The ultimate in winter comfort: Inside Oxford’s Old Parsonage hotel, a 17th-century gem with winding staircases, dreamy beds and a hearty restaurant that’s become a local institution
- Joe Minihane finds that his room at the hotel has ‘a quintessentially Oxford feel’
- He says that guests are ‘treated to the best night’s sleep imaginable’
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The wind is blowing the last of the leaves from the trees along Banbury Road, sending them skittering through the ancient wooden door as it opens into the courtyard of Oxford’s Old Parsonage.
Diners are taking their seats for an alfresco evening meal, with handy heaters and vast umbrellas in case the weather turns.
And while it certainly appeals, this city, and this hotel in particular, perfectly provide indoor cosiness as the nights draw in.
A 17th Century gem, adjacent to the beautiful St Giles’ Church and just a short stroll from the excellent cafes and pubs of the Jericho neighbourhood, the Old Parsonage is home to 35 individually designed rooms, a private library and the Parsonage Grill – a restaurant that is something of an Oxford institution.
As soon as you step over the threshold, you have a sense of being wrapped in a warm embrace.
Booked inn: Joe Minihane checks into Oxford’s Old Parsonage hotel – a ’17th Century gem’
The hotel is adjacent to the beautiful St Giles’ Church and just a short stroll from the excellent cafes and pubs of the Jericho neighbourhood
This is a space that wears its history proudly, from the moody, dark interiors and vast hearth that dominates the bar to the winding staircases leading to the rooms upstairs.
In the room there is much to enthuse about, from the luxury Noble Isle products in the bathroom to the locally roasted coffee and a balcony accessible via French windows.
Overlooking a small courtyard, with the lit, Georgian windows and spires of adjacent buildings looming, it lends the room a quintessentially Oxford feel.
Pick up one of the award-winning short stories by new writers that have been left on the nightstand, take a seat and there’s an immediate sense of being transported to a more cerebral, less frantic world.
Downstairs, the Parsonage Grill provides the ultimate in-winter comfort.
The space is billed as having a ‘clubby atmosphere’, and there’s certainly a laid-back vibe with its midnight-blue walls adorned with evocative portraiture of local writers and artists.
The menu is pleasingly hearty, featuring classics such as 55-day aged ribeye steak, and chicken, mushroom and tarragon pie, both of which are exceptional.
There’s a distinct lack of urgency, with service on the right side of leisurely. Ginger sponge and a pot of fresh lemon-and-ginger tea is the perfect way to round off the evening.
The beds are dreamy, and the heavy curtains erase any outdoor light.
‘You’ll be treated to the best night’s sleep imaginable,’ Joe says of the hotel
One of 35 individually designed rooms at the hotel, complete with a ‘dreamy’ bed
The hotel’s ‘delicious’ breakfast
You’ll be treated to the best night’s sleep imaginable, setting you up for the most delicious breakfast.
The poached eggs on sourdough, preceded by caramelised grapefruit and weapons-grade black coffee, are certainly the ideal way to start the day.
Early risers should make the most of the Parsonage’s proximity to Jericho and the winding paths of Port Meadow, which offers the chance for a bracing morning constitutional.
Above is the Parsonage Grill, a restaurant that is something of an Oxford institution
‘As soon as you step over the threshold, you have a sense of being wrapped in a warm embrace,’ writes Joe
Early risers should make the most of the Parsonage’s proximity to Jericho and the winding paths of Port Meadow (above)
Hardy souls can even brave a crisp dip in the Thames at one of its designated bathing spots.
The excellent Jericho Tavern is the place for a quiet pint, while the Last Bookshop rewards eager readers.
And with a hotel that makes you feel part of this wonderful city, it’s very tempting to book in for a longer, more languid stay.
Old Parsonage, Oxford. B&B costs from £340 a night (oldparsonagehotel.co.uk).
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