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10 historic pubs in the Cotswolds you need to visit

PUBLISHED: 10:00 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:47 09 February 2018

Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold (c) Nick Osborne

Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold (c) Nick Osborne

Osborne Hollis Ltd.

Low beamed ceilings, Cotswold stone and plenty of charm; the region boasts an abundance of delightful historic pubs. We pick 10 of our favourite to visit

1. Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold

When discussing the Cotswolds’ oldest pubs, it doesn’t get much more historical than the Porch House, reputedly England’s oldest inn. Dating back to 947AD, it’s widely believed that this building was once a hospice built by order of Aethelmar, Duke of Cornwall on land belonging to Evesham Abbey. With its flagstone flooring, exposed brickwork, intimate candlelight, and warm welcome it’s an inviting spot to relax and sample some delicious fare.

Why we love the Porch House: While in Stow-on-the-Wold, the Porch House is ideal for ducking in from the cold and warming up with a pint by the toasty log burner. In the warmer months, you can enjoy the sunshine in the outside terrace.

2. The Rose & Crown, Shilton

Nestled in the beautiful village of Shilton, only a short drive from the bustling market town of Burford, you’ll find The Rose & Crown. Dating back to the 17th century, the Cotswold stone building boasts original beams and two log fires. This local village pub boasts a charming ambience with locals and visitors sitting side by side to enjoy an extensive food and drinks menu.

Why we love The Rose & Crown: The term hidden gem can be thrown around rather loosely but The Rose & Crown truly is a great find off the beaten track.

3. The Bear Inn, Bisley

Only four miles from Stroud lies the pretty village of Bisley where The Bear Inn has sat since 1639, and at its current address since 1766. The village’s oldest pub is rich in tradition, and locals and visitors return again and again to soak in the pub’s pleasing atmosphere, great range of beers and tasty dishes.

Why we love The Bear Inn: After a drive down country lanes, or walk through the countryside, take a seat at The Bear Inn and tuck in to one of its mouthwatering pub classics.

4. The Fountain Inn, Gloucester

Gloucester is brimming with interesting historic buildings alongside the imposing Cathedral, many of which are now watering-holes. Buried in Gloucester’s city centre, you’ll find The Fountain Inn, one of the oldest known sites connected with the brewing trade in the city. It has a long and varied history dating back to crowning of King Henry III in 1216, and is recognised as an Inn by the early 14th century. Make sure to take a peek at the plaque in the pub’s courtyard which points to a visit from King William III.

Why we love The Fountain Inn: For those in Gloucester’s city centre over the summer, escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre and Quays, and relax in the peaceful garden of The Fountain Inn with a drink in hand.

5. The Churchill Arms, Paxford

Foodies rejoice – this gastropub serves up some delectable dishes! With more than 15 years experience under his belt, the Churchill Arms Head Chef and Proprietor Nick Deverell-Smith spins clever twists on British favourites making the most out of local Cotswold produce. This beautiful 17th century pub also offers delightful boutique rooms for those staying in the area.

Why we love The Churchill Arms: The varied mix of patrons are always treated the same here: whether you’ve popped in for a pint with the pooch after a long walk or with a group of friends sampling the delicious menu.

6. Eight Bells, Chipping Campden

Hundreds of years of history fall upon the Eight Bells. Built in the 14th century, the pub was used to house the stonemasons that built the nearby St. James’ church and was rebuilt using the original materials. Tucked away from the high street, the charming, historic décor and plenty of local ales and wines make this a perfect place to settle down and imagine the stories the pub could tell.

Why we love the Eight Bells: It’s equally wonderful inside and out: when the sun shines, grab a table in the terraced garden which overlooks the neighbouring Alms Houses and St. James’ Church in Chipping Campden.

7. The Fleece Inn, Bretforton

Rich in history, The Fleece Inn was built in the 15th century, first licensed in 1848 and was passed on to the National Trust in 1977. A vibrant part of the Bretforton community, there’s plenty of entertainment organised throughout the year from morris dancing to live music.

Why we love The Fleece Inn: Named as one of our favourite cosy pubs in the Cotswolds, it’s the perfect country retreat when exploring the nearby scenery. We recommend sampling a dish from the menu brimming with sumptuous pub classics and a local beer or cider.

8. Salutation Inn, near Castle Combe

Neighbouring the picture-perfect village of Castle Combe, the history of The Salutation Inn is vast. It holds an eventful past: from being a toll gate for travellers crossing along The Fosse Way and the Tythe Barn (which is used a function room today) housing horses overnight while riders would enjoy a drink and meal in the Inn. Much is the same today, guests can expect to be well looked after, enjoy a couple of glasses from the extensive wine list and a tasty plate of British fare.

Why we love the Salutation Inn: After visiting the photogenic village of Castle Combe, make the Salutation Inn a stop off before heading home or visiting your next Cotswold village.

9. The Kings Arms, Stow-on-the-Wold

Counting King Charles I as a guest in 1645, the former coaching inn of The Kings Arms sits at the corner of the town’s Market Square. Although retaining tradition, and its stunning Cotswold stone frontage, this hotel and pub is slightly different to the norm with a kitsch, vintage touch to the décor. Expect a busy, jovial atmosphere and a fantastic range of ales, wines and delicious dishes.

Why we love The Kings Arms: Visit on a Wednesday for their famous proper pie, served with creamy mash and mushy peas alongside a drink of your choice for £10.95

10. Mousetrap Inn, Bourton-on-the-Water

Set in the heart of Bourton-on-the-Water, the Mousetrap Inn has undergone recent renovation under new ownership, and the hard work by Frank Fellows and his team is certainly proving popular with locals and visitors alike. The pub has been serving patrons for over 150 years, and legend has it, Agatha Christie was one of them, and visitors can except a warm welcome whether they’re staying, enjoying a drink or tucking into some lunch after exploring the Cotswold village.

Why we love the Mousetrap Inn: If it an authentic Inn, with a great range of beers on tap (typically offering nine draught lagers) and tasty homemade food is what you seek, look no further than the Mousetrap.

Fancy visiting more pubs in the Cotswolds? You might like…

Cotswold real ale pubs: 15 places you need to visit

Quintessential country pubs in the Cotswolds

Dog friendly pubs in the Cotswolds: 10 of the best places to visit

Cosy Cotswolds pubs: 12 of the best places to go


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