Best pubs in the Cotswolds

Classic Fodder

Best pubs in the Cotswolds

Tucked away in the rolling green countryside, at home in a market town or at the heart of a tiny hamlet or village, the Cotswold pub is a thing of joy that’s raised spirits over hundreds of years. Warm and welcoming, often centuries old with well-worn stone floors, flickering open fires, tranquil gardens and bags of character, it’s a place to turn up to after a Sunday morning walk or a day’s exploring, when all you want to do is sit back, sup a local brew and tuck into a hearty meal.

From gastro fare and proper pub grub to special occasion feasts with a Michelin star, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out in this beautiful part of the country, and paired with a huge array of drinks created by local breweries, vineyards and a host of folk passionate about crafting the perfect draft, you’re in for a real treat. Christmas is a particularly magical time to feast as the cosy pubs and country inns cook up a seasonal storm of roast turkey and homemade mince pies aplenty.

And while there’s something magical about stumbling upon a honey-hued Cotswold stone pub, sometimes it’s good to plan ahead (especially during busier times or when planning an epic walk with a cosy pub stop), so we’ve put together a list of some of the best pubs you can find in the Cotswolds – enjoy!


The Lygon Arms, Chipping Campden

A golden stone courtyard with outdoor seating at The Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds

High Street, Chipping Campden GL55 6HB

The oldest coaching inn in Chipping Campden, The Lygon Arms dates back to the 16th century with a Georgian frontage, and lies in the heart of the town. Also a hotel, its lounge is open to visitors and offers a modern, British menu that changes with the seasons. If you want to embrace your inner Jane Austen, it’s also a fantastic spot for afternoon tea, which is served from 1pm through to 6pm, so something a little different to the usual pint in the bar and a lovely thing to do after a visit to Kiftsgate Court Gardens.


The King’s Head Inn, Bledington

A selection of outdoor seating in front of the historic King's Head Inn in the Cotswolds

The Green, Bledington OX7 6XQ

The King’s Head is an award-winning 16th century inn that sits on Bledington village green, a beautifully idyllic setting. With its wonky roof and honey-hued stone work, it’s oh-so-pretty inside and out. Serving excellent quality pub grub with a gourmet twist, expect the likes of Hook Norton beer battered haddock, confit belly pork, devilled lamb’s kidneys on sourdough and seared lamb chump. The bar serves a great range of local ales, beers and lagers while wine comes courtesy of the Oxford Wine Company. Afterwards, head to nearby Diddly Squat Farmshop to pick up some goodies to take back to your holiday cottage.


The Maytime Inn, Burford

The pretty, golden-stone Maytime Inn in the Cotswolds with tables and chairs outside

Asthall, Burford OX18 4HW

The Maytime Inn lies in the attractive village of Asthall just outside of Burford. It’s been pulling pints since the 18th century, and today offers an elegantly warm welcome, whether you’re after a hearty pub lunch or a more substantial dinner. The menu is seasonal and is definitely one for foodies, with the likes of wild boar burgers, cured meat or fish boards and Cornish crab tart ready to tempt your tastebuds, while there’s sourdough sandwiches on hand if you’re after something lighter. Head to the garden during summer months for wood-fired pizzas and a garden bar offering local beers, ales, artisan gin and wine from their sister estate vineyard in Provence. The nearby Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens are well worth a visit if you have little ones with you (or if you just love animals!) 


The Hare, Milton-under-Wychwood

The golden stone exterior of The Hare in the Cotswolds

3 High Street, Milton-under-Wychwood OX7 6LA

Nestled in the countryside between Burford, Chipping Norton and Stow-on-the-Wold, this quintessential country pub is a wonderful stop off while exploring the north east Cotswolds. Unusually for an inland pub, The Hare specialises in fish and seafood, delivered daily from the shores of Devon and Cornwall. Their seafood menu changes with what’s available but dishes such as tandoori roasted monkfish tail and grilled Cornish lemon sole give you a taste of what’s to come. Their other menus are equally delicious with meat, veggie and vegan options available, paired beautifully with a spectacular wine list and an extensive cocktail menu. Nearby Wychwood Forest boasts an excellent series of dappled walks for a post-dinner jaunt.


The Fox at Oddington, Moreton-in-Marsh

Honey hued stone pub The Fox at Oddington in the Cotswolds

High Street, Lower Oddington, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0UR

The Fox at Oddington is a gorgeous 19th century watering hole with cosy low ceilings, characterful flagstone floors and crackling open fires to welcome you on arrival. Part of the impressive Daylesford Organics family, the pub has been beautifully brought up to date with quirkily-named bars such as the ‘For Fox Sake’, ‘Bottoms Up’ and the ‘Foxylicious’ open kitchen. 

