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By Chris Smith Tuesday 08 January 2013 Updated: 08/01 15:45
THE Cotswolds is rightly considered one of the jewel's in the crown of middle England. And any visit to this beautiful area of the country should include a stop off at the small, but picturesque town of Chipping Campden.
Rich with history, it is full of beautiful scenery, wonderful walks, including the 100 mile Cotswold Way all the way to Bath.
And those who make their stay longer than a day have a choice of places to stay the night - one of which is the Noel Arms.
Located right in the centre of the main High Street, it is one of the oldest inns in Chipping Campden having been built in 17th century. However this beautiful golden sandstone building still looks as good as one imagined it would have 400 years ago.
The period features which really make this hotel what it is have survived the years well and are complimented with some modern additions such as the dining room which is overspills into a conservatory.
During my stay I was lucky to be given the luxurious 1657 four-poster room. It was at the front of the hotel, and the noise of the gentle hustle and bustle passing underneath our window really added to the homely atmosphere.
The room - one of 27 - was set over two levels with the centrepiece being the solid wood four-poster bed itself with beautiful carvings which I was excitedly informed by the assistant manager had been in the hotel since from day one. Fortunately they have changed the mattresses (there were two of them!) on many occasions since then. If only they made furniture to last as well these days.
The rest of the room's ancient furniture really gave us an insight into the lives of noblemen who may have stayed their over the past three centuries.
But far from being stuck in the past, the Noel Arms has created a reputation in recent years for its curry nights.
Head chef Indunil Upatissa has been named Best Pub Chef of the Year for two consecutive years for his famous curries.
But do not be put off if the more traditional dish better matches your taste. Indunil's dinner and snack menu includes all the English favourites you would expect of a Cotswolds establishment. For my evening meal I opted for a sumptuous steak washed down by a pint of UBU brewed not far across the Warwickshire border while at breakfast there was sausage, bacon and eggs alongside cereals and toast.
But at the Noel Arms it is not just about the food and environment. It is staffed by a team of friendly faces who during my stay seemed keen to do whatever they could to make the stays of all its patrons a perfect one. They were very welcoming even before they knew I was the latest reviewer!
The hotel is conveniently located for keen walkers and cyclists to enjoy some of the country’s most picturesque views and heritage sites along the scenic 0Cotswold Way. And if you are just passing through and don't have plans for an overnight you can stop by and refuel in the coffee house just inside the front entrance. On a cold day the roaring fire is a big draw.
Just over the road is a spa in the 28-room Cotswold House Hotel which offers a range of relaxing beauty treatments or just a dip in the hydro pool, aromatic steam room and rain showers to Noel Arms' patrons for just £10 a day.
But none of this comes at a huge cost with rooms at the Noel Arms starting from £60. The hotel is ideally located to use as a base to visit the rest of the Cotswolds. For details and offers log onto noelarmshotel.com or call 01386 840317.
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