Orion Holiday’s 12 Best Pubs in the Cotswolds for 2024


After a delightful countryside amble through the rolling landscapes of the Cotswolds, there’s nothing better than chancing upon an idyllic Cotswolds pub residing peacefully in a delightful village, full of rustic charm and authentic atmosphere.

You’ll find many such country pubs dotted across the Cotswolds all offering traditional ales, beautiful wines and amazing food menus, many created using locally sourced produce but which one to pick?

Well to make it easier we’ve curated 12 of the best pubs in the Cotswolds below for you!

1) The Red Lion, Cricklade


Looking for a charming and dog-friendly Cotswolds pub that ticks all the boxes? Look no further than The Red Lion in Cricklade located just off the Thames Path and minutes from the Cotswold Water Park. Dating from the early 1600’s, this lovely old inn boasts bags of character.

Offering a great range of beers, including local craft beers, this pub is a real gem. If you’re feeling hungry, their hearty food portions won’t disappoint! It’s definitely a Cotswolds gastropub worth checking out with treats – from fish finger butties to 5 hour braised lamb shank on the menu.

In the winter months you can snuggle up next to the log fire and in the summer there’s a pub garden that’s perfect for soaking up the sun whilst sipping some local brews.

Ran by owners, Darren and Charlotte, who take pride in sourcing their meat and vegetables from local suppliers, thus ensuring the food they serve is of the very highest quality.

We’ve always found the bar staff to be friendly and they always make the Orion Holidays team feel really welcomed. Oh and they’re an award winning pub too!


Contact Details

Owner(s): Darren and Charlotte Nash
Website:
https://www.theredlioncricklade.co.uk
Address: The Red Lion Pub, 74 High St, Cricklade, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN6 6DD
Phone: 01793 750776

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 5 miles away, 8 minute drive


 

2) The Bakers Arms, Somerford Keynes


Some Cotswold pubs end up victims of their own success getting so busy it’s hard to park nearby, but not so with The Bakers Arms – there’s room for almost 40 cars!

Located in the small village of Somerford Keynes, this Grade II Listed Cotswolds inn offers a large car park as well as a kid-friendly pub garden. Their food is incredible – it’s a Cotswolds gastropub that sources local produce so you know you’re getting the freshest options available.

The pub also provides a great selection of wine that goes beyond what you might usually expect. You’ll always find a lively bar atmosphere making it the perfect place to catch up with friends.

Despite its high-quality offerings, the Bakers Arms also delivers value for money, with an interesting menu that won’t break the bank. With a lovely ambiance and first-class service from the staff, you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic time at this pub in the Cotswolds.


Contact Details

Owner: Not listed
Website:
None at present – try https://www.somerfordkeynes.org.uk/
Address: The Bakers Arms Pub, Somerford Keynes, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6DN
Phone: 01285 861298

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 5 miles away, 9 minute drive


 

3) The Masons Arms in Meysey Hampton


If you’re looking for fabulous attentive staff, reasonably priced yet amazing food with some good vegetarian options, then look no further than this quaint Cotswolds village inn that many locals consider to be the best in the area.

Located off the beaten track in Meysey Hampton, a picturesque village close to the Cotswold Water Park, the Mason’s Arms is an Arkells pub that’s worth checking out. Parking is a little limited but a village car park is close by so don’t let that deter you.

Once inside, you’ll relish a delightful atmosphere, perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic evening with a loved one. The staff here are outstanding – friendly, welcoming, and attentive to every detail. Whether you’re a regular or a first-time visitor, you’ll be made to feel right at home by the tenant managers, Greg and Vicki.

And the food? Well, we found it simply amazing. With a wide selection on the menu from burgers to medallions of venison hanuch steak or even pan fried sea bass fillets topped with king prawns, there’s something for everyone here.

Dogs are allowed in but only in the small bar area so it’s a case of first come, first serve if you want to bring your pooch.

Overall, if you’re looking for a great night out with amazing food then this Cotswolds pub should be at the top of your list.


Contact Details

Licencees: Greg and Vicki
Website:
https://www.masonsmeysey.com
Address: The Mason’s Arms Pub, 28 High St, Meysey Hampton, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5JT
Phone: 01285 850164

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 4 miles away, 9 minutes drive


 

4) The Old Spotted Cow Pub, Marston Meysey


The Spotted Cow is the perfect rural inn for anyone looking for some diverse food choices. Tucked quietly away in the countryside, on the edge of Marston Meysey, this quaint Cotswolds pub is popular with locals. It’s also situated close to RAF Fairford, so you might get lucky and see some amazing US Air Force aircraft flying overhead.

