Richard Craven's acclaimed restaurant offers bang up-to-date modern British seasonal food which relies on a small amount of local suppliers and gamekeepers who care about their produce. The restaurant may be small but it has gained rave reviews from national food critics.
The Bell Inn Langford, Oxfordshire, GL7 3LF
The personal touch
In late 2017, operations director Peter Creed and chef Tom Noest (ex Wheatsheaf at Northleach) stepped away from the Lucky Onion group to go it alone and set their stall up at this spruced up Cotswold stone pub in sleepy Langford. A bold decision for the confident duo, but little did they know that food critic Giles Coren would walk in for lunch on 31st December and score the Bell 10 out of 10, saying that ‘he had the best mouthful of his life at the Bell Inn’. Talk about hitting the ground running, the Bell has been rammed ever since with foodies keen to find out what all the fuss was about – exciting modern pub food cooked with style and real flair. Affable Peter and talented Tom have ridden the wave of enthusiasm and early success with suitable aplomb and this cracking new-wave pub with rooms is now firmly on the county’s culinary map. The pub is the star too – beautifully and sympathetically revamped in simple, country-rustic style as befits the 500-year-old building. There are blazing logs in ancient stone fireplaces, wonky low beams, rustic old pine tables on worn flagstones or wooden floors, vibrant modern art on striking blue and green painted walls, and jugs of flowers in tables and the bar. The unpretentious, stripped back look has been well received – it feels like being in a quintessential English village pub.
Families are very welcome and just like mum & dad they have great a menu of fresh food to choose from, which includes tomato and mozzarella pizza straight from the wood-fired oven, fish finger sandwich and chocolate and banana sundae.
This part of Oxfordshire is great walking country and the Thames Path is not too far away, so your canine friend is very welcome in the bar (treats behind the bar) and overnight (£10) in the ground floor rooms, where you’ll find a bed, treats and water bowl in the room on arrival
The Bell gets busy, so spill out onto the stone terrace on fine days, or head for the beer garden and bag a bench with views over open countryside.
The Bell Inn Langford, Oxfordshire, GL7 3LF
Do not disturb
The Bell Inn Langford, Oxfordshire, GL7 3LF
Mastering the menu
Time to Eat
Time at the bar
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Inn Location - The Bell Inn
An artisan small-batch producer of fine Cotswold Whisky and Gin, offering daily tours of the distillery, during which you can sample their products. They also have a well-stocked shop
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.
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.
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.
The Kingham Plough, Kingham OX7 6YD--foodtrail-----1.627725--51.91436
The Kings Head, Bledington OX7 6QX --foodtrail-----1.581119--51.89222
The Wheatsheaf at Northleach GL54 3EZ --foodtrail-----1.838614--51.83112
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.
Being in landlocked Gloucestershire is no excuse to miss out on the best and freshest fish and seafood and New Wave fishmongers stocks a fantastic selection sourced directly from Devon, Cornwall and Shetland. The shop also sells a range of local and seasonal produce, such as Cotswold game, Wye Valley asparagus, and wild mushrooms.
In the heart of Cirencester located in the former Roman Corn Hall building, this exceptional restaurant and deli attracts discerning foodies from all over the Cotswolds. Owner/chef Bob Parkinson previously worked under the great Simon Hopkinson at Bibendum restaurant in London and is regarded as one of the best chefs in the region.
Two miles from Cirencester on the B4425, this award-winning organic farm specialises in grass-fed beef, which is sold in the farm shop along with organic veg, local dairy products and much more. A daily-changing menu in the cafe includes lots of veggie options, with 'meat as a treat' Sunday lunches featuring beef from the farm.
If you've tasted the wonderful Dolcetti ice cream on the menu at The Wheatsheaf, why not pop into the factory's 'parlour', which serves 24 different flavours of gelato, sorbets and yoghurt ice cream, all handmade on the premises using milk from local pedigree Holstein cows.
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.
Chef Peter Robinson believes in nose to tail cooking and nothing goes to waste at his small, intimate restaurant in an old butcher’s shop. All dishes are lovingly made from scratch with flare and expertise – expect charcuterie, tapas and modern British cooking.
Boasting the finest Victorian tower brewery in the country, Hook Norton has an excellent visitor centre and runs fascinating tours (with tastings) Monday to Saturday.
1 Inn Location - The Bell Inn
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.
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.
West of Stow, this is the perfect destination for anyone who still savours the unique thrill of steam travel. Though no longer part of the national rail network, these wonderful old trains have made a welcome return to the tracks and are a great way to discover the delights of the Cotswolds.
If you enjoy a taste of adventure, the Cotswold Off-Road Driving School provides expert guidance from 4x4 competitors and instructors. Sample a day’s fun and excitement in a safe, controlled environment at the Cotswold Water Park, south of Cirencester.
Enjoy a great climbing experience at this excellent venue where you’ll find indoor climbing and bouldering for all ages and abilities. This really is the place to reach new heights.
Falcons, eagles, vultures and several other birds of prey swoop above you at the Cotswold Falconry Centre. You can even pose for pictures with an owl on your arm. The flying displays are especially memorable.
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.
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.
