Post-lockdown treats await at The Porch House

We all seem to be drawing up lists of the things we’re going to do when we finally emerge from lock down, bleary-eyed and blinking.

Top three for most people seem to be centred around seeing friends and family, getting their roots done, and getting away for a break.

The Porch House in Stow on the Wold
Oldest pub in the county?

Whilst The Porch House probably can’t help much with your roots, they can definitely sort out the other two.

We were lucky enough to visit just before lock down began, on a brisk Friday night when it felt like Spring would never arrive.

Arriving early, we took the opportunity to have a drink in the newly refurbished bar.

When we say, ‘newly refurbished’, we actually mean restored to the perfect level of Olde Worldiness, where dried flowers hang from sand-blasted beams, and a maelstrom of textures combine with the common goal of ‘comfort’.

Porch House bar
New Olde stock

Sat in the window, watching the world go by, the gentle hum of chatter harmonises with background music that is never intrusive, occasionally serving up old favourites that successfully evoke fond memories.

When we’re first seated in the restaurant it’s not busy – that’s not altogether surprising, not only is it Friday the 13th, we’re also predicting the commencement of lock down, and navigating what that might mean.

By the time we leave, however, it’s buzzing and it’s clear that the changes made are already popular. At this stage, social distancing is something we’re still mulling over, not yet has it become normality.

We sit by the unlit fireplace, it’s warm enough without, and one imagines how cosy it will be when roaring. The décor is unforced, bordering on eclectic but never straying into cluttered. The chairs, vitally, are comfortable and remain so throughout the meal.

The menu is an accessible blend of choices, peppered with seasonal produce. We choose a wide array, sharing and tasting each other’s to ensure that the only regret we have is the limit of our appetites.

Brocolli and Stilton soup at the Porch House
Mmmmm soup

We treat ourselves to some salt and sage pork crackling and pear chutney, labelled as ‘Morsels’ on the menu, it’s a delicious kick-off dish.

From there we delve into three courses, all worth savouring, ranging from a broccoli and Stilton soup, through to a warm treacle tart with raspberry and milk ice-cream that we agree to share because, frankly, we’re stuffed. It’s all delicious.

A burger from the Porch House
That sure is a tasty burger

The service is friendly and understated, which aligns perfectly with the rest of the experience. The Porch House is the kind of place that you can take the entire family and know that they’ll all find something they like.

Dress up or down, even turn up with two months of root regrowth, and no one’s going to judge you. Take our advice and book a room – enjoy the local beer and kick back. You definitely deserve it.

If you’re interested in us featuring your Cotswolds business then get in touch with us to request a copy of our media pack and find out more about what we do.

Cotswolds attractions that will take you back in time

When you hear ‘the Cotswolds,’ you might immediately think of traditional villages and picturesque landscapes. Known for its manor houses and historical buildings, the Cotswolds area definitely has more up its sleeve than just the rolling views and English castles.

But we wouldn’t blame you if you would want to go just for that alone!

However, if you’re looking to add more variety to your trip to the Cotswolds, then we have a few suggestions. Aside from the landscapes and villages, this area has other attractions that will appeal to history buffs looking for more than the usual on their holiday.

1. The Roman Baths

Located in Britain’s only hot spring, this is a religious hot spa located in the historic city of Bath. The stone pillars and structures will take you 2,000 years into the past.

Costumed characters wander the halls—walk around enough and you will meet stonemasons, a slave girl, and a typical Roman lady.

The bathing complex still flows with natural water to this day, where tourists can take a dip and take in the ambience.

A Roman museum gives more insights into this period in the country’s history. Paying £16-23 for the entrance fee is practically a steal for the history and culture you will experience. The baths are open every day, except for 25 and 26 December.

2. Antiques shopping in Cirencester

This is definitely the antiques capital of the Cotswolds (although Stow on the Wold and Tetbury might like to have a chat about that claim).

Corn Hall in Cirencester houses over 80 dealers of antique jewellery, ceramics, glassware, furniture, and more.

The weekly Antiques and Collectors Market has been going for over 40 years now and is a good source of Art Deco and vintage pieces from the 1950s and 60s. Entrance is free, and there is ample room for parking.

Looking towards Cirencester market square and the church
Cirencester, the capital of the Cotswolds

If you are looking for stand-alone shops, there are also stores like Hart Gold and Silversmiths, Winchcombe Antiques Centre, and the Malt House Emporium.

These are all long-standing shops in Cirencester, with helpful staff and a reputation for being sources of incredible finds.

3. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

If you fancy a 25-mile round trip between Toddington and Cheltenham Racecourse, you can take a ride on this heritage railway.

The steam railway is perfect for casual sightseeing. You can take in the scenery that the Cotswolds has to offer like Stanway House and the Malvern Hills from the comfort of a train carriage.

The railway is entirely operated by volunteers, who want to preserve this aspect of life in England.

