At Reliance, we regularly take both locals and visitors to some of the most wonderful restaurants, pubs and other eating establishments in the Cotswolds. Here we list our favourites, with a brief rundown of what to expect, our personal thoughts and what makes that place special.
A traditional English country pub (great for a snapshot of England for those from abroad) with a focus on locally brewed cask ales. A classic menu with excellently executed favourites such as pork belly, fish and chips, sea bass and lamb neck fillet. They also have a children’s menu and pricing is reasonable.
The Mason’s Arms sits in the heart of Meyseyhampton, right on the Village Green. Not only a pub/restaurant but the also have rooms available. Regular customers of Reliance, its easily accessible by a short taxi journey. With its rustic themed menu and exposed beams, its the perfect mix of old world charm and modern gastronomical skill. Pricing is mid range and definitely affordable.
One of our absolute favourites. Slightly off the beaten track, tucked in the heart of Ewen, this is a beautiful venue with a rich history and an outstanding menu. Customers regularly tell us how incredible their experience there has been and we, of course, recommend The Wild Duck to people staying near the centre of Cirencester. Perfect for birthdays and celebrations, its slightly higher in price than some but is consistently described as ‘outstanding’.
In between Malmesbury and Cirencester, just inside the Cotswolds, the village of Crudwell dates back to the Domesday Book. At the heart of the village sits the striking Rectory Hotel and The Potting Shed Pub. The rooms at the Rectory are what you would expect, perfectly maintained, not over fussy, ever so slightly chintzy (in a good way!) and spacious. Definitely a feel of ‘staying at a relative’s in the country’. In their own words, “Menus evoke a country house hotel of old, but updated and refreshed, with unfussy, unpretentious presentation, such as: Beef Wellington, local crayfish, smoked eel, and florentine doughnuts . Jackets are definitely not required. There are also: Interesting salads, some grown at The Potting Shed and comfort food such as fish pie, roast chicken and wild-boar steaks. A cheese trolley adds a little bit of theatre and fun to the dining rooms.” 15 minutes from Cirencester by taxi, its accessible to all if a little pricey…but you get what you pay for.
Sat snugly between Stroud and Cirencester, The Bell is a versatile, year-round hideaway in the Cotswolds. Log fires and cosy ambience in the Winter and manicured gardens and a courtyard for the Summer. The menu consists of hearty, freshly prepared produce such as Ham hock, mackerel, haddock and pork ribeye. Mid-range in price, we think its good enough that youll definitely want to come back again and again.
A short taxi journey from Cirencester, on the old Cheltenham Road, sits the Bathurst Arms. Having recently been refurbished both inside and outside and having been painted pink (!) it also has rooms available. Choose from a lunch, evening or children’s menu and try modern twists on classics such as Cod Mornay, Roasted Belly Pork, Bathurst Hunter’s Chicken and Ham Hock Terrine. Most definitely in the affordable price range, its perfect for either a pre-planned or impromptu lunch or dinner.
Nestling in the Cotswold village of Frampton Mansell lies the Crown Inn – a seventeenth century ‘cider house’ that is steeped in history. Log fires, traditional food and locally brewed ales in a stunning building dating from 1633, The Crown also has 12 rooms available. Their menu is extremely impressive and is accessible to all. Definitely somewhere that Reliance recommends as the perfect place to relax and taste some wonderful food. Unusual and interesting dishes such as Venison meatballs, Curried chicken Kiev and sweet Potato falafel bring a novel twist to a classic menu.
Only a two minute walk from each other, The Village Pub and Barnsley House are run by the same team. The Village Pub, in their words, is “great ales, lovely wines, stone floors, open fires, comfy seating, a relaxed atmosphere, the day’s newspapers, friendly staff and the very very best food, menus and local produce.” A quintessentially English country pub, it appears to use locally sourced ingredients, a highlight being ‘Calcot beef burger’. Barnsley House itself is much like a stately home and gardens, with beautifully appointed rooms and spa facilities set in the beautiful country setting of Barnsley, only a few minutes taxi journey from Cirencester. Definitely somewhere to indulge yourself and relax.
Set on the banks of the River Coln, this former Cotswold coaching inn is a perfect getaway. popular with locals and tourists alike, its a highlight of the village of Bibury – once called the ‘most beautiful village in the UK’. Popular for weddings, holidaymakers and overnighters, it also houses the Swan Brasserie, where you can have afternoon tea by the river, have an intimate dinner or entertain friends in the private dining room. With a choice of menus (Bar and Courtyard or Afternoon Tea menu) highlights include local Bibury trout pate, Chicken liver parfait and Thai style chicken salad. Most definitely affordable, we think its a lovely way to spend either an afternoon or evening and The Swan is possibly one of our most visited destinations.
