Built with money from wool and from pale gold stone out of a local quarry, Painswick is a classic Cotswold town perched rather precariously on (and over the brink of) a steep hillside. If you’re not paying attention you might quite easily walk past Cardynham House – a discreet sign above the venerable front door of this Grade II-listed flower-hung building, right on the street, is hardly enough to focus your attention when everything else around is so worth looking at. The real fun starts once you get inside. A cavernous open fireplace, flanked by a bread oven, warms a cosy drawing room which seems to metamorphose at some point into a conservatory.
Somehow, nine totally unique bedrooms have been created in this apparently modest-sized house, and each one is a triumphal exercise of imagination. Dotted with antiques and murals, each is decorated to a different theme and, even side by side in the same building, they all work unusually well. The most eccentric of all, air-conditioned because it hasn’t a window to its name, has been got up like a desert pavilion. Another has its own private patio largely taken up with a covered plunge pool (heated, and with a powered current to swim against). Breakfast is taken in the restaurant that, on the evenings that it’s open, serves Thai food.