I’ve lived about an hour from the Cotswolds for my entire life. Yet for some reason, my explorations have always taken me past it, through it, in the opposite direction, and basically anywhere except one of the most popular places in the UK.
Thankfully, I’ve put that right, and we have found ourselves making more and more jaunts down to the villages and towns of the Cotswolds for great food, cosy pubs, decent restaurants, and plenty of countryside views. This list of best places for food and drink in the Cotswolds is far from exhaustive, but it gives you a few ideas based on some of the discoveries we’ve made.
Undoubtedly it will grow and change over the years, but for now, here are some of the great places we’ve found to eat and drink in the Cotswolds.
The Chequers, Churchill
We literally found The Chequers in Churchill by accident on one summer camping trip when Jamie looked for a pub that we could walk to for lunch. Little did we know what we were letting ourselves in for.
The Chequers has that brilliant ability to serve up fairly classic dishes, but do so brilliantly, with just the right element of their own spin and creativity without going overboard. Like so many places in the Cotswolds, they’re big on using local produce and their menu is the kind that leaves you struggling to decide because it all sounds so good.
The setting is lovely, both inside and out, and they always seem to have plenty of staff, all well trained. Both times they’ve been wonderful, helping us find a good spot with the dogs, accommodating any requests, and helping to create an experience that means The Chequers is never a place you’ll just be ‘in and out’ of.
You’ll go for lunch, and find yourself eking out the experience to make it last a bit longer. One not to be missed.
The Kingham Plough
The Kingham Plough is one of two great pubs in Kingham, and arguably the slightly less famous of the two. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less lovely. They serve up some decent food and like so many other places in the Cotswolds, there are seemingly endless rooms, corners, alcoves and sections to disappear into, come rain or shine.
We’ve been twice now – once for an excellent al fresco Sunday lunch, and the second time for a lunch while we hid away from torrential rain. Both times the food was great, and the staff didn’t mind going the extra mile to make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. A good reason to get to Kingham.
The Wild Rabbit, Kingham
If you mention eating out in Kingham in the Cotswolds, people will inevitably assume you mean the Wild Rabbit. It’s built up a pretty strong reputation for itself as more of a restaurant that pub, and I’m assured their restaurant food is excellent.
Sadly that section isn’t dog-friendly, so the times I’ve been, I’ve found myself comfortably ensconced in a cosy corner or by the fire enjoying a few drinks and some of their well thought-out snacks. The staff, as with so many places in the Cotswolds, are incredibly accommodating
The Crown Inn, Church Enstone
Owned by the same people who own The Plough in Kingham, the Crown Inn is relatively recently refurbished. It’s tucked away in Church Enstone, just a stone’s throw from Soho Farmhouse but away from any crowds.
There’s an open fire, flagstone floors and reclaimed wood tables and bar. The food was nicely done, plenty of choice and some decent flavours, and the rooms were wonderfully done, with all sorts of little details ticked off from toiletries to hanging space.
The Lamb Burford
I visited The Lamb in Burford with Brandy as part of a piece for work and it was a lovely experience. It’s in the heart of Burford which is lovely in itself, so it’s perfect for a little mooch. But it’s also got a surprisingly huge garden which is great for relaxing in, and is a bit of a rabbit warren in terms of a huge collection of rooms and nooks and crannies to dine in.
When I visited the staff were lovely, the food well executed in a way that was simple but creative and full of flavour, and our dog-friendly room was perfect for a ‘mother-daughter’ break. A great place if you want to be in the heart of a chocolate box Cotswold town.
The Bell Stow
We stopped for a bite to eat at The Bell in Stow during a dog walk and were blown away by possibly the best ploughmans we’ve ever had.
It’s in a lovely spot with a nice garden, but has that cosy feel that makes it just as great in winter as in summer. Well worth checking out if you’re in Stow.
The Cellar Stow
We stumbled on The Cellar in Stow and it’s probably one of my favourite stops. Not only do they have a great selection of wine, and the knowledge to match. They also served up lovely small plates to go with it.
The perfect place for a few glasses of decent wine, nice food, and a bottle to take away too. Well worth a visit and somewhere we’ve been back to several times. Dog friendly inside and out too.
The Porch House Stow
The Porch House is a popular place in Stow and I’ll admit that we feared it would be a bit typical touristy, expensive and not very good. We were wrong.
Despite being incredibly busy, we were well accommodated here, along with the dogs. The food was seasonal, well-executed, and while simple was also full of flavour. It was a good experience and I’d happily go back when in Stow.
The Scenic Supper was born in lockdown and has taken various forms over the years – gorgeous greenhouses overlooking the Cotswold Countryside, where locally-sourced food and great cocktails were served in a unique setting.
It moved to a beautiful barn over winter, has done various pop-ups, and now they’ve created Roots & Seeds Kitchen and garden in Cirencester which I’m yet to check out and am fairly confident is going to be great. Either way, you can guarantee creative food, sourced from some of the great local producers in the Cotswolds and some lovely drinks.
Other places on my ‘list’
The list is long, and there are plenty of Cotswold places still on, which I’ll add to this post once I get to them.
But in the meantime if you want to check them out have a look:-
The Kitchen at Primrose Hill Farm, near Banbury
My friend Ness (her of Hungriness on Instagram, go check her out) raves about this place and I’m looking forward to visiting. Nestled near Banbury right on the northern edge of the Cotswolds, it’s a pop-up style, using great produce inspired by the seasons to create great dishes. They do brunch, lunch, dinners, pop-up events and more. It sounds fab.
Pit Kitchen, Chipping Norton
The passion project of two brothers who love cooking over fire, the Pit Kitchen apparently brings their favourite parts of East London’s food scene to the Cotswolds setting of the Cornwell Estate just outside Chipping Norton. They’re doing pop-up events at the moment then in summer you can visit them whenever you like.
The Old Butcher’s, Stow
This place just always looks lovely and I’m told it’s fab. My pooches are a bit big to get there so I’m waiting until we can board them and go and dine on everything from seafood to great meat. Watch this space!
Where have you been in the Cotswolds that you’d recommend? Let me know and I’ll get there as soon as I can!