15 beautiful riverside pubs to visit in the Cotswolds

Picture supplied by 'Old Swan and Minster Mill'

Picture supplied by 'Old Swan and Minster Mill' - Credit: Archant

There can’t be many better places to enjoy dinner and drinks than in a stunning riverside setting in the Cotswold countryside. From a position on the banks of the River Thames to the River Churn, here are some of the best riverside pubs that the region has to offer…

Coronavirus statement: Please check ahead if you’re planning to visit a pub as there may be limited menus or restrictions on indoor areas. Please respect the establishment’s rules. Some of these pubs are not open yet and are marked as such.

The Riverside

The Riverside Park End Wharf, Lechlade GL7 3AQ

Set in one of the most picturesque sites along the River Thames, the Riverside is an ideal pub for settling down with a beer on a warm summer’s evening. Find a spot in the beer garden located right on the river bank, and enjoy spectacular views of the historic Ha’penny Bridge before staying overnight in one of the many comfortable rooms.

Enjoy food from the extensive menu in either the inside dining area or out on the patio, with a BBQ available during the summer months. The Riverside is also ideally located, with easy access to nearby attractions and towns such as Swindon and Cirencester.

The Inn at Fossebridge

GL54 3JS

With its rolling gardens reaching down to the banks of the River Coln, the Inn at Fossebridge will offer you an idyllic retreat from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you will not be disappointed with the spectacular location of this quintessential Cotswold pub.

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The menu offering home-cooked food is enough to get mouths watering, and you can enjoy it in the four acres of land that this pub is home to.

The Fox Inn

Great Barrington, Burford OX18 4TB

For a traditional riverside pub, The Fox Inn ticks all the boxes. Its spectacular location, nestled next to the banks of the River Windrush, provides the perfect setting for enjoying the locally sourced cuisine and the views across to the ancient meadow make this a place that you won’t want to leave.

Food comes with an Asian twist to many of the dishes making this pub that little bit different and don’t miss the recently opened street food noodle bar. Kick back and relax in the picturesque beer garden, before heading off to explore the pretty village of Bibury.

Duke of Wellington

Sherborne St, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham GL54 2BY

The Duke of Wellington could not be set in a better location, as it lies right in the heart of the must-visit village, Bourton-on-the-Water. Choose from an extensive menu brimming with homemade fare sat in the garden next to the tranquil babble of the River Windrush.

There is also a fantastic children’s menu, and on Sundays you can indulge in a full carvery. In its pretty setting surrounded by water, it is easy to see why Bourton is fondly referred to as the Venice of the Cotswolds.

The Swan Hotel

Bibury, nr Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5NW

Located on the stunning banks of the River Coln, this former Cotswold coaching inn offers the perfect spot for enjoying traditional pub food in glorious surroundings. The Swan Hotel’s menus are seasonal; offering a plethora of tasty fare from Bibury trout caught in the local river to pork belly.

For a quintessentially English experience, you can even have a spot of afternoon tea on the banks of the river, before spending the night in one of the luxurious rooms.

The Red Lion

Wainlode Ln, Gloucester GL2 9LW

A popular stop off point since the mid 1800s, The Red Lion is steeped in history. With its location on one of the most beautiful stretches of the River Severn and with a menu boasting a selection of locally reared meats, this pub is the perfect venue for enjoying a leisurely lunch.

Sit outside and admire beautiful views out across the river, or find a seat inside next to the log burning fire, where you can curl up and watch the world go by.

The Trout at Tadpole Bridge

Buckland Rd, Buckland Marsh, Faringdon SN7 8RF

In keeping with its name, The Trout Inn makes the most of its riverside location through its menu offering a fantastic selection of locally sourced fish alongside seasonal game. Take in the spectacular views whilst sampling the fish of the day, before settling down for the night in one of their cosy rooms.

With the River Thames flowing by just outside the front door, there’s even the choice to arrive by boat and moor up outside! Be sure to explore the local area whilst you’re there, with attractions such as Blenheim Palace close by.

The Swan Inn

Swinbrook, Burford OX18 4DY

If you’re seeking a traditional Cotswold Pub in a stunning setting, look no further than the Swan Inn. Enjoy a pint of local beer from the Cotswold Brewing Company on the scenic banks of the River Windrush, before heading off to pay a visit to the nearby Burford.

