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The Kings Head Inn Pub with rooms in Bledington, Oxfordshire

Prices from:
£100 per night

David Hancock says:

  • The quintessential Cotswold stone inn
  • Rustic bar, roaring fires and real ales
  • Honest British food; roasts and game
  • Country chic rooms
  • Fabulous flower festooned terrace

Good for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitVisit a Stately PilePrivate Dining

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Overview

The Kings Head Inn Bledington, Oxfordshire, OX7 6XQ

The personal touch

Anyone looking to get a handle on life in the Cotswolds should head on over to the Kings Head Inn Bledington – this 16th-century one-time cider house is the very essence of the place. The honey-coloured stone, the village green, a little brook, wandering ducks…it’s a Cotswold idyll before you cross the threshold. Once you’re inside, it’s got the beams, the nooks, the crannies and the roaring fires that you might hope for, and if you’re chatting to someone at the bar, it could well be a local farmer or a senior member of the British establishment. Archie and Nicola Orr-Ewing have revitalised the place since taking over in 2000, keeping its rustic appeal and adding 12 sumptuous bedrooms. It’s still the kind of place where popping in for a pint or a glass of wine is positively encouraged, with the dashing terrace garden a fabulous spot if the mercury is up (or sit out front and gaze over the green). It’s well worth sticking around to eat, though, for the kitchen turns out honest British food, whether you eat in the bucolic bar or smarter (but still charmingly rustic) restaurant. Archie and Nicola also run the Swan Inn at Swinbrook.

Sticky fingers

Children are welcome throughout the pub and have their own Little Bantams menu.

Muddy paws

Dogs are very welcome in the bar areas, but not in the restaurant or bedrooms.

Alfresco

The paved patio garden isn’t huge, but it sure is a looker. With flourishing borders, a handsome water feature, pergola and large round tables, get there early to secure a table. In the summer months, the presence of an ice cream cart is a nice touch, and there are a few tables out front overlooking the village green.

What’s on?

Fans of burgers should pencil in Wednesdays, when the modern classic is available in versions made with either pork, beef or venison. There are regular quiz nights, and special events such as the annual Burns night, with haggis and a piper (kilts are optional).

What’s the Damage?
12 doubles/twins £100-£130

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (exc American Express)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and rooms
  • Parking

Gongs
Good Pub Guide Pub of the Year 2018
Good Pub Guide Gloucestershire Dining Pub of the Year 2018
Waitrose Good Food Guide

Sleep

The Kings Head Inn Bledington, Oxfordshire, OX7 6XQ

Do not disturb

There are two choices when it comes to bagging one of the 12 bedrooms – above the pub or in the adjacent Courtyard. The latter is quieter, and offers disabled access, but wherever you lay your head you can expect a stylish space given an individual designer finish. There are lovely wallpapers and fabrics, scatter cushions and chic furniture, in rooms that show a feminine touch. The Courtyard rooms are in a separate building (one made of Cotswold stone), and are the biggest of the bunch, while, if you’re staying over in the pub itself, you’ll find low beams and views over the village green. The bathrooms don’t let the side down, with a contemporary feel and rain showers over the bathtubs. If you like the Bantam toiletries, made especially for the inn, you can buy some to take home.

Creature comforts

Bespoke Bantam Bath products; Egyptian cotton sheets.

Gadgets

Free Wi-Fi; Flatscreen TV.

Pampering

If you’re in the mood for a bit of pampering, they’re happy to oblige by arranging a trip to Witney Lakes Spa and Country Club down the road.

What’s for Breakfast?

Selection of fruit juices; toasted granola, Greek yoghurt and fruit salad; English Breakfast – poached, scrambled or fried Bantam hen’s egg, house-cured bacon, Paddock Farm’s award-winning sausage, black pudding, field mushrooms, fried bread and grilled plum tomato; porridge with chef’s blackberry compote; scrambled Upton duck eggs and smoked salmon, sourdough; grilled Cornish kippers with devilled butter; egg Benedict or Royale; grilled field mushrooms on toast with garlic and thyme.

