Escaping your desk and nourishing those dry peepers with the dewy, picturesque Oxfordshire countryside seems like a good antidote to 2017’s ‘misery months’, nominally January and February.
If you missed the skiing chairlift and the Maldives were fully booked, the British countryside harbours endless activities, culinary joys and minimal airport agony.
A boutique stop off with wellies in the porch, tubs in the bedroom and a botanical bar sounds like a good start. Thyme Hotel is a new addition to the Oxford boutique hotel spread, infected by the Soho Farmhouse fever with rooms, cottages and restored barns containing the soft luxuries of the city but in a warm, country setting.
The food is the main lure of Thyme. Their cooking classes play on the benefits of locality, living off the land and ensuring optimum nutrition. What’s more they’re fun and in a beautiful setting – perfect for hen weekends or simply taking your mind off city stress.
What’s more, there’s a pub just behind Thyme called The Swan which fulfils all bucolic expectations. The stone fireplaces and cosy candlelit suppers are worth the two-minute walk with a torch and woolly gloves.
The idyllic villages surrounding Thyme demand a visit, which is where the Maserati SUV comes in. For those oscillating between the city and the countryside, as our magazine’s title denotes, there’s necessity for a sturdy motor to hold the dog, the equipment, the school bags and your patience when bearing the Friday night queues.
Maserati’s first SUV drives like a sports car with larger wheels and more leg room. The Levante really comes into its own though when off-roading. Rather than pulling calf muscles on the brake, the car does it for you, punching its breaks into the mud while you steer it away from the trees. So while it’s a comfort box for commuting, its split personality ensures some weekend fun over and above a mid-afternoon G&T.