From posh pubs to farm-to-plate dining, Cotswold restaurants worth their salt thrive on the richly varied produce of the region
Cotswold restaurants worth their salt thrive on the richly varied produce of the region: local lamb; Gloucestershire Old Spot pork; seasonal fruit and veg, from asparagus to plums; double and single Gloucester cheese; fish from Donnington and Bibury trout farms – and much more.
Eating out in the region has been revolutionised by the rise of the gastropub. Yet should posh pubs not appeal, a number of seriously good traditional restaurants are very much holding their own too.
For further inspiration, see ourguide tothe Cotswoldsand the besthotels, pubs, afternoon teas, shops andthings to doin the area.
Wild Rabbit, Kingham
You take an exquisite food adventure here. Set in pretty Kingham, theWild Rabbitis a few fields away from sister enterprise Daylesford, the acclaimed organic deli and farm ‒ and the chefs here make brilliant use of this larder. Expect the likes of poussin with lingonberry, and slow-cooked pig cheek with smoked eel. Dine in the glorious restaurant or more cheaply in the rustic-chic bar.
Prices:Restaurant, £££; bar, ££
Best table:By fireside in winter, on the terrace in summer
The Royal Oak, Whatcote
Hidden away in a small village about four miles down narrow lanes from Shipston-on-Stour, The Royal Oak is a wonderful, undersung village pub with a Michelin-star restaurant. Dating from about 1500, it’s one of the oldest inns in the country, now run by husband and wife Richard and Soulange Craven. The exquisite dishes are his creation; Richard grew up in the area and delights in the local produce – think fallow buck with marsh blueberry and desserts such as dark chocolate souffle with cobnut ice cream. Soulange is the welcoming front-of-house manager bringing warmth to the pared-back décor of the restaurant section (the bar, with pool table and lots of local action, is in a separate part of the building). Come for a superb gourmet feast of three or six courses from Thursday to Sunday evenings.
Best table: By the floor-to-ceiling windows at lunchtime and on long summer evenings; near the cosy bar for winter dinners.
The Back Garden and MO, Broadway
Scandi-chic Dormy House hotel has two seriously sophisticated restaurants that are well worth a detour if you’re not staying here. The Back Garden is a wonderfully stylish venue with floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto a walled herb and flower garden (hence, obviously, the name). Its small brasserie-style menu celebrates Cotswold flavours with dishes such as braised beef cheek with cauliflower puree, and lamb (hogget and pressed belly) with potato and turnip gratin. Exclusive MO restaurant is a theatrical treat of a place in which just 12 diners sit at the chef’s table watching exquisite small dishes being put together and feasting on a seven-course tasting menu.
Best table: By the French windows in summer
The Lamb, Shipton-under Wychwood
This pleasing 16th-century inn was recently revived and refurbed and now offers excellent food alongside feel-good local character. There’s a generous, well-priced menu with foodie flourishes - expect the likes of venison loin from nearby Cornbury Estate, John Dory with seaweed butter, and very flavoursome côte de boeuf, along with pizzas, beer battered haddock and more.
Best table: All the dishes are served in restaurant or bar; choose the restaurant for slightly more formality and peace; opt for the bar if you want local buzz.
The Old Butchers, Stow-on-the-Wold
Set in an old butcher’s shop, this unpretentious bistro is a hands-down favourite of local foodies. It’s a laid-back venue with wooden floors and tables, and quirky flourishes such as upturned colanders as lampshades. Owners Peter and Louise Robinson (she’s front of house, he masterminds the kitchen) are passionate about good produce, and serve honest, unfussy dishes. Expect the likes of ox cheek bourguignon or crispy pig’s head croquette with walnut ketchup (delicious, and far less challenging than it sounds).
Best table: Look on to pretty Stow from a window table
The Rectory, Crudwell
For modern British dining in a relaxing setting head to The Rectory at Crudwell on the eastern edge of the Cotswolds. The restaurant at this low-key yet graciously chic hotel has built a local reputation for great flavour combinations presented with unfussy flare. Here you’ll enjoy dishes such as Parmesan gnocchi with walnuts and spring greens, and wild sea bass with artichoke and Swiss chard.
Best table:In the glorious conservatory
The Ox Barn at Thyme, Southrop
Thyme is an epicurean haven of a hotel with a magnificent restaurant set in a former cow barn.With its huge archways and splendid old beams, the Ox Barn conveys a terrific sense of agricultural heritage.Itsshort menureflects a passion for the landaroundandis based on produce from local farms and especially fromThyme’s own vegetable garden. Dishes include the likes ofcauliflower, fennel and almond soup, and grilled Southrop lamb with braised beans and spinach.
Best table: The quieter, more romantic tables are by the majestic arched entrance
Matthew Beardshall’s intimate fine-dining restaurant is a place of foodie adventure and delights. Open Wednesday to Saturday evening, it serves a set tasting menu of eight surprise courses, all very much based on market-fresh ingredients– think venison with roasted beetroot, and chestnut mousse with butternut squash ice cream. Diners alert the restaurant about any allergies or dislikes when they book, and then marvel at the gourmet theatre that unfolds when they arrive.
Best table:Near the kitchen to savour the aromas and the buzz
The Falcon, Painswick
Set in the very centre of the prettiest little town in the western Cotswolds, the Falcon became part of the Balfour Winery group in late 2021 – since when it has become an increasingly applauded foodie venue. The small menu is big on flavours. Classic pub food is given an uplifting twist – fish and chips comes with a caviar garnish and lemon-infused chips; burgers have a special house sauce. More sophisticated fare includes sea bream with soba noodles, ginger and chilli, and sirloin steak with truffle mash and tomato concasse. Sunday lunches have become something of a local institution – booking essential. Vegan and vegetarian adjustments can be made, in line with the pub’s accommodating ethos. Wines are pleasingly well priced, particularly flights of Balfour’s sparkling wines.
