Category: Holiday Activities

The 13 Best Pubs in The Cotswolds

With its pastoral landscapes dotted with charming villages of honey-hued stone homes, the Cotswolds is one of the world’s most picture-perfect destinations. It’s a land of imposing castles with immaculate gardens and historic inns with adjoining pubs, making it a popular gastronomic destination in the UK. 

If you love good old-fashioned pubs, then the Cotswolds is the best place for you. Offering ultimate refreshment and pure relaxation, you will find several different pubs in the region, from family-friendly and dog-friendly pubs to gastro pubs serving world-class cuisines and cosy pubs with excellent wine lists. Serving up classics like fish and chips, Sunday roasts, sticky toffee pudding and fresh pints of ale, these pubs are the perfect places to unwind at the end of the day exploring the towns and countryside.

Here’s our pick of the best country pubs in the Cotswolds that you need to check out.

1. The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

Set in an 18th-century Cotswold stone farmhouse, The Wild Rabbit is a modern British inn where they serve a mix of artisan beers alongside ales and seasonal cocktails. Located in the sleepy village of Kingham, the inn has a relaxing and welcoming ambience and is a perfect place to enjoy a drink and meal by the fire. 

Food is taken very seriously in The Wild Rabbit, making it a top spot for fans of exceptional flavour. Their in-house chefs create a constantly changing menu that features seasonal ingredients sourced directly from their Daylesford Market Garden and organic farm. 

2. The Kings Head Inn, Bledington

In 2018, The King’s Head Inn bagged The Good Pub Guide of the Year Award, which proves their commitment to offering excellent food and drinks. Notable for its bustling atmospheric bar and welcoming customer service, it’s a quintessential Cotswolds pub strategically situated in the scenic green village of Bledington, famous for its 15th-century church and Victorian maypole.

With a stunning interior that consists of rustic wood beams and an original flagstone floor, it’s easy to see why The Kings Head Inn is so popular among locals. But it’s probably the excellent food and drinks that kept people coming back, which you can sample throughout the day.

3. The Chequers, Chipping Norton

Set in the heart of the charming village of Churchill, The Chequers is what you would exactly expect from a rural country pub. As one of the most family-friendly country pubs in the Cotswolds, this place is a popular venue for various village activities, including family lunches, quiz nights, live music, evening dinners, and holiday festivities. 

Aside from the cosy restaurant, The Chequers has a comfortable bar area where friends and families meet for a drink and a chat. Serving a variety of real ales, including locally brewed, as well as a wide choice of wines and other cocktails, The Chequers should be on everyone’s list of pubs when visiting the Cotswolds.

4. The Kingham Plough, Kingham

Winning the National Dining Pub and the County Dining Pub for the Good Pub Guide in 2019​, The Kingham Plough is definitely one of the best foodie pubs in the Cotswolds. From traditional pub fares of ploughman’s board and cheeseburgers to the pricier mains like pan-roasted duck breast, this pub offers a high-end take on classic British pub foods. The menu changes from season to season and features game meats and some vegetarian dishes. 

Set in the heart of a pretty village, the Kingham Plough has the feel of a 17th-century Cotswolds inn. This cosy pub is a popular local venue in Kingham that tends to have a gentle buzz on weekday lunchtimes. You’ll be welcomed by enthusiastic staff who will be happy to offer tips and advice on the local area, so it’s a great place to visit if this is your first time in the Cotswolds.

5. The Horse and Groom, Bourton-on-the-Hill

The Horse and Groom is a stunning Georgian property that is a great place to come for a meal. The chefs here don’t simply change their menu daily, but they also alter it throughout lunch or dinner using fresh ingredients from their garden. Breakfast is particularly popular, but it’s also a great place to visit for a classic Sunday lunch.

The Horse and Groom is as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside. Standing at the top of Bourton-on-the-Hill, this charming pub opens to the gorgeous views of the village. After spending some time at the pub, you can go on a scenic stroll down the road and visit village attractions that include the unusual Sezincote House, Batsford Arboretum, and Cotswold Falconry.

6. The Five Alls, Filkins

The Five Alls is an 18th-century English coaching inn set in the picturesque village of Filkins. As well as the roaring fires and sparkling fairy lights in winter, the pub’s summer beer garden is a popular hangout spot for locals and their furry friends, making it a great place to visit all year round. They are famous for their local ales and a generous serving of Sunday lunches, including classics like homemade pies and fish and chips. 

Tucked in the southern end of the village, The Five Alls is a honey-stoned property with a homey feel. As you get inside, you’ll find a relaxing bar and lounge with exposed beams, leather chairs, and a log fire. There’s a dining room at the back with a more formal feel and fitted with a chandelier and striking wallpaper.

7. The Ebrington Arms, Chipping Campden

As one of the best Cotswold pubs in the whole area, The Ebrington Arms has won several awards for the past decade due to its excellent food and drinks. In fact, for seven consecutive years, this pub has earned two AA Rosettes as well as being rated by The Times as the number one village pub in the UK in 2017.

