The Plough Inn

Gloucestershire, Cotswolds & Chilterns, United Kingdom Book from

A Cotswolds pub with rooms offering great-value rural escapism, along with good food and a warm, relaxing atmosphere
Visiting Kelmscott is like stepping back in time. This tiny hamlet has little more than a handful of ancient cottages, a grade-I manor house (once home to William Morris), a pony or 2 keeping the paddocks tidy, and a local watering hole, The Plough Inn. Except The Plough is so much more than that. Not only is it a welcoming bar with a great selection of ales; it’s also an atmospheric restaurant where diners can unwind over everything from moules frites and Sunday roasts to peanut brittle chocolate cake. Even better, it’s not just villagers who enjoy this informal hideaway; thanks to 7 chic and cosy bedrooms, it’s a home-from-home for anyone who wants to stay.

We arrived on a sunny Friday evening to find the beer garden filled with end-of-week chatter, birds singing out from the trees and docile hounds ambling through the bar. It was the perfect antidote to the grey, bustling city centre from whence we’d came, and with each passing hour I felt my shoulders sink a little lower - surely the aim of every public house.

Highs

  • Early evening G&Ts in the sunny garden, which was filled with a happy mix of locals, out of towners, kids and couples
  • One of the most enchanting and peaceful countryside settings we’ve come across; Kelmscott is full of character and very relaxing
  • The décor feels simultaneously sympathetic yet fresh, and we couldn't help but collect ideas for our own home
  • An easy romantic weekender; bring bikes or go walking along the Thames path, then enjoy a wonderful dinner in the restaurant
  • Rates are very wallet-friendly, especially mid-week

Lows

  • No food served on Sunday and Monday nights, but other restaurants are just a short drive away
  • This is primarily a pub with rooms; in-room extras are limited (no tea or coffee) and service is focused around the bar
  • No baby cots or extra beds for kids; bring your own travel cot or book additional rooms for little'uns
  • Right out in the sticks; you'll need to drive here or take pricey taxis
  • Our mattress was very hard

Best time to go

This place holds an appeal all year round. Spring and summer are idyllic as the garden blooms and the sun shines, but the pub and restaurant are charming enough to keep visitors happy during the colder months, too.

Our top tips

Just off the garden, a second bar area (which keeps things ticking over on busy summer days) is available for parties and private events. We'd love to book all the Plough's rooms with a group of friends, and have our suppers out here.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Pub with rooms
  • 8
  • Restaurant + bar (closed Sun/Mon nights)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The 8 rooms are tucked upstairs above the bar and restaurant. Like every other 17th-century property in the UK, ceilings are low and footprints are compact, but these spaces have more charm in their little window seats than most houses have in their entire floorplans.

We stayed in Double Room 3 and deliberately rose early to start the day with a soak in its roll-top tub, taking in the pink springtime blossom outside the window. You also get garden views from the bedroom and quirky steps leading up to the bathroom.

The other Double Rooms are similarly endearing (though they have rainfall showers rather than tubs); earthy Farrow & Ball shades combine with bright ikat lampshades, painterly cushions, creamy subway tiles and REN products. Rooms 7 and 8 are the quietest, but 8 does overlook the car park. Rooms 1 and 6 are the largest (but 6 gets some noise from the cellar fan and lacks garden views). Room 4 can be a twin, and there is also a comfortable Single Room; useful if you're bringing a child.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Hairdryer
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

If you wanted to, you could eat and drink from dawn 'til dusk here. After a lazy breakfast and lunch, nibble on bar snacks in the garden (Kelmscott pigs in blankets, perhaps), washed down with a pint or 2 from the bar (craft ales, local ciders), then take dinner in the atmospheric candlelit restaurant.

The menu is a considerate mix of pub classics and more creative dishes. During our Friday-night supper, we were delighted by the crispy plaice fillet with a warm samphire, avocado and crab salad, but it was the genius smoked-haddock fishcakes that had us wanting seconds. Topped with a runny poached egg, wilted spinach and a punchy mustard hollandaise, it was both comforting and indulgent all at once. Add fries on the side (obviously), and you'll leave utterly sated. i-escape guests get a complimentary pudding so be sure to leave room for yours - the apple and apricot crumble with brown bread ice cream caught our eye.

In the morning, we ambled downstairs to fresh juices and warm buttery croissants with tangy raspberry jam. The accompanying cooked menu may seem minimal, but they’ll do any combo you like - I’d highly recommend the poached eggs with crispy smoked bacon.

On Monday evenings when the restaurant is closed, we recommend dining at sister property The Five Alls at Filkins, just a 10-minute drive away. It's also closed on Sunday night, but most people just have a hearty late roast lunch and graze on bar snacks later if needs be.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Kelmscott is a beautiful Cotswolds hamlet to spend a day or so in. Stroll along the lanes of honey-coloured cottages, and discover Grade I-listed Kelmscott Manor, the former home of William Morris (open Wednesdays and Saturdays). Return to the pub garden for lunch or an afternoon drink in the sun
  • Walking and cycling routes lead right from the door; in particular, there’s a lovely stretch of the Thames path just moments away
  • The pretty market town of Lechlade-on-Thames has a handful of independent shops and welcoming waterfront inns, plus it's a great base for boat trips along the river (10-minute drive)
  • Kids will love the animals at Cotswolds Wildlife Park, and running around in the manicured gardens (20-minute drive)
  • The team can point you in the direction of local stables, golf courses and clay-pigeon-shooting centres

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Clay pigeon shooting
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wildlife

Kids

This is a relaxed and welcoming pub with rooms, so the more the merrier, though you'll have to bring a travel cot or book additional rooms for older kids. The menu has lots of child-friendly favourites, there's a garden to run around in, and kids will love the Shetland ponies in a paddock along the lane.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Rooms 1 and 6 have space for a travel cot (bring your own). Older children could stay in the Single Room or Room 4, which can be made up with twin beds. Excluding Room 3, all rooms are shower only.

Baby equipment:

Highchairs on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

Baby cots are not provided, rooms are too small for extra beds, and noise from the bar can travel (especially at closing time).

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
9/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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Rates for The Plough Inn