With picturesque surroundings and excellent food and drink, discover the perfect Cotswolds getaway at the Plough Inn in Cold Aston.
When the weather is awful, what could be nicer than cosying up in a little country pub with a roaring fire, excellent food and a friendly atmosphere?
I was recently invited to visit the the Plough Inn in the heart of the Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty.
It proved to be the perfect way to escape the horrible stormy weather that we had in February.
But whatever the weather, the Plough Inn is the ideal location for your next Cotswolds getaway. Read on to find out why…
How to get to the Plough Inn, Cold Aston
Realistically, you’ll probably need to travel by car if you plan to stay at the Plough Inn. The nearest train station is Cheltenham Spa, and you would need to take a 25 minute taxi or several buses to reach Cold Aston.
But assuming that you are travelling by car, you’ll find the Plough Inn fairly easy to reach. The village is a short drive from the A40 and the A429 Fosse Way, and around 45 minutes from Oxford.
Once you leave the major A roads, your route takes you down some smaller country roads. These get quite narrow at times, so do take care if you’re not used to driving in the country.
You’ll find free parking for residents behind the pub, and walking through this door leads you into the cosy Plough Inn.
Take a look around the Plough Inn
If you’ve ever asked to imagine a typical English country pub, chances are that you’ll picture something very much like the Plough Inn.
It dates back to the 17th century, but has undergone quite a renovation in the last few years. The pub actually closed down at one point, and when it was sold to new owners, they added an extension to the side of the building.
Two years ago, Thomas and Josie Hughes bought the Plough Inn and moved in with their two young children. Their passion for good food, good drink and the perfect welcoming ambience really shines through.
One half of the inn is made up of the original 17th century building, which is now Grade 2 listed. Here you’ll find the low ceilings, exposed beams and flagstone floor that are typical in a building of this age.
The extension is very much in keeping with the character of the building, but it makes the pub more spacious with a lighter, airier feel.
The tables are set in a simple style, and I loved the springs of willow and eucalyptus adorning each table.
And when we arrived, there was a fire roaring in the fireplace. With the winds of Storm Dennis still raging outside, it was nice to sit here awhile and warm up!
I arrived in Cold Aston just after noon and the room wasn’t quite ready. So I decided to settle down in the Inn to have some lunch and catch up on some work.
The Plough Inn’s website says that they aim to create exceptional classic pub food as well as producing premium dishes. We would be exploring the full menu later that day, so tried out the sandwiches at lunchtime.
The classic BLT was filled with excellent quality bacon, while the rare roast beef sandwich was filled with slices of tender, rare roast beef which melted in the mouth and a generous spread of horseradish with a real kick!
They both came on a delicious crusty roll, with crisp skin-on fries and a well-dressed salad alongside.
After our sandwiches and a couple of glasses of wine, we settled down for the afternoon. The pub was fairly busy with a lively atmosphere, it’s clearly a popular place to be!
A Cosy Room at the Plough Inn
Mid-way through the afternoon, we decided to head through to settle into our room. You have to go back outside from the pub and use a different entrance to reach the accommodation.
That door takes you into a separate part of the original building. It’s complete with narrow stairs, exposed beams and low doorways – mind your head!
Each of the three rooms is named after local villages, so we would be staying in the Notgrove room.
Once inside, it was every bit as cosy and full of character as I had hoped. The exposed beams and low, small window give the room a historic feel.
And Classic FM was playing softly on the bedside DAB radio.
Josie Hughes takes charge of the hospitality side of of the business at the Plough Inn. And I love the way she’s incorporated the Inn’s period features into the design.
Each room has a comfortable double bed with crisp bedlinen, plump feather pillows and fluffy towels as standard.
As well as the DAB radio, there was a flat screen TV. The WiFi doesn’t work so well in the old part of the building, although it was fine in the new extension. We just took it as an opportunity for a mini digital detox, which made the stay more relaxing.
