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25 Best Pubs in the Cotswolds (Cosy & Characterful) [2021]

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Pubs are what the Cotswolds do best.

You might be mistaken in thinking it’s actually the beautiful nature or organic and seasonal farm produce that holds the most appeal in the area.

But no: with over 800 square miles in the Cotswolds area, you probably have just as many pubs choose from.

The historic 16th century coaching inns speckle the country lanes, meaning you’re never too far from your next ale.

You have plenty to choose from – but where to start?

Well, I’ve rounded up the 25 best pubs in the Cotswolds that you need to visit!

From racing pubs to stylish converted barns, all are ready and waiting with a full bar and beer taps for you to enjoy.

This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Kate Andrews.

1. The Bell Inn Langford

the-bell-inn-langford-best-pubs-in-the-cotswolds

Address: The Bell Inn, Langford GL7 3LF

Phone number: 01367 860249

A charming, whitewashed building outside the small village of Langford, The Bell Inn has 16th century rustic charm galore.

There’s a charming cosy bar with real log fire and authentic flagstone flooring, perfect to hunker down for a winter warmer.

The food menu showcases simple, seasonal dishes, which change with the seasons.

Whether you’re after traditional pub food or something a bit more different, the small but delicious menu has you covered.

Plus, there’s even a wood-fired pizza oven which is reason enough to make it one of the best Cotswold pubs, right?

2. The Swan, Ascott-under-Wychwood

exterior-of-the-swan-pub-in-ascott-under-wychwood

Address: 4 Shipton Rd, Chipping Norton OX7 6AY

Phone number: 01993 832332

This idyllic honey-stone English Inn sits in a picturesque village just outside Chipping Norton.

It’s a quintessential Cotswold pub, with chic clientele to boot.

There’s eclectic but tasteful décor and a sizable stylish courtyard garden outside, perfect for summer drinks.

The Swan has taken the traditional feel of the Cotswolds and mixed with modern, so you’ll find a delicious menu of all your favourite cocktails here.

The menu is on-trend and adventurous, with a side of gentrification.

If you’re overwhelmed with choice, try the sharing board for two, three, or four people.

3. The Five Alls

the-five-alls-in-lechlade-best-pubs-in-the-cotswolds

Address: Filkins, Lechlade GL7 3JQ

Phone number: 01367 860875

This 18th century building used to be a coaching inn, and The Five Alls‘ rustic charm carries its history to today.

With a crackling fire, flagstone bar, and deep comfy sofas in a tucked-away snug, it would be quite easy to lose a day relaxing here.

There’s live music on Fridays and visitors are given warm welcomes by the locals, who are lucky enough to have this as their watering hole.

You definitely get the sense that this is a thriving pub, and easily one of the best pubs in the Cotswolds too.

After a dinner and a few drinks, you’ll soon see why!

4. The Double Red Duke

the-double-red-duke-in-bampton-best-pubs-in-the-cotswolds

Address: Bourton Rd, Clanfield, Bampton OX18 2RB

Phone number: 01367 810222

One of the most picturesque pubs in the Cotswolds, you may recognise The Double Red Duke‘s distinctive red and white striped umbrellas from Instagram as this chic inn has shot to popularity over the last couple of years.

It’s a chic reimagining of a traditional stone country house, stylishly decorated to turn it into the destination at the edge of the Cotswolds.

With wood fires and a simple menu packed full of local produce, this is easily one of the best Cotswold pubs.

5. The Plough Inn 

exterior-of-the-plough-inn-in-cold-aston

Address: Chapel Ln, Cold Aston, Cheltenham GL54 3BN

Phone number: 01451 822602

Upon arrival to The Plough Inn, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time.

Nestled in a tiny, sleepy village, this squat 17th-century country pub has all you need to whistle away an afternoon.

Between Cheltenham and Burton-on-the-Water, this is an ideal lunch stop off point when exploring the area.

Moreover, there’s a charming garden to soak up the sun over summer, and a log fire for those bitter winter days.

Be sure to also check out the extensive selection of real ales and craft beers.

6. The Highway Inn Burford

exterior-of-the-highway-inn-pub-in-burford

Address: 117 High St, Burford OX18 4RG

Phone number: 01993 823661

Situated in one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, The Highway Inn is a gem to check out when you’re in ‘the Gateway to the Cotswolds’.

Half way up the steeped Burford high street, with its higgled stone houses, the Highway has been recently refurbished, making it the jewel of the high street.

