When the British weather dampens any desire to roam more than a few metres from your room, praise the patron saint of staycations for traditional country inns like The Wychwood Inn, preaches Kathryn Lewis
Even when the sun is beaming down on the lovely Cotswolds village of Shipton-under- Wood, it’s easy to see why The Wychwood Inn’s overnight guests choose to ‘stay in’ (or eat in the pub garden).
The question isn’t over the area’s dining credentials but rather why anyone would brave the rabbit warren of country roads or elect a designated driver for the evening when there’s a seriously good kitchen team crafting knock-out food just downstairs.
VISIT for traditional British dishes delivered with style and skill.
When sitting down to a hearty supper of calves’ liver and bacon by the bar’s crackling fire, you could be dining in any decade. But while Joe McCarthy’s menu has classical roots, the long-standing head chef catches diners off-guard with contemporary nips and tucks.
A mighty wheel of pork belly, for instance, is garnished with tart pickled apple and a slick syrupy cider jus alongside the stalwarts of apple puree, dauphinoise and perfect squares of crisp salty crackling. Presentation is very 2020s too – even The Wychwood Inn burger is built with photo-ready precision.
DON’T VISIT for a ye olde hostelry experience. While the original bar is pretty trad, much of the restaurant (and all of the bedrooms) has been revamped in contemporary Cotswolds style.
WE LIKED The Wychwood’s quiet village location. Shipton (as it’s known to the locals) is close enough to the famous High Street of Burford to motor over in ten minutes, but sufficiently far to escape the crowds and bag a last-minute table for dinner.