Last month, Dan and I are were invited to spend 24 hours deep in the Cotswolds with Mr & Mrs Smith, the boutique hotel in question was the gorgeously stunning Thyme at Southrop. Driving through leafy lanes and pretty Farrow & Ball painted cottages, this part of the world is enchanting. We couldn’t wait to start relaxing, Smith style.
Mr & Mrs Smith were celebrating their ‘up all night’ campaign, showing the best that they can offer worldwide, by asking a select group of travel bloggers and social influencers around the globe to experience what is truly ‘Smith’.
The Thyme at Southrop is all that you would want or need from a country retreat. Beautiful gardens, rich, warm décor and comfort. Upon arrival we had a welcoming coffee in the Baa (bar), whilst we waited for our fellow guests to arrive from London.
After settling in, we were shown into the cookery school, where Master Chef winner Marjorie Lang shared her secrets in creating delicious canapés. Splitting into pairs, we took on the task of producing one simple dish – simple that is if you know how to make mayonnaise from scratch, make filo pastry or pick the meat from a crab.
The highlight of the cookery class was the crab picking demonstration. Marjorie showed us how to crack open the bright orange crabs, sharing what to discard, and the best ways to collect the meat. Dan and I relished this exercise and couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I have always wanted to learn how to do it.
After our amazing cookery class, we all retired to our rooms to freshen up for supper. Back in the baa, we drank delicious cocktails and tasted the fruits of our hard work, the canapés. YUM!
Supper was a short walk to the village pub, and a three course meal cooked by the Thyme chefs, all using the local produce from the hotel gardens / small holding or local producers. Conversation flowed, and I soon forgot that I was on a press trip, but rather with funny, smart, like-minded women (and of course Dan).
After a really brilliant night and a restful sleep in the newly renovated farm house, we met for breakfast in the tythe barn. Fresh eggs, rhubarb juice, homemade granola – the food at Thyme is out of this world. Suitably stuffed, we donned the Thyme wellies and met up with the owner, Caryn Hibbert who took us on a walk around the estate.
A glorious spring morning, we walked down through the hotel gardens, past the stream and on into the farm. Caryn showed us the flower cutting garden, where all of the hotel’s floral arrangements are made. The kitchen garden which supplies seasonal produce for the hotel, cookery school and the village pub.
The geese, chickens and pigs which all provide the eggs and meat. Thyme is truly self sufficient, and Caryn is passionate about the farm as much as her love for the hotel.
Caryn took us across the field back towards the hotel, sharing with the us the plans for the future. A spa retreat with pool, treatments rooms and a shop. I can’t wait to return to try out the spa element.
Thank you to Helen and Mr and Mrs Smith for a wonderful 24 hours. Dan and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, even if our car was written off on the way there after driving over an exhaust pipe on the motorway. We couldn’t care about that, the hospitality of Thyme allowed us to chill.
Discover more stunning properties in the Mr & Mrs Smith collection.
Lou Archell, a writer, photographer, stylist and founder of Littlegreenshed. A UK lifestyle & travel blog
Lou is also a busy mum of two amazing boys and the founder of Sisterhood Camp – an annual creative retreat for recharging and empowering brilliant ladies, Lou is passionate about supporting and inspiring others whether through her workshops, writing, photography or lifestyle hacks.