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The stone fireplaces are a particular highlight, dating back 500 years, to the original inn built in 1480.

Additionally, there’s a medieval courtyard towards the back of the inn, which offers an oasis from the bustling high street.

The extensive menu covers every traditional English pub dish you could possibly want.

7. The King’s Head Inn

flowers-in-front-of-the-kings-head-inn-in-chipping-norton

Address: The Grn, Chipping Norton OX7 6XQ

Phone number: 01608 658365

Idyllically set on the charming village green in Bledington, you’re hard pushed to find somewhere prettier than The King’s Head Inn.

A traditional 16th-century country inn, there’s an atmospheric interior with dark woods and ceiling beams.

It was voted the National Inn of the Year and Gloucestershire Dining Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide 2020.

And you’ll see why in their hearty traditional menu with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and the huge choice of real ales to try.

8. The New Inn

the-new-inn-in-coln-st-aldwyns-lit-up-at-night

Address: Main Street, Coln St Aldwyns, Cirencester GL7 5AN

Phone number: 01285 750651

Coln St Aldwyn’s honey-stoned streets make for the perfect location to start or finish your country walk, due to its easy access to The Cotswolds Way.

But after a long day of exploring, The New Inn is the perfect destination to rest weary legs and regain those lost calories.

The blend of stylish country minimalism, a nod to its 16th-century heritage, with modern flashes (neon, coloured prints) makes for a remarkable inn.

Moreover, there’s a brilliant, crafted cocktail menu to reward weary walkers, and a fun, modern menu, which offers casual dining burgers and snacks with a tasteful twist.

Is this of the best pubs in Cirencester?

Absolutely it is!

9. The Bull Hotel

the-bull-hotel-lit-up-at-night-in-fairford

Address: Market Place, Fairford GL7 4AA

Phone number: 01285 712535

This Grade II listed coaching inn has all the makings of the perfect Cotswolds pub.

That’s why it’s thoroughly earned its place on this list of the best Cotswold pubs!

Located in the market square in Fairford, the colourful and eclectic interior perfectly complements the traditional setting.

With local cask ales and craft beers, you may be fooled into thinking that The Bull Hotel is a beer-lovers pub.

But the largers and ales are joined by a selection of 70 wines and an extensive cocktail list, making this the perfect pub whatever your tipple of fancy.

10. The Wild Rabbit Inn

the-wild-rabbit-inn-in-chipping-norton-best-pubs-in-the-cotswolds

Address: Church St, Kingham, Chipping Norton OX7 6YA

Phone number: 01608 658389

The mecca for the Soho Farmhouse set, The Wild Rabbit Inn is known even in London for its stylish décor and chic atmosphere.

The stone walls, crackling fires and low suede armchairs perfectly encapsulate the modern rustic of the new Cotswolds.

This is more of a city-folk-escape-to-the-country pub than a local’s favourite, but its abundant style doesn’t deduct from substance.

The famous, award-winning fine dining restaurant supports British farmers and traditional British cooking with an artisan twist.

Similarly, the open kitchen provides you with dinner theatre as they prepare their organic ingredients from Daylesford farms for your culinary enjoyment.

11. The Chequers

the-chequers-in-chipping-norton-best-pubs-in-the-cotswolds

Address: Church Rd, Churchill, Chipping Norton OX7 6NJ

Phone number: 01608 659393

A cosy, traditional and fuss-free gastropub with impressive, beamed ceilings, The Chequers is one of the best pubs in Chipping Norton.

More elevated than your local boozer, the focus here is on the gastropub experience, with an exceptional Sunday roast.

They host special Feast menus, which offer three courses of seasonal dishes at tiered costs.

These are definitely worth spending a bit more to experience!

12. The Ebrington Arms

exterior-of-the-ebrington-arms-in-chipping-campden

Address: May Ln, Ebrington, Chipping Campden GL55 6NH

Phone number: 01386 593223

A local’s pub that has achieved the fine balance of also bringing in the crowds from miles around, The Ebrington Arms’ reputation proceeds it.

In a traditional country inn, this pub is an unspoilt experience of true Cotswolds hospitality.

If you come in spring, the exterior is covered in a thick layer of vibrant wisteria, adding to its charm.

Moreover, the quality of the food is well beyond the pub’s humble simplicity.

In fact, it’s some of the finest in the area.

However, be warned that there’s limited vegetarian and gluten free offers.

