One of the best things about travelling – and one that we all miss in times of pandemic – is eating local food. Taking a foodie route around the place you’re visiting and finding little places to try new dishes is always the order of the day. So, to get you in the mood – and your wanderlust – I’ve put together this guide to restaurants and cafés in the Cotswolds.
🗺 8 places to eat in Cotswolds
It’s undeniable that I miss a lot of places, or rather, I miss visiting them again and, by the way, giving myself a little gastronomic tribute. It goes without saying.
In this article I’m going to detail the restaurants or cafés I tried during my trip to the Cotswolds. The order in which they are listed does not indicate preference, but I will tell you which are the ones I hold in my memory with special affection.
📍 The Porch House
It’s said to be one of the oldest inns in England, although the truth is that many places claim to be, and it’s hard to know which one is. But even so, we’ll trust it’s one of the oldest in the country.
It is located in the pretty village of Stow-on-the-wold and is a good bet for those who want to start the day with a British-style breakfast.
📍 The Mason Arms
If you’re on Instagram, I’m pretty sure one of their hotels will have popped up on your feed at some point. I’m not afraid to say that this small chain has some of the most beautiful hotel rooms I’ve ever seen.
Although we didn’t stay there, I included the restaurant on the list because I really wanted to find out more about Artist Residence.
I have to admit that it took us a while to get to the restaurant with my damn GPS – and the roads in these parts don’t help much either – but in the end we made it. The whole restaurant (including the bathroom) looks like something out of Pinterest.
Obviously, in keeping with the tradition of travelling to the UK, we ordered Fish and Chips; plus pork croquettes, bread and butter and purple potatoes. The price of the menu is affordable. To give you an idea, the Fish and Chips costs 15 pounds; the average price you would pay in almost any pub in London.
📍 The Old Prison
It’s located in Northleach, one of the most overlooked villages in the English countryside. We visited it on our second day in the Cotswolds, and the truth is that I was more surprised than I expected.
I put it on my itinerary because I wanted to visit The Old Prison, a former prison that is now a cosy coffee shop. But you can visit the cells and the old courtroom for free.
📍 The Croft Restaurant
Whenever I think of returning to the Cotswolds, one of the first ideas that pops into my head is this restaurant. I want to come back and have toast here for breakfast while peacefully observing the tranquillity of Bourton-on-the-water on any rainy day.
It’s funny because the restaurant/cafeteria itself is nothing special or different: a wood-toned décor with word pictures and plants. However, both times we visited Bourton-on-the-water we went for breakfast here because the atmosphere is so warm and welcoming.
Sitting down with a coffee – or a hot chocolate in my case – while talking about life and having a leisurely breakfast, watching the canals of this beautiful English village, is priceless.
📍 The Bull Inn
I can’t and won’t deny that this is by far my favourite place in the Cotswolds. I couldn’t give you a persuasive explanation to convince you, nor do I pretend to. In fact, sometimes I even think I want to keep it all to myself and enjoy more of its essence. Am I being a bit selfish?
The Bull Inn is a pub, just a pub, located in Charlbury, a small village in the Cotswolds that enjoys a direct train connection to London.
We drove here, got lost, and I think I remember promising myself not to go back down that road again. But the truth is that I enjoyed the evening so much that I can’t wait to go back.
The menu is simple. It has pizzas, burgers and British dishes. Typical stuff you’d find in any pub in the country. And the price was cheap; very similar to The Mason Arms.
It’s not a very big pub, but it’s one of those places that makes you feel at home. With its decoration in shades of wood, white and blue; with its fireplace lit in winter and its sofas around it; and with that ambient music in the background that makes you want to stay a little longer.
📍 Jaffe and Neale
Jaffe and Neale is a cute little café-bookshop; an idea that sounds wonderful in my head. In fact, one of my big dreams is to have my own. So I’m not fooling you if I confess that I enjoyed the visit like a little girl on Epiphany.
We visited the coffee shop in Chipping Norton, but – looking at photos from the trip – I realised they also have another one in Stow-on-the-wold, if you’d prefer to pop in there.
📍 Huffkins Bakery and Tearooms
This is a chain of coffee shops located mainly in the English countryside, although they also have premises in London (specifically in John Lewis, Oxford Street) and Kingston Upon Thames.
We visited this coffee shop the day we went to visit the town of William Shakespeare: Stratford-upon-avon. Scones, cakes and shortbreads are on the menu at Huffkins. They also have an online shop in case you live in the UK and want to continue enjoying these delicacies from home.
📍 The Lygons Arms
Social media has become a tool we use when planning our trips. We no longer only follow travel guides or recommendations from acquaintances, now we can research on Instagram accounts of people who live there and can show us less typical places to visit or save on Facebook posts from other travellers with information that interests us for our trip.
And that’s how I discovered The Lygon Arms;
thanks to an Instagram post I saved once. Although the truth is that it’s not one of those super Instagrammable places. I’d say it’s more cosy, reserved and with a style that’s both elegant and old-fashioned.
Be careful if you plan to visit it because there are more than one called this in the English countryside.
They offer lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea – a very British thing to do in the UK. In fact, there are plenty of afternoon tea restaurants in London, in case you hadn’t noticed. We went for breakfast and the experience was very good. Besides, in autumn-winter they have the fireplace on and the atmosphere is very pleasant.