Fairford Pub Walk to BarnsleyFrom The Bull in Fairford to the Village Inn Barnsley
Skirting the very eastern fringes of the Cotswolds, this pub walk starts at the Bull Hotel in Fairford and meanders along the Coln valley through picturesque Bibury and onto the lesser known but the equally charming village of Barnsley.
A REASONABLY GENTLE 11 MILE SIX PUB WALK TAKING IN THE BEAUTIFUL COLN VALLEY AND FINISHING IN THE VILLAGE PUB, BARNSLEY RECOGNISED AS BEING ONE OF THE BEST ‘EATING’ PUBS IN THE AREA
The Bull Inn
A mid-morning start for this Cotswold Beer Adventure will ensure you catch the charming Keepers Arms as they open for the first stop of the day. Our recommendation is to plan this walk when there are plenty of daylight hours in the day
09:30 - 10:30: THE BULL HOTEL - FAIRFORD
The Bull Hotel is a traditional coaching inn situated on the market square in Fairford. It’s now part of The Barkby Group of pubs and hotels who, in our experience certainly know how to run a decent establishment. They were very accommodating when we called and asked if we could start our pub walk with them. They were happy to serve us coffee and a good bacon butty along with some residents. Call ahead to make sure they can fit you in. Breakfast is served from 08:00 – 10:00. Take your time over coffee to get the timings right for opening time at The Keepers
12:00 - 12:30: THE KEEPERS ARMS - QUENINGTON
Plan to arrive at The Keepers Arms as they open at midday. The pub is in the heart of this attractive Cotswold village nestled in the Coln Valley. It’s the archetypal good honest village pub – Well kept real ales (Butcombe), decent home cooked food and a traditional pub atmosphere
13.00 - 13.30: THE NEW INN - COLN ST ALDWYNS
A stone’s throw up the valley is Coln St Aldwyns you’ll find the very pleasant New Inn. If you’re lucky with the weather enjoy a pint on the terrace. They always have a guest ale along with local firm favourites – Bath Gem or Hook Norton. The New Inn is a very pleasant spot to while away half an hour before heading onwards along the Coln river and onto Bibury.
If you’re feeling peckish and want to stop to enjoy some outstanding Cotswold scenery, there is plenty of places to picnic along the valley. Continuing towards Bibury the route takes you up the valley side before swinging North to give you a fantastic view of Bibury Court and the village of Bibury beyond.
15:30 - 16:30: THE SWAN HOTEL & THE CATHERINE WHEEL - BIBURY
Swan Hotel, Bibury[/caption]William Morris described Bibury as “the most beautiful village in England”. Apparently, Fox News stated that Bibury is one of the world’s most picturesque villages, and on the Huffington Post website, Bibury was mentioned in an article titled “The Most Charming Towns In Europe You’ll Want To Visit ASAP”. So, Bibury is picturesque, and Cotswold Beer Adventures agrees, but on our travels, we have found many other equally if not more picturesque villages across the Cotswolds and they don’t have as many tourists!
You have a choice of two stops in Bibury, The Swan or the Catherine Wheel, on our walk, we felt it essential to visit both for research purposes.
The Swan Hotel
The Swan Hotel is part of Cotswold Inns & Hotels Group, so you’re in safe hands. Originally a traditional coaching Inn but now operating as a smart hotel catering for well-heeled passing tourist, wedding guest and hotel residents enjoying it’s buzzing ambience. (it was buzzing when we were there with a wedding reception in full swing). The Bar is a mix of traditional and contemporary styling giving it an air of sophistication. Despite this, walking boots and fleeces didn’t make us feel out of place. Bibury is on the tourist map so if you pass through in the summer expect to see plenty of them.
The Catherine Wheel
Walk past the trout farm and up the hill, and you’ll find the 15th century Catherine Wheel on your left. We’re back in traditional ‘boozer’ territory again and very nice too. Mind your head when you go in, the doorway wasn’t designed for anyone above 5ft.10″ as Andy our 6ft Beer Adventurer discovered to his peril. It has a lovely garden out the back, good beer and food – everything a great pub should be.
Leave the Catherine Wheel and pick up the path on the outskirts of the village heading north-west. At the edge of Ablington village turn left, this is the last leg of the walk and will eventually bring you to Barnsley Park. The Park is an impressive privately owned family estate. You will pass Polo ponies, stables, kitchen gardens, estate offices and cottages and eventually past the ha-ha in front of the imposing Georgian style house that apparently, according to Wikipedia has ‘Italianate influences’! (drop that into the conversation when you’re passing and see what reaction you get) Beyond the main house, the route traverses the tree-lined sweeping driveway and onto Barnsley Village
17:30 - 18:30: THE BARNSLEY HOUSE HOTEL - BARNSLEY
The Barnsley House Hotel wasn’t on our original pub walk route but passing by the front gate of this impressive Cotswold Hotel it seemed churlish not to include it. Our recommendation is to walk passed the Village pub using your strongest resolve and head for pre-dinner drinks (or a cup of tea) at The Barnsley House Hotel. It is a lovely hotel at the top end of luxury, rooms here start at £200. You won’t find a bar as such, more a drinks cupboard located off a comfortable drawing room. The staff seemed very relaxed and comfortable with us despite our rather shabby appearance, and the other clientele didn’t bat an eyelid. Cocktails were required as a livener and were competently made in the ‘cupboard’ and delivered with efficiency and smiles. When the bill arrived, it did raise an eyebrow or two, but it’s only to be expected in such beautiful surroundings in a luxury hotel, so no resentment paying it – take your time here, get your money’s worth!
Phone ahead If you are travelling as a large party. I’m not sure how they would feel about ten convivial Beer Adventures pitching up demanding cocktails halfway through the afternoon!
18:30: THE VILLAGE PUB - BARNSLEY
The Village pub is owned by the same people as Barnsley House Hotel. They also manage a number of other well thought of Hotels in the area. The pedigree is clear to see when you enter the Village Pub. It retains the original features of a traditional pub but there something clever that pubs like this do to lift them into that ‘special’ category. It’s a combination of smart lighting, muted furnishing colours, stripped wood and attentive staff in understated ‘uniforms’ It just makes the Village Pub feel like a place you want to settle down and stay awhile. Cotswold craft ales are on offer; a considered wine list and a regularly changing menu that focuses on local produce. A very pleasant end to this Cotswold Beer Adventure pub walk.
The closest train station to the start of the Fairford to Barnsley pub walk is either Swindon or Kemble.
Local taxis from Kemble will need booking in advance. We recommend P & A Travel.
Phone 01285 657 983
Mobile 07946 006 847
From Swindon, V-Cars can be pre-booked using their app
Planning an Event
If you’re in a large party, organising a stag or corporate event or simply want local insight we can help to ensure you have a fantastic weekend or day out in the Cotswolds – Let us help you create your own true Cotswold Beer Adventure. please contact us with your enquiry.
This is our recommended selection of accommodation in the area. They are convenient for this particular pub walk and we like them! Those listed provided a range to suit most pockets but if you don’t find what you’re looking for use the booking.com map below to find the best deals in the area
If you have completed this walk or would like to know more we would love to hear from you – please leave a comment bellow
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