Walking

Pub Walks in the Cotswolds

Pub Walks in the Cotswolds

From the floral blooms of spring to the snowy realms of winter, the array of unmissable pub walks in the Cotswolds is hard to resist. Combining the allure of spellbinding arcadian scenery with the temptation of delicious repasts, these fabulous walks comprise all our favourite elements of Cotswolds sojourns. Whether you are seeking relaxed strolls or exhilarating hikes, embrace the romance of the great outdoors and absorb the beauty that resides in nature, treading waymarked trails before retreating to a traditional Cotswolds pub.

To begin your adventure, peruse our guide to some of the best pub walks in the Cotswolds and look forward to the nourishment of nature and the pleasure found in life’s simplest moments.

Countryside Rambles

Woodland Wanders

Heritage Walks

Hill Hikes

Countryside Rambles

Swift’s Hill Nature Reserve

Rolling green countryside near the village of Slad in Gloucestershire

Swift’s Hill Nature Reserve is home to a sweeping area of limestone grassland in Stroud. A sanctuary for a wealth of wildlife species, including over 130 species of wildflower, this local landmark is managed by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and is a delightful place for walks. For a winsome pub walk in the Cotswolds, park in the village of Slad and follow the level, tarmacked footpath along Slad Road south of the village. Pick up a steady rhythm for around half a mile before turning left onto Knapp Lane and walking for another half a mile towards the reserve. Upon reaching the dog-friendly reserve, you can roam along the web of trails across the commons and neighbouring Laurie Lee Wood, taking as much time as you please in the revitalising air. To return, retrace your steps for a mile back to Slad and the village’s famous Woolpack Inn. For a longer walk before your meal, you can also pick up the six-mile circular Laurie Lee Way from Swift’s Hill.

Hidcote Gardens

The beautiful traditional interiors of The Ebrington Arms in Ebrington

An emerald jewel in the Cotswolds crown, Hidcote Gardens is situated within nearly eleven acres of grounds near Chipping Campden. Featuring a picturesque Arts and Crafts-style garden with secret garden rooms and weaving pathways, this verdant gem is well worth a visit in its own right. To make your visit extra special, combine your trip to Hidcote Gardens with a beautiful, 6.5-mile looped walk from the honey-hued village of Ebrington. Start early in the morning to capture the sun cresting over the horizon and enjoy views of local landmarks as you go, such as Foxcote Manor, the Cotswold Escarpment and patchwork fields. Stop off at Hidcote to explore the grounds and savour a soothing cup of tea in the tearoom, before veering back to Ebrington towards the cheerful sight of The Ebrington Arms. A two-hundred-year-old pub with yellow stones woven with climbing roses, cosy inside spaces, and a landscaped terrace and beer garden, this charming village pub promises slow moments and delicious food.

Widford Church

Views of St Oswald's Church in Widford on a blue sky day

On the flower-peppered banks of the River Windrush lies the idyllic Swan Inn in Swinbrook. A welcoming gastropub well-known for its warm ambience and heavenly, seasonal fare, this pub makes for a welcome destination during relaxed pub walks in the Cotswolds. Begin your stroll by exploring Swinbrook and retracing the steps of the socialite Mitford sisters, who grew up in the village, before branching out into the surrounding countryside. One of three walks recommended by the Swan Inn, you can make your way around a 2.5-mile loop around the village and St Oswald’s Church in Widford, built on the site of an ancient Roman villa. Covering relatively even terrain that is sometimes muddy in winter, this pleasant stroll can be completed in around an hour and a half. Upon your return, take a seat within the pub and peruse the menu crafted with feel-good favourites, including prime Swinbrook beef.

Woodland Wanders

Batsford Arboretum

A walkway through trees at Batsford Arboretum framed by red autumn leaves

One of the best places for walks in Gloucestershire and one of the prettiest gardens in the Cotswolds, Batsford Arboretum is home to an adumbral arcadia framed by towering trees. Beckoning for year-round exploration, this sixty-acre site shelters unique species of every shape and size from across the globe, including rare trees, shrubs and bamboos. Presenting a never-ending natural tapestry of things to see, it evolves throughout the seasons and promises enchantment at every turn. To enjoy one of the best pub walks in the Cotswolds, relish a promenade to the arboretum from nearby Moreton-in-Marsh, following a footpath along the Monarch’s Way for 3.5 miles (there and back). For a deliciously rewarding incentive, book a table at The Black Bear in Moreton-in-Marsh to revive and replenish after your walk. Upon the menu, the pub’s offerings comprise handcrafted dishes of locally-sourced meals for lunch and dinner, including warming roasts on Sundays.

Westonbirt Arboretum

Beautiful red leaves decorating a Japanese Maple at Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury

Renowned for its world-famous collection of flora, Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury features 15,000 different species of plants and 2,500 species of tree from all over the world. Especially beautiful in autumn when the sanctuary’s trees harmonize millions of leaves in a seasonal symphony of reds and golds, this tranquil haven is a dreamy destination for walks. Take your time exploring this National Arboretum’s seventeen miles of pathways through both dog-friendly and pet-free zones and immerse yourself in sylvan serenity. When you’re ready to return, retrace your steps back to the main car park and drive less than a mile towards The Hare and Hounds. Set within acres of private woodland estate, this country hotel is home to both Jack Hare’s Bar and The Beaufort Restaurant, where both formal and informal dining can be anticipated. Cast your gaze over the menus of seasonal delicacies, as well as cream teas in the afternoon and tempting Sunday roasts.