Established in 1985, the Christmas Shop in Lechlade is the oldest retailer in the UK specialising in all things festive. Open all year, this is the place to hunt out those elusive Christmas presents well ahead of the predictable December rush.
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.
Cards, unusual gifts and homewares, plus jewellery, prints and other bits and pieces.
Not exactly a museum, and not exactly a shop, Cotswold Woollen Weavers is a bit of both. The wealth of the Cotswolds came from wool, and you can learn about that here, and the processes that change wool to cloth. They proudly say they make 'useful and desirable things', and you can browse a selection of unusual items, from clothing to furniture.
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.
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.
The Applestore, just a short drive from Moreton-in-Marsh, is just the place for beautiful, shabby chic interiors. Before leaving, you’ll be filled with ideas and within the store you’ll find antiques, quirky ephemera, candlesticks, soft furnishings, a range of gifts and plenty more besides.
Among a host of prominent retailers in the historic town of Cirencester is the Jungle Boutique, offering a range of unique clothes and accessories. French, Spanish and Italian designer ranges,with an eclectic mix of striking jewellery and bags reflect the latest fashions and trends.
Well worth a visit, this independent, design-led, contemporary greetings cards and gift store was established by the residents of this charming old town at the heart of Oxfordshire.
Places to visit
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.
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.
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.
The motoring history of the 20th century is encapsulated in this collection of vintage cars, classic cars and motorcycles, caravans, original enamel signs and a fascinating collection of motoring curiosities.
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.
Established in 1971 by the father of BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, this popular farm park is home to over 50 rare breeds, many of which you can see if you take the 'safari' tour of the farm. Children can feed the chickens and pigs while grown-ups can listen to some of the talks about animal husbandry and general conservation.
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.
This beautiful house, built from lovely mellow golden stone, was the Cotswold retreat of William Morris and his family, friends and colleagues. Kelmscott is home to fascinating and important collections of textiles, furniture and paintings, spanning more than 300 years and reflecting the ideas and creative legacy of those who lived and worked here.
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.
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.
Chastleton House, Chastleton GL56 0SU
Chastleton House, near Chipping Norton, is a fine Jacobean mansion with a striking south front. Now managed by the National Trust, the interiors of the 17th-century house may be familiar to television viewers as the family home of the Seymours in the BBC drama Wolf Hall. The small stone courtyard doubles for Putney, where a young Cromwell is attacked by his father.
Although Buscot Park is a National Trust property, it's also the family home of Lord Faringdon, who looks after the property on the Trust's behalf. The Faringdon Collection, displayed in the house, includes pictures, furniture, ceramics and objets d'art.
This unique tower is the last major folly to be built in England. It stands on Folly Hill in four acres of charming circular woodland, with spectacular views over five counties. The tower was built in the 1930s by the eccentric Lord Berners - 'the great point of the tower is that it will be entirely useless'.
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.
This meticulously detailed model of the Vale of White Horse in Oxfordshire is a breathtaking spectacle. Everywhere you look there are quaint thatched cottages, olde-worlde pubs and exquisite churches. Pendon is where the English countryside comes to life under one roof.
There are now more than a thousand varieties of trees on display at Batsford. The colours are especially striking in spring and autumn. Expect to find cherries, azaleas and rhododendrons among the species.
A day out at this popular visitor attraction is always a memorable experience – not least for the 260 different species of animals to be found here. Covering 160 acres of parkland and garden, the Cotswold Wildlife Park represents the largest privately owned zoological collection in Britain. There’s also a narrow gauge railway.
Just like London, Oxford can hold your attention for days. There really is that much to see and do. A walk through the ancient streets of Matthew Arnold's 'city of dreaming spires' is surely the best and most effective way to see this world-famous seat of learning. As well as the 12th-century Carfax Tower, with its memorable views, and the Botanic Garden - a quiet backwater in the heart of Oxford - there's the chance to visit many of the University's 38 colleges and even explore the familiar haunts of Colin Dexter's legendary detective, Inspector Morse.
One of the best ways to discover the delights of the Cotswolds and upper Thames is on foot. There are numerous picturesque walks to be enjoyed here, as well as scenic stretches of the Thames Path, which follows the river from its source all the way to the Thames Barrier in London.
Two local landscapes, the upper Thames Valley and the Vale of White Horse, are perfect for cycling. Here, you’ll find plenty of quiet lanes and off-road routes. Not far away is the popular Oxfordshire Cycle Way. For something a bit different, try a combination of bike and train, using the lovely Cotswold line, which has a string of country stations from which to choose.
This is a part of the country where there is always something happening. There are many modest, small-scale occasions but there are also plenty of bigger events to draw the crowds, including the spectacular Fairford International Air Tattoo, held annually in July. Elsewhere, there’s the Chipping Norton Music Festival in March, the National Mills Weekend in May and the Charlbury Street Fair in September. Other fixtures throughout the year include traditional festivals and theatrical performances at Cogges Manor Farm, Witney, the Blenheim Horse Trials, Stroud Food Festival and the prestigious Cheltenham Literary Festival.
Location, Location, Location
By Road: Langford is signposted off A361 at Filkins between Burford and Lechlade. The Bell is in the heart of the village
By Rail: The nearest station is Swindon – 25 minutes by taxi
, Langford, Oxfordshire, GL7 3LF