Rightly lauded as a hidden gem deep in the Malvern Hills, Cottage in The Wood is a beguiling and discreet woodland sanctuary for the most romantic at heart with unbeatable Narnia-inspired views. Be warned; you’ll book in for a weekend getaway and be back time and time again…

review-Cottage in the Wood Malvern
Cottage in the Wood

Review: Cottage in the Wood


Straight out of a Narnia novel and far more than a cottage, this pretty Georgian mansion feels almost purpose built for an idyllic weekend of heart-stealing walks in the Malvern Hills – one of England’s 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

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View from Cottage in the Wood

Uniquely nestled in eight acres of woodland high above the historic and enchanting spa town of Malvern, Cottage in The Wood is just off the A449 between Ledbury and Great Malvern. Both the M5 and M40 are within easy reach and Birmingham is only an hour’s drive away. Even handier, you can explore the Malvern Hills (said to have inspired writer CS Lewis’ books) via a seductive forest trail immediately behind the hotel’s pristine and elegant white main building.

First Impressions

If your idea of minimoon bliss is a remote, old-school English home-from-home immersed in nature and with jaw-dropping landscapes (Cottage in the Wood was recently rated for having England’s best view) you can’t beat this peerless gem.

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The Coach House, Cottage in the Wood Malvern

Be fully prepared to leave city life behind once you’ve made it past natural displays of wild garlic and untrampled bluebells on your journey in, and then pull up onto a steep-inclined drive where the charming house sits surrounded by wow-factor sky-high trees, dramatic greenery and views over Malvern’s ancient hills and the Severn Valley.

Dating back to the 1791, the hotel possesses an illustrious history of being part of Thomas Charles Hornyold’s Blackmore Park Estate and aside from CS Lewis, has since hosted other famous names including JR Tolkien, Joan Collins and Felicity Kendall. Inside, stylish photos of the local area and colourful retro artworks spruce up the Georgian themed natural wood interiors and showy walls.

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Reception, Cottage in the Wood
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There’s a huge contemporary mural of composer Sir Edward Edgar in the adjacent art deco bar too – a design-worthy nod back to when he once held a recital here. A cute library behind front desk is filled with first edition rare history books of the area and walking routes.

Laid-back doesn’t quite cut it; owners Nick and Julia Davies have spent the last few years renovating the place, thus creating a truly special and upmarket abode where staff like Sian in the front office and Silvio and Carlo in the restaurant, work to make everyone feel like private guests of a well-to-do relative.

Suite Dreams: Rooms at Cottage in the Wood

Spanning across three buildings in the main house, renovated coach house and Beech Cottage, the 32 individually-designed deluxe rooms and suites blend the kind of quaintness and luxury found only in the best boutique hotels; thick luxury carpets, quirky vintage furniture, fabulous art (here it’s Picasso and Warhol prints) and room service on call 24/7.

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Room with Record Player, Cottage in the Wood

You’ll no doubt spend hours mindfully holed up in one of the top-level suites; all designed to provide such stirring views across the hills they even include pairs of binoculars. Corner suites in soft muted tones are particularly romantic havens benefitting from retro 60s and country chic interiors, luxurious king-sized beds with plush cushions piled high and art deco bedside lamps providing extra sensuous mood-lighting.

Lush, upholstered armchairs surrounding a vintage coffee table stocked with a jar of homemade gooey cookies, fresh milk and organic teas in a seating area add extra space for snuggling.

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Room, Cottage in the Wood

Unexpected but welcome extras include fully working, hipster-conscious vintage record players with eclectic and thoughtfully selected seminal rock, pop and blues LPs chosen by the owners to help you fully kick back and soak in the sublime views.

Importantly, USB wall charging sockets are on both sides of the bed too and while there’s a flatscreen TV offering Freeview, we doubt you’ll make use of it. Super-soundproofing throughout the rooms ensures you’ll be sleeping like logs.

