With its romantic rolling hills, breathtaking natural beauty, and quaint little villages populated with picture-perfect stone cottages, there are few more idyllic settings across the country to enjoy an unforgettable dining experience than in the captivating and charming Cotswolds. Whether you’re planning to take a trip to this stunning area of the British Isles this autumn and want some advice on the best places to stop off during your brisk country walks, or you’re lucky enough to live in this English countryside haven and need a few more local recommendations to mix things up a bit, we’ve got you covered.
From family-run farm shops, cafes and restaurants to majestic manor houses and stunning four-star hotels, here at Fed Up & Drunk, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite places to eat and drink in the Cotswolds that we think you need to check out.
For a more comprehensive collection of restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and hotels in the region, be sure to pick up a copy of our recently released Cotswolds Food & Drink Guide.
As you’d expect with a name like Jolly Nice, this family-run farm shop and café situated just outside of Cirencester is a truly charming place to spend a pleasant couple of hours. Found on the grounds of a former filling station in Frampton Mansell, this one-of-a-kind and quirky country establishment has really embraced its unique location. Step inside and you’ll find an assortment of wooden cabins and yurts and a welcoming environment that is difficult to match.
Advocates for ethical farming, owners Rebecca and Simon have strong core values which are evident in everything that goes on at Jolly Nice. From using only free-range meat and organic milk to hiring their own butchers, baristas, cheesemongers, chefs and ice cream makers, everything is made with love and it shows.
Showcasing an impressive selection of food and drink options, whether you’re visiting for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you’ll be delighted. Come and try their enticing selection of tasty burgers such as their famous Jolly Nice Burger, a pasture-fed beef burger from the café’s own farm with free-range bacon, Somerset Cheddar and freshly made mayonnaise in a local artisan brioche bun; or why not be a little more adventurous with the KFP, an English twist on the Kentucky-fried classic made with local pheasant?!
Showcasing the finest regional produce the Cotswolds has to offer, 1853 Restaurant & Bar’s menu is guaranteed to impress. This stunning restaurant, situated in the striking and imposing four-star Tortworth Court Hotel, boasts beautiful vistas across 30 acres of picturesque parkland and the hotel’s very own arboretum, making this the perfect setting for a spectacular dinner with friends and family.
The restaurant itself is run out of this Grade II listed Victorian mansion’s old library and features a menu that changes every three months to make the most of the seasons. Start with dishes like their popular salt and pepper squid served with lemon aioli and pea shoots before moving onto a hearty main such as the succulent Buccleuch rib-eye steak or the slow-braised honey and cider caramelized pork belly.
Surrounded by some of Gloucester’s most historic and handsome buildings, stroll through the Tudor archway on Southgate Street and you’ll find this traditional, characterful bar and restaurant, Café René. Built around a Roman well which provides a striking feature in the main bar area, there are few finer places to chill out with friends and enjoy a nice and ever-changing selection of real ale, cider, wine and spirits.
Feast on freshly cooked food from their extensive main menu of seasonal daily specials in the romantic candle-lit dining room and be blown away by the room’s amazing ceiling made up of over 3000 wine bottles. Dishes on the menu include the legendary Desperate Dan burger, based on a unique 40-year-old recipe, and if you’re feeling brave, opt for the Very Desperate Dan instead, made with a one pound beef patty. Other dishes we’d recommend include the chargrilled lamb chops accompanied by garlic and rosemary potatoes, vegetables and mint sauce, and the rib-eye steak cooked to perfection.
The Frogmill, nestled in its peaceful location in the stunning little village of Shipton Oliffe close to Cheltenham, has the friendliest of atmospheres and simply oozes charm and character. Set out of a 16th-century, Grade II listed building that has recently undergone a restoration to restore its historic charm and enticing appeal, you’ll simply adore you time spent within these walls.
From the picture-perfect pear orchards to the quaint river and waterfall on site, English country dining doesn’t get much more idyllic than this. The restaurant’s menu showcases a seasonal selection of stunning dishes with a modern and enticing twist. Sit in the dining room surrounded by cosy, comforting and homely exposed beams and wood paneling and enjoy dishes like the lobster ceviche served with barbecued watermelon, sweetcorn and jalapeño succotash or the succulent tuna steak and whisky-glazed pork belly ribs.
Be wowed by the wonderful and majestic Whatley Manor in the peaceful market town of Malmesbury. Boasting 23 cosy bedrooms, the Aquarias Spa, a 40-seat cinema, and the acclaimed restaurant, The Dining Room, Whatley Manor is the ideal destination if you’re looking for a truly indulgent and relaxing Cotswold retreat.
Delivering an unforgettable dining experience to each and every visitor, executive head chef of The Dining Room, Niall Keating, aims to send you on a true culinary journey. Balancing contemporary and classic styles, Niall’s well-travelled background shines through with his selection of enticing, truly sensory Asian-influenced dishes. From appetisers of spiced crackers with sesame and lime to squid ink tortellini and blissfully tender aged beef loin, Niall’s mouthwatering menu is a must-try.