Hotel Review: Old Swan & Minster Mill
A review of the Old Swan & Minster Mill in the Cotswolds By Holly Rosen Fink
The Old Swan & Minster Mill in Minster Lovell in the Cotswolds (Courtesy Old Swan & Minster Mill)
The Old Swan & Minster Mill, located in England’s Cotswolds region, is a charming, 18th century Victorian mill that contains sixty rooms and a few cottages. The hotel right on the River Windrush spreading across sixty-five acres. It’s right down the road from a cathedral and authentic ruins from Minster Lovell Hall, a 15th century Oxfordshire manor house, and the nearby scenery is dynamic. Families will love the hotel's offered family-friendly activities, which include tennis, cycling, fishing, an apiary, a kids’ activity center and onsite dining where they serve gastro-pub style food.
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The Old Swan & Minster Mill has a lot of history, being 600 years old. It was acquired by the de Savary family in 2010, and they have restored many of the bedrooms, which vary in size and budget ranges. The staff is welcoming and provides great ideas on what to do in the area. A family can also stay on the premises, fishing, cycling, playing board games or petting the animals in the hotel's children’s area.
The hotel's Swan Cottage (Courtesy Old Swan & Minster Mill)
The best family-friendly option for travelers with kids is the Swan Cottage, right next to the pub. It has a real turn-of-the-century feel with its thatched roof. Inside, there is a big master bedroom, extra bedrooms, a semi-kitchen (with a small fridge and tea kettle), and a lovely family room with a TV and DVDs that appeal to all ages. There is also free Wifi, a private driveway and several bathrooms, as well as a private garden. Alternatively, there are sixty guest rooms of various sizes and budgets. They are all designed in an eco-friendly, country-contemporary style, comfortably furnished with chic fabrics and quality fittings and have views of the river. All have modern, ensuite bathrooms.
Wildflower & Windrush Walk (Courtesy Old Swan & Minster Mill)
Activity-wise, there is a lot to offer families at the Old Swan & Minster Mill including fishing. The staff provides equipment for trout fishing in the river. Families can take up a game of tennis or take a family bike ride to the nearby town of Crawley. Kids can check out hens and rabbits directly on premises, play a game of table tennis, or explore nearby Minster Lovell Hall, which is full of history and offers ample space for kids to run around. Families can also take a few well mapped out, self-guided walks in the beautiful countryside. Horseback riding is also available.
Where to Eat
Delicious eats at the Old Swan & Minster Mill (Courtesy Old Swan & Minster Mill)
A buffet breakfast is included in the daily rate and is served in the main restaurant where the decor and the style of service with traditional china is quintessential English. Breakfast offerings include cereals, yogurt and bread, as well as cooked dishes.
Dinner is served on the premises, and is quite popular amongst locals and guests. Chef David Mwita uses fresh local ingredients and offers many healthy options including nice salads and smoked salmon. There are traditional dishes like haddock, venison steak, maple turkey and salmon. There are also goat cheese tarts, rack of lamb and chocolate tart, and they are all delicious. It varies from fancy to ordinary, with an appeal to everyone’s taste buds. Nearby in a town called Witney, there is also a wide variety of restaurants to choose from.
Getting There and Getting Orientated
The Old Swan & Minster Mill is two miles north of the A40. It’s a great base to explore the Cotswolds. Nearby Witney can be reached in 10 minutes, and the historic and popular Oxford city center is just a 30 minutes’ drive which makes for a great day trip.
- Check the Internet for specials to find the best deal on the hotel.
- Speak to the concierge to get tips on what to do and where to eat.
- Encourage your children to take part in the hotel's offerings as a bike ride through the nearby countryside is spectacular.
- Fishing is difficult to do without a guide, but if your kids are young enough, they won’t mind.
- Definitely take the stroll to Minster Lovell Hall down the road for an explore and to go back in time.