THE TOP 50 PUBS IN THE COTSWOLDS 2020
It's back! Our guide to the best pubs in the Cotswolds you should visit in 2020, including lots of classics as well as many wonderful new entries.
★ NEW ENTRY ★
FOSS CROSS, NR NORTHLEACH
An ancient roadside inn near Northleach, The Stump has been brought back to life with a bang by pizza and pasta obsessives Baz and Fred. There are ten-ensuite rooms, three open fires, a pool table, an incredible Italian-clad menu and a brilliant atmosphere.
THE CHURCHILL ARMS
PAXFORD, NR CHIPPING CAMPDEN
The Churchill Arms is one of the finest dining pubs in the area. Located in Paxford on the northern reaches of the Cotswolds, chef and owner Nick Deverell-Smith creates some stunning dishes using the highest quality locally-sourced ingredients
THE BELL INN
The Bell Inn at Langford showcases a love of hearty, classic, British food with the addition of wood fired dishes and an extensive wine and beer list. It also boasts eight rooms, a large beer garden overlooking the open countryside and a wonderful modern country pub feel.
THE EBRINGTON ARMS
EBRINGTON, NR CHIPPING CAMPDEN
The Ebrington Arms is a huge favourite in the Cotswolds. This year it joined just 10 other pubs and restaurants throughout the whole of the UK to achieve 3 stars or above in the ‘Organic Served Here’ awards scheme, run by The Soil Association, meaning that they are committed to offering between 50-75% organic produce on their menus. They also offer five luxury B&B rooms and also brew their own organic ale!
★ NEW ENTRY ★
THE ROYAL OAK
WHATCOTE, NR SHIPSTON ON STOUR
Built in 1168 as an ale house for workers building local churches, The Royal Oak in Whatcote near Shipston on Stour is the only pub in the list to boast a Michelin Star. Expect "shot to order" game, exceptional cooking from chef owner Richard Craven and a huge local pub ethos in the bar.
★ NEW ENTRY ★
Now in the hands of hospitality gurus Sam and Georgie Pearman since the spring of 2019, The Swan at Ascott-under-Wychwood has been given a new lease of life and should be high on the list of anyone in, or visiting, the Cotswolds. The pub offers a relaxing retreat for locals, a cracking seasonal menu for foodies and eight stylish bedrooms for visitors.
THE POTTING SHED
CRUDWELL, NR MALMESBURY
The Potting Shed is a beautifully charming pub in the village of Crudwell just a few miles from Tetbury, Cirencester and Malmesbury. Its menu showcases the best local produce and with roaring log fires in the winter and a spacious beer garden in the summer, you can easily lose a few wonderful hours here.
THE MAYTIME INN
ASTHALL, NR BURFORD
With over 100 gins, a beautiful pub garden and menus that celebrate the seasons, there's a lot to love about The Maytime Inn. Located a little off the beaten track in the village of Asthall near Burford, it's definitely a pub worth discovering in 2020.
THE FLEECE INN
BRETFORTON, NR BROADWAY
Located right on the edge of the Cotswolds, and dating back to early 15th-century, The Fleece Inn in Bretforton has been owned by the National Trust since 1977. A favourite with real ale and cider lovers and a vibrant part of the community, this historical pub hosts many events throughout the year, the most famous of which is the British Asparagus Festival Day at the end of May that attracts visitors from all over world.
★ NEW ENTRY ★
THE HARCOURT ARMS
STANTON HARCOURT, NR WITNEY
Reopening at the start of November 2019 following an extensive four-year-long renovation, owners Alan Gleeson and Olivier Bonte have already put The Harcourt Arms in Stanton Harcourt, near Witney, firmly back on the map. The charming 17th-century village pub is now home to a wonderful new restaurant, ten lovely bedrooms and is the hub of the local community.
Located in Northleach, this beautiful Virginia Creeper clad pub is a real winner throughout the year with a brilliant garden to enjoy in the summer and roaring fires in the winter. With 14 beautiful rooms, it's the perfect place from where to explore the Cotswolds.
THE MILTON HARE
Located between Stow on the Wold and Burford in the village of Milton-under-Wychwood, The Hare is a hugely popular country pub serving superb food and a great selection of weekly changing cask-conditioned ales, wines and fizz by the glass, draft and bottled lagers in stylish surroundings. Enjoy Champagne Happy Hour at 5pm on a Friday and regular live music throughout the year.
THE MASONS ARMS
MEYSEY HAMPTON, NR FAIRFORD
The Mason Arms sits proudly on the village green in the village of Meysey Hampton 2 miles west of Fairford and about 6 miles from Cirencester. Awarded New Pub of the Year 2019 by The Good Pub Guide, the pub is now run by former pub regular Paul Fallows who has transformed it into a bustling pub for the community serving good heart food and well-kept ales in a hugely welcoming atmosphere.