Housed in a 1640 building with Victorian decor, The Ebrington Arms is a spacious but cosy place. You’ll step into a bar and dining area with exposed beams and wooden floors. During winter, the pub’s inglenook fireplace offers a welcoming respite from the cold weather. Set on the edge of the quaint village of Chipping Campden, the Ebrington Arms is a bit off-the-beaten-path, yet it’s within easy reach from the main streets of Cotswolds.   

The pub’s well-priced menus come with vegan options, and all dishes are full of flavour. All ingredients are sourced locally, such as the sourdough bread from a nearby local bakery and the fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from the garden a few steps away from the pub.

8. The Village Pub, Cirencester

Located in the beautiful village of Cirencester, The Village​ Pub has always been a favourite of both locals and tourists visiting the Cotswolds. With exceptional food and fine ales, comfy seating, open fires, and a relaxing atmosphere, it’s easy to see why it’s considered the best country pubs in the Cotswolds.

The Village Pub is in the centre of Barnsley near Cirencester, just off the main street that runs through the village. Despite a recent makeover, the pub managed to retain its traditional English pub feel while adding a contemporary flair. It has four dining areas with cosy fireplaces and old wingback chairs, along with a bar area that has beautiful teal green walls and exposed stone. 

9. The Lion Inn, Winchcombe

Built during 1500, The Lion Inn is a 16th-century coaching inn set in the heart of Winchcombe, the walking capital of Cotswolds. A modern makeover in 2011 has cleverly transformed this historic pub into a cosy but airy house, with exposed stone walls and beautiful rugs on flagstone floors. 

This AA Rosette pub offers an excellent selection of fine dishes in a dog-friendly setting, making it hugely popular among locals and tourists. The menu consists of carefully devised starters, mains ranging from pork and fennel sausage to beer-battered fish and chips, and classic British puddings.

10. The Royal Oak, Tetbury

Nestled a few minutes south of Tetbury, The Royal Oak is famous for its exceptional food, great value ales, excellent wines, and wonderfully welcoming ambience. It’s located in the vibrant area of Tetbury, just a few minutes away from the heart of Cotswolds and is usually buzzing with locals and tourists during lunchtime and in the evening.

The Royal Oak offers reasonably priced fare made from seasonal ingredients. They have a good range of food items on their menu, from traditional pub dishes of burgers and risottos to delectable salads and vegan choices. Guests can also enjoy a hearty breakfast buffet that includes juices, pastries, and all the elements of a Full English.

11. The Potting Shed Pub, Crudwell

The Potting Shed is a charming pub located in the beautiful village of Crudwell, a few miles from Malmesbury, Cirencester, and Tetbury. With roaring log fires during winter and a beautiful beer garden in summer, it’s easy to see why this is frequently recommended as one of the best Cotswold pubs to visit.

The menu here showcases an excellent selection of dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Some of the most popular dishes on The Potting Shed Pub’s menu includes grilled tiger prawns with chilli and garlic butter, twice-baked double Gloucester soufflé with spinach, and flat-iron chicken with chimichurri and fries. For desserts, you can order a delectable serving of pudding or double chocolate brownies topped with vanilla ice cream.

12. The Fleece Inn, Bretforton

Taking advantage of its market garden location in Bretforton, The Fleece Inn uses fresh, seasonal, and locally grown fruits and vegetables. As well as being one of the best places to eat in the Cotswolds, this pub hosts the annual British Asparagus Festival, which takes place between April and June.

Built more than 600 years ago, this half-timbered farmhouse is one of the oldest pubs in England. You’ll find precious antique and pewter collections all around The Fleece Inn, as well as priceless furniture pieces.

13. The Bell at Sapperton, Sapperton

The Bell at Sapperton is an award-winning pub located in the beautiful village of Sapperton, between Cirencester and Stroud. It’s a popular hangout spot for wine lovers, discerning foodies, and ale enthusiasts. Famous for its food and drinks, the menu at The Bell includes hearty, traditional foods prepared using fresh ingredients. 

Winner of the Best Destination Pub in Gloucestershire’s famous Muddy Awards, The Bell at Sapperton is everything you would expect in a traditional English pub. Set in the picture-perfect countryside in the Cotswold, this pub offers a fabulous beer garden for summer and roaring log fires in winter.

Summary

The Cotswolds is filled with beauty and charm, making it one of the best places to holiday in the UK. Nestled in its quaint villages and rolling hills are family-run pubs and traditional alehouses serving delectable drinks and hearty home-cooked meals.

If you are planning to visit the Cotswolds, make sure you check out its delightful historic pubs. With low wooden beams, roaring fires, and a fantastic selection of foods and drinks, these country pubs are an inviting spot to relax and sample delicious fares after a day spent exploring the scenic villages.

If you’re coming on holiday to this famous Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and are still looking for somewhere to stay on your holiday, check out our range of self-catering properties in the Cotswolds.

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