Best table:By the window in the (relatively) quiet, elegant library
Restaurant Hywel Jones, Lucknam Park
A magnificent Palladian mansion with stables, tennis courts, spa and more, opulent, elegantLucknam Parkexudes a tremendous sense of aristocratic country house luxury. Its Michelin-starred Restaurant Hywel Jones has a suitably grand setting, with chandeliers, great swags of curtains and gleaming glasses on white-clothed tables. Flavour combinations here are brilliantly, unexpectedly complementary, such as pigeon with caramelised turnip and pickled cherries.
Methuen Arms, Corsham
Set in handsome Corsham, backdrop to part of the Poldark series, 17th-century Methuen Arms is a smart-casual place with parquet floors, wooden tables and stylish banquettes. The food follows a nose-to-tail philosophy and is based the best seasonal – and very much local – produce. Expect the likes of partridge and chips with tarragon jus. Well-priced Sunday lunches include vegetarian options such as mushroom, fig and pecan roast.
Best table: Opt for a corner table indoors adjacent to the feature tapestry; on fine days eat in the courtyard
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Other local favourites include Tewkesbury mustard, Bibury trout, Stinking Bishop cheese and Hobbs House bread. This high quality produce can often be found on menus in pubs, restaurants and cafes in the Cotswolds. And now the Cotswolds has its very own spirit - Cotswolds Dry Gin.What is the Cotswolds known for? ›
The Cotswolds are famous for their typically English landscape of lovely green rolling hills, stone walls, woodland and charming little towns and villages. Many of the buildings you will see here are made from sandy yellow Cotswold Stone, making the whole area highly attractive.What is the most famous Cotswold street? ›
Digbeth Street in Stow-on-the-Wold has plenty of Cotswold charm in the summer. Arlington Row in Bibury is one of the most famous streets in Gloucestershire.What is the famous Cotswold street? ›
For many years, Arlington Row has been one of Cotswolds most popular tourist attractions. At the peak of summer, the tiny street attracts over 3000 visitors per day. But what makes the row so famous?Does anyone famous live in the Cotswolds? ›
The Cotswolds is a popular area for celebrities, and for good reason — it's beautiful, serene and has a calm demeanour. It's no surprise that you'll find the likes of Richard Hammond, Dom Joly, Tony Adams, Jilly Cooper, Tina Hobley and many more living amidst this enchanting area.What is the main town in the Cotswolds? ›
Cirencester. Cirencester is a lively market town, the largest in the Cotswold district, and hence often referred to as 'The Capital of the Cotswolds'.How many days are enough for the Cotswolds? ›
How long to spend in the Cotswolds? To really explore all that the Cotswolds has to offer, you'll need 3-5 days. Although if you want to stay for longer then you'll certainly be able to fill your days with various things to do in the Cotswolds.What is the nicest area of Cotswolds? ›
- Castle Combe.
- Chipping Campden.
MALMESBURY. Atop a perfect flat hill encircled by the River Avon at the southern entrance to the Cotswolds, sits Malmesbury, said to be the oldest continually inhabited town in England. Malmesbury is rightly called the "Queen of Hilltop Towns" being England's oldest borough with a rich history over 1000 years.What is the most romantic village in the Cotswolds? ›
The picturesque village - which is just a short drive from Cirencester - is full of chocolate box areas, perfect for a mini-break. With this in mind, lifestyle and home magazine, Country Living has named Bibury as one of the most romantic places in the UK to visit on a Valentine's escape.
The Cotswold Village of Bibury has been rated one of the most “Instagrammable” Villages in the UK. It is well known for its 17th. Century Weavers Cottages, the River Coln, the Old Mill, and Trout Farm.What is the most romantic street in the Cotswolds? ›
You will find the Old Mill at the western end of the village, built in the nineteenth century, and last used commercially in 1958. The Mill now has a tea and gift shop. Copse Hill Road in Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire Cotswolds, has been named as the most romantic street in Britain in a poll for Google Street View.What is the famous row of houses in Cotswolds? ›
Arlington Row on Awkward Hill is a nationally notable architectural conservation area depicted on the inside cover of all United Kingdom passports. It is a popular visitor attraction, probably one of the most photographed Cotswold scenes.What does Cotswold taste like? ›
The taste of Cotswold is creamy, buttery, sweet and mild yet full-flavoured, like cheddar. The savoury taste of chives and spring onions gives it that extra zing. This variation of Double Gloucester pairs well with beer, Zinfandel or Shiraz and is popular as a pub cheese in England.What kind of cheese is Cotswold? ›
English Cotswold cheese, a variation of "Double Gloucester", was originally made from the rich milk of the black cattle of Gloucester and traditionally made in the Cotswolds. English Cotswold is a mix of chopped chives and onion, coupled with a quality Double Gloucester cheese.Why is the Cotswolds so wealthy? ›
During the Middle Ages, the Cotswolds was one of the wealthiest parts of the country due to its large output of high-quality wool, putting it right at the heart of the thriving medieval wool trade in England.Who is rich and famous in the Cotswolds? ›
The Cotswolds is a popular area for celebrities, and for good reason — it's beautiful, serene and has a calm demeanour. It's no surprise that you'll find the likes of Richard Hammond, Dom Joly, Tony Adams, Jilly Cooper, Tina Hobley and many more living amidst this enchanting area.