The restaurant still houses its original stable doors, while outside the beautifully-manicured gardens are home to sweet-scented lavender and topiary. This is definitely a hangout for the ages, and the food is undeniably good - serving fresh seasonal and local English fare, while there’s an extensive list of artisan ales, beers, ciders, wine, cocktails and botanical spirits to choose from. Head over to Daylesford Farm afterwards to pick up goodies to take back to your cottage, pick up a gift or even go on one of their courses.


The Red Lion Inn, Moreton-in-Marsh

A sunny pub garden with flowers and outdoor seating at The Red Lion in the Cotswolds

Little Compton, Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0RT

Set in a tranquil village, The Red Lion is a welcoming country inn that is perfect for honest pub grub, just what you need to fill you up when out and about exploring the countryside. A Donnington Brewery pub with a Cask Marque 5-star rating, there’s great local ales and beer on tap that pair perfectly with rib-sticking home-cooked meals like sausage and mash, gammon, veggie burger and chicken carbonara. Their Sunday lunches are also really good. With a terrace and garden outside and an open fire inside, it’s an excellent choice whatever time of year you visit. Afterwards, head to the nearby Rollright Stones, a stone circle dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Legend has it, however many times you count the stones, it’s never the same number!


The Fleece Inn, Bretforton

The Tudor style exterior of The Fleece Inn in the Cotswolds

The Cross, Bretforton, Nr Evesham WR11 7JE

Built in the 15th century, The Fleece Inn was kept within the same family all the way up to 1977, when it was left to the National Trust. Relatively unchanged, this is a wonderful place to come for the experience of drinking and eating surrounded by living history. Surrounded by traditional paraphernalia, dig into homemade pies, ploughman’s and burgers, while if you visit in May and June you can expect locally-grown asparagus on the menu - in fact, the pub hosts the British Asparagus Festival each year! Another good time to visit is October, when the annual Apple and Ale festival takes place with over 40 real ales and ciders to sample. While it isn’t strictly in the Cotswolds, it’s well worth a trip, especially when combined with a visit to Broadway Tower – famed for its far reaching views.


Seven Tuns, Chedworth

The golden painted exterior of the Seven Tuns pub in the Cotswolds

Queen Street, Chedworth, Cheltenham GL54 4AE

This lovely old pub offers a friendly welcome and prides itself on its excellent food with the likes of ham, egg and chips, wagyu cheese burger, and grilled asparagus on the menu as well as sandwiches for a lighter bite. Sundays see the full roast on the menu such as rib of beef, pork belly and nut roast, while the wine list is huge due to having the biggest (and some say the best) wine cellar in the region. There’s also a great selection of locally brewed beers on tap. A visit to The Seven Tuns is a must if you’re visiting the nearby Chedworth Roman Villa, the remains of one of the grandest Roman villas to be discovered in Britain.


The Black Bear Inn, Moreton-in-Marsh

A fireplace surrounded by statues of black bears at The Black Bear Inn in the Cotswolds

High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0AX

Sitting comfortably on Moreton-in-Marsh’s wide high street amongst the pretty 17th and 18th century buildings, The Black Bear Inn is a fantastic stop off when exploring this beautiful market town. Relaxed and welcoming, it’s the place to go for proper pub grub with the likes of Todenham beef and ale pie, Black Bear ploughman’s, and homemade Scotch eggs on the menu, while their Sunday lunches are superb. Dog friendly, the restaurant has lots of space and an open fire, while the bar offers real ale from Donnington Brewery. Build up an appetite beforehand by walking some of The Diamond Way, a hefty 66-mile long trail that starts and ends in Moreton-in-Marsh.


The Eight Bells Inn, Chipping Campden

A cosy dining area with a wood burner at The Eight Bells Inn in the Cotswolds

Church Street, Chipping Campden GL55 6JG

Nestled in the pretty, chocolate-box town of Chipping Campden, this stunning 14th century inn with beamed ceilings, exposed stone walls and friendly atmosphere is the perfect place to stop, whether that’s for a drink or a wholesome meal. On wintery days there’s a roaring fire to warm you up, while during the summer there’s a terraced garden with lovely views over the almshouses and St James’ church. Interestingly, The Eight Bells was originally a home for the stonemasons who built the church! So whether you’ve been walking the flower-flecked paths or visiting nearby Hidcote Gardens, head here for tasty fare such as doorstop sandwiches, steak, or good old fish and chips – oh, and their Sunday lunches are second to none!


The Plough Inn, Cold Aston

The traditional, gold-stone exterior of The Plough Inn in the Cotswolds

Cold Aston, nr Northleach GL54 3BN

This Grade II listed 17th century inn lies in the picturesque village of Cold Aston, between Cheltenham and Bourton-on-the-Water. As you might expect, well worn stone floors, beamed ceilings and a warming open fire are all set to welcome you at The Plough Inn, with home cooked dishes on hand to fill hungry tummies after exploring the north Cotswolds. Beef is the speciality here, with the Dexter cows bred just a few miles away, so steak, burgers and pulled brisket served with beef dripping chips and salad are a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. Afterwards, walk off your dinner by strolling around the stunning village of Bourton-on-the-Water, maybe dipping a toe into the shallow waters of the River Windrush if it’s a sunny day.


