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With its picturesque stone villages and swathes of open countryside, the Cotswolds offers an idyllic weekend escape less than two hours away from London. It’s not all quiet walks and early nights though...

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

Best for: Posh nosh

This chi-chi gastro-pub is brainchild of Lady Bamford, the wife of JCB magnate and owner of nearby Daylesford Organic farm shop. With her former private chef Adam Caisley manning the kitchen, the menu offers spruced-up traditional fodder that is served to well-to-do diners in a rustic-chic restaurant – think exposed bricks and flagstone floors.  The four guestrooms are surprisingly affordable after one Bellini too many.

The Chequers, Churchill

Best for: Saturday night scandal 

With its killer cocktails, cheeky bar staff, and guest list of celebrity drinkers (Rebekah Brookes, Alex James and Amanda Holden just some of the regulars), the Chequers is the go-to for weekend wickedness that reveals the spicier side of the sleepy Cotswolds. People watch from leather-bound chairs in the open-plan restaurant or, for a more discreet dinner, ask for the tucked-away table upstairs.

The Kings’ Head, Bledington

Best for:  Hobnobbing with the locals

Nestled behind a pristine village green, this quintessentially English pub is quaint, cosy and full of character with its low-beamed ceiling, strong ales and trusty band of merry local drinkers propping up the bar. For a proper knees-up, time your visit for one of the pub’s famous quiz nights or join in with when the Irish fiddlers come and whip up a jig and a sing-along.

The Kingham Plough

Best for: Gourmet grub

Cooking up a storm in this gastro pub is head honcho Emily Watkins, former sous-chef to Heston Blumenthal. She provides classic pub food with a good dollop of sophistication - perfect for foodies wanting to please the palate in a casual pub setting. Those on a small budget can settle for the dangerously moreish bar snacks – duck fat-doused chips, tubby pork pies and scotched quail eggs.

The Bell Inn, Sapperton

Best for: Walkers’ paradise

Those hankering for a wholesome escapade will find The Bell a popular hangout for wellie-wearing ramblers. Stock up on country air by following the well-trodden circular walking route through thick woodland and down leafy lanes that ends back at the pub for a hearty lunch and well-earned pint.


The ten best pubs in the Cotswolds
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