If you’re on the hunt for the best pubs in the Cotswolds, look no further because I’ve got you covered!
The Cotswolds are known for charming cottages, farmers markets, and picturesque views that you can’t find anywhere else. That’s why when I found out we were heading to the Cotswolds for a week, I immediately started packing, thinking of things to do, and naturally, where to eat.
Although the UK is a multicultural country with tons of variety when it comes to cuisine, a must-do while in the country is eating in a traditional British pub.
What’s great about the Cotswolds is that you can find numerous pubs in each village. Whether you’re looking for a more traditional country pub or modern eateries, there are Cotswold pubs to suit every type of traveler.
I’ve done the heavy legwork of eating in most of these places so read on to learn more about the best pubs in this picturesque English region.
- Best Pubs in the Cotswolds
- 1. The Potting Shed Pub at Crudwell
- 2. The Porch House Pub at Stow on the Wold
- 3. The Angel Pub at Burford
- 4. The Killingworth Castle at Wotton Woodstock
- 5. National Trust – The Fleece Inn at Evesham
- 6. The Green Dragon Inn and Shop at Cheltenham
- 7. The Crown & Trumpet Inn at Broadway
- 8. The Cotswold Arms at Burford
- 9. The Bell at Sapperton
- 10. The Lion Inn at Cheltenham
- 11. The Wild Rabbit Inn at Kingham
- 12. The Falkland Arms at Chipping Norton
- 13. The Milton Hare at Chipping Norton
- 14. The Five Alls at Lechlade
- 15. The Double Red Duke at Bampton
- Wrapping It Up
Best Pubs in the Cotswolds
During my time in the Cotswolds, I was amazed by the fact that there were as many pubs as there were tea rooms. Alongside lovely afternoon teas, you can find pubs that offer quality local craft beers and traditional pub food for the complete Cotswolds experience.
If you’re on the search for the Cotswolds’ best pubs, here are a few that deserve recognition based on my visit and recommendations from locals.
1. The Potting Shed Pub at Crudwell
In my opinion, the Potting Shed Pub is one of the best gastropubs in the Cotswolds, serving up fantastic and authentic British food made of local seasonal ingredients.
Some of my notable favorites are the beer-battered fish and chips and the Potting Shed burger. If you’re a vegetarian, you won’t have a problem ordering here, as there are options made for various dietary restrictions.
Of course, you can’t forget dessert with the gastropub’s unique puddings, such as Sticky Toffee!
As for the drinks, you can expect a wide selection of wine to go with your dishes. Choose between sparkling, rosé, port, and sherry wine, among others.
The place itself gives off cozy and homey vibes, making it feel like you’re enjoying a warm home-cooked meal in the comforts of your dining room.
If you would like to enjoy the fine summer days the Cotswolds has to offer, you can always take your meal and drink into their garden, where you can get fresh air with umbrellas to shade you from the sun.
2. The Porch House Pub at Stow on the Wold
The Porch House Pub is one of the best pubs in the Cotswolds and a must-visit while in the area. This is because The Porch House is one of the oldest inns in England, housing a pub or tavern since 987 A.D.
There are many spaces to enjoy your meal, including their garden terrace, conservatory, restaurant, or British pub. Regardless of where you choose to have your traditional pub food, you’ll immerse yourself in the rustic charm The Porch House offers.
Besides experiencing history in its ancient architecture and design, you can get traditional pub food, so it’s as if you went back in time.
There are many classic dishes to choose from, including traditional fish and chips fried in an Oxford Ale batter, fileted sea bream, steak, smoked salmon ciabatta, and more.
You can even enjoy a Sunday roast with family or friends, which is served family-style. Made with locally sourced ingredients and talented chefs behind the kitchen, nothing will beat the hearty dishes you can indulge in here.
