Getting to visit the Cotswolds last month was a bit of a dream. I’d been hankering after a visit after a couple of family friends had headed down, and hadn’t stopped talking about it. Located an easy two hours away from the centre of London, it’s a decently easy commute from the city, and it’s seriously worlds away.
Bruern Cottage’s Cope residence was our base, and honestly, it couldn’t have been lovelier. A one bedroom cottage, with a log fireplace, and the most sublimely comfortable bed you can imagine, it was the coziest spot to spend an evening. Like all of the Bruern properties, the decoration of Cope was perfection – comfy sofas in front of the fire, led to a dining room big enough to host a dinner party. The use of antique furniture and lithographs from nearby Bruern Abby lent a dash of local history and elegance. The kitchen was equipped with all mod cons, and it was so much fun to be able to potter about, without feeling like we were stepping on anyone’s toes. Bruern have cottages which sleep up to 10 people, so if you’re planning a family getaway sometime soon, you know where to go!
Ok, so not technically in the Cotswolds was The Fat Fox Inn in Watlington. Home of perhaps the best English Sunday Roast you can imagine, it is an absolutely picture-perfect pub and inn. Driving through the Oxfordshire countryside on a sunny afternoon was an absolute joy, and we were met by the friendliest of landlords and chefs you could wish for!
Exposed beams, and mix and match chairs added to the sense of comfortable warmth, and it was the perfect spot to while away an afternoon. Only about an hour outside of London, if you’re looking for somewhere to head to on weekends, this is it. The menu is entirely seasonal, and makes use of the bountiful countryside, meaning all produce is local, sustainable and entirely delicious!
Heading back into the Cotswolds, we couldn’t resist popping into The Maytime Inn. Dating back to the 17th century, I fell in love with the sandy-coloured stone and the promise of over 4o gins to choose from. We enjoyed a sunny hour in their famous beer garden, and made friends with resident pub-dog Alfie.
Considering that Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite books from childhood, I couldn’t not make a bit of a pilgrimage to The Perch in Oxford. Not only is it an absolutely picture-perfect inn (one of England’s oldest!) but it was the venue for Lewis Carroll’s very first public reading of the book!
There are few spots surrounding The Perch which pop up in Wonderland, so after a bit of a stroll around town, we retired indoors to sample their lunch menu. Their menu is, as you might expect, locally sourced and filled with seasonal produce. We opted for River Fowey Mussels which were plump and sweet, as well as Braised Venison Suet Pie which was basically the dreamiest take on autumnal comfort food you can imagine.
I had heard about The Ragged Cot from a few people, so we headed over for a bit of an afternoon pick-me-up before heading back up north. Their shed was the perfect spot to enjoy a light lunch, and I just adored the cute, eclectic decor, and the food was just a delight!
We had also heard some seriously good things about The White House located in nearby Bladon. An absolutely adorable pub, with overflowing window flowers, we opted for a hearty supper. The owners took over in 2014, and since then, they have put their heart and soul into turning it into on of the Cotswolds’ best loved gems. The food was delicious – home-cooked and freshly prepared, the fish flaked beautifully, whilst dessert was an icy dream!
The last place we popped into was The Fox Inn in Barrington. This was the absolute definition of old-school charm. Taking our seats at a scrubbed oak table, we fell in love with the exposed stone walls and open fireplace.
The Inn was only a couple of minutes from Bruern, and we enjoyed hearty portions of homemade Cotswolds Shepherd’s Pie. Piles of creamy mashed potato was layered with rich, succulent lamb, creating a dish which was absolutely perfect for beating the autumn chill! The menu is filled with dishes that your granny would make, but a bit better. (although don’t tell her that!)
I was so surprised to see that there were so many places to go in the Cotswolds, and I’m already planning a return jaunt!