The Lygon Arms Hotel, Broadway (April 2019)

Posted on: April 10th, 2019 by Simon Carter
The Lygon Arms

There are three separate but equally valid reasons to consider a stay at The Lygon Arms in Broadway. The first may simply refer to the quality of the product itself – the hotel features, facilities and importantly the warmth of welcome. The second is the context of the location of the hotel – nestled on the northern border of an English Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB, The Cotswolds) and the third is the extraordinary and at times, overwhelming, sense of history that pervades any stay.

Dating as far back as records of the property may be found, the main building has been a hotel, or rather a Coaching Inn. For a few sensible reasons the name of the Inn changed to suit the times. As early as 1377 it was referred to as The White Hart, a Hart being a mature stag and the personal symbol of King Richard II. After 1400, his cousin Henry IV, a Lancastrian, had usurped Richard so The White Hart became The White Swan reflecting one of the symbols of the Lancastrians. Under future monarchs the name would change to The Swan and Hart (Henry V), The George (James I) and back to The Swan. From 1641 the name returned to The White Hart and remained so for 200 years before General Henry Beauchamp Lygon owned the property and had his butler act as manager.

The government introduced by Statute (National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949) Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which now number 46 in England and Wales. Subsequent government Acts have enhanced the status of AONBs to close to parity with National Parks. The Cotswolds was first designated in 1966, covering 787 square miles and as such the largest in England and Wales. The area is partially bordered by the M4 to the South, the M40 to the North East and the M5 to the West.

The Cotswolds AONB enjoys – like the chilterns – its own statutory body called a Conservation Board, the aim of the board is to protect and enhance the countryside as well as preside over sympathetic planning. The latter is clear from the abundance of new build properties close to the Lygon Arms that feature the beautiful Cotswold Stone.

The famous long walking trail – The Cotswold Way (red line on the map above) – runs through Broadway having started close by in the market town of Chipping Campden, taking in a total of 102 miles along the route to the city of Bath in the South. Should a shorter walk be the order of the day the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds,’ offers a selection of restaurants, pubs and tea rooms. However, if the town is a mere base and a car drive is preferred, then countless destinations are available from Stratford upon Avon or Warwick to Oxford or Bath.

Cotswold attractions found on helpful websites such as or include those from art galleries to a heritage railway, from Broadway Tower to clay pigeon shooting, from museums to horse riding, from a distillery to a falconry centre, from plenty of parks and open space activity to much more besides. Surely though, taking in the highlights of the local beautiful villages of quintessential English country life is a must.

Lygon Arms Courtyard Suite

There are six catagories of accomodation at The Lygon Arms, three rooms – cosy, classic and deluxe and three suites – junior, courtyard and master. The courtyard suites were developed in the last couple of years as part of a phase of redevelopment by the L+R Iconic Luxury Hotels Group (also of Chewton Glen and Cliveden House). These new opulent suites were previously a function cum events facility but now provide the best of the modern world to contrast with the near overwhelming sense of history of the main building.

Top Left and Right in the images above is the courtyard situated behind the main road, with (left) the main building and (right) the courtyard suites. Bottom right is a depiction of Oliver Cromwell from 1651, standing in his now eponymously named room, at the open fire, prior to The Battle of Worcester that saw the demise of King Charles I cause. Two years previously the King had visited the hotel on numerous occasions for meetings with his noble staff and likewise now has a room named in his honour.

The sense of history is apparent, as you walk through hobbit like higgledy-piggledy corridors, stairs and ultimately tiny doors and onto floorboards that were clearly built to last – undulating through the rigours of time – to peer through tiny mullioned windows. Grade listed and untouchable, the architecture and the stories that may be told are priceless.  A little tour of these – if unoccupied – is a must.

Executive chef Ales Maurer delivers delicious food on a consistent basis across the property. The main restaurant is the Lygon Bar and Grill with its relaxed but friendly service, which is situated in a vaulted ceiling spacious room with pre-dinner bar. This is supplemented by a relaxed Wine Bar with food menu next door to the hotel (above left). There are also the Lounges which are found numerously around the hotel (bottom left), each replete with an open fireplace and staffed by the well trained, enthusiastic and amenable front of house serving food and drink, there is afternoon tea available (bottom right) plus an impressive cocktail bar (above right).

Highlights of an evening meal on a busy Wednesday evening in late March – the number of covers served was indeed impressive in the main restaurant – included a twice baked cheese souffle starter, that at the time of writing was an ‘iconic dish,’ meaning that it may be found on the menus of other properties in the group (quite famously at Chewton Glen but also recently at Cliveden House.) The notion of ‘Iconic dishes’ is that they have been selected as the chef’s and/or customer’s favourites by each property and are replicable across the group. This concept is fluid and the dishes may change by the time of a future visit. Also enjoyed was a hearty pie with creamy mash and a side of carrots.

The spa tucked away in the property is a bonus should you want to relax and unwind beside a pool, enjoy a treatment or two or alternatively work out in the gym.

Overall the Lygon Arms is a real hit! For a couple of decades post WWII, the property enjoyed glory days with visits recorded in the famous Guestbook from an array of Hollywood royalty and indeed British Royalty. Being the countryside outpost of The London Savoy, the old Inn naturally attracted the good and great. Sadly, a succession of unfortunate ownerships followed that led the hotel into disrepair and in need of some much deserved tender loving care. Since 2015 L+R have made that significant investment and continue to do so, restoring and reviving the fortunes of this historic Inn.

Currently scoring 4.5 on Trip Advisor and receiving the number one rating for best value in the area, the ratings, awards and customers will come in their number as this great institution sings proudly once more.