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3. The Angel Pub at Burford
The Angel Pub is one of the best Cotswold pubs for locals and travelers alike, taking pride in its award-winning kitchen and chefs. I love the history behind this pub, which continues to be run by the same family, the Kings, for over a decade now.
Known for their delicious pub food and friendly staff, you’ll be right at home the moment you walk in. The gastropub offers a wide selection of classic British pub food such as fish and chips, pie of the day, steak, and different flavored puddings.
Even if you go back multiple times, you’ll never get bored with the food as they have varied seasonal daily specials and a sizable Sunday roast.
Rain or shine, you can chow down on the traditional English dishes they offer in a range of settings. They have a walled garden and sun terrace where you can enjoy peace and quiet during the warm summer season, or inside the homely pub in front of an open fire during winter.
Even when I was just a few steps away from Burford High Street, eating al fresco felt so refreshing, without hearing the busy streets.
4. The Killingworth Castle at Wotton Woodstock
Also fondly known as The Killy, Killingworth Castle is one of the most popular Cotswold country pubs thanks to their historic surroundings and Michelin-recommended food.
The Killy has a long and interesting history, with the structure built back in 1637 by Thomas Killingworth, hence the pub’s name. Fast forward to today, the pub is now owned by Jim and Claire Alexander.
They have helped restore the pub and continue sharing the beauty of traditional pub food, this time with a bit of a twist. You can order unique dishes including Cornish plaice with cockles, or even vegetarian dishes like courgette flower with goat curd.
Understandably, the menu may be a bit overwhelming as there are too many options! The country pub also offers a tasting menu of 5-7 courses, so you can get a taste of everything.
Like many pubs, they also offer a special Sunday roast menu with a traditional selection and vegetarian-friendly options.
5. National Trust – The Fleece Inn at Evesham
If you’re looking for pubs with hotel rooms in the Cotswolds, then the Fleece Inn is one of your best bets. This has been owned and maintained by the National Trust for almost 50 years, protecting its deep history that dates back to the 15th century.
The National Trust continues to uphold the historic legacy of The Fleece Inn with its many events all year long. One of their most famed events is the British Asparagus Festival Day which happens every May, and attracts visitors worldwide!
Even locals are a huge fan of the pub, with its outstanding selection of homebrew ale and cider, as well as pub grub to enjoy with friends.
I’m always looking out for the deals and happy hours they offer, such as their Fizzy Fridays and pie and pint nights, giving me more bang for my buck.
As one would expect, the pub’s architecture and design are geared towards the Middle Ages with wooden benches and beams, as well as a quaint orchard garden where you can enjoy your drinks during good weather.
Because the Fleece Inn is a famous site for locals and travelers alike, I recommend you book well in advance, especially if you plan on getting a pint of ale during peak times.
To get the full historical experience, you may even want to check into The Fleece Inn, which includes a full English breakfast.
6. The Green Dragon Inn and Shop at Cheltenham
The Green Dragon Inn and Shop offers old-world charm where you’ll be taken back to the 1600s. After all, the structure dates back to the 17th century, featuring a real wood fireplace, wooden beams, stonework, classic windows, and stone-flagged floors.
Even the furniture is inspired by the olden times, handcrafted by Robert Thompson, the Mouse Man of Kilburn.
With pub food freshly prepared by the chefs, you can rest assured that you’re getting fantastic-quality food that pairs well with the wide wine selection of red wines and fine ales. If you’re looking for something stronger, the pub also stocks vodkas, gins, and whiskeys.
I highly recommend trying their homemade beef burger or chargrilled sirloin steak, followed by any of their decadent puddings! They even serve the best Sunday lunch in the Cotswolds, in my opinion.
The Green Dragon Inn also offers cottage-style accommodation if you’re interested in exploring Cheltenham, famous for being the Garden Town of England for its colorful natural surroundings.
If you’re just here for the day, commemorate your dining experience at the pub by getting a few souvenirs from their gift shop. They sell shirts, glasses, and other trinkets to keep when you get home.