13. The Bell at Sapperton

entrance-to-the-bell-at-sapperton-free-house

Address: Sapperton, Cirencester GL7 6LE

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Phone number: 01285 760298

In the traditional honey-hued stone of the Cotswolds, pubs don’t get much more enchanting than The Bell.

This is a true rural and rustic country pub – and one of the best Cotswold pubs, that’s for sure!

It’s not rare to see horses parked up outside and dogs asleep on the wooden floors (this is true black Labrador country!).

The ‘Wine Wall’ is also a sight to behold – with dozens of local wines available to buy or drink in.

Similarly, the staff will very happily help you find your perfect wine amongst all the choice.

14. The Potting Shed Pub

bar-and-tables-in-the-potting-shed-pub-malmesbury

Address: The St, Crudwell, Malmesbury SN16 9EW

Phone number: 01666 577833

As its name suggests, The Potting Shed is an authentic and rustic country inn, championing locally sourced ingredients and seasonal produce.

Therefore, the menus change frequently – but you’re unlikely to get a dud meal here, whatever the line-up.

In 2020, it was the Telegraph’s runner up to Pub of the Year, and, frankly, it’s shocking it didn’t win.

The white-washed building hides a charming country escape to simple and tasteful heritage and flavour.

One of the best pubs in the Cotswolds? I think so!

15. The Frogmill

the-frogmill-cheltenham-lit-up-at-night

Address: A436, Shipton Oliffe, Cheltenham GL54 4HT

Phone number: 01242 386364

Just outside Cheltenham, The Frogmill is an enchanting country pub, set in a wooded valley and decked with fairy lights.

The grand outdoor space in front of the yellow-stone country inn has a large firepit with blankets to enjoy the magical setting throughout the year.

Inside, it’s just as special, with eclectic, rustic décor, low sofas to sink into, and candles adorning oak tables.

The food isn’t remarkable, but The Frogmill is such a beautiful setting that you’ll want to stay nursing your drinks for quite a while.

16. The Village Pub

table-and-fireplace-in-the-village-pub-in-barnsley

Address: The Village Pub, Barnsley GL7 5EF

Phone number: 01285 740421

The name says it all: this is a traditional country pub, set on the main road in Barnsley, the heart of the village.

It’s an underappreciated gem, smack-bam in the middle of the breathtaking countryside.

If you’re after an authentic English pub experience with oodles of charm, this is the right place.

Vegetarian and vegan friendly, The Village Pub has fantastic pub grub, with welcoming and attentive service.

The Sunday lunch is almost unbeatable.

17. The Hollow Bottom

the-hollow-bottom-guiting-power-best-pubs-in-the-cotswolds

Address: Guiting Power, Cheltenham GL54 5UX

Phone number: 01451 611111

A lot of strange names here are made up for by this traditional racing pub in the heart of the Cotswolds.

The Hollow Bottom is a social pub, best visited during sports or the races, where locals pile into the small building.

There’s a great range of vegetarian options here, which sets it apart from a lot of traditional pubs.

The Lucky Onion group – who have a superb reputation throughout the Cotswolds for their high-quality venues – own this pub, so you know you won’t leave disappointed.

18. The Mason Arms

fireplace-and-table-in-the-mason-arms-in-witney

Address: Artist Residence Oxfordshire, Station Rd, South Leigh, Witney OX29 6XN

Phone number: 01993 656238

A quaint, thatched pub, The Mason Arms is part of the reputable Artist Residence hotel in Oxfordshire.

This boutique chain of hotels started in 2008 in Brighton and have quickly risen to fame for their eccentric yet stylish décor and influencer guests.

The Artist Residence in Oxfordshire has five small bedrooms upstairs and has kept true to the 16th century history with The Mason Arms downstairs.

It would be easy to spend all day here, with its sense of quirky fun and cosy corners.

This is a fantastic example of gentrification of the Cotswolds done right.

The heart of this ancient, thatched pub remains, and now with a fantastic menu to boot.

19. The Plough Inn

table-in-the plough-inn-in-ford-temple-guiting

Address: Ford Temple Guiting, Cheltenham GL54 5RU

Phone number: 01386 584215

The Cotswolds are steeped in racing history, with the famous Cheltenham races and some of the best horse racing trainers in the world in the area.

The Plough Inn is tied totally in this community, with strong connections and physical proximity to Jonjo O’Neill’s famous racing stables.