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Room, Cottage in the Wood

Generously full-sized and amazing smelling Bramley bath goodies add even more oomph to well-equipped countrified bathrooms which come with a freestanding roll top tubs for more fun a deux, separate enclosed showers and large windows gifting further joyful vistas.

Food and Drink

Seasonal eating is the name of the game at the hotel’s 2AA Rosette, 1919 Restaurant and no one does it better than head chef Rob Mason and his team. Served with a modern twist in light and airy olive and sage interiors, his British fare and especially the seven-course tasting menu utilising local ingredients is reason enough to book your room for the night.

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1919 Restaurant, Cottage in the Wood

Plans are in the making for a kitchen garden but for now, preserving and pickling play a big part of the sustainability drive. Raw garlic from the garden is used in dishes as well as diffused in oil, and summer woodland botanicals feature in kitchen and drinks menus throughout the year.

The crowd is upmarket; they flock here and to the terrace for tables cleverly positioned to make the most of views offered by ceiling to floor windows, alongside excellent fare and a sophisticated ambience.

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1919 Restaurant, Cottage in the Wood

You’ll dive straight into starters of comforting leek and potato soup served with soft potato salad and confit duck leg terrine served with blackberry and toasted brioche. Mains of meaty Chalk Stream trout are plated up with pastrami, dill and buttermilk and hulking meat dishes including lamb rump served with sweetbread and ewes curd and pork belly with turnip and hispi cabbage are skilfully cooked and presented. Lovely sides of top-notch potatoes and steaming buttery summer greens elevate the meal to even greater heights.

Desserts are equally mouth-watering; pastry chef Romy works around the clock for the sweet-toothed and has a superb eye for presentation. Try his poached peach with lashings of tonka bean custard paired with sweet wines for a tangy but light after-dinner sweetener or sup on a soothing and rich hot chocolate concocted of melted 100 per cent cocoa with cream and milk.

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The Bar, Cottage in the Wood Malvern

Expert mixologists like Ethan shake up delectable cocktails and sundowners from a classic menu in the bar. Less formal fare can be ordered here and over on the terrace too.

Breakfast is served straight to your table in the same sunshine-filled dining room and features generous pastries and continental hams and cheese to begin followed by buttery scrambled eggs, sausages and bacon.

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The Lounge Bar, Cottage in the Wood Malvern

Those needing a daily fitness fix needn’t worry either; you can walk off the morning’s indulging with heart rate pumping and rousing rambles up the cloaked woodland towards the Malvern Hills after.

Getting Married at Cottage in The Wood

Intimate weddings are the name of the game here; Cottage in The Wood can host up to 30 guests and hired on an exclusive use basis. The events team can assist with everything from photography, wine and flowers to catering and accommodation.

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View from Cottage in the Wood

What You’ll Love

  • Making perfect memories has never been easier; try star-gazing beneath clear skies from your bedroom window or with after dinner liqueurs on the terrace. More relaxation after a hard day’s hiking can be had by heading to the lawn where staff serve refreshing G&Ts straight to your table (or better still, sun lounger on hot days).
  • Walking the Malvern Hills and enjoying a flask of hot chocolate when you reach the summit of the Worcestershire Beacon – the highest point in the county at 425m above sea level and where on clear days you can see both the Black Mountains in Wales and magnificent views over Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.
  • Adventurous couples will enjoy quieter mornings of serious and scenic self-guided mountain biking and intensive running routes available (afternoons are for smiling groups ambling up to the summit). Treat yourselves to posh ice creams in the town once you’ve made your way down. Visit The Malverns has a handy guide to various circular walks and more challenging routes to download.

How to Book

Visit The Cottage in the Wood Hotel & Restaurant, Holywell Road, Malvern Wells, Worcestershire, England, WR14 4LG. Nightly rates from £134 on a B&B basis. To book a reservation, email [email protected] or call +44 (0)1684 588 860
Visit tourism board Visit The Malverns for a list of various attractions in Malvern.

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