What’s the Damage?
12 doubles/twins £100-£130

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (exc American Express)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and rooms
  • Parking

Gongs
Good Pub Guide Pub of the Year 2018
Good Pub Guide Gloucestershire Dining Pub of the Year 2018
Waitrose Good Food Guide

Eat & Drink

The Kings Head Inn Bledington, Oxfordshire, OX7 6XQ

Mastering the menu

Wherever you dine at the Kings Head, whether it’s in the moodily atmospheric bar areas by a log fire (or log burner), or in the separate restaurant with its stone floors, wooden tables and upholstered chairs, there’s a genuine feeling of authenticity and antiquity. Pictures of country pursuits and a mounted antler or two reflect what the food is all about – unpretentious, British-inspired dishes with the focus on seasonality and traditional flavours (albeit updated for our times). Local game is a winner at the right time of year (partridge, duck, pheasant, grab ’em while you can), and posh open sandwiches are a lunchtime opportunity – how about one with Tamworth bacon, grilled Waterloo cheese and treacle dressing? The main menu combines old friends with more refined stuff, but it’s all hail and hearty; potted Upton smoked brown shrimps with spinach purée, say followed by beer-battered fish and chips or truffle macaroni cheese with a green salad. Desserts are an appealing bunch, with glazed lemon tart, a trio of crème brûlées, and a deconstructed banoffee pie showing a creative streak. Sunday roasts are a classic affair, but if you can find some like-minded friends, try sharing a joint of beef, pork or lamb, served on a carving board with all the trimmings (for 15 quid a head).

On the menu

Hare and ham hock terrine with onion jam and toasted Brioche
Seared Cornish scallops with brown shrimp and pea risotto, griddled courgette
Braised shin of beef, braised carrot, potato purée, parsley dumpling and bone marrow
Roast partridge with sautéed potatoes, wild mushrooms, mushroom purée, port juices
Fig frangipane with iced gingerbread parfait, tobacco syrup

Sunday Roasts

Treacle-roasted sirloin of Long Horn beef, Yorkshire pudding, red wine juices
Roast Tamworth pork belly, cider apple sauce, crackling & port juices
Roast leg of lamb with mint sauce & port juices

Foodie Extras

Eating outdoors is an appealing option in the summer, either out front by the village green with a pretty little brook running by, or out back on the smart paved terrace with its neat planting and pergola. There are parasols to keep the sun at bay.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 8am – 9.15am (8.30am – 9.45am weekends)
Lunch: 12 noon – 2pm (2.30pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday)
Dinner: 6pm – 9pm (9.30pm Friday and Saturday)

Local, local, local

Real ales – Hook Norton Brewery (www.hooky.co.uk)
Lager – Cotswold Brewing Company, Cheltenham (www.cotswoldbrewing.com)
Eggs and beef – University Farm Bledington
Game, Partridge, pheasant and duck – sourced from local shoots
Smoked products – Upton Smokery, Burford (www.uptonsmokery.co.uk)

Behind the bar

You’ll find something from Hook Norton at the pumps, plus one of Devon’s own from the Otter Brewery, alongside two regularly changing guest ales, with regional micro-breweries getting a good look in. When it comes to the stronger stuff, there’s an excellent range of gin, whisky, Armagnac and Cognac. The wine list is intelligently put together, offering around ten options by the glass (in two measures) and carafe, and mainly focusing on the European mainland. A passionfruit and Chambord Bellini is a very civilized way of getting the ball rolling, with the non-alcoholic options extending to a mango, apple and plum pressé.

Bar snacks

Marinated olives
Warm Parmesan garlic bread
Pea and wasabi dip with warm ciabatta
Cumin & lemon hummus, warm pitta
Pork scratchings with apple sauce
Cured meats and chutney with toasted sourdough

Time at the bar

10.30am – 11.30 pm

What’s the Damage?
12 doubles/twins £100-£130

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (exc American Express)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and rooms
  • Parking

Gongs
Good Pub Guide Pub of the Year 2018
Good Pub Guide Gloucestershire Dining Pub of the Year 2018
Waitrose Good Food Guide

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Kings Head Inn

2

The Cotswold Cheese Company, Moreton in Marsh GL56 0AH

A purveyor of an incredible selection of the finest cheeses with a good selection from local producers. They also sell other artisan and local produce such as local breads, biscuits and crackers, chutneys and local potted meats.

