The Swan is the third project from Country Creatures, the company set up by Georgie & Sam Pearman who founded the Lucky Onion group. The first was The Talbot in Malton where we stayed back in spring and the second is The Chequers Inn – more on that one later.

The Swan is an eight room pub located in Ascott-Under-Wychwood, a small picturesque village in the Cotswolds with nothing much to do but walk, eat, drink, read the papers or soak in the tub – and we’re OK with that. Each room is individually decorated – ours was in the attic with big freestanding bath, the full collection of 100 Acres products (another of the Pearman’s brands), fresh cookies, cafetière and fluffy white gowns.

Downstairs, the pub is spilt into two rooms: one geared more towards drinkers with crackling fire and local beers & ciders on tap; and the other more of a dining room with quirky wallpaper and art. Food is hearty pub classics with on trend, local ingredients which change with the seasons. Mucky toast, that’s locally baked bread topped with lardo, pork crackling and toffee apple sauce is a must order. Prawns with nduja made down the road, Cornish plaice with capers & shrimp, chips with curry sauce and Treacle tart are all big in size and big in flavour. You’ll be thankful you’ve don’t have long to go by the time you’re done with dinner.

Breakfast is local continental – a slab of gammon, Cotswold cheese, local bread & jams with Full English available for a supplement. After eating non-stop you’re gonna need to walk it off and luckily there’s lots of trails nearby in the Evenlode valley. We completed a 10km loop from Shipton under Wychwood and rewarded ourselves with… you’ve guessed it, more food.

A huge roast at The Chequers, another Country Creatures pub in the nearby village of Churchill, was the perfect end to a wet muddy walk. There was twice-baked cheddar soufflé, and a classic Scotch egg to start, followed by roast beef and roast pork served with gravy, roasties, veg, red cabbage, and cauliflower cheese.

Having completed our hat-trick of Country Creatures properties and set us up for the two hour drive back to London, in our snazzy Honda Jazz, a great little car for zipping around the narrow country roads. Personally we prefer smaller cars when driving and this one is very compact but still has plenty of space inside for both people and luggage. In fact if there’s only two of you, you can fold down the back ‘Magic Seats’ in a jiffy and the whole back space opens out for storage. There’s built in sat nav, as well as rear parking cameras, USB ports, Bluetooth and all the other tech you’ll need on a drive.

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The Swan | 4 Shipton Rd, Chipping Norton OX7 6AY
The Chequers | Church Rd, Churchill, Chipping Norton OX7 6NJ