7. The Crown & Trumpet Inn at Broadway
If you want something quiet and simple, then you have to visit The Crown & Trumpet Inn. This vibrant village inn has an onsite pub that sells real ales and locally brewed cider, along with a comprehensive wine list.
They source their meat from Meadow Farm and use locally sourced ingredients from their homegrown veggies and herbs. You just know everything is fresh here!
The pub is strategically located in the heart of Kemerton, where you can take in the views of Malvern Hills and the rolling countryside. It’s also strategically located, as you can head to various Cotswolds attractions and partake in various activities.
It’s also a few miles away from villages such as Bourton on the Water, Cheltenham, Castle Combe, and Gloucester, making it possible to visit the pub for a day trip if you’re coming from nearby villages.
With their dishes made for sharing and lots of refreshing drinks, I would recommend this pub for a group of friends or travelers looking for a way to start or end the day.
It’s also a great place to stay. With a more intimate setting, there are only four modern-designed bedrooms available to suit any group.
8. The Cotswold Arms at Burford
For the perfect balance of a lively and relaxing atmosphere, head to the Cotswold Arms, a family-owned pub in the heart of the Medieval town of Burford.
Also known as The Coty, this is a 15th-century pub and traditional inn that serves local ales and homemade food sourced from fresh, local ingredients.
Their English pub food and nibbles are worth coming back for but it’s their alcohol that takes the cake, with an extensive wine list, local ales, stouts, IPAs, ciders, lagers, whiskeys, gins, rums, and other spirits.
If you’re traveling with kids, don’t worry! There are children’s menus, sodas, and other non-alcoholic options that they can enjoy. Another huge plus is the fact that they are pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friends and enjoy a drink in their beer garden.
I recommend visiting during the weekend when you can meet locals and travelers who come to enjoy good food, refreshing drinks, and live music.
9. The Bell at Sapperton
For those looking for country pubs near Cirencester, The Bell at Sapperton is a fantastic choice for its location, atmosphere, and food.
Locals and travelers deem it one of the best pubs in Cirencester, where you can explore the many country walks, and biking trails, and even thrilling horse rides.
This Cotswolds pub is known for its extensive wine selection, with a unique self-serve wine wall worth trying. All you need to do is to choose what wine you want to enjoy. Afterward, you can either enjoy it in the pub or take it away.
As for their food, every dish is made with local ingredients, including their meats, which are sourced a couple of fields away. While their pub food varies depending on the season, there are a couple of staples you can enjoy all year long, such as sausages and mash, roast pheasant breast, and Atlantic cod.
Try their Sunday roast as well, complete with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, and veg!
10. The Lion Inn at Cheltenham
Located in Winchcombe, The Lion Inn is one of the best pubs in Gloucestershire thanks to the traditional pub food that locals and travelers always come back for.
Using only the best seasonal and local ingredients, the pub’s chefs will always be ready to whip up a fresh dish made with love.
Whether you’re craving their sandwiches, a brisket beef burger, hanger steak, or venison sausage, they can surpass expectations and take you on a food high (just like what happened to me!).
You need to order your pub food with a pint of craft beer or cask ale. If that’s not your thing, there’s also a choice of wine or local cider to wash the food down.
It’s best to go here during the summer, where you can have lunch in the huts of their beer garden.
11. The Wild Rabbit Inn at Kingham
I’m telling you now – If you want to eat and drink merrily at The Wild Rabbit Inn, you need to book far in advance.
After all, it’s one of the best gastro pubs in the Cotswolds and has won awards for its classic pub dishes made of local and organic ingredients from the Daylesford Estate.
Formerly known as Tollgate Inn, Lord and Lady Bamford decided to renovate the structure in 2013 and rebranded it as The Wild Rabbit, with a chic yet traditional vibe. The Cotswold stoned farmhouse features a gorgeous combination of modern and classic elegance, perfect for social events.