The local theme continues into the restaurant with the beef being sourced from the University Farm in Bledington, whilst the pork, lamb and poultry also come from the area. Complete your visit with a stay in the pub’s picture-perfect Riverside Cottage, with views that won’t disappoint.

The Bathurst Arms (not yet open)

North Cerney, Cirencester GL7 7BZ

Positioned on the beautiful banks of the River Churn and just a few miles north of Cirencester, The Bathurst Arms is a fantastic place to spend a sunny day. Enjoy dinner sat in the pretty beer gardens as the river meanders past, creating an atmosphere of calm and relaxation.

Afterwards, embark on one of the many scenic local walks from which you can admire views of historic sites such as the 12th century All Saints Church and the spectacular Rendcomb College. You can then choose to stay in one of the pub’s spacious rooms which look out over the gardens - the perfect end to a glorious day in the Cotswolds.

The Egypt Mill Hotel and Restaurant

Stroud Rd, Nailsworth GL6 0AE

A sympathetically restored 16th century corn mill, the Egypt Mill Hotel and Restaurant offers guests a wonderful dining experience in the beautiful Cotswold village of Nailsworth. With its positioning on the banks of the River Frome and its setting against stunning countryside, you will struggle to find a better place to spend a summer’s day.

The tranquil gardens backing on to the water create a space for relaxation, and the eccentric-styled restaurant has a menu offering delicious, expertly-crafted dishes. If you can’t bear to tear yourself away, stay in one of the 32 individually designed bedrooms that are on offer.

The Boat Inn

Ashleworth Quay, Gloucester GL19 4HZ

Sit on the riverside terrace and sample one of The Boat Inn’s ten real ales or twenty real ciders, and bring your four-legged friend along too since this pub prides itself on being dog friendly. With its positioning on the west bank of the River Severn, you can enjoy idyllic views in a pretty rural setting.

Even better, the pub serves filled sandwiches, burgers and basket meals, as well as a carvery on a Sunday. The Boat Inn has been nominated for ‘Best Cotswold Pub’ in the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards for the third year running.

The Fleet Inn (not yet open)

Fleet Ln, Twyning, Tewkesbury GL20 6FL

Just a short drive from Tewkesbury, The Fleet Inn is set amongst beautiful open space on the banks of the River Avon. Enjoy spectacular views from expansive gardens reaching down to the river, with plenty of places to sit and enjoy a summer’s evening with a pint.

The renowned chef’s specials are sure to satisfy hungry visitors, and the menu is wide ranging, from sharing boards to filling main courses. The bar is well-stocked with locally brewed Wadworth beers, and the interior is stylishly decorated to give a modern twist on a traditional design.

The Severn Bore Inn

Main Rd, Minsterworth, Gloucester GL2 8JX

As its name suggests, the Severn Bore Inn is set on the banks of the famous Severn Bore, a tidal area which is formed when surging waters force their way upstream. As a result, fantastic spectacles are created at certain points during the year, which can be enjoyed from the gardens of this nearby pub.

Stand on the river banks and watch the waves come crashing in as you enjoy homemade food and some drinks. The menu offers a fantastic range of traditional pub-grub including their special Surfer’s Breakfast.

The Old Boathouse (not yet open)

Lake 6, Spine Road East, South Cerney GL7 5FP

It may not technically be by a river, but for stunning water-side views The Old Boathouse will not disappoint. Located at the beautiful Cotswold Water Park, this is a pub that will provide you with a spectacular dining experience.

Enjoy a memorable evening sat on the decking with a glass of fizz whilst looking over the lakes and countryside that surround you. The menu is also enough to get stomachs rumbling and on Sundays, delicious roast dinners with all the trimmings are served.

Minster Mill

Minster Riding, Minster Lovell, Witney OX29 0RN

Although it is located just 15 miles from Oxford, this idyllic retreat will make it feel as though you are worlds away from the busy city. The Minster Mill is set in a luscious 65 acres of its own grounds, with the River Windrush flowing through the meadows and woodland areas.

The buildings feature an old English mill which makes for a quintessential rural setting while the sympathetically decorated interior gives a modern twist on the historical charm. The restaurant serves seasonal but simple food, including a classic afternoon tea which can be enjoyed in the beautiful grounds as the river ripples past.


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