Heritage Walks

Chedworth Roman Villa

A delicious Sunday roast served with a glass of red wine at The Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach

Cotswolds stone cottages hug a luscious valleyside in Chedworth in Gloucestershire. A picture of quintessential Cotswolds loveliness, the village is beloved for its timeless aesthetics and bustling local community. The gateway to the Fosse Way, it’s also renowned for its great pastoral walks that call for leisurely hours in the invigorating country air. One of the best, a particularly well-known seven mile loop leads amblers around the village to the site of Chedworth Roman Villa. One of the largest and best-preserved Roman villas in the UK, this scheduled ancient monument is looked after by the National Trust and is a must-visit for those looking to step through the chapters of time. For a wonderful pub walk in the Cotswolds, complete the route before visiting either the village’s listed Seven Tuns Inn or The Wheatsheaf Inn, an historic coaching inn in neighbouring Northleach.

Blenheim Palace

The grounds of Blenheim Palace in autumn

When it comes to soul-stirring walks in the Cotswolds, there are few destinations more enchanting than Blenheim Palace. A UNESCO World Heritage site and the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is one of the largest country houses in the UK and brimming with history. Encompassing more than 12,000 acres of estate, including 2,000 acres of Capability Brown designed gardens and parkland, it sets a magical scene for adventures. Depending on how far you’d like to walk, you can choose from the estate’s designated walks, ranging from less than a mile to nearly five miles in length, or enjoy the 6.5 mile circuit from the nearby market town of Woodstock. Affording the perfect pub walk in the Cotswolds, there are a wealth of eateries to select from in Woodstock, such as the award-winning Back Lane Tavern. For further choice, you can also drive the three miles to nearby Wootton village and dine at The Killingworth Castle, recommended by the Michelin Guide.

Arlington Row

Arlington Row's fourteenth century cottages, enjoyed during a pub walk in the Cotswolds

Residing within one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds and one of the UK’s most romantic places to propose, Arlington Row in Bibury is home to a stunning row of characterful cottages. Dating back to the 1300s, these historic buildings were originally built as monastic wool stores in the Medieval times, before being converted into weavers’ cottages two hundred years later. If you are seeking an easy pub walk in the Cotswolds, you can take your time exploring the village of Bibury on foot, wending along its tarmacked footpaths to see its picturesque church and iconic cottages, before heading to The Catherine Wheel. Just a few hundred yards away from Arlington Row, this family-run pub serves flavourful meals composed of locally-sourced ingredients. Take a seat by the crackling fire in winter or head outside into the suntrap beer garden in summer and treat yourself to your favourite dish, accompanied by a glass of something special.

Hill Hikes

Crickley Hill

The ivy-clad facade of The Green Dragon Inn in Cockleford

Crickley Hill Country Park in Birdlip, Gloucestershire, is adored for its distinctive natural features, reaching panoramas, and rich history. Managed by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and The National Trust, this Site of Special Scientific Interest is woven with a variety of habitats and is topped by an ancient Iron Age hillfort. With evidence of human habitation dating as far back as 4,000BC, this area has long provided inspiration for wanderers. Today, it continues to enchant with stunning flora and fauna and views across the Severn Vale towards the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains beyond. Follow the mile lap around the country park, summit the hill, and admire the views of the distant Devil’s Chimney - a distinctive, crooked limestone formation. For light refreshment, you can stop off at Crickley Hill Café before turning your attention towards The Green Dragon Inn in Cockleford. Just three miles away, this traditional pub with glowing log fires, open beams and flagstone floors was voted the Cotswolds Best Dining Pub in The Cotswolds Awards 2023 for its inviting atmosphere and delectable food.

Broadway Tower

A bird's eye view of Broadway Tower at golden hour during a favourite pub walk in the Cotswolds

One of the most famous sights in the Cotswolds, Broadway Tower is a legendary landmark that sits atop the striking Cotswolds escarpment. Dating back to the eighteenth century, this historic folly rises three storeys into the air and is decorated with circular turrets and battlements that endow a fairytale feel. If you are seeking one of the best pub walks in the Cotswolds, then the three-mile walk to the tower and back from the village of Broadway should pique your interest – especially when combined with a meal at The Crown and Trumpet. Walk from the pub along Broadway’s high street, before joining The Cotswold Way and walking just over a mile along a waymarked trail through spellbinding countryside scenery to the tower. For added intrigue, purchase tickets to see inside the tower and climb the stairs to the top, soaking up the incredible views across sixteen counties before descending again and heading back to the village for a well-earned culinary reward.

Cleeve Hill

An empty bench atop Cleeve Hill with views across Cheltenham and the surrounding countryside

Cleeve Hill is famed for being the highest point in the Cotswolds National Landscape. Situated just outside of the town of Cheltenham, this regal hill commands breath-taking views across the surrounding landscapes, extending as far as Wales and the Shropshire Hills on clear days. To stretch your legs over a challenging hike, lace up your walking boots and join the Winchcombe to Cleeve Hill walk. A nine-mile loop through beautiful countryside, this route starts and ends at the Medieval market town of Winchcombe and skirts the early Neolithic Belas Knap long barrow before climbing Cleeve Hill. En route, it also passes Sudeley Castle, a Grade I listed castle with a history spanning a thousand years. Arriving back in Winchcombe, settle in for a meal at the fifteenth century coaching inn, The Lion Inn, located on North Street. Here, passion, creativity and talent combine in the kitchen to produce dishes of expertly-curated British cuisine, prepared with local ingredients and enjoyed in either the restaurant, or dog-friendly snug, bar or gardens.

Seeking the finest countryside and cuisine? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the Cotswolds.

 

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