THE SWAN AT THYME
SOUTHROP, NR LECHLADE
Quintessentially English, oozing with Cotswold charm, The Swan at Southrop is part of Thyme on the Southrop Manor Estate near Lechlade. The Restaurant and Snug in this 17th century pub feature flagstone floors and open fireplaces creating a hugely welcoming environment and a wonderful place to enjoy a pint of their very own cask beer ‘The Village Tipple’ and meal from their daily changing menu.
THE VILLAGE PUB
BARNSLEY, NR CIRENCESTER
Located in the village of Barnsley near Cirecencester, The Village Pub has always been a firm favourite of locals and visitors alike. With exceptional food, fine ales, open fires, comfy seating and a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, it's very easy to see why.
THE KING'S HEAD INN
Winner of The Good Pub Guide Pub of the Year in 2018, The King's Head Inn is the quintessential Cotswolds pub perfect situated on the village green in Bledington. With a stunning interior full of wooden beams, oak settles and an original flagstone floor and excellent food and drink, it's easy see why it's so popular.
SAPPERTON, NR CIRENCESTER
This multi-award winning pubs sits between Cirencester and Stroud and is the perfect place for discerning foodies, wine lovers (there's an actual "wine wall" in the bar!), real ale enthusiasts to visit. You can even rock up on your horse if you like as there is some dedicated parking for your steed.
CHURCHILL, NR KINGHAM
A sign of a good pub is when hours seem to disappear without you realising it, The Chequers at Churchill is one of these pubs. The beautiful bar features local lagers, gin and cocktails and usually has a lump of cured meat sat on the end of it with comfy seating in front of the fire to enjoy it all in. The unique dining room is equally as beautiful with it's dark walls, flagstone floor, exposed beams and littered with tables of all shapes and sizes making it a wonderful place to enjoy a meal as a couple or with friends.
★ NEW ENTRY ★
SEVEN TUNS INN
After benefiting completing a renovation in late 2018, The Seven Tuns in Chedworth has established itself as the social hub of the village. With a wine selection handpicked by owner Simon Willson-White combined with an exceptional seasonal, sustainable and local menu, this dog friendly pub is a must visit in 2020.
THE KILLINGWORTH CASTLE
WOOTTON, NEAR WOODSTOCK
This wonderful 17th century coaching inn is located on the edge of the village of Wootton, just a couple of miles from Blenheim Palace. A sister pub to The Ebrington Arms you will also fine great quality food, lovely rooms and their own brewed organic Yubbington Ale here too.
THE KINGHAM PLOUGH
The Kingham Plough may be under new ownership but the legacy of championing the very best fresh, local, seasonal ingredients lives on with a daily-changing modern British menu with Mediterranean influences and British pub classics. There are also six individually furnished, en-suite bedrooms for anyone wishing to make a few days of it in the stunning Oxfordshire countryside.
THE MASON ARMS
SOUTH LEIGH, NR WITNEY
This Artist Residence 16th-century inn near Witney offers unique charm, stunning eccentric decor and a menu offering hearty and rustic meals from breakfast to dinner using produce from neighbouring farms. It also boasts five luxurious bedrooms nestled under its cosy thatch and two suites in the farm outbuildings.
THE PLOUGH INN
COLD ASTON, NR BOURTON ON THE WATER
The Plough at Cold Aston is a huge favourite with locals and visitors alike. You will find local game, meat and classic dishes on the menu and craft beers and lots of outstanding wines behind the bar.
THE SWAN INN
SWINBROOK, NR BURFORD
The beautiful Swan Inn at Swinbrook is perfect positioned on the banks of the River Windrush a couple of miles from Burford. Steeped in history, the pub is owned by the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire’s estate, the last of Mitford sisters and offers a wonderful place to enjoy a drink, some food or a night in one of their six beautifully designed bedrooms.
THE HOLLOW BOTTOM
Now in the hands of The Lucky Onion, The Hollow Bottom is one of the most famous horse racing pubs in the UK and the place to be throughout the Cheltenham Festival. For the other 361 days of the year, the pub offers a relaxed place to eat and drink and one of the best pub gardens in the Cotswolds.
THE KING'S ARMS
DIDMARTON, NR WESTONBIRT
Located in the village of Didmarton in the south of the Cotswolds, The King's Arms is a hugely popular pub. The menu displays the passion for locally sourced produced with all the game coming from neighbouring country estates. The interior of both the pub and rooms beautifully reflect the local sporting heritage and the roaring fire and leather armchairs make winter nights enjoyable. At Summer weekends, their wood-fired oven serves great pizza in the beautiful garden.
