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Cotswolds Advice needed (esp. Stow-on-the-Wold)

We'll be in the Cotswolds for a few days later this month, staying in Stow-on-the-Wold, and would love some advice on good places to eat. We plan to spend our days taking leisurely drives and looking at the scenery, so we'd be grateful for any place you can recommend in the general vicinity. We're interested in top notch food, but will have a toddler with us. She's well behaved, but 2 hour lunch-type places might try her patience. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

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  1. Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons is about an hours drive away from Stow and I can highly recommend it especially with little ones in tow. We had a truly memorable lunch for my mother's birthday there a few months ago with a seven month old and a two and a half year old. Le Manoir has a reputation for being child friendly and that is exactly what we found. The staff were delightful with the youngesters and nothing was too much trouble - not an eyelid was blinked when food was thrown on the floor (by the children I hasten to add!). They do a special children's menu and of course we all had to sample the chips from Raymond Blancs egg, sausage and chips! The set lunch was excellent value with a choice of two per course, possibly more if you look at the vegetarian menu.

    3 Replies
    1. re: zedman_1

      This is absolutely priceless advice (and I promise not to throw food). I'll see if they have a website, but in the meantime, can you help me any with what town it is near? Thank you so much.

      1. re: LulusMom

        It's in Great Milton east of Oxford. If the weather is nice a walk around the gardens of the Manoir is wonderful.

        Another place that I have had recommended but have yet to try it is The Lamb Inn in Burford. It seems to have mixed reviews so perhaps someone else could comment.

        1. re: LulusMom

          Be warned, though - it's definitely not cheap!

          I think you got a series called The Restaurant in the States? Where couples compete to open a restaurant with a renowned chef? It's Raymond Blanc, who runs Le Manoir.

      2. In Broadway, there a re a cple of choices. There's a very fancy place who's name escapes me, if it isn't something like the Broadway Arms or something like that. There are are also several more liesurely family-inclined places around the central square. Sorrt, it's been almost 20 years since we brought our 10 and 8 year old there

        1. Have you checked out my Cotswolds post?


          I think these would work for you. On past trips we have also enjoyed the Lamb Inn in Burford, though it is a bit pricey. Very charming and good traditional food. The Churchill Arms in Paxford is a pub with serious food in a very casual atmosphere. I would avoid the Lygon Arms in Broadway. We were not wowed by the food a few years ago, and it is very expensive. It's in a hotel which seems to have gone through a lot of changes of ownership.

          1. I haven't been there for a few years, but The Village Pub (that's it's name ...) in Barnsley was always reliable - we have had several lovely meals there, both lunch times and evenings. It's run by the same people as Barnsley House, which is a much more expensive and fancier place over the road, but is obviously more relaxed.

            1. I would second the Churchill Arms in Paxford. We had some good meals there, although that was about 3 years ago. I seem to remember the management has changed, but I'm not certain at all. It could be the food is even better now!

              1. Wow, thanks everyone for the outpouring of helpful information. I really do appreciate it. I'm happy to have a few splurge meals while we're there ... my main concern is making sure both child and other diners are not put off by her being there.

                Now, do you want to help a poor American out? I've been pronouncing this place to rhyme with Low-on-the-Cold. Is that correct, or is it more like Cow-on-the-Walled or some mixture?

                14 Replies
                1. re: LulusMom

                  I've lived here almost 5 years and still have trouble pronouncing a new place. Not to worry! I think it's like stow the baggage away in the cold. The cold part is hard for us Americans ....as in Covent Garden. My husband says I never say Covent the right way as I don't form my mouth in exactly the right way.

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Yay! Then I came close to being correct. Truly, the pronounciations can really mess you up sometimes, can't they? My (Canadian with Scottish parents) husband makes constant fun of the way I pronounce scone (I rhyme it with phone, he rhymes it with lawn). Thanks so much for the pronunciation guide.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I'm British and I rhyme scone with phone too. You can pronounce it either way. It's not even a north vs south thing, it's a family thing I think.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Scone can be pronounced like phone (and that is probably the proper way grammatically....) but I always say it like scon. If your husband is pronouncing it like lawn - ie. like scorn - then you should be making fun of him...!

                          1. re: Theresa

                            Sorry, in the US we don't pronounce lawn with a "r" sound in it. I should have been more clear about that (forgetting differing pronounciations). Maybe the better way to describe it is that he rhymes it with Goldie Hawn's last name.

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              Then you should definitely be making fun of him. Noone would pronounce it to rhyme with "Hawn"! It's either "scone" to rhyme with "phone" or "scon" to rhyme with "gone".

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Oops again, In American, gone does rhyme with Hawn. How do you say the actress's last name?

