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Cotswold real ale pubs: 15 places you need to visit

PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:31 21 November 2016

The Potting Shed Pub, Malmesbury

The Potting Shed Pub, Malmesbury


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 with friends and in the summer the hidden beer garden is perfect for soaking up the sun with an ale in hand.


2. The Slaughters Country Inn

Nestled in the stunning village of Lower Slaughter, this intimate and charming Cotswold pub can be found on the banks of the River Eye. It is the perfect place to while away the afternoon with a pint of ale after a busy day exploring the area. Pub-goers can take advantage of the ‘Perfect Pie and Pint’ offer, available on weekday lunchtimes, with a homemade pie and complimentary pint of ale for only £12.50.


3. The Bear of Rodborough, Stroud

At this Stroud based pub you can expect a chatty and welcoming bar and plenty of nooks and crannies to hide-away with friends and catch up over a pint of real ale. If you’re feeling peckish we recommend a tasty bowl of chips to enjoy with your beer. In the summer, you can enjoy one of the best beer gardens the Cotswolds has to offer.


4. The Killingworth Castle, Woodstock

This quintessential country retreat has one of the finest real ale menus in Oxfordshire. The pub is supplied by their own brewery – The Yubberton Brewing Company – and it was once voted as ‘Pub of the Year 2014’ by the Oxford Times. On the second Sunday of every month, there is a quiz at 8pm to keep you entertained whilst you enjoy your pint of ale.


5. The Bell at Stow

With a range of thirst-quenching, cask-conditioned ales behind the bar, a selection of tasty bar snacks on offer, and a toasty log burner to enjoy during the depths of winter, this cosy Cotswold pub is just too perfect. If you’re a fan of live music, there is a piano in the bar area which is played by local musicians every Sunday evening. Make sure you pop in for a real ale after a day exploring Stow-on-the-Wold.


6. The Angel at Burford

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 bar snacks to accompany your pint too, from salt and pepper calamari to smokey bacon scotch eggs and pan-friend garlic prawns. The Angel is dog friendly so you can enjoy your pint fireside with Fido at your feet. Ah, perfection…


7. The Gloucester Old Spot

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 (Timothy Taylor, Wye Valley and Purity).


8. 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.


9. 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 Summer BBQ – it is the perfect pit stop for ale lovers.


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 Lion Inn, Winchcombe

Guests are invited to warm their feet by the fire with a pint of hand-drawn ale at The Lion Inn. Located on the high street in Winchcombe, this pub has a very inviting snug where you can curl up and watch the hustle and bustle of the town go by after a day exploring nearby Sudeley Castle, or the beautiful medieval town in which it resides.


12. 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 offer behind the bar. The pub itself is steeped in history and has been acquired by the National Trust for many years now. It has been voted ‘Country pub of the Year 2016’ by the Good Pub Guide and we think it’s a definite must-go on a trip to the Cotswolds.


13. 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.


14. 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.


15. 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.


Don't miss!

The Salutation Inn, Ham

Affectionately known as 'The Sally', Gloucestershire's CAMRA Pub of the Year 2015 The Salutation, is widely known for its brilliant selection of quality real ales. Butcombe Bitter, Tiley's Pale Ale #7 and Arbor's Half Day 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.


If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you’d like ‘Cosy Cotswold pubs: 8 of the best places to go’


Think you know your real ale? Why not have a go at our quiz below? 

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