THE VICTORIA INN
EASTLEACH, NR BURFORD
The picture postcard village of Eastleach lies just minutes from Burford and is home to the beautiful Victoria Inn. The interior is and charming as the exterior and you can expect some traditional Arkells ales and nice wines to accompany some good value quality food.
THE FALKLAND ARMS
Located in beautiful Great Tew, this 16th century pub oozes rustic charm with its oak walls, beams and bar, quirky interior, inglenook fireplace and flagstone floor, and is a hugely popular pub for drinkers, diners and guests staying in one of their 6 rooms.
ODDINGTON, NR STOW ON THE WOLD
The Fox at Lower Oddington has always been a firm favourite for foodies and wine enthusiasts alike. This 16th century in is as charming inside and out and offers 3 rooms for anyone looking for a night or two away in a beautiful Cotswolds village just a stone's throw away from Daylesford.
★ NEW ENTRY ★
THE FIVE ALLS
FILKINS, NR LECHLADE
Located in a quaint village just outside of Lechlade, The Five Alls is quintessentially Cotswolds. With two spacious dining rooms and a lounge bar, the pub is a great spot for lunch, dinner or a quiet pint.
THE WILD RABBIT
Part of the Daylesford Estate, The Wild Rabbit is a stylish and modern country pub located in Kingham. It's menu reflects their support for British farmers and includes organic ingredients from their own gardens and there are 13 bedrooms and cottages nearby where you can enjoy a stay.
THE ROYAL OAK
LEIGHTERTON, NR WESTONBIRT
Nestled just a few miles south-west of Tetbury and a stone's throw from Badminton, Highgrove House and Westonbirt Arboretum, the Royal Oak at Leighterton is a free house serving exceptional food, great value wines, excellent local ales in a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere. Enjoy open fires in the snugs in colder months and the walled garden in the summer.
SHIPTON OLIFFE, NR ANDOVERSFORD
After a complete renovation in 2018, The Frogmill in Shipton Oliffe now boasts 28 rooms, a beautiful snug room and a fantastic terrace area perfect in the summer months. The welcoming oak beam and mismatched vintage furniture adorned bar area is full of country charm is a perfect place to relax and enjoy a pint or Sunday roast.
★ NEW ENTRY ★
THE TUNNEL HOUSE INN
COATES, NR CIRENCESTER
Built in the 1770s to cater for the thirsty navvies (Navigational Engineers to me and you) of the Thames & Severn Canal, The "Tunnel" is set in a stunning location, offering excellent fresh-cooked food, outstanding ales and is a hugely popular jaunt for agricultural students, the horse racing and polo community and locals alike.
THE BULL INN
This wonderful 16th century coaching inn is a real home away from home with stunning interiors in both the pub, restaurant and rooms. It prides itself on high quality food and service and is open all day every day with food being served at all times. Charlbury Station is on the Cotswold Line and just 500 meters from the pub offering easy access to London, Oxford, Worcester and Hereford.
The Tavern has always been a favourite in the heart of Cheltenham. Expect excellent taverna-style food, a lively atmosphere, cracking cocktails and weekend brunch. It is also host to regular comedy nights and a Music Box featuring emerging artists.
★ NEW ENTRY ★
THE BOXING HARE
SWERFORD, NR CHIPPING NORTON
With a two-time Michelin star and 3 AA rosette winning chef in the kitchen and a 15 minute drive from Soho Farmhouse, The Boxing Hare near Chipping Norton offers a warm welcome and lots of charm. Set overlooking the rolling Cotswold Hills, this is a but with outstanding food and drinking and a lovely atmosphere to boot.
THE FEATHERED NEST
NETHER WESTCOTE, NR BURFORD
This 3 AA Rosette award-winning modern dining pub prides itself on high-quality food. A winner of Visit England Pub of the Year in 2013 and 2014, the award-winning wine list consists of over 240 bins and over 25 selected wines by the glass. There are also 4 rooms where you can enjoy a lovely stay in the lovely village of Nether Westcote.
THE FUZZY DUCK
In the very northern reaches of the Cotswolds you will find the hamlet of Armscote, home to the modern and stylish Fuzzy Duck. Winner of the 'Best Pub' in the 2018 GQ Awards, the pub offers a main menu and a bar menu packed with nibbles, snacks, sandwiches and seasonal dishes perfect for a romantic supper, family feast or lazy lunch. If you fancy a stay, there are four bedrooms all offering a touch of luxury.
Located just off the main street, The Angel has earned a AA rosette from their top quality menu which incorporates traditional classics with fresh fish and is the only pub in the town that serves food all day. As a Hook Norton Brewery pub, you can expect fine ales, it's retained its Cask Marque accreditation every year since 2011. In warmer months we highly recommend their stunning walled garden that was landscaped in 2017.
