Looking for a cracking country pub for post-walk refreshment or a gourmet weekend away? Check out our roundup of must-visit Cotswolds dining pubs
The Killingworth Castle, Woodstock
The Cotswolds isn’t short of great country pubs where you can stay the night, but this gem a stone’s throw from Blenheim Palace stands out from the crowd thanks to its award-winning kitchen team, eight contemporary en-suite bedrooms and spacious terrace for alfresco sipping.
Receiving three stars from the Soil Association, two stars from the AA and earning a spot on the Estrella Top 50 Gastropubs list, The Killingworth Castle is a find for fabulous pub dining. Head chef Adam Brown, who earned his stripes at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Le Champignon Sauvage, selects the best seasonal produce for his beautifully turned out dishes. Sample his work in the relaxed bar offering, à la carte bill or push the boat out with the tasting menu and matched wines.
Planning a gourmet getaway? The 17th-century inn occasionally releases discounted breaks, so it’s worth checking out its latest offers online before booking.
The Kingham Plough, Chipping Norton
Seasoned hospitality pros Matt and Katie Beamish took over The Kingham Plough in 2019, adding it to their small collection of dining pubs which also includes The Hare at Milton and The Crown Inn at Church Enstone. Previously working for Raymond Blanc, Jamie Oliver and Fergus Henderson, the couple are passionate about serving good food and work closely with head chef Ash Farrand to deliver a bill of seasonal British dishes.
Local ingredients often feature on Ash’s menus and pub classics like fish and chips with crushed peas and tartare sauce feature alongside creative compilations such as wood-fired giant tiger prawns with garlic aioli and fries, and cajun crispy whitebait with bloody mary sauce.
Diners who want to make the most of the bar’s well-kept selection of craft ales and international wine list should book one of the six refurbished bedrooms above the pub.
The Bell Inn, Selsley
This Cotswolds dining pub in the picturesque Gloucestershire village of Selsley is a fave with foodies who like to include their furry friends in their gourmet getaways. The Bell’s three bedrooms all accommodate dogs (at a small supplement) and well-behaved pooches are welcome throughout the pub.
The 16th-century inn is also popular with gin fans, thanks to its ever-growing collection of artisan spirits (80 and counting). Peruse the selection at the bar or ask for landlady (and gin connoisseur) Sarah recommendation, then enjoy a pre-dinner G&T by the fire.
Chef proprietor Mark heads up the kitchen, where he utilises local produce, veggies from his allotment and lamb from the neighbouring fields. Expect to feast on the likes of crispy buttermilk chicken with celeriac remoulade, spiced mayo and capers, and pork tenderloin with black pudding, wilted kale and roasted onions.
The Potting Shed, Crudwell
Sister pub to highly-regarded The Rectory in Crudwell, The Potting Shed is where hotel guests retreat for a casual feed in relaxed surrounds. Of course, it’s also open to all who visit the Wiltshire village on the southern edge of the Cotswolds and has garnered an enviable reputation for its seasonal British dishes.
The experienced kitchen team specialise in classic pub dishes, so this is the kind of place where you can lean into nostalgia. Dishes such as scotch eggs made with black pudding and mustard, beer-battered fish and chips, and twice-baked Double Gloucester souffle are true to their origins and crafted with local ingredients.
Sunday lunch is a highlight at The Potting Shed and sees the likes of roast sirloin beef and crispy pork belly served with next-level trimmings.
The Woolpack Inn, Slad
This charming pub in Gloucestershire’s Slad Valley was made famous by writer and poet Laurie Lee, who wrote about The Woolpack in his memoir Cider with Rosie. Lately, it’s also gained recognition for its food – most recently in a rave review from The Guardian restaurant critic Grace Dent.
Classic pub grub this certainly isn’t: head chef Adam Glover (formerly of Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow) crafts a daily bill of rustic dishes that put seasonality and sustainability front and centre. Overlooked ingredients like liver, kidneys, rabbit and mutton often feature and there’s a good showing of dishes built around plants, such as lentils with carrots and goat’s curd, and beetroot with almonds, horseradish and crème fraiche.
Like 5 of the best Cotswolds dining pubs? Check out our roundup of fabulous foodie pubs in Wiltshire here.
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