3

Daylesford Farm Shop and Cafe, Daylesford, Kingham GL56 0YG

Known locally as 'Fortnams in the field' Daylesford Organic is so much more than an award-winning farm shop, with a cookery school, cafe, clothes shop and spa. The farm shop offers the best in organic and food produced with the best environmental and livestock husbandry credentials. They have their own bakery and serve up vegetables from their own market garden.

4

The Big Feastival, Kingham OX7 6UJ

An annual party on the farm owned by local pop star turned farmer/cheese maker Alex James of Blur. This August Bank Holiday weekend event is co-hosted by Jamie Oliver and is a festival of food and music, with famous chefs demonstrating their cooking skills while you listen to live music from some of the best musicians in the country. A cracking day out for all the family.

5

Upton Smokery, Upton Downs Farm, Burford OX18 4LY

Located in the rolling Cotswold countryside outside of Burford, this family business smokes just about everything from game to fish. They also stock fresh game, paté, potted terrines, charcuterie and olives.

8

The Cotswold Brewing Company, College Farm, Bourton on the Water GL54 2HN

This award-winning independent brewery retains a hand-crafted approach to making beer and is also well-known for its lager and stout, as well as its cider, gin and vodka. You can pop into the brewery to buy bottles and polypins of beer and there are twice-daily brewhouse tours by prior arrangement.

9

Hook Norton Brewery, Hook Norton OX15 5NY

A proudly independent and family brewery since 1849, Hook Norton now sells its beers to pubs all over the UK, including 40 of its own in around the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire. The visitor centre and cafe welcomes over 10,000 visitors per year and there are daily brewery tours seven days a week.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Kings Head Inn

Activities

2

Ty Cycles, Chipping Norton OX7 5NJ

This mobile service delivers and collects bikes to your desired location within 20 miles of their Chipping Norton base, with hybrid or road bikes for parties of all sizes and for trips of any duration.

4

Chipping Norton Theatre OX7 5NL

Theatre, arthouse cinema, gallery and concert hall, they describe themselves as 'complicated and a little eccentric', and it's always worth a look to see what's on. A mixed arts venue hosting, co-producing and supporting some of the most exciting, accessible and entertaining culture in the region, there are also community and education programmes with workshops, classes and creative projects.

Shopping

13

The Borzoi Bookshop, Stow on the Wold GL54 1BB

Based in Stow-on-the-Wold, this well-established independent bookseller stocks a vast range of books, including many of the classics. Out-of-print books, attractively designed greeting cards and wrapping paper are also available.

14

The Maggie White Shop, Burford OX18 4QA

Long-established knitwear and clothes shop selling items designed by Maggie White as well as other designer brands like Flax and Rundholz. They also sell unique contemporary jewellery.

16

Burford Antiques Centre, Burford OX18 4JA

Loads of great antique furniture from the 17th to the 20th century, plus high quality reproduction refectory tables made to any size, chairs, sideboards and dressers.

17

Burford Woodcraft, Burford OX18 4QU

Promoting contemporary British craftsmanship for over 30 years, the shop sells an extensive selection of creative wooden objects, furniture, sculpture, bowls, kitchenware, jewellery boxes, games and toys.

19

Bicester Village, Bicester OX26 6WD

One of the south of England's best-known and most popular retail centres, Bicester Village is where you can explore a wide range of chic boutiques stocking stylish lifestyle brands that are at the heart of world-class fashion.

20

Woodcock and Cavendish, Burford OX18 4RG

Lovely throws and blankets in cashmere, pure wool and recycled wool, plus designer homewares, leather goods, bespoke jewellery, china and stationery. An ideal place to buy a present, they also have branches in Tetbury and Cirencester.

22

Stone Gallery, Burford OX18 4QA

An impressive selection of antique and modern glass paperweights, plus beautiful Georg Jensen jewellery and antique and modern enamel boxes. There’s also jewellery made by resident jewellers, the Marshall family, and fine art by renowned and up-and-coming artists.

23

Burford OX18 4QA

Burford is surely one of England's prettiest small medieval towns with some really beautiful buildings (the church is considered one of the best in the country) and is a busy and thriving community of about 1,000 people. The town merchants were granted a charter to hold their own markets over 900 years ago, and it’s still a great place for shopping, with loads of independent shops and galleries.

Places to visit

6

Hidcote Manor Gardens, Chipping Campden GL55 6LR

Hidcote is one of the country's greatest gardens, full of rare shrubs and trees, herbaceous borders and unusual plants from all over the world. In addition, there are superb views across the Vale of Evesham from the garden.

