Nestled in the Gloucestershire part of The Cotswolds, you'll find the quaint town of Painswick. The Falcon, just opposite Painswick church is a welcoming bed, breakfast and restaurant with gorgeously green views of the rolling hills of Gloucestershire. Famously known for the town's yew trees and Rococo Garden, The Falcon makes for the perfect base for walkers, countryside lovers and seekers of good old peace and quiet. It's a friendly but tranquil place, which boasts a fantastic menu in a cosy environment.
My friend Katie and I settled into our twin room (£95 for weekend bed and breakfast) after a warm welcome from the staff. It had a shabby chic feel with cute check throws, a proper teapot, a large fireplace and distressed dressing table. There was a sofa and large wardrobe in the room which gave us plenty of space. In the bathroom, which continued the heritage inspired theme, there were toiletries from The White Company and plenty of towels and spare loo rolls.
After plonking down our bags, we made the most of the good weather with on of the local walks. This Little Cotswolds Walk guide had a few great ideas, with hints and tips on difficulty of the walks, if walking boots were needed and how long they would take. We went for the Slad Valley walk, which was said to take up to 2 hours and lots of up and downhill parts. They were all fantastic as they started and ended at The Falcon with views of Painswick from the highest points. This walk actually had a lot more uphill than we expected and was quite challenging in places (both as runners and Katie who exercises 4-5 times a week). It was great fun all the same and we came back for a well deserved Hendricks gin.
After another Sipsmith's Sloe Gin with lemonade, we felt our walk had definitely earnt us a hearty dinner. We needed to borrow an iron for our evening outfits, which the staff were happy to bring to the room. There were also plenty of sockets and a hairdryer for us to use.
The restaurant has a mismatched, homespun style but to a monochrome theme, cleverly making everything fit. A touch of elegance was brought to the room with chandeliers, candlesticks and reserved signs made from Hendricks gin bottles. I personally really love this style.
Over a chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio, Ca’Tesoli (£15.25), we looked over the menu and discussed the delectable specials. I opted for the Scallops and chorizo brochettes with a sweet chilli jam (£6.95) whilst Katie had the special Baked goats cheese with pesto salad.
The goat's cheese was stunning, with a generous salad and plenty of pine nuts to go with the rich cheese. This could have easily been a salad for lunch as it was a balance of indulgence and fresh flavours. My scallops and chorizo were delicious too, and the chunky scallops were cooked to excellence. For me, I would have preferred a more refined salad and presentation to make it feel like a more mature evening dish.
For main Katie plucked for the Roasted lamb rump with a rosemary crust, mint jus, dauphinoise potato and broccoli (£16.50) whilst I was drawn to the Grilled whole trout stuffed with almond and orange, crushed new potatoes and samphire (£15.75). Again a very generous portion, the lamb was well cooked and came with a mouthwatering side of dauphinoise; with the rich but minty jus bringing the flavours together just so.
Although a little daunting for some on the plate, the whole trout had been filleted in such a way that I had no issues tucking into the delicately light pink fish. The samphire was the ideal accompaniment and the seasoning on the fish was just divine. I actually didn't finish the potatoes as it was such a good portion.
After a short intermission and a peppermint tea each, we opted for a couple of desserts; Salted caramel chocolate tart with salted caramel ice cream (£6.15) and Vanilla and clotted cream pannacotta with a strawberry compote (£5.95). Other tantalising options included key lime pie, retro glazed peach melba and banoffee pancakes. It was a tough choice!
Katie's dessert was the winner for me. With rich clotted cream and flecks of real vanilla, it was the classic strawberries and cream combination with a sophisticated edge. My salted caramel tart had a stunning filling and a great quality ice cream too. For me the base was a little hard like it had been in the fridge, and I would have liked it to crumble as my fork broke into it.
A lovely sunny morning rolled around and with it a welcoming breakfast table. As well as cereal, fruit, yogurts and juices we could chose from mix and match breakfast options cooked to order. I went for salmon, poached eggs and bacon whilst Katie had sausages and scrambled eggs. I loved the addition of fresh toast brought in a basket which said "Morning!" Another friendly touch, which didn't come as a surprise from The Falcon.
The Falcon is definitely a warm and welcoming place to be, within reach of some gorgeous Cotswolds countyside. We had a potter around Meggie's shop too before our next stop in Leamington Spa. I'd recommend to those looking for a British break, especially if you like exploring the great outdoors. Or if you're not looking for an overnight stay, be sure to try out their seasonal menu options. And, if you're not the designated driver, perhaps the incredible gin list too.
We were invited as guests of The Falcon. All words, opinions and photography my own.