A holiday in the Cotswolds is a foodie’s paradise.
The Cotswolds has long been celebrated as one of the UK’s top holiday destinations for foodies, thanks to its extensive selection of top-notch eateries. Indeed, whether your heart desires a light bite in a quaint café, a slap-up meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant or a traditional afternoon tea in a charming tea room, you’re spoilt for choice for Cotswolds food at almost every turn.
But it isn’t just the quality of the eateries that has earned the region its reputation as a food-lover’s heaven. It’s also due in no small part to the staggering array of delicious local produce on offer. You’ve probably heard of some of the most famous Cotswoldian exports: Single and Double Gloucester, Stinking Bishop cheese and Hobbs House bread, to name just a few. But there are plenty of other home-grown delights to discover.
If you love food and you’re planning a trip to the Cotswolds, you’ll be pleased to hear you can incorporate your passion into your holiday in a big way! Read on to discover some of our top recommendations.
Fancy a spot of foraging?
Foraging – the practice of gathering wild food for free – has become increasingly popular as a pastime in recent years. It’s a brilliant way to get outdoors while learning about nature and the food that grows all around us. And, of course, there’s always the chance you’ll come home with something delicious to show for your efforts! Mushrooms, wild garlic, sorrel, bitter cress, pennywort, wimberries, edible flowers, wild strawberries – depending on the season and the area you’re in, the Cotswolds has no shortage of natural delicacies waiting to be discovered.
If you’re new to foraging and don’t know your herbs from your hedgerows, it’s a good idea to tag along with an expert. Many guided foraging walks and classes take place all over the Cotswolds throughout the year, and they’re a truly memorable way to spend a few happy hours out in the fresh air. Your guides will help you seek out edible treasures, while also providing you with information about local wildlife and birds. Many of the trips culminate with your haul being turned into a unique and delicious meal by a talented chef!
Catch of the day!
The Cotswolds is a bona fide haven for anglers. And if you’re looking for the ultimate fishing holiday, Watermark is the perfect setting.
Our luxury lodges give you exclusive, unlimited access to the busy fishing lakes of the Cotswolds Water Park – and many of them back directly onto the water, so you don’t have to venture any farther than the back door of your lodge! This allows you to enjoy as much time on the water as you like, without having to compete with the droves of keen anglers who head to the region throughout the year.
If you’re staying elsewhere in the Cotswolds, you can still fish the lakes of the Cotswolds Water Park by purchasing a day ticket through The Tackle Den. This gives you access to Pike Lake (home to pike as large as 31lbs!) and 114 acres of Bradleys Lake, which plays host to mirror carp, tench, perch, roach and pike. If lake fishing isn’t for you, you can also access miles of the River Thames through South Cerney Angling Club, and the River Avon through Swindon Isis Angling Club.
Fishing for all the family
Maybe you’ve never fished before and are keen to give it a go? England’s oldest working trout farm is located at Bibury and features a ‘Catch Your Own’ Beginners’ Fishery from April to October.
All equipment is supplied and expert staff are always around to give a demonstration and lend a hand. You can even hire a barbecue on site to cook your catch! It really is a great family day out and a brilliant way for anyone – young or old – to try their hand at fishing for fun.
If you love cooking up delicious fish and seafood dishes but prefer someone else to do the catching, New Wave Fish Shop is a must-visit. Located in the heart of Cirencester, this traditional fishmonger and fine-foods shop is run by a team who are passionate about offering top-quality, responsibly sourced seafood from around the British coastline.
Grab some fresh fish or seafood to take centre stage in your own home-cooked meal, or sample some of the ready-to-cook dishes prepared in-store by resident chef Ben Hogget. From fish pies and fishcakes to dressed lobsters, crabs and whole poached salmon, you’re sure to find something to tempt your taste buds. What’s more, Ben’s always on hand to offer cooking tips and recipe ideas.
Cotswolds food from the farm
The Cotswolds is famed for its award-winning meat and traditional butchers who supply quality, free-range meat straight from farm to table. When you stay at Watermark, you can arrange delivery of fresh meat and other local produce from one of the region’s most popular butchers and farm shops, Jesse Smith. You can order online and collect from one of six locations from Burford to Tetbury, or have your shopping delivered straight to your lodge. Whether you’re bringing the family together for a Sunday roast or planning a summer barbecue by the lake, you’ll find everything you need (and more) is just a click away.
If you want to shake things up a bit, The Cotswold Curer offers a tempting range of award-winning cured meats, including salami, chorizo and pancetta made using locally farmed, outdoor-reared pork from both rare and traditional breeds. It’s Mediterranean-style charcuterie with a Cotswolds twist!
Get your five a day
Of course, if you’re catering for yourselves while staying in the Cotswolds you’ll need a good stock of fresh fruit and vegetables. And there’s no easier way to shop for it than with a next-day delivery from Four Seasons. Choose from twelve mixed boxes – which range from everyday essentials to a deluxe selection for the most discerning palette – safe in the knowledge that everything is sourced from small suppliers and local farms.
Alternatively, you can turn shopping for fruit and vegetables into fun for the whole family with a pick-your-own experience at Lotmead Farm, located just outside Swindon. Call the Lotmead Hotline on 01793 790137 to find out what’s available for picking on the day of your planned visit; depending on the time of year you could find yourself coming home with strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries, rhubarb, potatoes, asparagus, broad beans or even a pumpkin or a Christmas tree! There’s also an on-site café, a farm shop, a small animal enclosure, a nature trail and a children’s play area, so you can really make a day of it!
If you’re making an effort to eat local Cotswolds food while staying at Watermark, it would be rude not to also sample the region’s award-winning wine, right? Poulton Hill Estate Vineyard is part of an exciting movement of English winemakers, situated in the breathtaking countryside near Cirencester.
The vineyard is home to over 8000 vines of grape varieties that are specially selected to thrive in the region’s climate, geography and soil. And thrive they certainly do! As many as 20,000 bottles of wine are produced at Poulton Hill each year and the range features whites, rosés, reds, sparkling wines and spirits. Visit the Cellar Door to snap up exclusive discounts and limited editions to perfectly accompany your locally sourced fare.
Here at Watermark, we’re all pretty food obsessed and love nothing more than discovering new favourites and seeing our guests enjoying everything that Cotswolds food has to offer! If you find another local treasure, be sure to tag us in your pics and recommendations. Find us on Instagram.