The country themes of agriculture and hunting can be drawn from the pub names of Burford. The Golden Pheasant, The Lamb Inn, and The Old Bull can all be found on or near the High Street, with the Cotswolds Arms there to further remind you of your setting should your memory start to fail - as well it might later on. We chose to start in the Cotswolds Arms, a solid stone pub at the bottom of the town. The proprietors don't appear to have tried quite as hard to catch the interest of the moneyed, bruschetta-eating classes and serve no-nonsense "pub grub" in a series of traditionally furnished rooms. The beer is from the Courage brewery and well kept. Venturing out to the rear courtyard, you will be struck by the landlord's twin passions of small songbirds and model railways - a somewhat incongruous mix.
Partway up the High Street is the Golden Pheasant. This pub has been refurbished along more contemporary lines inside and seems to want to be in Islington. The menu is more ambitious and priced accordingly. There's a cluster of tables set on the street in front of the pub from which you can watch the hustle and bustle. The Blonde found the Bloody Mary a little on the weak side'she uses this drink as a test of the bar staff's work ethic. There's nothing worse than a lazy Bloody Mary in her book.
Our last port of call post-dinner was the Old Bull. As with every building in Burford, the Old Bull is pleasing to the eye. A solid stone frontage with the old coach passage to the side, this is one of the larger pubs in town. It doubles as a hotel with reasonably priced rooms above (we didn't check them out) as well as a restaurant behind. We parked ourselves at one of the tables placed in the coach passage and worked our way through a few bottles of the house white at about ?11 a bottle. The staff were perfectly friendly and the Old Bull served as a fine venue for our considerable overindulgence. Quite frankly, what are holidays for?
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
October 21, 2003
From journal A brief flirtation with the Cotswolds