Staycation: The Killingworth Castle, Wootton
This 17th-century coaching inn isn’t a castle at all, but a cosy pub with smart rooms and excellent food. Art director Cassie Eade checked in with husband Chris.
How clever of owners Jim and Claire Alexander to reward guests on their arrival with a decanter of sherry and homemade biscuits in their smartly decorated room. It certainly helps with the unpacking before we head to the bar for a gourmet burger and fish and chips. Here, glowing candlelight, a bottle of house Malbec and lively chatter with the locals creates an atmosphere of cosy bonhomie.
The next morning we are greeted by a foggy Cotswolds scene. Up and dressed, we find a table in one of the nooks and crannies of the beautiful chalky-blue bar and order breakfast of fruit compote with yogurt, homemade granola, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast.
After draining the last of our excellent pot of coffee, we set off for Bicester Village Designer Shopping Outlet, a 20-minute drive away, before returning to the pretty town of Woodstock, a few minutes from Wootton, for a tour of Blenheim Palace.
When we get back to The Killingworth Castle, we have just enough time to put our feet up before drinks in the bar and dinner in the smart, romantic restaurant.
We start with grilled Cornish mackerel, seaweed linguini and salsa verde, followed by partridge with steamed bread pudding, beetroot and a side dish of charred purple sprouting broccoli and roast carrots.
I finish with a heavenly knickerbocker glory topped with a pistachio crumble and Chris goes for the brownie with toasted marshmallow and peanut butter ice cream.
If The Killingworth Castle was a person, it would be that big, hearty chap with a pint in his hand, full of country stories, and these city dwellers would be happy to sit down for a chat and a hug anytime.
Rooms from £110, including breakfast for two.