The Spotted Cow offers absolutely spot-on tasty food in huge portion sizes and their prices, we must say, are very reasonable. From Tapas to burgers, and not forgetting some decent vegetarian meals such as Chickpea and Butternut Squash tagine, there’s plenty for everyone.

Inside, it’s all very quaint and charming with a decent selection of beers and wine. If you’re visiting during the summer months there’s outdoor seating where you can enjoy the surrounding countryside views.

Overall, if you’re looking for a great pub with amazing food, the Spotted Cow is definitely worth a visit. Just keep in mind that it can get very busy, so make sure you book ahead (or get there early!).

It’s only a “stones throw” from us, so we’d say it really is worth popping across to check it out.


Contact Details


Owner:
Anna Langley-Poole
Website:
https://www.theoldspottedcow.com
Address: The Old Spotted Cow Pub, The Street, Marston Meysey, Wiltshire, SN6 6LQ
Phone: 01285 810264

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 5.5 miles away, 11 minute drive


 

5) The Potting Shed Pub, Crudwell

 

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Looking for a great dining experience in a country pub with a modern twist? Look no further than the Potting Shed pub in Crudwell. This easily found pub between Malmesbury and Kemble airfield offers delicious meals with a modern British menu that focuses on the freshest ingredients.

The beautiful décor of the Potting Shed respects the building’s heritage, making for a charming atmosphere that’s perfect for celebratory dinners. The staff are lovely and give you a welcome that will make you feel right at home. With a few different rooms to choose to eat or drink in, you can enjoy your meal in a space that suits your preferences. Private dining rooms are also available (bookable in advance), perfect for special occasions or intimate gatherings.

If you’re dining you can start with a delightful Black Pudding Scotch Egg or Gloucester Souffle (amongst others) and move on to a delectable Chateaubriand for 2 that’s to die for. Vegetarians are also catered for with mains such as Halloumi Burger with Kimchi or Aubergine, Chickpea and Apricot tagine.

The well-priced wine list complements the pub’s extensive menu perfectly and the hospitality is second to none. There’s a large car park to the rear so parking isn’t a problem. If its warm and sunny outside there’s a nice pub garden to sit in though it does face out onto the main road, making it a little noisy.

Don’t miss out on this awesome Cotswolds pub, it’s a perfect retreat for those looking for a stylish meal.


Contact Details

Owner: Alex Payne
Website:
 https://www.thepottingshedpub.com
Address: The Potting Shed Pub, Crudwell, Wiltshire, SN16 9EW
Phone: 01666 577833

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 9 miles away, 17 minute drive


 

6) The Bell, Sapperton

The Bell is an absolute must-visit for anyone exploring the Cotswolds. Nestled in the picturesque village of Sapperton, close to Cirencester,  this beautiful Cotswold pub offers impeccable service and top-notch food. While it may be a bit pricey, the experience, in our experience, is worth every penny.

The pub’s traditional Cotswold stone exterior is just the beginning of its “olde-worlde” delightful charm. Inside, you’ll find roaring open fires that are perfect for those cold winter days. The décor is a blend of classic and modern, with plenty of comfortable seating and beautiful touches throughout.

One unique feature is the still-used hitching rail in the car park, a clear nod to the pub’s history as a stopping point for travellers and their horses. There’s plenty of parking available behind the pub if you’re a driver, making it easy to stop by and enjoy the Bell Inn’s hospitality and outstanding food.

The pub’s varied menu offers a wide selection of nibbles, starters, mains, and desserts, with something for everyone. The ingredients are fresh and locally sourced whenever possible with chefs working hard to create dishes such as seared scallops with cauliflower puree to a Jesse Smith 10oz Ribeye steak – for those with huge appetites! The service at the Bell Inn is truly impeccable.

Overall, the Bell Inn is an excellent Cotswold pub that should not be missed. With its beautiful setting, top-notch food, and impeccable service, it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the stunning countryside.


