Favourite Cotswolds’ Pubs
The Cotswolds may be one of the most glamorous parts of the English countryside. With its rolling hills, gold coloured, well-preserved villages and stately houses and gardens, it is often seen as the perfect weekend get-away.
Its proximity to London (an hour and a half or so drive or train ride), means that it is exceptionally popular with Londoners, keen to get some fresh country air and peace and quiet.
It is perhaps due to this popularity – also amongst celebrities – that the pubs in the Cotswolds are of a very high calibre. And the food, some pubs adjusting to London tastes, some pubs remaining traditional, is often very good. Now many of these ‘gourmet pubs’ have rooms too, which make for the ideal place to stay. While they may not have five star facilities like Babington House (in Somerset) and Limewood (in Hampshire), they have heaps of charm and ooze a cosiness that is hard to emanate.
Here are a number of my Cotswolds Pub recommendations:
The Bell at Sapperton –All about the puddings
Sapperton, GL7 6LE
The Bell has got a good name for itself in the Cotswolds and, having had lunch there last weekend, I can completely see why. The menu is a mixture of traditional pub grub (generous helpings of fish and chips/burgers/pies) and more adventurous dishes (like parmesan gnocchi with spinach and butternut squash puree). The food is beautifully presented and the service is good and quick. But they clearly leave the best till last – their puddings (we tried the pear almond tart, the chocolate delice and the white chocolate and passion fruit bavarois) were all insanely good and almost looked too pretty to eat. Great prices too and the village of Sapperton is worth a stroll through.
The Woolpack Inn, Slad – For an authentic experience
Slad Road, Slad, Stroud
For a super traditional, very cosy and down to earth pub, head here. It has a phenomenal selection of beers and the traditional pub grub is good too, but one of its biggest draws is that Laurie Lee (author of ‘Cider with Rosie’) lived in the village and also adored the Woolpack. His grave is in fact opposite the pub, in the village churchyard.
The Lion Inn Winchcombe – Characterful and good value
37 North St, Winchcombe, GL54 5PS
This 15th century coaching inn was fully renovated in 2011 and is now a beautiful pub with 7 lovely rooms. The rooms are charming but simple, with Bramley bath products and fresh flowers but without televisions. Oh, and dogs are more than welcome too. The food is hearty and warming (especially their Sunday roasts are meant to be amazing), served by cheerful waitresses. Located right in the heart of the historic village of Winchcombe, it’s a great base to admire both Cotswold towns and countryside from. Or if you just want to fully relax, curl up by their roaring fire with a book and soak up the cosy atmosphere.
The Wheatsheaf, Northleach – All about the food, with contemporary rooms
West End, Northleach, GL54 3EZ
Another old coaching inn, this one has become well-known for its excellent food. I ate here a few years ago and I can still remember how good the food was. Expect London prices but it’s totally worth it. They also have 14 contemporary rooms with all the mod-cons (Bang and Olufsen televisions, 100 acres bath products and wifi) so those who don’t like low ceilings and higgledy-piggledy rooms will certainly like it here. Go for the Excellent rooms if you want a wow bath. They even have a treatment room in the garden for those in search of some serious pampering.
The Village Pub, Barnsley – Best of both worlds
Barnsley, GL7 5EF
The Village Pub is perfect for a weekend break, because, while it’s good value and ultra-cosy, you have access to the extensive gardens of its sister property the (far grander) Barnsley House across the road. And for a small extra cost you can use Barnsley House’s spa and facilities. If you’re not interested in spas, then the Village Pub’s four poster beds with white fluffy duvets and mouth-watering breakfasts are surely a big enough draw. The village of Barnsley itself is also very charming.
Photos the pubs’ own (apart from The Bell).