The train is also among the most accessible railways available; there are provisions for the differently-abled, people travelling with bikes, and those who have animal companions.

4. Britain’s Oldest Inn

The country’s oldest pub*, The Porch House, is in Stow-on-the-Wold.

Though the pub has undergone many changes throughout its existence, its oldest parts are said to date back to the year 947.

The Porch House, Stow on the Wold. Is this the oldest inn in the UK?
Oldest pub in the world…

The Porch House serves traditional English fare and frequently receives glowing reviews from its customers.

If you’re feeling like spending the night, The Porch House also has 13 charmingly decorated, traditional guest rooms starting at £99 per night.

Just because the pub is old, don’t assume that means it’s outdated. It recently underwent an extensive refurbishment. Read more about that and their menu in our review.

*There are several other pubs and establishments in the UK that also lay claim to this title. Without the invention of time travel, it’s very difficult to verify which one can truly wear the crown.

Conclusion

Whether it is your first time in the Cotswolds or you’ve been here before, there is always something exciting to visit. Take a trip through history by visiting any of these attractions or browse our other articles to discover new places.

We are your one-stop-site for landmarks and things to do in this region.

If you would like more information on the places we’ve mentioned above or other attractions in the Cotswolds, get in touch with us today to find out more.

A few must visit restaurants in the Cotswolds

No matter where you’re from in the world, food enthusiasts will find the Cotswolds a gourmet’s haven as nearly every street is lined up with delectable spots—from farm shop cafes to upmarket restaurants, to rustic country pubs and hole-in-the-wall local secrets.

This makes the rural countryside of England a capital for gastronomic adventures, especially since most hotspots thrive on colourfully varied local produce of the region.

The Cotswold’s aromatic palette is inspired by a fusion of different cultures.

Still, local staples indulge in favourites like a local lamb, Gloucestershire Old Spot pork, Gloucester cheese, fish, and a seasonal mix of fruits and vegetables.

The local cuisine loves to play around with fresh flavours—from sour and savoury to sweet, all presented with flair.

With so much to choose from, the (by no means exhaustive) list below is intended to just give you a flavour of what’s on offer as you taste your way around the Cotswolds:

1. The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

If you want to take a gentle trip back in time, The Wild Rabbit offers a rich slice of Cotswold’s history with its 18-century cottage establishment.

Think of it as an olde-world pub where guests can lodge after a heavy meal, which doesn’t fail to satisfy your taste buds with its menu of grilled meat and quality produce.

The Wild Rabbit is a well-mannered eatery and lodge, in the same village as Alex James (formerly of Blur) presents his annual Big Feastival.

Kingham village green
Kingham village green. This is not where they hold the Big Feastival

Lady Carole Bamford’s Daylesford farm shop, also nearby is the perfect accompanying enterprise, delivering organic fruits and vegetables to ensure each dish is made with a fresh touch.

Address: The Wild Rabbit, Church Street, Kingham, Chipping Norton OX7 6YA

Telephone: +44 1608 658389

Website: thewildrabbit.co.uk

2. Ox Barn at Thyme, Southrop Manor Estate

The Michelin Guide featured Ox Barn offers a mouth-watering world where fresh vegetables and fruits are picked from Chef Charlie Hibbert’s family garden.

Each dish is made with a touch of luxury, rustic charm, and sustainability, from the radicchio to garnish the roast pork or the fresh, wild garlic to give the chicken terrine a spicy kick.

The environment is a beautiful reinvention of a Cotswolds stone barn, which was once home to oxen, and is the inspiration behind its name.

A poured-concrete flooring adds a contemporary edge to the vintage look of the wooden beams, while leather chairs and an open fire ensure guests are eating in style and comfort with every hearty bite.

Address: Ox Barn at Thyme, Gloucestershire GL7 3PW

Telephone: +44 1367 850174

Website: https://www.thyme.co.uk/dining/ox-barn

3. Koj, Cheltenham

If you’re craving an exotic fusion of Asian and British cuisine, Koj is the best place to go for taking experimental bites.

British-Japanese chef Andrew Kojima aims to introduce Asian flavours like strong umami from sesame mayo and shiitake and marry British classics like curry, deep-fried crisps.

From ox-heart burger buns, miso roast cod, donburi, spicy pork mince, and curry noodles, this is the food joint to indulge in a meld of diverse flavours the Cotswolds has to offer.

Address: Koj, 3 Regent Street, Cheltenham GL50 1HE

Telephone: +44 1242 580455

Website: kojcheltenham.co.uk

Conclusion

As you can see from the list above, the Cotswolds boasts a melting pot of flavours, where every street offers different versions of local favourites.

Staples will take your taste buds in a culinary adventure, so if you’re craving for a taste of gastronomic delights, the Cotswolds is sure to fill you up.

If you’re looking to discover more about the Cotswolds, get in touch with us to see how we can help!