From local produce and traditional pub experiences to Michelin-starred restaurants, the Cotswolds has a full range of food experiences on offer.
Many talented farmers call the Cotswolds home, and with the farm-to-table movement going strong in the region, you can look forward to trying the local produce as close to the source as possible. Eating options are plentiful year-round – with picnics and beer gardens in the summer, and cozy fireplaces and country pubs in winter. During peak seasons you definitely need to book pubs and restaurants, though it’s recommended to reserve a table no matter when you visit this popular region of England.
Here are our picks for the best dining experiences in the Cotswolds.
Tuck into the best (and healthiest!) fish-and-chips in the Cotswolds
Located in Broadway, Russell’s Fish and Chips batters its fresh to order. Every piece gets fried in the region’s award-winning Cotswold Gold rapeseed oil, made from crops grown just two miles away. It’s healthier than traditional oils – part of what makes Russell’s fish-and-chips legendary around the Cotswolds and beyond.
If you’re not a fan of fish, opt for one of Lynne’s homemade vegetarian pies. We recommend the delicious spinach and goat cheese version.
Assemble a picnic at a farmers market
Every Saturday from 9am to 2pm, Stroud Farmers Market boasts over 50 stalls selling local produce. If you want to find out what food the Cotswolds is famous for, then this is the place. Eat your way around, or pick up some bits for a “truly Cotswolds” afternoon picnic you can enjoy with a view, and maybe even after a hike.
At the award-winning market, you can pick up fresh cookies, breads, honey, cupcakes and cured meats. You’ll also find a good range of the high-quality cheese the Cotswolds is known for here, including single Gloucester cheese – which has been awarded Protected Designation of Origin status – as well as local favorite Stinking Bishop.
Other great farmers in the Cotswolds take place at Chipping Norton (on the third Saturday of the month) and Cirencester (the second and fourth Saturdays of the month).
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An indulgent cream tea is a must
When in the Cotswolds, you must have a cream tea. Customarily served between meals, a cream tea is made up of traditional English or Earl Grey tea served with a scone, jam and (most importantly) a healthy dollop of clotted cream. Since the concept of relaxing with a tea and scone to watch the world go by fits the laid-back vibe of the Cotswolds so well, you’ll be able to find this speciality on the menu of just about any cafe, restaurant or spa in the area.
Stow on the Wold is home to two of the best spots for cream tea, The Old Bakery Tearoom, or The Hive. Both serve golden, moist scones, served warm and presented with clotted cream and jam. Good luck deciding which establishment to choose.
Enjoy fine dining at modern restaurants
The Wild Rabbit in Chipping Norton is one of the best restaurants in the Cotswolds. This award-winning destination focuses on British cooking with a contemporary twist – which means steak, lamb and fish accented with the likes of wet garlic, chervil-glazed carrots or cod’s cheek. The six-course tasting menu here is an absolute must; since you’re splurging, opt for the sommelier wine pairing, too.
If Asian food is more your thing, try Yoku at the No 131 hotel in Cheltenham, where you’ll enjoy a glamorous experience, complete with dress code. The menu features modern Japanese recipes made from the finest-quality fish from the UK, and you can expect some of the best sashimi, temaki, donburi and finely perfected signature dishes of your life. You won’t want to miss the signature roll made with tempura soft-shell crab, salad, avocado and Korean sweet-chili sauce – but to sample the full range of what the Yoku team can do, order a platter, accompanied with delights from the cocktail menu, of course.
Eat at Michelin-starred restaurants
If you’re eating your way across the best restaurants in the world, the Cotswolds has several Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from.
The Dining Room at Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa in Malmesbury occupies a quintessentially English country house, and there’s a focus on local produce in the menu. Our top tip is to order the charcuterie, which is all prepared on site.
In Cheltenham, Le Champignon Sauvage has been thriving for three decades. Desserts are a highlight here – the chocolate-and-pistachio delice is one to remember. This is also a great option if you want to experience haute cuisine in the Cotswolds for less: a two-course set menu starts at £35 (US$43).
Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park, Chippenham might be the most opulent in the Cotswolds. The driveway is a mile long, creating anticipation for the special experience ahead. The acclaimed specialities here are served via a tasting menu – go for the seasonal option for the freshest, most authentic Cotswolds fare. Expect delights such as Wiltshire lamb served with local asparagus, and Wye Valley rhubarb served with buttermilk and sorrel.
Go for a proper pub lunch
The Potting Shed Pub in tiny Crudwell is a great spot for a proper pub lunch. At one of the best Cotswolds inns in the area, you’ll find a great beer garden, an extensive beer list and a wonderfully English pub menu as well. Classic favorites get the stylish Cotswolds treatment here – go for the twice-baked double Gloucester soufflé or the Kelmscott pork chop with braised fennel, all made with local produce. Sit back and stay a while as you enjoy that special Cotswolds hospitality.