The Feathers Hotel: “Personality on a plate”

Everyone who knows me, knows that I am fond of a mini-break and taking up residence in a country bolt hole for a few, rejuvenating days. We happily got to spend last weekend relaxing in the small town of Woodstock, on the outskirts of Oxford City. Woodstock has got to be one of  the reasons Americans describe England as ‘quaint’ – it is picture postcard perfect. This small, tranquil town neighbours the beautiful Blenheim Palace and its 2,000 acres of parkland.

“Clock off. Wind down. Chill out. You’re in Woodstock.”

Our hotel for the night was the recently refurbished ‘Feathers‘ in central Woodstock. The Feathers’ re-design was completed in May this year, encompassing all of the bedrooms, en-suites and communal areas. The 17th century town hotel has been converted from three buildings, and now boasts a Bistro (complete with a gorgeous courtyard), a well-renowned restaurant, 16 beautiful bedrooms and five suites. The piece de resistance for us, however, was the UK’s first ‘Gin Bar‘. Situated within the hotel, it stocks well over 50 different types of gin. We were brought a couple of Hendricks gin and tonics up to our room upon arrival, (pictured above) which went down an absolute treat…

Room no. 28 – a ‘Feature room’ : £225 per night (bed and breakfast)

CLICK HERE for a full room and board tariff, and special offers

The fact that the hotel is privately owned is resonant in the subtley attentive service and wide ranging knowledge of the friendly staff. What Chris, the sommelier, can’t tell you about the fine dining menu, the specially selected local ingredients or which wine to have with which course might well not be worth knowing. 

“I like to think of it as ‘cooking for an audience’ and try to serve personality on a plate”

The Feathers’ Head Chef, Marc Hardiman

We chose to eat from the a la carte menu and were recommended a glass of wine to match each course. We were also treated to a glass of the legendary ‘Chateau de Beaulon’ desert wine (to compliment our cheese board selection). Head chef Marc Hardiman takes pride in sourcing local and fresh ingredients; such as scallops which are caught and cooked within 24 hours and the Cotswold specialty blue cheese which is matured for only four months, bought from a farm only 25 miles away. The menu changes seasonally and (as all printing is done ‘in-house’) updated as per what is fresh and available to the kitchen at the time.

Marc describes his cooking style as ‘femenine’; which translates to the plate as portions that are delicate enough to leave you feeling contentedly full – not bloated. There is always a welcome range of textures on the plate. For example, I had the scallops as a starter which were served with pureed, sliced, grated and tempura cauliflower. Marc also likes to inject a little fun into the silver service proceedings; our palate cleansers included a tomato tonic and a yogurt with crackling candy on top (a real blast from the past). I sceptically chose the adventurous ‘porridge ice cream’ with chocolate pudding for desert, but was surprised when I was left wanting for more ice cream and couldn’t manage all of the chocolate – magic indeed. 

At The Feathers, the design is in the high quality detail. Special attention is crafted into the numerous gin cocktails, the thoughtful tasting menu and even the decanter of jelly beans placed in each room. Personality here is served on a large platter, not just a plate. 

CLICK HERE to visit The Feathers website and for further booking information
Or email them at:

Don’t forget to visit Blenheim Palace; literally just around the corner from the hotel. 


  1. Joanna
    July 1, 2010 / 7:07 am

    Wow it looks idyllic – why go abroad when we have places like this in England? X

  2. Matt
    July 1, 2010 / 7:50 am

    The food at the Feathers is superb – great review

  3. Claire
    July 1, 2010 / 2:16 pm

    I need a gin bar in my life !!!! Sounds dreamy xxx

  4. Gillian
    July 3, 2010 / 9:10 am

    Lovely location, wonderful food,great hotel all sound good reasons to visit The Feathers… but for me the fact it has a 'Gin Bar' makes it a 'must see'.

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