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Cotswold villages, with their honey-coloured cottages, windy lanes, and farmers markets, are an enchanting reminder of the English pastoral idyll of times gone by. Of course, nothing is more charming than a traditional village pub. With low wooden beams, stuffed foxes, open fires, and local brews, these are the best of the lot.
The Wild Rabbit certainly can’t be accused of being rustic or laid back, but ticks all the boxes for those looking to enjoying a smart weekend trip to the country. Serving (allegedly) the most expensive chips in England, the Wild Rabbit is run by the owners of Daylesford Organic Farmshop just a mile away, and carries the same elegant, impressive, high standards with it. Their newly appointed chef, Tim Allen, has previously been awarded a Michelin star and places a strong emphasis on sourcing wild and foraged seasonal produce from local artisan producers.
Despite being situated in one of the Cotswolds’ most chocolate-box towns, The Bell is refreshingly less rarefied than many of the other local pubs. They serve fantastic cocktails and their menu is less traditional than many of their competitors, with seafood linguini and seasonal salads providing more options than the traditional burger and chips. The staff will go above and beyond, making The Bell an ideal place for birthdays or large gatherings.
This 17th-century tavern is steeped in history, yet its owners have managed to bring it up to date beautifully. They have a few boutique bedrooms and a good selection of local brews, but the excellent variety in food is what makes the Churchill Arms stand out. The menu ranges from humble country fare, such as local sirloin steak or calf’s liver, to oysters and smoked haddock soufflé. The Churchill Arms are especially famous for their Sunday lunch, where they serve up all the usual trimmings with a glass of champagne.
The husband-wife team who run The Plough believe firmly in only using the best locally-sourced ingredients, and it pays off in their delicious yet simple food. Dogs are allowed, encouraged even, in keeping with the relaxed and friendly atmosphere at this village inn. Naturally, they stock a fantastic selection of draught local ales, lagers, and ciders, but legendary homemade pork pies are what the Plough does best.
Located in the South Cotswolds between Stroud and Cirencester, The Bell at Sapperton is all about roaring log fires in winter and stunning outdoor seating in summer. Placing a large emphasis on natural, homemade food, the extensive menu is fresh and delicious, without being overly fancy. Make sure to try their cucumber or rhubarb martinis. True to its country roots, the Bell offer free parking for horses, making it an ideal stopping point if you’re out riding.
Another all-time favourite, The Kings Head is situated on the idyllic village green in Bledington, where cricket is played in the summer. Popular with all generations, families mingle with smart London weekenders; the Kings Head excels in everything they do. Alongside their more expensive À la carte menu, they currently offer a special ‘pub classics’ menu at lunchtimes. They also serve a lovely ‘roast to share’ on Sunday lunchtimes, a whole joint of meat carved at the table with all the trimmings, which is popular with locals and visitors alike. The adventurous puddings are perhaps the best part of their menu, so make sure you save room for the carrot cake, olive oil panna cotta, and blood orange sorbet.