7

Compton Verney, Kineton CV35 9HZ

This Grade I-listed residence which dates back 300 years, and was later remodelled with the interiors designed by Robert Adam, is a popular venue for international art exhibitions. There are many examples of British folk art and six permanent collections at the house.

8

Chastleton House, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0SU

Near Moreton-in-Marsh, Chastleton House is a fine Jacobean mansion with a striking south front. The house was built by a local wool merchant in the early 17th century, who purchased the estate from Robert Catesby, one of the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

9

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock OX20 1PP

One of Britain's largest and most famous stately homes, Blenheim Palace offers a host of treasures to discover. There are guided tours of the staterooms and a chance to explore the estate's sumptuous parkland. A new Winston Churchill Memorial Garden and Footsteps Trail opened in 2015, taking visitors on a journey through the key achievements in the great statesman's extraordinary life and his early years in this area. Churchill's grave can be seen in the churchyard at nearby Bladon.

10

Shakespeare & Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6QW

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust own and run various Bard-related buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon. The Birthplace itself, of course, is probably the most famous and significant. He was born here and lived here until he left for London. It’s been celebrated for hundreds of years, so you’re not only following in his footsteps, but those of Dickens, Keats, Scott and Hardy. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage & Gardens is the picturesque family home of the future Mrs Shakespeare. It’s a pretty thatched farmhouse and contains original furniture including the famous Hathaway Bed. The home of the Royal Shakespeare Company can be found on the banks of the Avon, with a range of live shows (it’s not all Shakespeare) and behind-the-scenes tours.

11

Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe GL54 5JD

Sudeley Castle was home to Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife. She's buried here, as well, so this is the only private castle that's the final resting place of a queen. It's played an important role in England's often turbulent history and has royal connections stretching back over 1,000 years. Inside you'll find an interesting collection of furniture, paintings and unique artefacts, and the gloriously restored gardens are absolutely beautiful.

12

Snowshill Manor, Broadway WR12 7JU

A manor house packed with the extraordinary treasures collected by Charles Wade, including Samurai armour, musical instruments and clocks. He had a passion for colour, design and craftsmanship, and there are thousands of things to discover in this very atmospheric house.

Walking

www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk
The 102-mile Cotswold Way National Trail takes in some of the best scenery the region has to offer. There are thousands of miles of footpaths and the area has a reasonable claim to be a walkers’ paradise. The Oxfordshire Way starts in Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire and takes you to the banks of the River Thames in Henley. The route passes through a variety of contrasting landscapes and settlements including two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the rolling Cotswold Hills and the Chilterns.

Cycling

www.visitoxfordandoxfordshire.com
www.in-gloucestershire.co.uk
www.aboutthecotswolds.co.uk
www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk
Not too hilly, not too flat, Oxfordshire is a good place to cycle, with lots of lovely scenery and a variety of routes for all abilities. There are several long distance routes, plus lots of bridleways. The Hanson Way starts in Oxford itself and follows the Thames Path to Abingdon and Didcot. The Cotswolds are particularly good for off-roading, with a network of tracks, but road cyclists won’t be disappointed either, as there are some spectacular hills and very tricky climbs.

Events

www.cotswolds.com
The Festival at Cheltenham kicks off the jump-racing season in March, followed by the Badminton Horse Trials (May) and Cheltenham Jazz Festival (May Bank Holiday weekend). Giffords Circus travels around the region in the summer, offering an old-fashioned ‘village green’ circus experience. The Times Cheltenham Science Festival is in June, along with the Royal Three Counties Show. The Three Choirs Festival in July rotates between the cathedrals of the Three Counties – Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester – and originally featured their three choirs. The festival also features other major ensembles and international soloists. The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival takes place in October.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Take A436 from Stow-on-the-Wold and then branch right (signposted Bledington); take this road, B4450, until you reach Bledington Green – the pub is set back on the right.

By Rail: Kingham Railway Station is only a couple off mile away from Bledington and is on the London mainline from Paddington to Hereford/Great Malvern. The train is just 1 hour 20 minutes from Paddington, and 20 minutes from Oxford.

Address:

The Green,, Bledington, Oxfordshire, OX7 6XQ

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