The Hollow Bottom, Guiting Power

The golden-bricked exterior of The Hollow Bottom pub in the Cotswolds

Guiting Power, Cheltenham GL54 5UX

Known as a ‘racing pub’, The Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power is a firm favourite with the horse racing crowd, who flock here for a pre-race drink and meal before heading to Cheltenham Racecourse. The food here is excellent, with top-notch pub favourites given a lift with the likes of slow braised lamb, shitake mushroom burger, ploughman’s board and grilled whole plaice on the menu. Their Sunday lunches are to die for, and well worth booking for after a morning walk around Belas Knap Longbarrow, a Neolithic burial mound with amazing views, or after taking little ones to the nearby Cotswold Farm Park.


The Green Dragon Inn, Cockleford

Looking across a road at The Green Dragon Inn in the Cotswolds, with its honey-hued bricks and trees

Cockleford, nr Cowley, Cheltenham GL539NW

Set in a tranquil hamlet, The Green Dragon Inn is a Cotswold stone 17th century inn, offering hand-crafted beers, fine wine and excellent food in a wonderful setting. Those with a keen eye and a love of antiques may notice that the furniture is made by the famous Robert Thompson, known as the ‘Mouse Man of Killburn’ for carving a mouse somewhere on each piece of furniture. You’ll need more than an appetite of a mouse to eat here however, where meals are hearty and delicious, serving fish pie, brie and beetroot tart, steak and kidney pudding and fabulous Sunday lunches too. Afterwards, take an amble around the beautiful 17th century gardens at Miserden.


The Potting Shed, Malmesbury

The white-washed exterior of The Potting Shed pub in the Cotswolds

Crudwell, SN16 9EW

This dog friendly gastropub is a firm favourite in the Cotswolds and can get very busy so it’s worth booking in advance of your visit. As you would expect, The Potting Shed has an excellent menu catering for every taste and reflective of the changing seasons with the likes of aubergine, apricot and chickpea tagine and crispy pork belly, to halloumi burger and beer battered fish and chips on the menu. The décor is traditional Cotswold country style, with a welcoming wood burner to greet you, and there are plenty of real ales, beers, wines and spirits on hand to make your lunch or dinner go smoothly! A lovely spot to fill up after a morning at nearby Cotswold Water Park.


The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

A beautiful courtyard at The Wild Rabbit with green plants creeping up the front of the building

Church Street, Kingham OX7 6YA

Sister pub to The Fox at Oddington, The Wild Rabbit is a modern pub with a restaurant serving a modern, organic British menu from its light and airy dining room – this definitely isn’t your usual pub grub affair! The award-winning kitchen, using produce from nearby Daylesford Farm, serves an a la carte menu, where slow roast lamb saddle, smoked Adlestrop dumplings, raviolo of confit rabbit and dark chocolate tart with candied walnut and espresso jelly are listed, tempting rumbling tums. This is definitely one for a special occasion, best enjoyed after a day exploring nearby Stow-on-the-Wold or taking a walk in the countryside.


The Chequers, Churchill

A bright and airy dining room with stone walls and plants at The Chequers in the Cotswolds

Church Road, Churchill, Chipping Norton OX7 6NJ

Laid back and wonderfully welcoming, The Chequers is a traditional, unpretentious pub that feels like home to locals and visitors alike, where candlelit tables and flagstone floors sit alongside the well-worn dartboard. Offering British classics such as Kelmscott rare breed pork chop, ribeye steak and sea bream with the choice of chips or mash, you’re sure to fill up quickly alongside cask ales, cider, stout and beer as well as cocktails, spirits and an extensive wine list. Afterwards, take a turn around the pretty village before heading south and pay a visit to Minster Lovell Hall, the ruin of a stunning 15th century manor house with a hall, tower and dovecote next to the River Windrush.


The Bottle of Sauce, Cheltenham

The black and red exterior of The Bottle of Sauce pub in the Cotswolds

Ambrose Street, Cheltenham GL50 3HL

Think the Cotswolds and you wouldn’t necessarily pop an urban pub into the equation, but we had to include The Bottle of Sauce here – a great green-fronted pub in the heart of Cheltenham. Famed for its beers, burgers and live music, it’s dog friendly and has a large outside seating area too, and is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. With lots of beers on tap, plenty of street food-style things to eat, poetry and music nights and pub quizzes, this is the place to come if you’re after a buzzy atmosphere, and a great pit stop when exploring the town.


Want to explore these fabulous pubs and inns for yourself? Take a peek at our gorgeous cottages in the Cotswolds and start planning your foodie escape today.

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