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The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
Claiming to be England's oldest hotel, ghost stories are everywhere at The Old Bell, a 13th-century inn in the middle of the charming market town of Malmesbury. The outside is covered with wisteria and sits in a lovely position alongside the intricately carved porch of 12th-century Malmesbury Abbey. Inside is a spacious restaurant and a collection of stylish, recently revamped lounges, which are a popular spot for afternoon tea. There are 34 bedrooms, most of which have gorgeous original features. The rooms in the Coach House, at the back, are boxier though. The hotel is ideal for guests who want a historic base to explore Cotswolds.
We love the nearby river walks - you could follow the Avon into the Cotswolds or do a circular river walk around the town.
The Old Bell Hotel is next to Malmesbury's ancient Abbey, in the heart of the traditional town, right on the edge of the Cotswolds AONB.
By car: the hotel is 1 hour 40 mins from Birmingham, 40 mins from Bristol and 2 hours from London. There is free parking on-site.
By train: London Paddington to Chippenham (via Westbury) takes just over 2 hours. The hotel is a 20-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The hotel suits couples and weekenders who love buildings with a real history and who want to be close to the Cotswolds. Thanks to the spaciousness of the public rooms it's easy to steal yourself away for a private drink and a chat, afternoon tea or a quiet read.
Service & Facilities
The reception staff know a lot about the town and the area and always have the time to offer advice. Dogs are allowed to stay in selected rooms and have their own dog bed for £25 a night. They will love the riverside walks.
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
The spacious Loring Master Suite stands out and has a lovely, white wooden four-poster bed and drama courtesy of a wall of exposed stonework. We love that, alongside the standard tea and coffee-making facilities, freshly-baked biscuits and fresh fruit are provided.
Single, Cosy, Master Cosy, Character, Classic, Junior Master, Master
Facilities include: ensuite with shower over bath, bathrobes, Nobel Isle toiletries, Hypnos mattress, Nespresso machine, fridge, cookies, TV, free Wi-Fi, gym access
Food & Drink
The lounges are the perfect location for afternoon tea - these elegant rooms have plenty of natural light and peace and quiet for easy conversation. Our favourite dish is the pan-seared sea bass with a lobster and pea risotto, celeriac and a dill and lime dressing.
The Refectory: modern British and European-inspired cooking, Sunday roasts. Mon-Sun lunch, Weds-Sat dinner. Mains from £16.
The Bar: all-day dining, light lunches, cocktails, fine wines, champagne. Open every day (5pm close Sun-Tues).
Afternoon tea: Weds-Sun, 2-5pm. From £21pp.