The New Inn at Coln is a seventeenth century coaching inn with restaurant, bar, gardens and bedrooms. A short taxi journey from the popular wedding venues Cripps Barn and Stone Barn, its very popular with wedding guests and those looking for a superb dining experience. With quality, locally sourced ingredients they always try to use organic where possible. The menu is reassuringly simple, with a choice of set menus and a Sunday Lunch menu. A great choice for a last minute weekend lunch.
The Bull is, in their own words, “a Grade II-listed coaching inn, gloriously situated on the Market Square in Fairford, a picture-perfect market town in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds. Recently taken over by renowned chef, Sebastian Snow, and his wife, Lana, The Bull now offers both restaurant and private dining spaces and a traditional pub bar, with open fires, and serving local craft beers, spirits and great wines. There’s also a traditional, vaulted barn, The Bull Room, for weddings and parties for up to 60 guests.” Highlights include the Carpaccio of beef and ‘the Bull Board’ – a selection of Italian cured meats, pickles and sourdough bread. since being re-opened, new life seems to have definitely have been breathed into the Bull and it is very worth a visit.
The Corinium Hotel is situated on one of the oldest streets in Cirencester, only a few minutes away from the town centre. Upon entering, you immediately notice how historic the building is, with its low ceilings and period features. The rooms are well appointed and spacious and a highlight for us was their Sunday Lunch. Ample parking at the rear and a cosy bar that feels more like your friendly local.
In the heart of Cirencester, it has 42 bedrooms and a choice of both afternoon teas (for those who enjoy the quintessential ‘Cotswold’ experience) and Sunday dinners. The restaurant menu is nice and varied with some highlights being Pheasant breast, Gurnard fillet and lamb rump. Pricing is in line with most places in the area making it affordable and accessible. A great choice for a local or a visitor alike.
Jesse’s is, quite simply, one of our all-time favourite places. The only two AA-rosette restaurant in Cirencester, simply walking past gets the taste buds going, with aromas of steaks and other gastronomic surprises wafting out of the doors onto the winding Blackjack Street – one of Cirencesters oldest. You are always guaranteed to have an excellent dining experience at Jesse’s, with attentive staff and first class food. They are supplied by their own butcher – Jesse Smith’s – and have varied and interesting dishes on their menu such as Linguine with surf clams, Blyburgh estate pork and a Piri Piri marinated open chicken sandwich. With the daily menu offering two courses for only £15, everyone can enjoy Jesse’s. An absolute definite for visitors to Cirencester.
Situated in Cirencester’s market place, the Fleece has folding doors which enable them to open the whole front of the building onto the market place. Alternatively, you can retreat to the back of the pub where there are low ceilings, original beams and cosy tables for two. The menu is traditional hearty English fayre such as fat sausages and chunky chips (which they are happy to serve as a bar snack – a favourite with us!). Vegetarian options such as gnocchi with wild mushrooms bring a refreshing change to what can often be an exasperating search, and meat eaters can be sated by the choices of meats on offer.
The Kings Head, once more situated in the middle of Cirencester market place, has recently been refurbished an reopened. With numerous facilities such as a Spa, Underground Music Club, upstairs outside terrace, meeting rooms, restaurant and bars as well as bedrooms, the Kings head can meet all your needs. Day Spa packages are available which are a touch of decadence but they are just as happy to entertain you if you pop in for a quick drink. In the restaurant, locally sourced products are beautifully prepared – highlights include Soft Shell crab, Baked Wookie Hole cheddar soufflé, Maple glazed Pork Belly and Fillet of Beef. Priced reasonably and affordable, the hotel makes a touch of luxury accessible to everyone.
A special mention goes to Lynwoods – we discovered these completely by chance and were blown away by how good their coffee is! Definitely the best coffee in the whole of the Cotswolds and worth visiting for that, if not for the amazing sourdough bread (delivered daily and quickly sold out!) and menu items such as smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on sourdough and croque monsieur. They have two branches, in Fairford and Lechlade. in their own words, they are “serving truly independent coffee and honest food since 2015, bringing the down-to-earth and family-oriented coffee culture of Sydney to the Cotswolds.” Check out their menu here.
Special mention goes to Maison Imports in Cirencester. A veritable Aladdin’s cave of items that are ‘Home Style with a French accent’. There is definitely something for everyone at Maison with all sorts of items and ideas for home furnishing and accenting. Its definitely a talent to find items that can be repurposed and that stand the test of time – everything at Maison is exquisitely stylish and will give you so many new ideas for your home and garden. Its a favourite of ours – pop in and say hello and youll be met with a warm welcome and as much time as you need to browse.
Hopefully we’ve given you plenty of ideas for your dining experiences in the Cotswolds – follow the links to see menus and How to Book.