Five Best Pub Lunches in the Cotswolds

Enjoy lunch in a village pub while exploring the Cotswolds

Add This

Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny
HomeAway travel expert

Swan Southrop food After a busy morning in the Cotswolds, exploring villages, visiting gardens or walking on footpaths, lunch in a village pub provides a welcome break. On warm summer days, sit outside and enjoy the beautiful countryside; on cold days, get a table by the open fire and warm up. Many pubs in the Cotswolds are in historic buildings with low ceilings and stone floors, and have been inns and pubs for hundreds of years. Most of them also offer real ales from local breweries – Hook Norton, Donnington, Uley, and Butcombe, to name a few. And that's not all – pubs pride themselves on their good food, made using locally sourced products, too.

Well used by locals and visitors, the pub is the centre of village life, a place where locals drop in to catch up on the day’s news or have a quiet few minutes with a newspaper. You might even see a troupe of local Morris Dancers providing entertainment on the street outside! 

Here we start with pubs at the eastern edge near Burford, and work our way around the Cotswolds ending near Lechlade.


Pauline's top five pubs for lunch in the Cotswolds


The Swan Inn, Swinbrook The Swan Inn, Swinbrook

This pub near Burford sits on the banks of the River Windrush at the edge of Swinbrook, a village made famous by the Mitford family. Nancy Mitford’s novels The Pursuit of Love (1945) and Love in a Cold Climate (1949) describe their eccentric family life growing up here, and today, The Swan Inn is owned by the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire – the last surviving Mitford sister. Full of family memorabilia, the pub showcases their photos on the walls, a collection of walking sticks over a door, and a stuffed swan in an alcove. The uneven stone floors and low ceilings show the age of the building. It also made the news recently when David Cameron chose the pub for lunch with French President François Hollande.

Food: Good food sourced from local suppliers. Expensive, but worth it.
Recommended drink: Ask for a Hooky, from the nearby Hook Norton Brewery.
After lunch: Visit the village church and see the six reclining knights on tombs, before visiting the graves of the Mitford sisters.
Walk: Take a walk along the river, starting from the churchyard and heading towards Burford.

View holiday homes in Burford



The Lygon Arms, Chipping Campden The Lygon Arms, Chipping Campden

This family-run hotel on the high street of Chipping Campden started out as a 16th-century coaching inn. Their pub is comfortable and informal, serving locals and visitors, and if the weather is good, you can sit outside in their pretty courtyard. There are several other historic buildings near The Lygon Arms; look for Grevel House and Woolstapler’s Hall, both medieval buildings. The church, just off the high street not far from The Lygon Arms, is the best wool church in the Cotswolds. Its origins are Norman, but it was rebuilt in the 15th century. The almshouses across from the church date from 1612.

Food: They have a good range of food for lunch, from traditional pub food to sandwiches, and it's all reasonably priced.
Recommended drink: Hook Norton Best Bitter.
After lunch: Visit Chipping Campden, before driving to Hidcote Manor Garden (National Trust) to see the best gardens in the Cotswolds.
Walk: The Cotswold Way, a 102-mile National Trail that runs from Chipping Campden to Bath, starts (or ends) at the Market Hall.

View holiday rentals in Chipping Campden



The Plough Inn, Ford The Plough Inn, Ford

One of the nicest drives in the Cotswolds starts in Stow-on-the-Wold and goes on the B4077 towards Winchcombe. About half way along the drive, you find The Plough Inn at the side of the road just before it dips down to the village of Ford on the banks of the River Windrush. The day’s menu is written on a board at the front door, but you'll want to head inside; this 16th-century inn is warm and cosy (though if the sun's out, there is a nice outdoor area). Across the road from the pub is a track used to train racehorses, so as you would expect, the pub is popular with jockeys and trainers. On big racing days, they set up TV screens and watch the races.

Food: The food is excellent. Sandwiches are available at lunch and there is a children’s menu.
Recommended drink: This is a Donnington Brewery pub, so try the Donnington SPA, a traditional dark ale.
After lunch: Drive to Temple Guiting and Guiting Power, villages sitting on the River Windrush.
Walk: There are good footpaths starting from Guiting Power, walking towards Guiting Wood or heading the other way to Naunton.