A bottle of Blenheim Palace mineral water stood on each bedside table, and there was a well stocked hospitality tray include pods for the coffee machine.
I love the turquoise coffee cups, which are part of the service in use throughout the Plough Inn.
The ensuite bathroom has a fresh, classic look with a shower over the bath and plenty of soft, fluffy towels.
The complimentary toiletries provided are from the 100 Acres range. These products are hand-blended in small batches using botanicals and essential oils, organic wherever possible.
The larger bottles provided are more environmentally friendly than the smaller individual bottles that you often find in hotel. This is another example of the thought and care that Thomas and Josie Hughes bring to the Plough Inn.
Altogether, the room feels very peaceful and relaxing. It was wonderful to disconnect from the outside work and social media. The Plough Inn is the perfect place to get away from it all.
My stay at the Plough Inn was complimentary, but the room would usually have cost around £129 including breakfast. Rooms start from £80 depending on when you want to stay.
After relaxing in the cosy room for a while, we headed back into the Plough Inn and enjoyed a delicious meal.
Breakfast at the Plough Inn
After a wonderful night’s sleep in the snug bedroom, I woke up to see that the sun was finally shining. Breakfast at the Plough inn starts at 8.30am at the weekend, so you can have a lovely relaxed start to your day.
The fire had already been lit in the fireplace, giving the pub a very warm and welcoming feeling. Breakfast was served through in the newer part of the Inn, and sunlight streamed in through the large windows.
Home-made granola and fresh orange juice were set out already, together with milk, water and a selection of jams. Other fruit juices were also available on request.
I ordered an Americano – the coffee at the Plough Inn is really very good, and I was soon asking for a refill.
The only cooked option in the morning is a traditional Full English breakfast, but you can select the various items to suit your preferences.
But just look at what a delicious plateful it is!
Full flavoured bacon, thick meaty sausages, and perfectly cooked eggs form the basis of this excellent breakfast. Even the bread used for the toast was amazing.
It really shows the care and attention that Thomas Hughes takes over every aspect of the food and drink at the Plough Inn. He can be justifiably proud of the standard of service they provide.
After breakfast, you can spend some time relaxing in the Inn, maybe enjoy another cup of coffee by the fire with the papers.
Unfortunately my busy schedule meant that I had to leave our cosy room and head back up the motorway to Shropshire. But I certainly felt incredibly relaxed after a stay in this gorgeous country inn.
Things to do near the Plough Inn
Cold Aston itself is a very small village, and there isn’t much else to do there apart from walking. But there’s plenty of opportunity for that, because the area surrounding the Plough Inn is utterly beautiful.
And what could be better than coming in from a day of walking to settle down with a drink in front of a roaring fire? Except perhaps settling down outside with a cold drink on a summer’s evening…
If you love exploring stately homes, Blenheim Palace is around a 40 minute drive away, with its park and formal gardens. It sits on the edge of the town of Woodstock, which has some lovely antique shops.
And if you enjoy hunting for antiques, the Antiques Centre at Burford is well worth a visit. It’ll take around 20 minutes to drive there.
If you’re planning to spend time exploring the Cotswolds, then the Plough Inn is an ideal base for this. It’s within a 10 minute drive of pretty towns and villages like Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water and Upper Slaughter.
You’re also fairly close to Oxford (1 hour) and Bath (1 hour 15 mins), if you fancy getting out of the countryside for a day.
The Plough Inn: My Verdict
From the outside, the Plough Inn looks like the epitome of a traditional English country pub. And this impression continues once you step inside, with a roaring fire, low ceilings and exposed beams.
The excellent service from the staff and the friendly atmosphere make the Plough Inn feel incredibly welcoming. It’s the sort of pub that makes you wish it was your own local!
And then stay a little longer and you realise that this is more than just a great pub.
The fabulous quality of the food and drink, together with the high quality of the accommodation, makes the Plough Inn pretty much a perfect Cotswolds getaway.
The Plough Inn
Chapel Lane, Cold Aston, Gloucestershire, GL54 3BN