By Alex Castle

The church bells were chiming loudly, and the streets were busy with locals doing their weekend chores, when we arrived at The Bower House.

The stylish restaurant with rooms located in Shipston-on-Stour, a quintessential town which has been named the best place to live in the Midlands by The Sunday Times for the last two years running, provides the perfect base from which to explore the north Cotswolds or Stratford-upon-Avon.

On the road between Chipping Norton and Stratford, Shipston is a charming market town clustered around its market square, with small alleyways leading to pubs and independent shops.

Unashamedly stylish and situated in a handsome Grade II-listed building in the historic market town, The Bower House offers an all-day dining haven to locals and visitors.

Oxford Mail:

Opened in spring 2017 in the heart of the Warwickshire town, owner Andrew Knight decided to launch The Bower House having spotted a gap in the market, and managed to persuade Sukhjinder Aujla, who has previously worked at Nobu, The Savoy and The Metropolitan in London, to take charge of the kitchen.

With renowned architects Stiff+Trevillion and Liana Braune, previously curator at The Museum of Everything in London, supervising the art and interiors, we were wowed by the look and stylish feel of the place from the moment we arrived.

The panelled walls of the entrance and bar area are a vibrant kingfisher blue, while the main dining area walls are a rich claret red, interspersed with brickwork and Cotswold stone.

An eclectic mix of prints and paintings covers the walls, while the miss-matched furniture includes nicely aged bentwood chairs, French moustache carvers, vintage bridge chairs and leather banquettes, paired with elm, marble and copper-topped tables. The floor is a mix of historic flagstones, wood and chequered tiles. An enormous original fireplace with wood burning stove stands in one of the rooms.

Upstairs, on the first and second floors, there are five luxurious bedrooms, which have been individually designed and decorated, with a mix of antique, vintage and contemporary furniture set against unique heritage colour palettes, though common threads can be found throughout.

Oxford Mail:

All have custom-made beds with Hypnos mattresses, and British fabrics and wallpapers.

Our suite was stunning, with lovely dark blues and deep reds, designer wallpaper, matching headboards, bed throws and curtains made for a good first impression. We felt very at home and enjoyed a soak in the large marble-top bath after a long day of walking in the south Warwickshire countryside,

We raced down to the restaurant for our eagerly anticipated dinner. Again, the decor is old school yet comfortable and classy.

I started off with a local beer, Haus Lager– which is light tasting and brewed down the road in Bourton-on-the-Water. It was accompanied by a bowl of olives and some spicy chorizo.

We drank the wine of the week, Beaujolais Nouveau which I had with a beef carpaccio starter (£8.50) flecked with truffle and pepper. It was melt in your mouth good. My partner went for a ham hock and ox tongue terrine (£7) with piccalilli.

Mains include Gressingham duck, Cornish plaice, and of course, a burger with all the trimmings.

I chose pan-roasted Cotswold chicken breast with truffle mash while my partner went for rump steak (£18) and as a result is now the restaurant’s biggest fan.

Oxford Mail:

The portion sizes are perfect, but filling, and the cooking speaks for itself; hats off to the chef.

Neither could we fault the service, the staff happy, content, professional and couldn’t do enough for you.

We awoke refreshed and enjoyed the Bower House breakfast, included in the price of the room.

Oxford Mail:

As a result, we are already thinking about our next trip up to Shipston, because we’ll certainly be going back again.

It really is the perfect, easy weekend getaway.