The Bull Inn Pub with rooms in Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Prices from:
£100 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Cool inn; sleepy small town setting
  • Rustic Cotswold chic; relaxed vibe
  • Brilliant bar – try the Bloody Mary’s
  • Honest British food; great flavours
  • Local farm reared meats and game
  • Stunning individual bedrooms
  • Cornbury Park (Festivals) is close by

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingCandlelitVisit a Stately PileNo Car NeededPrivate Dining

Call this inn 01608 629401

Real Time Booking Available
Overview

The Bull Inn Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3RR

The personal touch

Having managed a vineyard in South France for a few years, Charlie Crossley returned to Britain with his wife Willow, a floral artist, and snapped up the Bull in 2015, rescuing it from closure and restoring the fortunes of this 16th-century stone inn. It overlooks the main street of this handsome, small Cotswold town and the Crossley’s have refurbished the place with style and panache – it now thrives as a locals bar, a dining destination and as a cool place to stay as the rooms, designed by Willow, are fabulous. Expect a relaxed vibe throughout and arrive early to bag the easy chairs or deep sofa fronting the stone inglenook and blazing winter fire – it’s the place to peruse the papers. Quirky, rustic Cotswold chic sums the place up to a tee – painted beams, Farrow & Ball hues, retro lighting, old pine table, bold wall coverings, vibrant upholstered chairs and scatter cushions on wall benches, sandstone floors strewn with seagrass rugs, and jugs of flowers and modern art adding splashes of colour. The staff are great – young, relaxed, friendly and very knowledgeable.

Sticky fingers

Children are very welcome through the pub; there’s a kid’s menu of freshly prepared dishes, including roasts on Sundays, and little ones can stay overnight (futons & cots available).

Muddy paws

You can bring your pooch into the bar (jar of treat bones) and five rooms are dog friendly with a small charge.

Alfresco

The smart rear gravel terrace is the place to be on sunny days, where you’ll find chunky sleeper benches and tables, some with neat brollies, a copper water urn (‘dog’s drink for free’), a rambling vine on a pergola, and a brilliant outside bar created from an old horse box. On summer and special winter weekends is dispenses Bloody Mary’s, fizz, cocktails and jugs of Pimms, and mulled wine in winter.

What’s the Damage?

8 doubles/twin: £100 – £200. Minimum two nights at weekends (Friday/Saturday)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and rooms
  • Small car park; free street parking

 

Sleep

The Bull Inn Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3RR

Do not disturb

Rooms are split between the 16th-century charm of the inn and the Bull Barn, a beautifully refurbished stone barn that overlooks the rear terrace and offers peace and solitude. All have been kitted out to a high standard and are super comfortable, with bespoke beds topped with hand-stitched mattresses, quality linen and down, a mix of antique and vintage painted wood furnishings, soothing colours and statement individual wall coverings, fat radiators and period features, and rich fabrics for curtains and upholstered easy chairs. The best have big tiled bathrooms with roll-top baths and huge walk-in showers; two rooms have tubs in the bedroom. Three rooms have lovely views down Church Street.

Creature comforts

Roll-top baths; bathrobes; fresh coffee & milk; Blenheim Water

Gadgets

Smart TVs; digital radios; wi-fi;

What’s for Breakfast?

Porridge, banana & honey; granola, yoghurt & fruit compote; avocado & poached egg on toast; brioche French toast, bacon & maple syrup; breakfast bap; full English breakfast

What’s the Damage?

8 doubles/twin: £100 – £200. Minimum two nights at weekends (Friday/Saturday)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and rooms
  • Small car park; free street parking

 

Eat & Drink

The Bull Inn Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3RR

Mastering the menu

The kitchen team at the Bull and delivers an exciting modern British dishes that are big on flavour on a short, flexible monthly-changing menu that features pub classics (with a twist) and more inventive dishes. They make good use of game and roe deer from the Cornbury Estate and rare breed meats reared on Cotswold Farms, including delicious pork from Paddock Farm at Lower Brailes. The bar menu is hand-written daily on the roll of brown paper in the bar.

On the menu

(Starters: £6-£8; Main Courses: £7-£18; Desserts £6-£8)
Bull steak tartare, capers & cornichons
Beetroot & gin cured salmon
Isle of Wight tomato & mozzarella salad
Roasted fish, salsify, clams & kale
Lamb, celeriac & apple
Rare breed beef sirloin, green sauce
Brioche bread & butter pudding, vanilla ice cream
Pannacotta, mascerated strawberries

Bar menu
(£4-£12)
Crispy chicken, avocado & piquillo pepper sandwich
Bull burger & hand-cut chips
Mussels & Bull bitter
½ pint prawns

Sunday Roasts

(£15-£17)
Paddock Farm pork shoulder; Wiltshire leg of lamb; Cotswold beef sirloin – all served with Yorkshire pudding, greens, carrots, leek gratin & gravy. Children’s size portions are also available

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 8am – 12 noon
Lunch: 12 noon – 6pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10pm