Contact Details

Owner: Peter Austen
Website:
https://www.bellsapperton.co.uk
Address: The Bell, Sapperton, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6LE
Phone: 01285 760298

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 9.9 miles, 16 minute drive


 

7) The Daneway Pub, Sapperton


The Daneway Pub is a hidden gem of a Cotswold pub that’s charming and completely welcoming – definitely worth a detour if you’re out and about in Cirencester. You’ll find it secluded away in a lovely quiet valley, sitting alongside the river Frome.

Dating back to the late 17th century, its steeped in history and was originally three cottages built to house local bricklayers. Its white-washed stone walls and beautiful location make it the perfect stop for those looking for a peaceful rural retreat in the Cotswolds.

Visitors to the pub will find it spotlessly clean and the friendly and chatty pub owners – Lindsay and Jackie – will put you at ease as soon as you step over the threshold. We were made to feel right at home. Do note the pub’s parking area can get busy as it is popular with hikers so you may want to get there early to grab yourselves a space.

While the menu may be classically simple, we found all of our meals to be cooked extremely well, with ingredients sourced from handpicked local suppliers, minimising food miles.

The pub also boasts a well-maintained beer garden, perfect for relaxing in the sun with a drink. And for those chillier days, there are plenty of nooks and crannies inside the pub to curl up in front of a roaring fire.

The Daneway has an authentic charm and warmth of its own that is hard to beat. It is the perfect spot for a peaceful retreat, a place to enjoy a pint and a bite to eat after a country walk in this stunning English landscape.


Contact Details

Owner(s): Rita and Brian
Website:
https://www.thedaneway.pub
Address: The Daneway Pub, Dane Lane, Sapperton, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6LN
Phone: 01285 760297

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 10 miles away, 17 minute drive


 

8) The Crown Inn, Frampton Mansell


After a day out exploring Stroud and you find yourselves returning to the Cotswold Water Park, you might find it’s worth popping into the Crown Inn, set in the lovely village of Frampton Mansell. Tucked away on a narrow country lane, this traditional 17th century Cotswolds pub is a rustic gem.

When we visited, we found a pub full of friendly locals gathered around the bar, as well as welcoming and attentive staff.

Although we felt the menu was a tiny bit limited, we were pleased to find some really nice vegan options. We were amazed at the massive portions served, which allowed us to easily share our dishes. Each meal was cooked to perfection and we felt we got incredible value for money. From Truffle Roasted Cauliflower to Cider Battered Fish there’s something for everyone!

If it’s warm and sunny then you can also sit out on the pub’s stunning terrace with its breath-taking Cotswold views. It was the perfect spot to soak up the last rays of evening sunshine.

Overall, we felt our experience at the Crown Inn was lovely and we say this is one pub worth visiting if you happen to be out exploring the Cotswolds.


Contact Details

Owner: Simon Ross Baker
Website:
https://www.thecrowninn-cotswolds.co.uk
Address: Frampton Mansell, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 8JG
Phone: 01285 760601

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 12 miles away, 19 minute drive


 

9) The Green Dragon Inn, Cockleford


The Green Dragon Inn in Cockleford near Cowley is an award winning dog-friendly Cotswolds pub that shouldn’t be missed! The Pub were the Winners of the Best Dining Pub in the Cotswolds 2023.

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by welcoming staff, roaring log fires and gorgeous decor that oozes with country charm.

The pub was bustling with people, which is usually a positive sign and we loved some of the veggie and gluten-free options on the menu and were impressed by the quality of the dishes that we ordered.

For those who are beer enthusiasts, the Green Dragon Inn won’t disappoint either. The pub had a decent selection of beers, including some decent alcohol-free options (perfect for drivers).

One of the highlights for us was finding the well-stocked Cotswold farm shop next door. We spent some time browsing through their local produce and picked up some goodies to take home. It was great to see a Cotswolds pub supporting local producers!

We highly recommend visiting the Green Dragon Inn, it’s the perfect setting for a decent meal with family and friends. Be sure to book in advance as the pub does get very busy, especially during peak times.


Contact Details

Owner(s): Simon and Nicky Haly
Website: https://www.green-dragon-inn.co.uk
Address: The Green Dragon Inn, Cockleford, Nr Cowley, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 9NW
Phone: 01242 870271

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 15 miles away, 19 minute drive


 

10) The Victoria Inn, Eastleach


The Victoria Inn was kindly reviewed by Natalie, one of our team following a visit she made with a friend in November 2022.

As my friend and I walked into the Victoria Inn in the village of Eastleach on a cold winter’s day, we were immediately taken in by the warm and inviting atmosphere of this picturesque pub in the North Cotswolds. Nothing was too much trouble.

