The trail-blazing Cotswold 'gastropub' back in 2001, the
300-year-old Bell continues to wow walkers, drinkers and diners
under the guidance of top publican and foodie Peter
Built of mellow Cotswold stone and set in an idyllic hillside
village close to Cirencester Park, the Bell is civilised in every
way, attracting discerning folk from miles around for innovative
pub food served throughout three cosy dining areas, where exposed
stone walls, polished flagstones, bare boards, open log fires and
individual tables and chairs set the informal style.
Added touches include tasteful wine prints, daily newspapers to
peruse, fresh flowers and the eye-catching 'wine wall', a
self-serve wine shop showcasing dozens of Peter's carefully sourced
wines to take away or drink in. There's a secluded
Mediterranean-style courtyard and garden dining room with rusitic
furnishings, bar and pizza overn at the rear, and a landscaped
front garden for summer drinking and dining, the latter replete
with horse-tethering rail. Three charming rooms added in 2021
complete the bucolic picture.
2 doubles £150; family suite £250
Good to know
Major credit cards accepted (not Amex)
Disabled access (not rooms)
Alfresco & private dining
Parking available (Horses too!)
Dogs welcome overnight
The village is famous for its connection with the Cotswold Arts
and Crafts movement. Many of the buildings were built or rebuilt
under the patronage of the Bathurst family in the Cotswold Arts
& Crafts style. Picturesque St Kenelm's Church is well worth
viewing for the setting and historical interest.
For a fabulous local walk, look no further than walking to
Cirencester from the Bell (4 miles) - much of the route passes
through Cirencester Park (open 8am-5pm) and you can return by
Adding rooms upstairs in 2021 was the icing on the cake
for Peter Austen and The Bell - one of best foodie pubs in the
Cotswolds is now a cracking country inn in a glorious village
Having sound-proofed the floors to ensure a cosy and restful
stay, Peter completed two spacious suites in the summer, one a
king-sized double room, the other an inspired two-bedroomed suite
(twin & double), perfect for a family or friends travelling
together. Summer 2022 saw the completion of a third luxury suite on
the first floor with an vaulted ceiling into the loft space.
Designed to be flexible spaces for Cotswolds travellers, all
have a unique mini-kitchen replete with fridge, microwave, toaster,
kettle and space to store food, allowing guests to be
self-contained and independent, should they wish, for breakfast or
other meals, which is ideal for a young family staying overnight. A
relaxed cooked breakfast is served downstairs in the dining room
between 9am and 10am.
Expect calming heritage colours, large wooden or brass beds,
table and chairs, Smart TV, Roberts radio, cafetiere coffee, teas
and fresh milk, and contemporary bathrooms with bathrobes, organic
Bramley toiletries, and walk-in showers. Front rooms enjoy serene
views across the garden and village.
Restaurant & bar
Use of top-notch local produce is key to the popularity
of the monthly menu that evolves with the seasons and includes
homemade bread and beef from the Cirencester Park herd of
From a typical December menu, follow chicken and duck liver
parfait, toasted brioche and Madeira onions, or Serrano ham with
pickles and rocket, with roast breast of pheasant with braised leg,
cauliflower puree and sauce Forestiere, or cider-battered haddock
and chips with tartare sauce. Regular favourites include double
cheeseburger, bacon and chips, and local Longhorn sirloin steak
with pepper sauce. Leave room for the likes of parkin cake, rhubarb
ripple ice cream and cider syrup. Book for Sunday lunch - leg of
Cotswolds lamb, roast potatoes, Gloucestershire pudding, curly
kale, braised carrots, and cauliflower cheese.
Walkers calling in for a late afternoon snack can tuck into a
handmade pizza from the wood oven (5pm-7pm), best washed down by a
pint of local ale, perhaps Uley Old Spot or Wickwar Cotswold Way.
The wine list has 24 by the glass and is strong on single-supplier
Private dining is available in the Garden Room (maximum 14
guests) and the Courtyard has its own bar and pizza oven and is
ideal for larger events (maximum 50-60 guests).
Things to do
Cirencester is the
most historic of the Cotswold market towns and comes with an
outstanding church and town houses dating from the 15th century
onwards. From the extensive park (good gentle walking) on the west
side of the town, there is a classic view of the church and town
from Broad Ride.
Near Stroud, Owlpen Manor is a
romantic Tudor manor house set in a picturesque valley and
surrounded by formal terraced gardens dominated by magnificent yew
trees dating from the 17th-century.
The Cotswold region
is synonymous with walking. Criss-crossing these magnificent hills
are numerous footpaths, bridleways and byways. Some are linked to
form long-distance trails offering the walker breathtaking views -
the Macmillan Way, the Cotswold Way and the Monarch's Way are prime
examples. The region also offer an impressive choice of off-road
cycle routes, taking cyclists to the heart of the region via some
of the country's prettiest countryside.
In the heart of the beautiful Slad Valley, the timeless 16th
century Woolpack is
one of the most iconic Cotswold pubs and has long-enjoyed its
association with Cider With Rosie author Laurie Lee, who was a
regular here and is buried in the churchyard opposite. The pub is
still packed with Lee memorabilia but the excellent food and local
ales are reason enough to pop in.