Local, local, local

Pork: Paddock Farm, Lower Brailes (www.paddock.fm)
Roe deer & game: Cornbury Estate
Cotswold reared beef
Coffee: UE Coffee Roasters, Windrush Estate, Witney (www.uecoffeeroasters.com)
Wine: S H Jones, Banbury (wwwshjones.com); Bibendum

Behind the bar

Old painted storage cabinets squeezed between stone pillars and walls make up the impressive bar counters, on which you’ll find three handpumps dispensing Old Hooky, Bull Bitter and Fuller’s Oliver’s Island, and a silver font offering the likes of Cornish Orchard Cider and Frontier Craft Lager. Behind, a distressed painted dresser groans with spirit bottles, a truly eclectic range that includes Sipsmith Gin, Kettel One Vodka and Monkey Shoulder Whisky. The short, select list of wines favours France and smaller producers and includes a couple of organic wines; 16 served by the glass and carafe. Brilliant Bloody Mary’s (& other cocktails), great juices and general choice non-alcoholic drinks, and locally roasted coffee complete the pleasing picture.

Bar snacks

(£2-£6)
Pork scratchings; chicken bits & chipotle mayo; venison salami & cornichons; smoked almonds

Time at the bar

8am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?

8 doubles/twin: £100 – £200. Minimum two nights at weekends (Friday/Saturday)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and rooms
  • Small car park; free street parking

 

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 Bull 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.

12

The Chequers, Churchill OX7 6NJ

Excellent gastropub where you can enjoy some fantastic modern British food from regularly changing blackboard menus. The beers are good, too, but you can also try a glass of wine from the very good menu or maybe a cocktail. The steak and chips is first class.

13

The Rose and Crown, Shilton OX18 4AB

Cracking foodie pub run by chef-Patron Martin Coldicott. The 16th-century Cotswold-stone pub has low beams, stone floors and a menu that keeps things suitably simple.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Bull Inn

Activities

3

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.

4

Hardwick Parks, Witney OX29 7PZ

Head for Standlake, south-east of Witney, and choose from a wide variety of water sports suited to all ages and abilities. This is just the place for exhilarating, fun-filled action, which can be enjoyed by all the family.

5

Shooting, Enstone OX7 4NS

This comprehensive clay shooting school, situated amid the pastoral scenery of the Cotswolds, at Enstone, near Chipping Norton, offers great facilities and caters for beginners right through to experienced shots.

6

Rally Driving Days, Tracey Farm, Great Tew OX7 4JS

Family-run and welcoming rally, performance car and off-road driving centre situated near Chipping Norton. Here, you can try your hand at rally driving in authentic conditions and in the safe hands of trained professionals.

7

Heythrop Park Golf Club, Enstone, Chipping Norton OX7 5UF

Make sure your SatNav takes you via the Drive, Church Enstone, or you'll find you can't get in. Weaving through the 440-acre Heythrop Estate, this 18-hole features ancient woodland, lakes and streams - it's a quintessentially English setting. Visitors are welcome and there are all kinds of other facilities, including a spa.

32

Cotswold Archery, Batsford Arboretum GL56 9AD

Deep in the Cotswolds, at Batsford Arboretum, near Moreton-in-Marsh, you’ll find this dedicated archery range. There is a wide choice of bows to use and expert tutors are always on hand.

33

Daylesford Cookery School, near Kingham GL56 0YG

This is a must for anyone with a passion for real food. At Daylesford, south of Moreton-in-Marsh, you’ll find an excellent choice – from classic courses such as quick and simple suppers and seasonal dinner parties to something niche and specialized – for example, nose-to-tail butchery and artisan bread making.

Shopping

19

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.

21

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.

22

Vintage & Paint, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AQ

Nice interiors shop selling furniture, kitchenware, lighting, objet d'art and collectables They also sell Annie Sloan paint so you can have a go at creating this ‘look’ yourself.

23

Maybury, 4 Market Street, Woodstock OX20 1SX

Expect beautiful bedcovers, cushions and jackets and discover a striking collection of colourful furniture covered in vintage textiles and an assortment of rare and authentic rugs at this eclectic emporium in Woodstock, characterised by the irresistible, heady atmosphere of India and Central Asia.

24

Rosie B Home & Interiors, Horsefair, Chipping Norton OX7 5AL

All the items in this eclectic shop are personally sourced and chosen by Rosie herself. Situated in Horsefair in Chipping Norton, it’s a good place to get ideas and buy special gifts; you’ll find vintage and antique pieces for the home, mirrors, kitchenalia, glass and ceramics.

25

Iona House Gallery, 4 High Street, Woodstock OX20 1TF

Founded in 2002, this highly respected Woodstock-based art gallery exhibits paintings, sculpture, ceramics, glass, craft and jewellery from established artists and burgeoning talents. More than 100 English, Scottish and Russian artists are represented.