View holiday lets in Cheltenham



The Woolpack, Slad The Woolpack, Slad

Slad is tucked away in a valley north of Stroud. The pub, in a 16th-century coaching inn, is perched on the hillside overlooking the village and looking towards Swift’s Hill across the valley. The pub is small and welcoming, but if the day is fine, you'll enjoy their outdoor seating. Slad was the home of author and local legend Laurie Lee who wrote about his childhood here in Cider with Rosie (1959). Lee died in 1997 and is buried in the churchyard across from the pub, and 2014 is the 100 year anniversary of his birth. What better way to celebrate his interesting life than having lunch in his local? Read more about the Laurie Lee Centenary.

Food: The menu changes daily and the food is always fresh and local.
Reommended drink: Uley Bitter
After lunch: Drive to Stroud, more “gritty” than other Cotswold towns, but a welcome relief after too many “chocolate box” villages.
Walk: Explore Slad and the surrounding countryside. Much of this area is a nature preserve and there are several good footpaths.

View lettings in Stroud district



The Swan, Southrup The Swan, Southrup

Follow the narrow lanes from Lechlade until you come to Southrup, a pretty village sitting beside the River Leach. At the edge of the village green you'll find The Swan in a 17th-century inn, which – due to its relationship with the Thyme Food School at nearby Southrop Manor – has turned Southrop into a “foodie” destination. Locals and visitors gather at The Swan to enjoy its great food, or simply sit at its picnic tables on sunny days. They have a skittle alley and hold regular matches, too. Even though this is a good food pub, they still offer a children’s menu, and less expensive lunch options on their bar menu.

Food: In short? Excellent.
Recommended drink: Cornish Pilsner from Sharp’s Brewery in Cornwall.
After lunch: Drive along the River Leach to Eastleach Turville and Eastleach Martin (1.5 miles), two villages on either side of the river. There is a lovely stone footbridge here, and in the spring you'll find the river banks lined with wild irises.
Walk: There are footpaths along the river. Heading north you walk into the Hatherop Estate.

View holiday lettings in Lechlade

All images by Pauline Kenny

Cotswolds Cottages

4 CASTLE HOUSE, country holiday cottage in Calne, Ref 2129

In this wonderful region you will find 4 Castle House, a charming modern holiday apartment over two floors. This delightful holiday home is situated in a conservation area at the heart of the market town of Calne, in the rebuilt Grade ll Listed Ca...

2 VICTORIA COTTAGES, pet friendly, with a garden in Hindon, Ref 1915

This grade II listed mews cottage – one of six – can be found at the end of a private driveway in the heart of the picturesque village of Hindon. On the border between Dorset and Wiltshire, this cottage is situated in a conservation area and d...

BEESONI LODGE, pet friendly, with a garden in Castlemorton, Ref 1852

The small hamlet of Hillend, on the edge of Castlemorton, is the lovely location for the incredible Beesoni Lodge, a fabulous converted barn. Modern fixtures and fittings have been successfully blended with the original property's traditional char...

Leigh Bake House

This Grade II listed ancient dwelling dates back to the 14th Century. The old bread oven and meat/ fish smoking oven are still evident and the old stone floor bears the marks of the axe where the wood was cut to fuel the fires. Leigh House is beli...

18th Century luxury converted Tithe Barn sleeping 8 (up to 10 with sofa beds)

An 18th Century Tithe Barn converted to the highest standard offering luxury accommodation for 8 people (10 using sofa bed) in three double ensuite room and one twin ensuite. The style is open and airy French chic with personal touches throughout....
MapWorld USA Europe Northern Ireland Scotland Northumbria Cumbria Isle of Man Yorkshire North West Wales West Midlands East Midlands Cotswolds East of England London South East England West Country

Search for holiday rentals
Search for holiday ideas

new years eve accommodation

Sign up to our newsletter

Our latest updates and special offers, direct to your inbox

Advertise with HomeAway

Related Articles


Other Categories

Popular Articles