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  This is reminding me of the time I saw a British woman on television talking about an article she'd seen in the Philadelphia Enquirer. She added an R sound to the end of the first word, and left the R sounds out of the second one: Philadelphiar Enquiah-ah.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Doh! I should have figured that out, shouldn't I??? Here we don't put the R in it. Or I guess I should say, it rhymes with gone.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        What's more confusing is that you pronounce "gone" slightly differently to us, I think!

                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          Some American accents would say 'gone' to rhyme with 'scone,' as in 'scon,' but not all. My brother who has lived in Chicago and CA says it that way. This is getting more confusing by the day! :-)

                                          1. re: zuriga1

                                            Precisely why I needed to ask how the town is pronounced. I think I'm going to keep my mouth shut as much as possible while in the UK!

                      2. I am very surprised that no one mentioned "Le Champignon Sauvage" in Cheltenham (a mere 15 miles from Stow). LCS is a 2* Michelin and it is held in very high regard by lots of people.

                        I thought the cooking was very very good (but FOH wasn't great). If you are in search of really great British/French cooking you should not miss LCS - Google it and you will see the rave reviews. It isn't expensive for the quality. It won't suit a toddler for dinner but I am certain lunch will be fine. It is family owned and run.

                        1. I hate to disagree with PhilD, because I really respect his opinions, and he has steered me to some great places, but I strongly disagree about Le Champignon Sauvage. Yes, it's been 4 years since I was there, but they had 2 Michelin stars then as now, and I just cannot believe that if it were in France, it would have gotten even one star. Everything was perfectly decent, and prices are reasonable, but there was just no excitement in the food, no "wow" factor. I've had so many better meals in much less pretentious places.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rrems

                            Rrems - you make an interesting point. I personally didn't like the room or service and I tried to disassociate these aspects from what was on the plate. But I think that is very difficult to do - to me the ambience and service are very integral to my enjoyment of a meal.

                            Thus I agree I have had a lot of better meals. But I do think David Everitt-Matthias (the chef) is good - I just wish the other elements of the restaurant showed it off better.....which could add the excitement...?

                            As you say it now has two stars, 1 of only 10 two stars in England (of which there are only 5 outside London). It does a set lunch or dinner at £25 for two course and £30 for 3 courses. Not bad value.

                          2. If you head up to Stratford for sightseeing, the Bell at Welford-Upon-Avon is very good for lunch -- their onion rings are smashing, their salads wonderful and they serve Lashford's sausages, a locally-made variety that is completely amazing. And on a non-food note, Broadway and the Slaughters (Upper and Lower) are not to be missed for the scenery.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: GretchenS

                              Thanks Gretchen. We definitey have the Slaughers and Broadway on our list, not sure we'll make it to Stratford, but I'll make note of the Bell.

                            2. Thanks to everyone for your help on our trip. In the end the weather wasn't great (very cold, but the biggest problem was the incredible fog- made drives to appreciate the scenery sort of pointless). Still and all we had a great time, and what we did see was beautiful.

                              Quick report on Stow. If I get a chance I will also report on other places we tried on our various drives in the area. Our first night we ate at the Queen's Head, a very cozy pub. Loved sitting there having a pint, but wasn't so crazy about the food. Next night was the King's Arms. We had had a fairly big lunch so each went for 2 appetizers instead of a meal. Husband had potato, leek and smoked haddock soup and really enjoyed it, then beet and ricotta ravioli. These he found oddly sweet. My appetizers were smoked trout creme brulee (I kid you not), which was actually pretty tasty. Somehow it worked, but it was exactly what it sounds like. I then had duck spring rolls in a mango sauce. Very good, but on the sweet side (mango sauce will do that). Overall we enjoyed this meal, but both figured that you have to be careful in order not to OD on the sweet factor at this place. The next night we went to the Eagle and Child. This was by far the best food we had in town, although also by far the worst service we had on the entire trip. I had smoked haddock over potato/chive/creme fraiche, and a butternut squash risotto, both were excellent. Husband had a hummus and tapenade plate which he raved about (he's not usually that huge a fan of either), then he got a tempura battered fish (don't remember what fish) with veg. Despite the weird/bad service they were very helpful in making a special pasta for Lulu. The childrens menu had linguine with either tomato sauce or cheese, and they were fine with giving her olive oil and garlic instead. And so, despite the service issues we figured we'd try it again the last night. Food was very good again, although my main was described as cheddar and chive souffle, glazed rarebit. I wasn't really sure what this glazed rarebit part was, but ordered anyway. The souffle ended up being more like a bisquit ... very doughy and bready, so I assume that this is what the rarebit thing was about. Not a huge deal, just not what I was really in the mood for. They also have absolutely wonderful sticky toffee pudding.

                              We came away from this trip with a huge appreciation for good pub food, and for the wonderful and warm atmosphere in most of the pubs we tried.