peaceful and tranquil; plants should work in harmony with one another through careful landscaping. A popular feature on many Cotswold estates is a secret garden as it adds a corner of serenity away from the crowds.
“All gardens require seasonal maintenance, but hard work is rewarded by long and hazy days of summer, spent surrounded in nature’s beauty.”
For a Cotswold feel in your garden, we recommend peonies, white roses and lavender.
3. Creating a kitchen garden
Executive head chef David Kelman says that, when plotting out a kitchen garden, you have to think of the seasonality of produce. “I like to make sure we have herbs that will be around most of the year like rosemary, thyme, sage, salad burnet and bronze fennel (which you can leave to go to seed so that you can use the seeds for bread or toasted for salads).
“At the hotel, the first produce to come through is rhubarb, which when it’s fully grown can be cut and enjoyed again and again. As the weather changes, we also plant beetroot and courgettes; I use courgette flowers in my cooking as they’re great stuffed with seafood and then steamed.
“Three types of radish that can be grown in a kitchen garden are breakfast radish, mouli radish and traditional radish. But grow them in stages so that you can enjoy for longer. Peas, runner beans and broad beans are also fantastic additions to any kitchen garden.
“Try planting golden raspberries, loganberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants, but be careful as the birds and bees like them! I would recommend keeping them tied to a frame for stability and allow plenty of room to grow.
“Later on in the year, we will have pears and apples coming through, as well as plums. If we have space, we would typically plant sprouts and other winter veg too.”
4. Places to relax in style
A decadent, stylish sofa is a must. The Country Living range at DFS brings that characteristically chic, country-inspired look into your home, as well as offering ultimate comfort and durability. From the St Ives collection, inspired by the changing light of the Cornish coastal town, to our more classic, Chesterfield-style Loch Leven, there’s a sofa or armchair to fit every country home.
5. Exploring local art
It’s important to source artwork that represents the area and local artists normally do this best. Cheltenham, for example, is known for its equestrian art and culture.
6. Entertaining at home
Matt Reynolds, head bartender, says: “Pimm’s is hugely popular in the Cotswolds for its connotations with warm summers and the famous Cheltenham races, where hundreds of pitchers are made daily.
“When it comes to Pimm’s, we top-up long, cooling drinks with locally-grown fruit and vegetables, which we pick from our kitchen garden, as well as sourcing strawberries from a local grower.”
“For the perfect Cheltenham races Pimm’s, use strawberry halves, three or four mint leaves, two long thin strips of cucumber and a couple of slices of lime and lemon. Importantly, Pimm’s needs to be served in a large glass or goblet – trying to squeeze all that fruit in with a heap of ice and splashes of lemonade never works.”
7. The perfect pantry
Fresh, homemade bread, locally smoked salmon, brie, and meat from a trusted, local butcher make up the essentials of a Cotswolds pantry.
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