You’ll find trainers and jockeys enjoying a few pints of real ale of an evening in this classic pub.

The dog-friendly pub will have black labs galore in true Cotswolds style.

And it’s not uncommon to see groups of shooters in full tweed after a day in the country.

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It doesn’t get much more authentic than this.

20. The Swan Inn Swinbrook

exterior-of-the-swan-inn-in-swinbrook

Address: The Swan Inn, A40, Swinbrook, Burford OX18 4DY

Phone number: 01993 823339

A tasteful inn set in the village the Mitford sisters (of the Nancy Mitford fame) were raised in, it’s no wonder this pub made this list of the best pubs in the Cotswolds.

Pleasingly symmetrical and draped in wisteria in the summer, you’ll quickly fall in love with this stunning riverside inn.

Towards the back of The Swan Inn, there’s a magical conservatory overlooking trees draped in fairy lights.

The pub is in a magical location and would be perfect for a delicious meal and drinks for a special occasion.

21. The Beehive, Montpellier

bar-and-tables-in-the-beehive-montpellier-pub

Address: 1-3 Montpellier Villas, Cheltenham GL50 2XE

Phone number: 01242 702270

In the stylish district of Montpellier in Cheltenham, you’ll find one of its best kept secrets.

The Beehive is a traditional pub that’s always teeming with enthusiastic and welcoming locals.

With Georgian high ceilings and large windows to let in the light, the pub feels a little different from the shadowy cottages of the countryside.

However, the extensive real ale selection and buzzing atmosphere (pun intended) more than balances it.

22. The Queen’s Head

exterior-of-the-queen's-head-in-stow-on-the-wold

Address: Market Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham GL54 1AB

Phone number: 01451 830563

Right in the centre of Stow-on-the-Wold, you could be forgiven for assuming The Queen’s Head would be a tourist pub.

But the yellow-stone traditional façade is mirrored in the dark wood interiors inside.

If you’re after traditional, this is one of the best pubs in the Cotswolds for you.

With efficient service and tasty pub grub, this is great pub lunch option after a day of wandering the market town.

23. The Feathered Nest Country Inn

the-feathered-nest-country-inn-nether-westcote-best-pubs-in-the-cotswolds

Address: Nether Westcote OX7 6SD

Phone number: 01993 833030

It doesn’t get much better than this.

Set back from the road in a charming plot, this country inn has incredible views and a pub experience to match.

With locally sourced ingredients and exceptional food, the culinary reputation of The Feathered Nest has travelled for miles around.

And luckily for us, the setting is just as impressive.

Set on the top of a hill, you can see for miles around from the beautiful, seated garden.

It’s a popular start and finish point of walkers exploring the area.

As such, it’s especially wonderful in summer to whistle away an afternoon enjoying the sun and a refreshing drink from the terrace.

You’d be hard pushed to find a pub with better views.

24. The Kingham Plough

the-kingham-plough-in-chipping-norton-best-pubs-in-the-cotswolds

Address: The Grn, Kingham, Chipping Norton OX7 6YD

Phone number: 01608 658327

Close to Chipping Norton, the renown Kingham Plough has style and charm suited to this Londoner’s area of the Cotswolds.

The pub has been refurbished with tasteful, antique furniture that preserves the history of the building while catering to the trends of the area.

With an artisan menu packed through of fresh, local ingredients, you can see why the Kingham Plough has garnered such an immense reputation for its food.

You can’t visit without trying one of their seasonally crafted cocktails, either.

This is one of the best pubs in Chipping Norton, that’s for sure.

25. The Riverside

the-riverside-pub-in-lechlade-best-pubs-in-the-cotswolds

Address: The Riverside Park End Wharf, Lechlade GL7 3AQ

Phone number: 01367 252534

Last but by no means least, we have The Riverside, easily one of the best Cotswold pubs.

As the name suggests, The Riverside is situated next to one of the most beautiful stretches of the Thames.

On a summer’s day, enjoy one of the benches outside beside the river for a refreshing drink and some exceptional chips.

Careful of friendly swans and ducks who may want to join you – but let’s be real, they just add to the charm!

 

So that completes my round up of the 25 best pubs in the Cotswolds!

If you hadn’t already gathered by now, the Cotswolds is teeming with cosy pubs ready for you to step into.

The only problem is that you’ve almost got too many to choose from.

Well, any excuse for another pint or glass of wine, right?

All that’s left to do is choose your favourite pub from this list and get visiting!

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