Country,  England,  South West

The Stag at Stow, a perfect stay in the heart of the Cotswolds

After probably a hundred hours of shortlisting b&bs, I decided on staying a few nights in Stow on the Wold for a luxury end to our summer holiday. The Stag at Stow’s woods and fabrics were the aesthetic I was searching for. Yes, the pub beckoned me in with long rustic fingers, so we booked a three night stay.

Related: How to spot a great B&B

When we arrived in the village, I was taken aback by the size of the pub. Instead of being the tiny inn I expected, Stag at Stow is enormous, and seems to stretch across an entire half of Stow on the Wold’s square. It’s built in the same honey brick as the rest of the Cotswolds, and the keepers have added a tasteful grey to the wooden window frames and large doors.

The Stag at Stow

Our room was Number 10 – located at the top of the stairs in the next door building. We were in the attic, so our ceiling was angled, with exposed beams. The interior bathroom wall and headboard were panelled with wood, which gave the room a rather dark, but definitely the rustic appearance I was looking for.

Inside the bathroom, which did feel like I was entering a secret room every time I went in, was the classic wonky floor of an old pub, tasteful ceramics, and a large shower. It was clear that housekeeping did an incredible job of keeping the bathroom clean, as there was no evidence of any grime, and each day we returned from adventures to Cotswold Wildlife Park and Avoncroft Building Museum, we found the room bone dry and sparkling.

Stag at Stow bedroom

Moreover, our bed was incredibly comfortable. After a week or so of squishing into a small double bed that creaked with every roll, we loved the space and silence of the king size bed – it was probably the best bed we have slept in, in the UK that is, and aside from our own.

Related: Have a dog friendly day at Cotswold Wildlife Park

As an addition to a lovely stay, we had breakfast each morning. As we had Ted, and weren’t allowed into the restaurant area with him, the staff reserved a table for us in the dog friendly section of the pub. We hadn’t asked for the reservation, so it was a thoughtful touch, and made us feel truly cared for.

All guests who have breakfast included were entitled to raid the continental table, which had an array of cereals, cold cuts, yogurts, fruits, and pastries, and we could order a hot breakfast too. During our three night stay, I had a full English and salmon and scrambled egg; both meals were very tasty, and filling. I did have to dip into the pastries every morning as soon as I noticed they had danishes. Old habits die hard.

The Village

After we settled in on our first day, we took a stroll around Stow on the Wold to see some quality sights like these…

Although the village square is fairly small, I thought it fascinating that there were a number of key, historical landmarks in such a condensed area. A search revealed a small square of independent shops, hidden down a side street, and an excellent view of St Edward’s Church. I admit, I did spend a couple of hours exploring the shops, and making a few key purchases.

On one night, we hit The Stag at Stow for dinner and drinks. We quickly realised that the classy but rustic theme wasn’t just in our room. It ran throughout the whole establishment, and I loved the contrast between the dark, ageing wood, navy blue paint and modern artwork. I always wanted original wood flooring in my house, and got quite excited to see a space that I would have loved to live in every day.

Although a very small touch, I especially liked the Hendricks gin bottles used as candle holders, and I think I’ll pinch that idea for our back room at home.

Stag at Stow Pub

Dan and I decided – since the weather was lovely, and you never know when it’ll be gone for 8 months in the UK – to take a seat outdoors. We ordered a couple of drink drinks (which were quite expensive) and checked out the menu.

It was quite pricey, so Dan and I settled on a couple of burgers, he the standard beef burger, and I the lamb and mint, which admittedly were delicious. The staff were even generous enough to bring Ted a bowl of water and a couple of doggy treats while we ate.

We finished the meal with a delicious chocolate tart for dessert. I was desperate for something sweet, and found it to be indulgent without being too rich. Dan was a gentleman and let me have the last bit.

The Verdict

Allow me to reiterate that for a three night stay, this was not cheap. The room, the food and the drinks are pricey, but the quality is second to none. I loved the decor and overall feel of the establishment; I’d definitely recommend The Stag at Stow as a base for people visiting the Cotswolds.

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