Cotswold real ale pubs: 15 places you need to visit
PUBLISHED: 15:17 09 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:03 06 August 2020
Whether you’re a loyal local or a visitor to the area, you’ll never be far from a charming real ale pub in the Cotswolds.
1. The Beehive, Cheltenham
This friendly and community-focused pub can be found in the heart of Montpellier in Cheltenham where locally sourced ales from the Cotswold Lion Brewery and the Prescott Brewery (both based around Cheltenham) can be found behind the bar. In the winter it's a lovely place to escape the cold weather and in the summer the hidden beer garden is perfect for soaking up the sun with an ale in hand.
2. The Killingworth Castle, Woodstock
This quintessential country retreat, which was once visited by Winston Churchill, has one of the finest real ale menus in Oxfordshire. It even picked up the CAMRA North Oxfordshire Pub of the Year runner-up prize in 2017. The pub is supplied by their own brewery - The Yubberton Brewing Company with the popular Yawnie, Yubby and Goldie on tap alongside a range of guest ales. The food at The Killingworth Castle is also pretty special; with a 2 AA Rosette menu focusing on fine dining dishes made with local produce. You can find their sister pub The Ebrington Arms just outside Chipping Campden.
3. Crown and Trumpet, Broadway
If a good pint and pub grub is what you're after, you're in for a treat at the Crown and Trumpet Inn in Broadway. Tucked away from the village's busy High Street, the Cask Marque accredited and award-winning pub serves a number of locally brewed beers. We recently tried Stanway Brewery's Broadway Artists on tap: a hoppy amber ale created in support of the Broadway Arts Festival.
The Angel is a close associate of the local brewery Hook Norton and it is also Cask Marque accredited so you know you're in safe hands. There are plenty of delicious dishes to accompany your pint too, from Hooky Beer Battered Fish & Chips to short crust pastry steak and ale pie. The Angel is dog friendly so you can enjoy your pint fireside with Fido at your feet. Ah, perfection…
5. The Gloucester Old Spot, near Cheltenham
This traditional Cotswold boozer can be found in the rolling Gloucestershire countryside between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury and it is on a bus route - great news for drinkers! Whether you're a loyal local or a visitor to the area, you'll feel at home in The Gloucester Old Spot and there are some great hand-pulled real ales on offer too (including beers from Timothy Taylor, Wye Valley and Purity).
6. The Vine Tree, Malmesbury
Burrowed in the beautiful Malmesbury countryside lies The Vine Tree, a quirky Wiltshire pub where humans, dogs and horses (yes horses), are all welcome. The pub has a great friendship with the local brewery, The Flying Monk, so you can enjoy a wonderful pint of Elmers and inside there is plenty of Cotswold character with flagstone floors, beamed ceiling and roaring open fires.
7. The Potting Shed, Crudwell
The Potting Shed is the meeting point for the community of peaceful Crudwell, and with high quality ales behind the bar, two acres of beautiful gardens to explore and lots of fun-filled events on offer, is it any wonder? Whether you're looking to spend a lazy afternoon lunching and drinking ale in rustic surroundings, or you'd like a taster of Cotswold village life at the annual Shed Fest - it is the perfect pit stop for ale lovers.
8. The Catherine Wheel, Bibury
This family-run venue is passionate about Cask Marque beer quality, so you can be assured there will always be fantastic real ale choices behind the bar. The pub dates back to the 15th century so expect lots of Cotswold charm and character upon your arrival. In the winter you can enjoy your pint beside a roaring fire, and in the summer you can relax in stable courtyard and soak up the rural scenes in beautiful Bibury.
9. Ale House, Stroud
A haven for beer drinkers, the Ale House in Stroud's town centre prides itself on its extensive range of ales from up and down the country. Changing daily, beers on tap have included a selection of Tiley's ales, Bristol Beer Factory's Waimea River and Hopback's Thunderstorm. A jam-packed calendar of events - including live music, popular pub quizzes and beer festivals - makes for a lively, vibrant atmosphere on every visit.
10. The Greedy Goose, Moreton-in-Marsh
Where better to enjoy a selection of North Cotswold ales, than The Greedy Goose amongst the rolling Cotswold Hills. With Shagweaver, Cotswold Best and Windrosh Ale behind the bar you are simply spoilt for choice and if you're feeling peckish, take advantage of 2-4-1 pizzas on Wednesdays. In the warmer months, the walled beer garden is perfect for spending hot summer days with a beer in hand.
11. The Fleece Inn, Bretforton
We've previously mentioned The Fleece as one of our favourite cosy Cotswolds pubs, but we adore the place so much we felt we needed to include it again! They are avid supporters of CAMRA and there are always five top-quality real ales on rotation behind the bar, alongside the regular Pig's Ear from Uley Brewery, Purity's Mad Goose and Wye Valley Bitter. The award-winning pub itself is steeped in history and has been acquired by the National Trust for many years now.
12. The Bathurst Arms, North Cerney
This wonderful country pub on the outskirts of Cirencester is full of charm and has two guest ales on offer every week. Not only is it dog friendly (always a winner in our books), but it's perfect for unwinding with a pint after a long, hard day at work. In the summer, there is plenty of outdoor seating for you to enjoy your ale with beautiful waterside views of the River Churn flowing by.
13. The Woolpack Inn, Slad
With some fantastic real ale on offer, locally-sourced food on the menu and spectacular views across the Slad Valley and beyond, we are not afraid to admit we are totally in love with The Woolpack Inn. The rural location means it is a great pub to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and put the world to rights over a pint of ale.
14. The Salutation Inn, Ham
Affectionately known as 'The Sally', Gloucestershire's CAMRA Pub of the Year 2014-17 (among many other awards) is widely known for its brilliant selection of quality real ales. Goffs Black Knight and Tiley's India Pale Ale are just a small selection of real ales you'll find barside. Throw in the cosy log fires, great community spirit and delicious ham, egg and chips and you know you're on to a winner at The Sally.
15. Plaisterers Arms, Winchcombe
The Plaisterers Arms is one of those traditional, cosy pubs with Cotswold charm in abundance. Patrons are well-catered for here with a well-stocked bar of wines, spirits and, of course, beers. If you're making your way over from Cheltenham to Winchcombe on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, make sure to order a Donnington's Rail Ale onboard - trust us, its delicious!