Rupert Parker drops in for a pint and more at this welcoming 16th Century Cotswolds pub
Close to the historic market town of Stow-on-the-Wold, in the beautiful village of Upper Oddington, the dog friendly Horse & Groom is the archetypal country pub. Expect stone flags on the floor, a roaring wood fire and plenty of locals. Both the beer and the food here are excellent and there’s also a select wine list. Don’t expect anything fancy but the rooms are cosy and comfortable and you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
The Cotswolds is one of the most popular destinations in the English countryside. Imagine gentle farmland, soft rolling hills, villages with yellow stone houses and soaring churches, immersed in peace and quiet. Yet it can appear appalling twee, stuffed with Range Rovers and green wellies. Fortunately the Horse & Groom brings you back down to earth.
This is the oldest working inn in the Cotswolds, established in 1584, with excellent local ales on tap, a draw for locals and visitors alike. There are just seven rooms with five above the pub and two in a cottage ten yards away. All have en-suite bathrooms, TV & DAB radio, Nespresso coffee machine and tea making facilities, plus iron and ironing board.
We stayed in Room 1, all textured rugs and snug throws, with pristine linens, covering a very comfortable bed. A welcome basket was provided containing bottles of water, crisps, snacks and biscuits. There were posh cosmetics in the bathroom and a USB charging adaptor was provided. Even though the room was above the bar, it was completely silent at night.
Food is of gastropub quality, sourced locally where possible and a map on the menu shows you where the suppliers are. Stalwarts such as Liver and Bacon and Slow Cooked Belly Pork share the bill with Asian influenced starters. Of course there’s a substantial roast on offer on Sundays. Breakfasts are copious so don’t miss out on a Full English.
There’s a separate lounge for hotel guests and, as well as the main bar, there’s also a cosy “Snug” adjacent. Wi-Fi is free throughout, there’s ample parking and plenty of tables outside to take in the country air.
The whole Inn is dog-friendly, and three guest rooms are designated for dogs and their owners. Indeed dogs are usually greeted first, and complimentary dog beds, biscuits and blankets are supplied. The large beer garden is completely enclosed and has its own stream, a real attraction for four legged visitors.
The Horse & Groom proves that historic doesn’t mean basic. Rooms and facilities are bang up to date yet you still can dream you’re back in the 16th century as you soak up the atmosphere in the bar. It makes a perfect base to explore this wonderful English landscape on foot and maps and guides are provided. And of course other pubs are available for a refreshing pint on your ramble.
Close by is the market town of Stow-on-the-Wold. And it’s an easy 20 mile drive to Shakespeare’s Stratford on Avon or the racecourse at Cheltenham. In fact the whole of the West Country is on your doorstep – further afield is the Georgian Spa town of Bath and the prehistoric stone circle of Stonehenge.
Room rates in June at the Horse & Groom Village Inn start from £119 per night for a Standard Double room, or from £129 per night for a Dog-Friendly Double or Twin room.
The Inn is a short taxi ride from Kingham station, on the direct line from London Paddington.
The Horse & Groom Inn
Moreton in Marsh