You can enjoy a pint and pub nibbles at their bar or terrace, catching up with friends or meeting new ones. Alternatively, you can have a more intimate dining experience with your loved ones in the dining room, featuring an open kitchen.
They serve up dishes like grilled ribeye steak and miso pumpkin dumplings. As for their drinks, they are best known for their artisan ales and beers, cocktails, and fine wines.
12. The Falkland Arms at Chipping Norton
The Falkland Arms is somewhere I stumbled upon while exploring Chipping Norton, and I’m so glad I did! It’s perfect for those who want to experience country pubs in the Cotswolds with award-winning drinks like Wadworth ale.
What I love about Falkland Arms isn’t just the fact that they retained the original features of the 16th-century pub. It’s also the fact that they have hundreds of ceramic jugs hanging from the ceiling, making it an Instagrammable spot that not everyone knows about!
You can expect the typical English pub food like burgers, pies, and fish and chips. However, the pub also kicks things up a notch with modern takes on classic dishes, offering curried red lentil dahl and truffle tagliatelle to tickle the taste buds. If you want something lighter, they offer various types of sandwiches and toasties for lunch.
If you fell in love with the Falkland Arms’ quirky interior and yummy food, you can always stay a night or two at their inn, so you can see the beauty of Great Tew.
13. The Milton Hare at Chipping Norton
If you’re a fan of seafood, then The Milton Hare is one of the best country pubs in the Cotswolds. They have a seafood specials board that features only the freshest seafood sourced from the nearby shores of Cornwall and Devon.
Order fancy dishes such as grilled mackerel filet, tandoori roasted monkfish tail, or potted Morecambe Bay shrimp.
Even non-seafood lovers will appreciate the food offered at The Milton Hare, as they offer an all-day menu created by head chef Matt Hare. Dishes like slow-cooked ham hock or a sumptuous Sunday roast are made with ingredients sourced by quality suppliers.
The same goes for the pub drinks offered, with only handcrafted wines and locally brewed beers available.
Only want dessert? Sweet tooths will rejoice with the different dessert options like dark chocolate tarts, rhubarb, and apple crumbles, as well as various flavors of ice cream.
14. The Five Alls at Lechlade
The Five Alls is an 18th-century traditional inn with its own in-house pub featuring a lot of wooden design features, cozy sofas, exposed beams, and a log fire to warm you up during the cold months.
You can also check out their formal dining room or dine out in their beer garden, to enjoy your food and drinks during summer.
There’s always something for everyone regardless of the time you visit the pub. If you’re looking for something light, they have a dedicated sandwich menu and bar nibbles to pair with your drinks.
They also have a lunch and dinner menu that features both pub classics and tasty meals that cater to meat eaters and vegetarians.
Don’t forget to order a pint of their local ales or craft beer. If not, you can always try their seasonal cocktails unique to the pub, as well as their wide selection of wine and lagers.
15. The Double Red Duke at Bampton
Known as one of the chicest and most picturesque pubs in the Cotswolds, the Double Red Duke is iconic for its plush red sofas and intimately dim lighting. Furthermore, their unique red and white striped umbrellas are all over Instagram.
Think of it as modern sophistication meets tradition, with the stone country house donning stylish décor that makes it the “it” pub around the village.
The food is also amazing, with an all-day menu that complements the contemporary vibe. From grilled bone marrow oysters to sea scallops with garlic crumbs, the pub fare is as fancy as it gets.
I find it a suitable place to enjoy a date night with your lover, whether you want to enjoy your private time in one of the cozy corners or head outside to the terrace and outdoor bar.
Wrapping It Up
Looking for a place to enjoy a hearty meal of fish and chips? Or maybe local brews to quench your thirst? The best pubs in the Cotswolds will be perfect for you.
No trip to the Cotswolds is complete without a visit to their many pubs, so make sure you add some of these recommendations to your itinerary. Happy traveling!