Copper-bottomed, all-round quality, plus an individual vibe. The 16thC thatched building’s location, in a low-key village (new builds mixed with traditional), is upstaged by its neighbours a few miles west in the Cotswolds, but being in a real village rather than tourist spot can be part of the charm.
Our reporter stayed in Room 1: spacious for its reasonable price tag, as low as £180 when the guide went to press. Just as good were the eclectic furnishings: an antique mahogany hanging cupboard; bedside lamps, both different; a super-wide, very comfortable bed; beamy ceiling. Very warm. It could almost have been a bedroom in a house rather than a hotel. Room 6, the smallest, has fair space for the price charged.
The ground floor has been opened up in the usual dining pub manner, enabling all comers to co-exist seamlessly: locals at the bar; a chatty hen party around the fireside space; then two further dining areas the far side of the bar. The Conservatory at the rear can seat up to 40 at one long table, but the layout is usually for smaller parties.
The food is reasonably priced (one dish at £16.50) and outstanding: freshly cooked restaurant dishes such as local venison and red wine casserole or vegetable and lentil stew alongside gastropub staples. Our reporter’s chicken schnitzel was knock-out compared with the dried-out, heated-in-the-microwave versions offered elsewhere. Among the charcuterie was Alto Adige speck and on the drinks list Constantia dessert wine, evidence of the sophistication and know-how of hands-on owners and team.
The owners have just this pub, and it shows. They and the management team trust each other, getting the basics right and providing imaginative touches such as the 60s album covers decorating a whole wall and the neon George Inn installation in the Conservatory.