Well, technically the pub comes with the cottage, but it certainly feels like the other way round when you’re lucky enough to stay at The Cottage at the Feathered Nest, an award-winning fine dining restored country inn overlooking the luscious green Evenlode Valley.
The cosy gourmet bolthole sits 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 lane as you pull up, and the sound of sheep, geese and horses hooves when you wake up in the morning — after a lie-in, hopefully, given how good the wine is on the six-course tasting menu.
There’s a sun-dappled terrace overlooking the garden and rolling hills for enjoying a drink before dinner (or dinner itself). Pick a summer’s 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 Cotswolds’ most beloved towns, Burford and Stow-on-the-Wold. The pub itself sits in the village of Nether Westcote (think pub, church, and that’s about it) and overlooks the rolling hills of the Evenlode Valley.
Chipping Norton, Bruern and Kingham are all within a 20-minute drive.
There’s no reception when you arrive but this is exactly the point. The Feathered Nest isn’t a hotel; it’s a luxury country pub that just happens to have rooms — think bar stools made of riding saddles, olde English pub vibes and charming little nods to the fact that the building was a malt house 350 years ago.
Outside, there’s a glorious terrace with tables overlooking a luscious green garden and quaint rolling hills, and there are plenty of indoor spots for hunkering down next to a roaring fire — time your visit right and you might catch a wine tasting evening or a live music night by a local artist.
Just duck into the beamed bar area and a member of friendly staff will show you to your room.
There are four en-suite rooms upstairs if you fancy rolling straight into bed from dinner: a cosy double called the Cockerel’s Roost (think double bed and walk-in shower), and three king-sized rooms called the Cuckoo’s Den, the Pheasant Nest and the Dove Cote, each with a bath and a separate shower. Expect classic country inn vibes, from hessian floors to old antique furniture. In a nod to the name, there are bird-themed soft furnishings added in for good measure.
Each room has a Nespresso machine and bathrooms are stocked with marine-based Algotherm products.
For super-king luxury, pick the Cottage or the ‘Little House’ as it was known on the original deeds of the property, which opened last year. The cosy miniature house sits behind a quintissential wooden picket fence and farmhouse front door and boasts the best bits of staying at a country pub whilst giving you a feel of independence.
It’s just a few steps from the main pub and comes with a living room, dining area, kitchenette, bathroom with a roll-top bath and a double bedroom - perfect for couples looking for a slightly roomier stay (there’s space to keep the bikes indoors if you’re planning a cycling holiday).
Expect period features with exposed beams, open fireplace and original flagstone floors all combined with cosy modern furnishings and Farrow & Ball paint.
Food & drink
You’ll see the certificates as 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’s fitting.
Don’t expect your bog standard pub grub; expect award-winning food served in an unpretentious, down-to-earth setting, from the hotel’s famed 8oz Nest Burger to locally-sourced, seasonal dishes (they handmake their butter and handbake their bread).
Michelin-star chef Matt Weedon, who’s 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 ewes curd with curried aubergine, loin and shoulder of lamb with asparagus and smoked mash, and blood orange and passion fruit desserts. The Chateaubriand is perfect for two to share and served to perfection.
There are five wines available by the glass at any one 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 mix in with weekend minibreakers and foodies from afar who’ve read about the menu in all the guide books.
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 of adding champagne for £35.
Don’t expect exquisite subterranean spas, but do pack the bikes and the walking boots: the Feathered Nest is expertly placed for a quintiessential weekend of hiking, biking and wandering quaint Cotswold towns.
The pub itself comes with 45-acre grounds (most of it is open only to residents) and there’s an onsite wildlife reserve complete with a lake and newly-introduced badgers and foxes.
It’s family and dog-friendly and staff all muck in to make sure guests are well catered for (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, staff will bring you blankets when it gets chilly in the evenings).
What to Instagram
The picket-fenced gate to your own Cotswold stone cottage, ideally as a passing Robin takes a perch.
Foodies and couples with dogs. The Cottage comes with a dog bed, water bowl and treats and dogs are welcome at the bar and in the snug and terrace areas. It’s just £25 per dog.
How to get there
Jump in the car from London and you’ll be there in less than two hours. Trains are under two hours from Paddington to Kingham, then it’s a 10-minute taxi at the other end.
When should I go?
All year round, depending on availability, but it’s an autumn-lover’s dream: cosy corners, roaring fires and dozens of quaint Cotswold walks directly on the doorstep.
Rooms from £195, Nether Westcote, Oxfordshire, OX7 6SD, thefeatherednestinn.co.uk