26

All Dressed Up, 8 Middle Row, Chipping Norton OX7 5NH

A children's boutique with its own brand of clothing, designed by its award-winning owner, Julia Cook. There's a wide selection of other labels, too, such as Hatley, Frugi and Toby Tiger. This is a treasure trove for children up to the age of eight.

27

Teddy Bears of Witney, 99 High Street, Witney OX28 6HY

If you love teddy bears, a visit to this charming shop is a must. Established in 1985, Teddy Bears of Witney has the finest and most collectable teddy bears in the world. On permanent display, among other familiar old friends, is Aloysius, featured in the 1980s television series, Brideshead Revisited.

28

Aston Pottery, Aston, Witney OX18 2BT

Expect a varied choice of hand-stenciled pottery at Aston, near Witney - all of it manufactured and decorated on the premises. This is just the place to browse and buy, and there's a good and popular cafe, too.

30

The Old Pill Factory, 53 High Street, Witney OX28 6JA

Spread over two floors, the Old Pill Factory in Witney is the place to visit for furniture, glass, toys, clothes and garden pieces. You’ll find a group of dedicated antiques experts who are passionate about antiques and vintage homeware.

31

Tickitty Boo, 6 Middle Row, Chipping Norton OX7 5NH

A children’s boutique with its own brand of clothing, designed by its award-winning owner, Julia Cook. There’s a wide selection of other labels, too, such as Hatley, Frugi and Toby Tiger. This is a treasure trove for children up to the age of eight.

Places to visit

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

Rollright Stones, Chipping Norton OX7 5QB

An unusual circle of 77 heavily weathered, closely-set slabs of local Neolithic limestone, known as the King's Men, traditionally a monarch and his courtiers petrified by a witch. The Rollright Stones also include the Whispering Knights burial chamber, and single King Stone, which is on the other side of the road. They span nearly 2,000 years of Neolithic and Bronze Age development.

11

Chedworth Roman Villa, Yanworth GL54 3LJ

Situated in a secluded part of the Coln valley, the Roman villa at Chedworth dates from around AD 120 and is open daily from mid-February to the end of November and was originally believed to have been a farmhouse.

12

Rousham House & Garden, Rousham OX25 4QU

With the pretty River Cherwell flowing through the grounds, Rousham is one of Oxfordshire's loveliest mansions. Dating back to 1635, the house was remodelled over 100 years later and there is more than a hint of the Italianate about the garden with its cascades and ponds, groves, the Temple of Echo and the seven-arched portico known as Praeneste. A peaceful stroll along the tree-shaded Long Walk is a must.

13

The Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock OX20 1SN

Based in Woodstock, the Oxfordshire Museum celebrates the delights of this varied county by focusing on local history, art, archaeology and landscape. There are events and activities for children and adults, four galleries of changing exhibitions and attractive gardens to explore.

14

Sezincote, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 9AW

The distinctive dome of Sezincote is reputed to have provided the Prince Regent with the inspiration for Brighton Pavilion. Begun in 1805, the house was built by Sir Charles Cockerell, who made his fortune through the East India Company.

15

Minster Lovell Hall, Minster Lovell OX29 0RR

Shrouded in mystery and with a haunting, tangible air of the distant past, the romantic ruins of Minster Lovell Hall stand on the banks of the River Windrush. The village of Minster Lovell captures the essence of sublime Cotswolds' architecture.

16

Cogges Manor Farm, Witney OX28 3LA

Cogges Manor consists of a 13th-century house and 17th-century farm buildings. These days it's a popular heritage centre with a strong emphasis on horticulture, rural crafts and family-friendly entertainment. It's also just the place to help understand the origins of early rural life and put the past into perspective.

17

North Leigh Roman Villa, Witney OX29 6QE

This English Heritage site at North Leigh, near Witney, consists of a large, well-constructed Roman courtyard villa with a historically important, near complete mosaic floor, which can be seen through a viewing window.

18

Bampton OX18 2NE

Located on the edge of the Cotswolds, Bampton is a bustling village with many fine buildings and a good range of amenities, including the West Ox Arts Gallery, based in the town hall. Renowned for its Morris Dancing traditions, Bampton is also regularly used for village scenes in the hugely popular television drama Downton Abbey.

Walking

www.walkinginoxfordshire.co.uk
www.oxfordshirecotswolds.org
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.cycle-route.com
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.oxfordshirecotswolds.org
www.chippingnortontheatre.com
www.cogges.org.uk
Look out for a great many festivals, special events, sporting fixtures and cultural evenings in the Cotswolds region. Cogges Manor Farm (see places to visit) hosts traditional festivals and theatrical performances, while Chipping Norton’s theatre boasts an eclectic programme of live theatre, music, dance and comedy, culminating in the renowned annual pantomime. Among other annual events are the Blenheim Horse Trials and Stroud Food Festival in September and the Cheltenham Literary Festival in October.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Charlbury is signposted off A44 at Enstone between Woodstock and Chipping Norton

By Rail: Charlbury railway station (Paddington line) is situated just outside the village and is walking distance from the Bull Inn

Address:

Sheep St, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3RR

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