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Inside the Cotswolds’ most botanical foodie getaway

I’m walking through water meadows of Thyme on what feels like the first day of spring.

‘It’s the vernal equinox at exactly 3.33pm today,’ explains Caryn Hibbert, founder of the Cotswolds hotel and cookery school, a time when the flora and fauna surrounding the property begins to come back to life. Hibbert has become somewhat of an expert on these things. Thyme, or Southrop Manor as it was previously known to locals, has been the home of the Hibbert family for nearly 20 years but its recent rise in popularity is thanks to a stellar cookery school and Ox Barn restaurant (headed up by Hibbert’s son Charlie, ex-Quo Vadis) and hotel, which sleeps up to 64 people in converted barns and cottages. No room is quite the same — a deliberate decision as an antidote to the cookie-cutter formula of other country retreats.


The Meadow Spa (Dipal Acharya)

© Provided by Evening Standard The Meadow Spa (Dipal Acharya)

Now that the superlative food and lodgings have been established, Hibbert is turning her eye to homeware and wellness products. Bertioli by Thyme is described as ‘a daughter brand’ of the hotel, fitting given that it is a joint enterprise between Hibbert and her daughter Camilla. It’s a range of smart clothing, tableware and linens rendered in her own botanical illustrations, and is growing with a new line of lotions and tinctures made entirely in the UK using plants often found on her doorstep. ‘The watermint [at the heart of the products] is particularly unique,’ Hibbert explains, crushing a cluster of leaves plucked from the meadow bank to release its cooling scent. The products will form the core of the wellness offering at the hotel’s Botanical Bothy, which launches this month with a range of ‘journeys’ created for visitors (my breathwork treatment was just the tonic to mad city life). Like the spring equinox itself, it feels like this is a major moment of change for Thyme, one that’s timely and beautifully rooted in nature.

Gallery: The world’s most beautiful restaurants for your dining wish list (Lovefood)

Rooms from £320; the founding Bothy ritual is £225 per person for a solo journey and £195 per person for two (thyme.co.uk)

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