a Michelin-starred bolthole overlooking a lush valley

a Michelin-starred bolthole overlooking a lush valley

    (The Feathered Nest Country Inn)

(The Feathered Nest Country Inn)

Picture Kate Winslet’s cottage in The Holiday and you won’t be far off – except this one is in the Cotswolds and comes with its own Michelin-starred fine dining country pub.

Well, technically the pub comes with the cottage, but it certainly feels like the other way around when you’re lucky enough to stay at The Cottage at the Feathered Nest, an award-winning restored inn with great food and views over the lush, green Evenlode Valley.

The cozy gourmet bolthole is located in the chocolate box village of Nether Westcote in the heart of the Cotswolds, not far from Lower Slaughter, the main village featured in the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Expect rabbits hopping across the track when you pull up, and the sound of sheep, geese and horse hooves when you wake up in the morning – hopefully after a lie-in, given how good the wine is on the six-course tasting menu.

There is a sunny terrace overlooking the garden and rolling hills to enjoy a pre-dinner drink (or dinner itself). Pick a summer evening and you could be in Tuscany, except it’s only a two-hour drive back to London afterwards.

From charmingly restored rooms to days out on the doorstep, here’s everything you need to know.

Where is it?

Slap bang in the middle of two of the Cotswold’s most loved towns, Burford and Stow-on-the-Wold. The pub itself is in the village of Nether Westcote (think pub, church and that’s about it) and overlooks the rolling hills of the Evenlode valley.

    (Adrian Sherratt)

(Adrian Sherratt)

Chipping Norton, Bruern and Kingham are all within a 20 minute drive.

Style

There is no reception when you arrive, but this is exactly the point. The Feathered Nest is not a hotel; it’s a luxurious country pub that just happens to have rooms – think barstools made from riding saddles, old English pub vibes and charming little nods to the fact that the building was a malthouse 350 years ago.

Outside, there’s a glorious terrace with tables overlooking a lush green garden and charming rolling hills, and there’s plenty of indoor spots to snuggle up next to a roaring fire – time your visit and you could be treated to a wine tasting evening or live music night by a local artist.

    (The Feathered Nest)

(The Feathered Nest)

Simply duck into the beamed bar area and a member of friendly staff will show you to your room.

Which room?

There are four en-suite rooms upstairs if you feel like rolling straight into bed from dinner: a cozy double called Cockerel’s Roost (think double bed and walk-in shower), and three king-size rooms called Gøkhulen, Pheasant’s Nest and Dove Cote, each with bathtub and separate shower. Expect classic country inn vibes, from hessian floors to old antique furniture. As a nod to the name, bird-themed soft furnishings are thrown in for good measure.

Each room has a Nespresso machine and the bathrooms are equipped with marine-based Algotherm products.

    (The Feathered Nest)

(The Feathered Nest)

For super-king luxury, choose the Cottage, or “Little House” as it was known on the original deeds to the property, which opened last year. Nestled behind a typical wooden fence and the front door of the farmhouse, the cozy miniature house boasts the best of country pub living, while giving you a sense of independence.

It’s just a few steps from the main pub and has a lounge, dining room, kitchenette, bathroom with bath and a double bedroom – perfect for couples looking for a slightly more spacious stay (there’s room to keep your bikes indoors if you’re planning a cycling holiday) .

Expect period details with exposed beams, open fireplaces and original stone floors, all combined with cozy contemporary furnishings and Farrow & Ball paint.

    (The Feathered Nest)

(The Feathered Nest)

Food drink

You’ll see the certificates when you walk in: 3 AA Rosettes, AA Breakfast Cup, AA Notable Wine List, Cesar Award, Beautiful South ‘Pub of the Year’ 2013. The list goes on – and it fits.

Don’t expect your bog standard pub grub; expect award-winning food served in an unpretentious, down-to-earth setting, from the hotel’s famous 8oz Nest Burger to locally sourced, seasonal dishes (they hand-make the butter and hand-bake the bread).

Michelin-starred chef Matt Weedon, who has worked at the likes of Glenapp Castle and Lords of the Manor, is behind the menu, and the highlight is his six-course tasting menu with wine pairings.

Think roasted carrot and sheep’s cheese with curried aubergine, lamb and lamb with asparagus and smoked mash, and desserts with blood orange and passion fruit. Chateaubriand is perfect for two to share and served to perfection.

There are five wines available by the glass at any given time, but you don’t have to go for wine pairings or fine dining if you fancy a taste of the food here. Locals still pop in for a pint and mingle with weekend minibreakers and foodies from afar who have read about the menu in all the guidebooks.

Choose from an a la carte menu, ‘long and lazy’ Sunday menu, plant-based menu or six-course tasting menu, and there’s an afternoon tea option for £25 with the option to add champagne for £35.

Facilities

Don’t expect exquisite underground spas, but pack your bikes and walking shoes: Feathered Nest is expertly placed for a typical weekend of hiking, cycling and rambling in charming Cotswold towns.

The pub itself has 45 acres of grounds (most of which is open to residents only) and there is an on-site nature reserve complete with a lake and newly introduced badgers and foxes.

It is family and dog friendly and the staff go out of their way to make sure guests are well taken care of (The sommelier brought us an iron when we asked at reception). Book a stay soon and you can still enjoy the outdoor terrace (don’t worry, the staff will provide you with blankets when it gets chilly in the evenings).

    (The Feathered Nest)

(The Feathered Nest)

What to Instagram

The picketed gate to your very own Cotswold stone cottage, ideal for when a passing Robin takes a perch.

Best before?

Foodies and couples with dogs. The cabin comes with a dog bed, water bowl and treats, and dogs are welcome in the bar and on the cozy and terrace areas. It’s just £25 per dog.

How to get there

Hop in the car from London and you’ll be there in under two hours. Trains are under two hours from Paddington to Kingham, then it’s a 10 minute taxi at the other end.

    (The Feathered Nest)

(The Feathered Nest)

When should I go?

All year round, subject to availability, but it’s an autumn lover’s dream: cozy nooks, roaring fires and dozens of charming Cotswold walks on your doorstep.

Details

Rooms from £195, Nether Westcote, Oxfordshire, OX7 6SD, thefeatherednestinn.co.uk

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