Our Absolute Favourite Cotswold Spots that you must visit in 2024
This April will mark 4 years since Charlie and I moved to the Cotswolds, and during this time we’ve become the biggest advocates for supporting local businesses; and luckily for us (and for visitors!) The Cotswolds is a beautiful destination where you’ll find countless exceptional pubs, quaint cafés and incredible farm shops – not to mention the postcard-perfect scenery. We get countless messages asking for our recommendations, so whether you’re coming for just an overnight stay, or more than a week, here are the places not to miss!
Where to Stay
Of course, if you’re looking for a place to stay; look no further than our very own Strawtop Cottage – a luxury two bedroom rental cottage complete with Daylesford amenities, wax jackets and wellies, and other luxury touches – as the perfect place to explore the Cotswolds!
How to Get Here
The Cotswolds is easy to visit even if just for the day from London; the train from Marylebone to Banbury is under one hour, however you’ll need a car to explore most of the best places that the Cotswolds has to offer. You can also get the train from Paddington into Kingham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Charlbury or even Bicester – all would be great places to begin your adventure.
How long to spend in the Cotswolds
I would personally recommend a full week if you really want to explore the Cotswolds’ best spots; this will allow you to visit numerous villages and try out lots of the incredible food offerings that this AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) has to offer. Having said that, two or three nights would be the perfect amount of time to explore the North of the Cotswolds and fit a lot of the best bits into your itinerary.
Our top brunch & lunch spots
I’m sure you will all know how much Charlie and I adore Quince & Clover. Not only do they have a wonderful cafe in Great Tew, but their incredible team catered for our wedding! They produce so many scrumptious dishes such as breakfast baps, dahls and an excellent range of fresh salads; plus they’re conveniently located close to Soho Farmhouse, so do pop in if you’re in the area.
The Cotswold Guy is a local chap (Hi Chris!) who is passionate about great food. He has two locations; the first is a cute farm shop in Guiting Power where you can grab a delicious coffee and a sandwich, and the second is a larger farm shop and cafe in Gagingwell. Charlie and I have visited this location several times now and we are always blown away with the quality of the food. Not only is it a great spot for breakfast and lunch, but they also hold pizza nights on Fridays, and steak nights on Saturdays. I definitely recommend their Burgers and incredible Cinnamon buns!
If you watch my YouTube Channel, I’m sure you’ll have heard of Nicholsons garden centre, as the team there have done all of the landscaping of our garden. If you happen to be visiting Soho Farmhouse or Bicester Village, then a quick stop at Nicholsons would be the perfect addition to your trip. Their wonderful cafe, The Yurt, is open for brunch and lunch Tuesday – Saturday and cannot be missed! The food quality is exceptional and they regularly host supper club evenings – plus it’s only a 6 minute drive from Strawtop Cottage!
Our top cosy dinner spots
The Bull is a new favourite of ours, it is a top-quality pub with a very creative menu; serving dishes such as muntjac meatballs and a whole roast partridge. The atmosphere is that of a cosy pub with leather armchairs and roaring open fires, and the menu celebrates seasonal and local ingredients. The Bull also has luxurious rooms if you’d like to stay, and is located in a beautiful village called Charlbury which is a short drive from Chipping Norton.
The Howard Arms is a cosy Cotswold pub located in the sleepy village of Ilmington. I’d say they offer elevated pub fare, with some pub classics such as fish & chips on the menu, alongside some more creative options such as Venison served with bone marrow potato, cavolo nero and a game sauce; yummy! A great one for a Sunday roast.
We are regular visitors of The Fox at Oddington, as they have wonderful interiors, a beautiful garden to sit in when the weather is nice, and a fantastic menu. I’d recommend visiting The Fox on a Friday or Saturday night for their incredible cocktails, followed by dinner. Choose between dishes such as wild mushroom & gorgonzola orzo, or dry-aged ribeye; alternatively, you could go for their fabulous wood fired soughdough pizzas. The atmosphere here is great – perfect for a more lively pub experience.
If you have a special occasion coming up, then look no further than The Wild Rabbit in Kingham. The Wild Rabbit is perfect for special occasions such as a birthday meal, as they offer what I’d call approachable fine-dining. Kingham village is absolutely beautiful, just a few minutes from Daylesford Farm.
Our top local businesses to visit
I won’t say too much about Daylesford Organic as I’m sure you will have all heard about it a million times, and I bet many of you will have even visited yourselves! Daylesford is a very large farm shop here in the Cotswolds and is the perfect place to stock up on local, organic fruit, vegetables and meat. They also do delicious salads, soups and high quality freezer meals; as well as having a huge range of stunning homeware and of course a fabulous garden centre. Visiting Daylesford is like an activity in itself as there is so much to see – you can make a day of it by staying for lunch or even for a spa treatment at The Bamford Spa.
Burford Garden Co is, as you might have guessed, a garden centre; but like with Daylesford, there’s just so much to see that you can really make a day of it when you visit! Burford Garden Co obviously sell a great range of plants, but they also have an amazing selection of homeware, including beautiful Christmas decorations. They have a cute little book shop which is the perfect place to do a spot of gift shopping, plus there is have a great cafe serving coffee & cakes if you’re in need of some light refreshment.
Just a few minutes down the road from us is The Cotswolds Distillery. The distillery produces a range of whiskeys and gins, including their gin-based version of Pimms, which knocks Pimms out of the park in my opinion, and is made of more natural ingredients. You can book a tour & tasting for £25pp at The Cotswold Distillery, or you can stop by for a pizza and a cocktail or two!
Our top villages to visit
Stow is a village around 20 minutes from us and has the most adorable village centre, filled with old Cotswold stone buildings. Stow has a couple of great antiques shops which are worth a visit, and is a great place to spend an afternoon, as they have a fudge shop, a chocolatiers and a couple of lovely homeware shops and plenty of lovely cafés.
Broadway is another scenic Cotswold village; there is an outpost of The Cotswolds Distillery there, as well as an excellent deli and some great homeware shops including an Oka store! Broadway tower is another highlight not to be missed – it’s a great place to go for a wintery walk and to admire the herd of deer.
Chipping Campden is one of my favourite villages to visit in the winter; it makes me feel like I’ve stepped back in time when I see all of the period properties lining the highstreet covered in a layer of frost or snow. I love to walk around the Church to take in the views of the surrounding rolling hills, and spend an hour or so meandering through the quaint market town.