THE BOTTLE OF SAUCE
The Bottle of Sauce is one of the most popular pubs in town. The casual menu is full of great burgers, pizzas and brunch offerings with local beer and handpicked wines behind the bar. There’s always something happening too from a rebel knitting club to their monthly Saturday yard sale.
THE GREEN DRAGON INN
COCKLEFORD, NEAR COWLEY
Situated in the hamlet of Cockleford near Cowley, The Green Dragon Inn is a charming 17th century pub in a beautiful setting offering everything you need with good food, log fires, exposed oak beams and a very warm welcome.
THE PLOUGH INN
FORD, NEAR TEMPLE GUITING
Located at the foot of Jonjo O'Neill's gallops in the village of Ford, it is no surprise that the The Plough Inn at Ford has a strong association with horse racing. This hugely popular and pub offers a wonderful atmosphere, local Donnington Ales and a huge menu to suit all ages.
Located just outside Andoversford, The Kilkeney Inn was refurbished in early 2016 and given a much needed new lease of life. As the self-proclaimed 'Home of Slow Cooking', the menu displays a strong appreciation for the finest local food and boasts a particularly strong wine list to compliment it. One of the biggest transformations is the patio area which is a great spot to soak up some sunshine in the summer.
THE FOSTON'S ASH INN
THE CAMP, NR STROUD
If you drive from Birdlip towards Stroud, you will find The Foston's Ash on the roadside. The pub prides itself on delivering brilliantly fresh and locally sourced food and drink in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and does exactly that. It's a must stop for gin fans as the venue is now the home of the 100% organic and three star great taste award winning British Polo Gin. With extensive gardens (with play area) to enjoy in the summer and open log fires in the winter, The Foston's Ash is a proper Cotswold destination pub in "Cider with Rosie" country with dogs, horses and children all welcome.
★ NEW ENTRY ★
THE ROYAL OAK
With it's upcycled furnishings, vintage jukebox and Art Deco piano, The Royal Oak is a lively and charming family and dog friendly pub in this historic Cotswolds town. The food is honest and hearty with a dedicated vegan menu and the six en-suite rooms, including three that are dog friendly, offer a perfect base to explore the Cotswolds.
This beautiful 17th Century Grade II listed thatched pub is full of character and is just a short walk from Cheltenham Racecourse. With a huge focus on traditional Cider and cask ales, its real ales are still served from a small hatch, straight from the casks which are racked at the back of the bar. It also boasts a fabulous one acre garden with a stream running alongside. Look out for their cider and beer festivals too.
THE RED LION
The Red Lion in Long Compton is hugely welcoming pub for anyone on two or four legs, you will usually find Cocoa the Chocolate Labrador curled up in front of the fire. Built as a coaching inn in 1748, this Grade II listed free house, this charming characterful country pub offers quality food, dog friendly rooms, regular quizzes and a big playground in the garden ensuring fun for all the family.
THE PRINCE ALBERT
RODBOROUGH COMMON, NR STROUD
Located near Rodborough Common just outside Stroud, the popular Prince Albert is more than just a boozer on the corner. A winner of many accolades including being named Stroud District Pub of the Year by CAMRA, live music is at the forefront, and the pub has become well known for excellent folk music and a space for touring bands as well as the odd film screening or comedy event. With no permanent kitchen, you will find a varied mix of pop-ups at weekends which include Caribbean dishes from Jamaica Inn and the hugely popular Japanese pop up truck Tonbo.
SAPPERTON, NR CIRENCESTER
Sitting in a valley teaming with wildlife in Sapperton between Cirencester and Stroud, The Daneway offers a locally sourced menu, well-kept Wadworth ales and a decent sized beer garden. The landlords also own a butchery which provide great steaks for their weekly £1 per ounce steak night. There might not be rooms but there is a pub campsite available all year around just 100 meters from the pub running old canal towpath.
THE FOX INN
BROADWELL, NR STOW ON THE WOLD
Overlooking the village green in Broadwell near Stow on the Wold, The Fox Inn is very much a traditional pub for locals and visitors alike. The menu is inspired by hearty pub classics using local meats, vegetables grown on the landlords allotment and fresh fish delivered from Brixham every day, and perfect to wash down with a pint of Donnington ale. It's also a great place to start and finish a walk around the North Cotswolds for any keen ramblers.
THE CROWN INN
Dating back to 1633, The Crown at Frampton Mansell is a former cider house and everything you want from a village pub. Expect roaring log fires, hearty traditional, home-cooked food; quality locally brewed real ales and a beautiful building steeped in history. Further more, there is a 12-bedroom hotel annex with stunning views across the Cotswolds countryside.