Sleepover: Horse and Groom, Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire
Sunday 25 November 2001
Where is it?
Where is it?
In the middle of Upper Oddington, one of the nicest villages in the Cotswolds and a mile from the Chipping Norton/Stow road (A436).
What's it like?
There's been a pub here since the 16th century, but last year it was spruced up by new owners. So you still get the old beams and real fires, local stone floors etc associated with old English pubs, but you can also get a proper cappuccino (made from a proper cappuccino/ espresso machine).
What's its USP?
Fantastically friendly and efficient service, of the kind you hope to get from an "inn" but never do. All the staff are able to provide a definitive answer – there's no passing the buck. This makes it seem like a family affair, although it is not. And no music is played in the pub, although once a month or so there is a live band.
Bustling but also – thanks to the no-music policy – relaxing and fairly genteel. A bit like the pubs you see in television-land that don't actually exist.
See USP. Friendly but informal. My visit coincided with one of the most stressful weekends of the year but all my requests were met with calm helpfulness and nothing was too much trouble. Food was brought up to my room, they let me use their phone line to send emails and they found, saved and ultimately sent on by registered post my very precious notebook, which I'd left behind (they had no idea I was a journalist). I felt wonderfully looked after.
Seven bedrooms, all en-suite with showers, although one (room five) has a bath. Four of the rooms have double beds, three have twins. The rooms are pretty small but clean and cosy, with Irish linen quilts. All have televisions.
The menu is the opposite of those fancy "confit of this" and "jus of that" but it suffers for it – the food is actually much better than the descriptions would have you believe. The chef is French, although he cooks pretty traditional English stuff: rack of lamb, fillet steak etc. There are also bar snacks: ploughmans, pâtés and the like. Main meals cost about £8, bar food starts from £4. The restaurant seats 80.
A healthy mix of locals and "tourists", young and old. This being horsey country there are lots of jockeys and trainers, apparently.
Things to do?
Walk, mostly, and build up an appetite and a reason to sit by the fire and warm up again with a good brandy. Riding, clay-pigeon shooting and fishing can all be had locally. But really this is the ideal place to relax and do nothing.
Horse and Groom Village Inn, Stow on the Wold, Upper Oddington, Gloucestershire, GL56 OXH (01451 830584).
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
French air-traffic controllers strike Q&A: When is the strike and which travellers will be affected?
A380 celebrates first decade in flight - but how long will the Superjumbo's time in the sky last?
The most powerful passports in the world
French air-traffic strike: Planned industrial action called off
The 10 Best hiking boots
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...
£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...
£18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...
£Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...