A Food Lovers Road Trip across the Cotswolds
A food-fest journey like no other
When it comes to food the Cotswolds is quite literally a mouth-watering larder jampacked with the promise. Unassuming but Michelin-worthy, fine dining restaurants have popped up in ancient market towns, and as you wind along quiet country lanes, you’ll find old-world pubs, in a building that harks from the 17th century, producing food that is bang on-trend. Busy farmer’s markets burst with stalls overflowing with produce as fresh as the day is young… the ultimate try before you buy experience. Get your hands dirty in the best possible way on a foraging expedition, unleash your inner ‘Heston Blumenthal’ with a cookery course or sip and slurp your way around the exceptional breweries and vineyards across the region. There’s even a handful of distilleries, including our very own Cotswold gin.
So, get behind the wheel and set off on a food-fest journey like no other. The Cotswolds is a delicious treasure-trove of food-filled delights just waiting to be tasted!
Begin in the north of the region and start as you mean to go on with a blending masterclass experience at Cotswold Gin, a distillery tucked away in the beautiful countryside. Create your own whisky or gin, or just call in for a tipple and a browse of the distillery shop. The Boxing Hare in nearby Swerford is a fabulous gastro-pub renowned for its use of local produce and perfect for lunch or dinner, whilst Quince & Clover in the divinely pretty village of Great Tew is a great spot for excellent coffee and cake, and their very moreish in-house brand of Cotswold ice cream.
7 miles / 12-minute drive
Weave your way through a charmingly nostalgic patchwork of fields and quaint villages to Daylesford Organic. This uber-stylish farm shop sells all manner of things that you really didn’t know you needed. The term ‘farm shop’ is perhaps a bit of a misnomer though as, alongside produce from the farm, this wallet-flexing spot has a bakery, creamery, homewares, a day spa and three excellent dining outlets. Close by is Kingham, blessed with not one but two exceptional food pubs – the Wild Rabbit (also part of the Daylesford collection) and The Kingham Plough. For a real treat, however, Restaurant Henne in Moreton-in-Marsh is an intimate restaurant gaining rave reviews and alongside championing local producers, is committed to ethical food production and sustainability. Whilst in Moreton, you must also pay a visit to the Cotswold Cheese Company on the High Street… but naturally only if you like cheese!
10 miles / 16-minute drive
Depending on the road followed, there are a couple of highly recommended places to mark on your map. The peaceful village of Blockley is home to a little gem in the Blockley Village Stores & Café; the café is dog friendly and open for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is available Wednesday to Saturday but please book ahead as it’s extremely popular. In Chipping Campden, you’ll find Badgers Hall Tea Room, a beautiful 15th century building, and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, they serve a rather delightful and quintessentially English afternoon tea. From Chipping Campden it’s a short but scenic drive to Broadway. There are plenty of pretty tea shops and traditional pubs but for something a little special head to Russell’s, a seriously stylish restaurant serving modern British cuisine (they have an excellent fish and chip shop too).
22 miles / 32-minute drive
From Broadway, enjoy the scenery as you wind your way deeper into the Cotswolds. We’d recommend taking the road to Stow-on-the-Wold to call in at the Cotswold Barn for a coffee and perhaps a slice of homemade cake. Time your travels right and you might coincide with the twice-monthly farmers’ market in Stow. Colourful stalls line the old market square, selling all sorts of treats including fresh bread, yummy pastries and locally made farmhouse cheese. Stow also has an abundance of cafes and pubs, including The Porch House, reputedly one of the oldest pubs in the country, so you won’t go hungry even if you miss the market. From Stow, the road weaves on through the Cotswolds to Burford, passing the tiny village of Nether Westcote, home to the Feathered Nest Inn. There’s a good reason this renowned foodie pub is signed posted from the main road! It offers inventive food with a fabulous view, and also serves up a mean afternoon tea!
18 miles / 28-minute drive
As you leave Burford, pull the car into the Upton Smokery, a farm shop with a difference. As the name infers they specialise in all things smoked; meat, fish and biltong and you can buy their seasonings to try at home too. To add to your bounty of local produce head next for Bibury, whilst best known for the beautiful cottages of Arlington Row, this pretty village is also home to the Bibury Trout Farm, the oldest trout farm in the country. Feed the fish, cast a net to catch your own before popping it on a barbecue by the water, or pick up fresh trout from the shop and enjoy it back in your holiday cottage. Driving through Barnsley en-route to Cirencester you’ll pass the Village Pub, a pub that looks traditional but offers food that is definitely a step above your average pub grub and yes… it really is called the Village Pub.
Stroud / Nailsworth
15 miles / 30-minute drive
Cirencester has plenty of superb places to dine, however, Tierra & Mar is a strong choice, creating traditional Spanish tapas from local produce. The Jolly Nice Farm Shop is jolly by name and jolly by nature, their toasties are exceptional, you can do a drive-through and, it’s also one of the prettiest farm shops that we’ve ever seen. For a truly immersive and educational adventure, why not get your hands dirty on a food foraging experience? The Foraging Course Company operates at Cerney House, and Wild Food is found on the Bathurst Estate, both on the edge of Cirencester. For a final food flourish, farmer’s market fans should not miss the Stroud extravaganza. This grandad of the Cotswold market scene takes place each Saturday, is a much-loved celebrity haunt and everything comes from within a 17-mile radius of the town. We suggest ending your gastronomic journey in the foodie hotspot of Nailsworth, or continuing south to Bath but, before you do, drop into the Woodchester Valley Vineyard. This family-owned boutique vineyard and winery produces excellent white, rose and sparkling wines in the beautiful Stroud Valleys, it’s the perfect tipple to end your adventures.