We grabbed a table and as we went through their menu, we were pleased to see that there were gluten-free options. This was great for my friend as she suffers from gluten intolerance. We also appreciated the laid-back approach of the staff, who didn’t rush us to order and allowed us to take our time.

After we placed our orders, we took a look around and admired the beautiful low ceilings and historical charm of the pub. It was clear to both of us that it’s a well-run pub and the staff take pride in their surroundings.

When our meals arrived, we were blown away by their gorgeous presentation. My friend’s gluten-free dish was just as good as mine, and we both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. We particularly recommend trying their locally-sourced Sunday roast – the succulent beef was a definite highlight!

The Victoria Inn sits in the middle of the stunning village of Eastleach surrounded by idyllic rural settings, and close to Cotswolds towns such as Burford and Lechlade.

In summary, the Victoria Inn is a lovely pub with loads of gluten-free options, friendly staff, and a charming atmosphere. It’s a great place to go after a country walk in the area and walkers with muddy boots are more than welcome.


Contact Details

Licencees: Tom and Maya Gabbitas
Website:
https://www.thevictoriainneastleach.co.uk
Address: The Victoria Inn, Eastleach, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 3NQ
Phone: 01367 850277

Distance from the Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 11 miles away, 21 minute drive


 

 

11) The Boot (previously The Village Pub), Barnsley near Cirencester


The Boot, in Barnsley, might just be one of the most exclusive pubs you’ll find in the Cotswolds. The pub has established itself as a go-to destination for those looking for a very special night out.

From the moment you step through the door, you’ll feel like a VIP. The service at The Boot is truly exceptional and nothing is ever too much trouble for the staff. The pub has a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, with tasteful décor that strikes a balance between modern and traditional. You can sink into plush seats and enjoy the ambiance or head to the bar to sample local beers served in old-fashioned tankards.

We found their food to be unpretentious with a menu full of classic pub dishes you know (and some you don’t!). Everything is executed to perfection.

The pub champions local suppliers so you know you’re getting the freshest ingredients. Whether you opt for a hearty steak and ale pie or a light salad, you won’t be disappointed. And don’t skip dessert – the puddings at The Boot are huge and really delicious.

If you’re planning to visit, it’s best to book in advance as the pub can get very busy, especially on weekends.

If you’re looking for one of the best Cotswolds pubs then make sure to give this one a look.


Contact Details

Owner: Timothy Oulton
Website:
https://www.thebootbarnsley.co.uk
Address: The Boot Pub, Barnsley, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5EF
Phone: 01285 740421

Distance from The Gateway Centre in the Water Park: 8 miles away, 12 minute drive


 

12) The Rose and Crown Pub in Lea, near Malmesbury

 

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Situated in the charming village of Lea, the Rose and Crown pub is tucked away yet pretty easy to reach. Built as a country pub in 1891, to this day it still retains much of its charm.

Inside you’ll be greeted by friendly staff and, in winter, the warm glow of a crackling log fire. The Rose and Crown is dog-friendly, so it’s ok to bring your canine friend along too. If you head right as you enter you’ll find a lovely snug with comfy sofas to enjoy.

The pub offers a selection of Arkell ales, so why not try a pint of Arkells finest?

With free Wi-Fi, loads of car parking and a large pub garden, its a great spot. You’ll also find a skittle alley, popular with locals, as well as a large function room for private parties.

One of the things that stands out for us is their sumptuous sofas to relax in! The service is excellent and very welcoming with the well-spaced tables to ensure everyone has a comfortable experience.

The menu at the Rose and Crown features delightful “comfort food”, with a range of dishes to suit all tastes. From classic pub grub like fish and chips and burgers to more sophisticated options like pan-fried sea bass and roasted vegetables, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re in the Malmesbury area, the Rose and Crown certainly is a must-visit Cotswold pub!


Contact Details

Owner: Simon Owen
Website:
https://roseandcrownatlea.co.uk
Address: The Rose and Crown Pub, The Street, Lea, Wiltshire, SN16 9PA
Phone: 01666 822053


Distance from Orion Holidays HQ:
13 miles away, 23 minute drive


We hope we’ve given you the inspiration to sample some of the very best Cotswold pubs. If you know of another pub that is worthy of being listed then please do let us know!

Dining out with friends in a Cotswold Pub

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