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24 Hours in the Cotswolds

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

The Great British Food team

Jun 17, 2024
12 minutes to read

Quintessentially English countryside with a sprinkling of chocolate box cottages are the hallmarks of the Cotswolds. It’s a classic food-lovers destination for fans of British cuisine, and rightly so. Personally, I’d had little experience of the area, and drove there with images of the film The Holiday in my mind – and I’m pleased to report that the scenery didn’t disappoint! More importantly, nor did the food. The region absolutely lived up to its reputation for fine produce, myriad of elegant dining options and chic accommodation.

All fired up

My first stop was Upton Smokery farm shop in Burford. Located just off the A40, it was a handy location as I’d been driving for nearly three hours and my stomach was telling me it’s lunchtime. What a treat it was to stop here. Firstly, the aroma drifting from the smokery is mouth-watering. Once inside, it’s smoked meats, fish, biltong galore – along with seasonings, cheeses, freshly baked breads, fresh produce and more. It was like being a kid in a sweet shop. No soggy service station fare for me, thank you very much! A most fabulous introduction to my Cotswolds journey, and a taste of what was to come. You can order their products at too.

Feast for the eyes

From there, we made the quick journey to Bibury’s famous Trout Farm ( Yet, having just filled our boots with smoked salmon and various meats, we didn’t eat here. But we enjoyed talking a stroll around the village, which is possibly the prettiest I’ve ever seen. Turns out William Morris and I have something in common, as he is quoted for describing Bibury as, “The most beautiful village in England.” It really is like something out of a storybook, so I can see why it’s a popular tourist spot.

The best root

Enroute to the hotel, we made a quick stop at Roots + Seeds Deli in Cirencester ( My dinner reservation was to be at the partnering restaurant that evening and I wanted to check out the area.

Situated in The Old Kennels in the heart of Cirencester Park, the Roots + Seeds Kitchen Garden is a sustainable, home-grown and locally sourced dining hub complete with courtyard dining spaces and a children’s play area, as well as the kitchen garden framed by beautiful rolling green hills.

The deli is another absolute gem of a place, chock full of local gastronomic delights, from fresh bakes, meats and cheeses to dressings, chutneys and drinks. I couldn’t resist some snacks, and picked up a lovely piece of artwork from the adjoining shop. Suffice to say I was already looking forward to dinner!

Laid back luxe

Accommodation for the night was at Ingleside House ( in Cirencester, a boutique hotel with just 11 bedrooms and sitting close to the River Churn on the edge of town, Ingleside is a peaceful retreat that feels both luxe and homely. The interiors are stunning, with striking wallpaper and dark, rich hues plus original features a plenty – the building dates back to the 18th century.

By the reception on the ground floor is the Garden Room, a residents’ lounge adorned in a bold green and pink mix. Further down the hall is the main bar and Teatro restaurant.

Small plate sensations

My evening meal was at the aforementioned Roots + Seeds Kitchen Garden restaurant. Here, the bright, airy interiors have a pleasingly laid-back, classy Scandi feel. I enjoyed one of the best spicy margaritas I’ve ever had while perusing the wonderful small plates menu, which is served every Saturday night.

Following the apéritif, I devoured a large selection of the small plates. Highlights include ham and cheese croquettes with garlic mayo; melt in the mouth meatballs stroganoff; squid ink risotto with the perfect consistency and just enough bite; and caramelised garlic, spinach and ricotta gnocchi – the freshest, most wonderful marriage of ingredients.

Plus, the crisp battered haddock with pea puree (a classic match made in heaven) was a delight. And a less traditionally British dish I adored was scorched and pureed cauliflower with raisins and tempura capers – an absolute masterpiece. Capers are now my new favourite thing – salty, crispy little flavour bombs I want to eat with everything.

Let’s not forget the elegant Verum Pinot Noir I savoured throughout the meal. Amazingly, I still had space for dessert, which was a hearty brioche bread and butter pudding with berry compote and vanilla ice cream. Delicious!

That’s entertainment

After our evening meal we returned to the hotel to enjoy a nightcap. We’re so glad we did as, in the piano room we were treated to an atmospheric live performance from a local duo – a regular Saturday night fixture here – whilst sipping a crisp cocktail or two. Pleasingly, the bar menu featured plenty of local suppliers, such as handcrafted gins from Cotswold Distillery.

The next morning, after an indulgent lie-in – the bed here was extraordinarily comfortable – breakfast was served in the hotel’s Teatro restaurant (@teatrociren). Lots of classic British fare on offer, from a full English to a bacon, sausage and egg sarnie, as well as favourites such as shakshuka, French toast and avocado on sourdough (my choice - delicious) and more.

If breakfast was anything to go by, the Sunday roasts served here are epic. Sadly we were too full from brunch to sample roasts and my 24 hours in the Cotswolds was drawing to a close. So, suitably satisfied, we decided to take a quick walk into Cirencester to explore. The streets boast countless delightful foodie stores, such as Lynwood & Co Bakery, Jesse Smith Butchers and the Corn Hall Deli, where we happily perused the fine local produce, from cheese and charcuterie to various bakes, chutneys are more. Of course I wanted everything, but managed to restrain myself to some brownies and cookies to munch on during the journey home. I will definitely be back!

Book in

To find out more about Roots + Seeds Kitchen Garden and book a meal at the restaurant visit or follow on Instagram @rootsandseedskitchengarden for the latest updates. Book a room at Ingleside House via or follow at @inglesideciren

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