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The Bear, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
A handsome mansion of a building in the centre of Woodstock, The Bear is a great option for anyone visiting this corner of the Cotswolds. Its handsome stone façade is cloaked in a thick ivy and out the back lies a leafy courtyard flanked by large garden suites. This is a 13th-century coaching inn, so creaky floors and wonky walls are the norm - though that's no bad thing, as it simply adds to the character of this traditional hotel. There's an on-site restaurant serving British classics, and you're just a ten-minute walk from the gates of Blenheim Palace and its grounds, so don't miss a visit to the Duke of Marlborough's private residence.
Visit the Oxfordshire Museum, a tiny but engaging little gallery with genuine dinosaur fossils, ancient archaeological findings and local artworks on display.
The hotel is on the edge of the Cotswolds in the charming market town of Woodstock, 35 minutes' drive from Oxford.
By car: around 1 hour 30 minutes from Bristol, 2 hours from London and 3 hours from Manchester. Parking costs £10 per day.
By train: there are direct trains to Oxford from London Paddington, Birmingham and Manchester. The hotel is a 20-minute drive. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
Many of the rooms at The Bear are furnished with handsome antiques, so are great for couples seeking a bit of romance. There are accessible rooms for guests with mobility difficulties, too. The leafy courtyard is a glorious spot for a post-walk gin and tonic in the sun.
Service & Facilities
Parking is at a premium in Woodstock, so guests-only parking out the back of the hotel meant our stay was seamless - we even managed to park right outside our courtyard room. Dogs are welcome in the hotel rooms and bar and the staff can recommend local walks.
- On-site parking
- Free Wi-Fi
The Suites have a bay window, living area and bed on a mezzanine, with views onto the courtyard. Vaulted ceilings and exposed beams were impressive features. Elemis toiletries in the bathroom were a welcome treat.
Standard, Deluxe, Super Deluxe, Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, desk, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
The afternoon tea served in the Churchill Lounge looked quite fabulous. The ham hock terrine starter was incredibly moreish.
The Restaurant: fine dining restaurant, modern British cuisine. Seasonal ingredients. Open daily; all day menu. Mains from £17.
Churchill Lounge: bar snacks and afternoon tea daily.