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Overview

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.

Rooms from

Doubles/twin: £100

Good to know

  • All credit cards taken
  • Disabled access
  • Alfresco & private dining
  • Small car park; free street parking
  • Dog stay £15

Family favourite

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).

Dog-friendly

You can bring your pooch into the bar (jar of treat bones) and five rooms are dog friendly with a small charge (£15).

Alfresco

The smart rear gravel terrace is the place to be on sunny days, where you'll find chunky sleeper benches and tables, 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.

Rooms

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.

Restaurant & bar

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.

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. 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.

Things to do

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.

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. The Winston Churchill Memorial Garden and Footsteps Trail takes 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.

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.

Getting here

Directions

Nearest train station: Charlbury

Taxi from station: 3min (walking distance from inn)

Drive: Woodstock 12min; Chipping Norton 13min; Oxford 36min

Address

Sheep Street, Charlbury, Oxfordshire OX7 3RR

Enquire to book

To make a booking, please use the form below or you can call our reservations team on 020 8161 0100. Our phone lines are open Monday - Friday, 9am - 5.30pm.

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