Thyme's Charlie Hibbert welcomes the opening of the Ox Barn restaurant at the Southrop's 'village within a  village'

Just last year it would have been difficult for most to walk into our enormous old ox barn and picture a warm and welcoming restaurant.

For as long as I can remember, it had been used as a stable yard to house horses on our farm. Thankfully, my mother has a unique vision.

Southrop Manor has been the Hibbert family home since 2002. Together with my mother Caryn, the family has conscientiously reignited a love of the land bringing new life to the farm and its buildings.

As food has always been at the heart of Thyme, as we grew, we began to dream of our own destination restaurant where we could welcome resident guests, locals or those just passing by to pop in for lunch or dinner.

Although an ambitious plan – working with listed buildings is always difficult – we have got there.

A labour of love, the architecturally impressive space was naturally designed to be cool in the summer and cosy in the winter, which gave us a perfect framework from which to start.

The 56-seater restaurant is full of contrasts: modern yet warm and inviting, old yet new, traditional yet innovative.

The original Cotswold stone rubble walls and huge soaring archways at both the north and south entrances remain, giving the building a striking stature with 65ft beams, each one hewn from an individual Canadian Douglas fir.

Any new elements that we have incorporated stand clear from the listed part of the building, the original structure.

We chose a grey concrete floor and bar in order to maintain the simplicity of an agricultural building but the challenge with such a big space has been to make sure it stays toasty in our cold countryside winters, so we have installed underfloor heating using renewable woodchips.

I also wanted the chefs to be visible whilst cooking in the Ox Barn, and we therefore commissioned a Charvet cooker.

I am looking forward to sharing our homegrown menu with locals and visitors alike.

With seasonal cuisine at its core, I have created farm-based and plant-inspired menus with signature dishes such as leeks with fried Wiltshire truffled egg, roast Southrop lamb with braised beans topped with salsa verde and hazelnut cake with poached pears and cream – all sourced within just metres of the kitchens.

Our chefs work very closely with our dedicated gardening team, led by head gardener Steve Quintin, and visa versa. The project has been long and, at times, challenging but we have finally unveiled the Ox Barn.

We hope that we have created a culinary experience that showcases our love of the land and we can’t wait to welcome you.

  • Thyme is a country house hotel, restaurant, cookery school, farm and village pub in Southrop, near Lechlade.
  • Thyme, Southrop Manor Estate, Gloucestershire GL7 3NX
  • Phone: 01367 850174
  • More information at