Top five: Quintessential Country Pubs of the Cotswolds

Quenching your thirst after a tiring walking excursion and in need of a satisfying supper too? Well, we’ve got you covered…

The Kingham Plough

Kingam, Oxfordshire
Brain child of Emily Watkins, former sous chef to Heston Blumenthal, and husband, Miles Hampton, The Kingham Plough has won a plethora of accolades since opening in 2007. Winner of three AA rosettes and the Good Pub Guide’s Oxfordshire Dining Pub of the Year, the Plough also placed in the National Restaurant Award’s Top 100 Restaurants this year. Offering fine-dining dishes amidst a family friendly, warm and relaxed atmosphere, the pub is a popular hit with locals and trekkers alike, elevating British classics into modern, Michelin worthy eats. With sumptuous cuttlefish salads and succulent slow-cooked collars of pork served up with artisan spirits and a desert menu boasting rhubarbAlaska and early grey tea jelly, The Kingham Plough’s menu caters to all seasons, using only the finest, freshest local produce. And if you’re short on time, pull up a barstool, sip on a sloe gin or local ale, and tuck into an extensive bar menu featuring handmade pork pies and posh scotch eggs!

The Fleece Inn

Bretforton, Worcestershire
A National Trust treasure, this historic country pub was originally built by a farming family in the 15th century. The inn remains largely unchanged – stroll the marvellous apple orchard or retire to the medieval thatched barn for a night of live folk music. And just a stone’s throw from the Cotswold Hills, a pint here means you’re privy to exceptional views! Winner of Good Pub Guide’s Country Pub of the Year 2016, The Fleece Inn is proud to support local businesses, sourcing produce from all corners of Worcestershire to create a lip-smacking seasonal dishes. Their spring menu boasts belly of pork in a rich port sauce and pan seared calves liver on creamy potato and shallot mash, mustard baked ham, eggs and twice cooked chips, and locally made faggots. The pub also make their own pickled eggs onsite! With bottled beers including the smoke Saddle Black and the Chapel Down’s Curious Brew, a wide selection of malt whiskeys, English Fruit wines and Cheddar Valley Scrumpy on tap, the pub is a hit with Real Ale lovers – and serving two types of dog beer too, this is a joint for both man and his best friend.

The Bell at Sapperton

Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Nestled in the sleepy village of Sapperton, sandwiched between Cirencester andStroud, The Bell boasts a menu of hearty, honest, homemade pub grub designed to raise a smile! Dive into warming dishes of pork cassoulet with black pudding, pan fried chicken livers and an array of roasts, followed by an elegant elderflower and ginger posset or decadent strawberry and meringue knickerbocker glory. Pull up to the roaring log fire with a pint of Hooky through the colder months, or retire to the landscaped gardens in the summer, sipping spring punch or an English garden mojito as you go. This quaint and quirky pub even offers horse parking!

Horse and Groom

Bourton-on-the-Hill, Gloucestershire
Located in the heart of Bourton-on-the-Hill, this quintessentially British pub oozes with laidback charm. The staff grow produce in their own backyard, the pub garden home to a vegetable patch and a fruit cage, while dishes are inspired by their locally foraged finds, with wild garlic, walnuts and field mushrooms decorating their flexible blackboard menu. Updating dishes at a moment’s notice, one minute you could be tucking into beer battered cod or Dexter beef pie, and the next a pork sausage and braised puy lentil hash! The desert menu featured classics like baked chocolate tart, crumble and warm rum buba, while the well stocked bar offers an ever-changing choice of local lagers from the Cotswold Lion Brewery.

The Potting Shed Pub

Malmesbury, Wiltshire
For posh pub nosh and fine wines a’plenty, pop into the Potting Shed. With it’s unique décor, grass roof, exposed brickwork, wooden beams and rustic furnishings, you’ll feel as if you were in your own fancy garden shed as you rest up and tuck into traditional dishes with a distinctively modern twist. Dine on decadent West Mersea oysters, crispy pigs head, smoke-cured hogget, wood pigeon roasts and wild garlic risotto, washing it all down with a warming glass of organic Merlot Montañar.