Described as very seductive in a recent article in The Guardian, Tetburyin Gloucestershire is renowned for its independent creative streak and is a wonderful base from which to travel and enjoy the Cotswolds.
The town is unparalleled in terms of atmosphere, good hospitality and has an easy, friendly charm. From St Mary’s Church to the Chipping Steps to the dozens of boutiques and antique shops as well as the impressively gift-laden Highgrove Shop for the Prince’s Trust, Tetbury is a haven for day trippers and weekend getaways.
At Christmas in Tetbury the annual lights switch on is spectacular, the town thronging with people and stalls. Even more so this year when local talent Tom and Henry Herbert aka the Fabulous Baker Brotherswill be turning on the town!
So, where’s great to stay or hang out in Tetbury with a pint of well-kept real ale, a spiced mulled wine or hot cider punch and take advantage of some good old-fashioned Christmas cheer?
After lying dilapidated for almost a year, The Royal Oak in Tetbury, a lovely Grade II listed coaching inn, has now reopened following a year-long restoration. It’s been a labour of love for owners, Chris York and Kate Lewis, who have worked with numerous Gloucestershire based crafts, tradespeople, reclaim merchants and suppliers to restore and furnish the pub, exterior spaces and guest rooms in homage to the arts and crafts movement which once flourished in the area.
“We have long dreamed of having a place, a venue, a hospitality or B&B venture of our own such as this. We just didn’t know what, or where it would be”, said Kate. “When the old Oak winked at us, we madly bought it from Enterprise Inns, then fell madly in love with the beautiful building and went through heaven and hell to put it back together again. Finally we opened as a freehouse for our locals and visitors at the end of summer. It’s been uplifting to have had this incredible opportunity to restore a lost treasure back to the town as the inn has been a big part of Tetbury life since the 17th Century. Spending our first Christmas at The Royal Oak is going to be magical and we can’t wait to create a lovely environment for all who come by to join us.”
As well as a refurb of the bar, which has an intimate saloon vibe, the six lovely en suite guest rooms in the former pub skittle alley have just been finished, including one knock out room, The Oak Lodge, designed by architect Zac Monro, who recently featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs. It has a cool mezzanine with extra twin beds so great for families and there’s a wood burner for cosy nights in. Dog-friendly rooms are also available and perfect if you plan to take a walk at the stunning National Arboretumdown the road in Westonbirt before heading back to TROT HQ for a Pint O’ Tea and free dog treats.
You can drop in for bar food including a Workers’ Pot, a hearty, tasty one pot stew, or there’s the full menu offer and atmospheric dining up in the rafters. A private dining space seats 1 – 16 so bring your own ipod and plug in and play. Food is organic, delicious, locally-sourced fare made by the Oak chefs Al Fricker and Malcolm Bird. As well as healthy options there’s a variety of vegetarian dishes too, including house favourites: a succulent Porcini & Herb Burger, a to-die-for Mac & Cheese and a splendid vegan roast on Sunday.
On tap The Royal Oak serves some of the best local real ales, lager and ciders. Stroud Brewery, Uley Brewery , Orchard Pig Ciderand Freedom Organic are regulars; guest ales feature weekly and there’s a great selection of international bottled craft beers hailing from Brooklyn to Reykjavik handpicked by craft beer expert and The Royal Oak’s General Manager, Sebastian Bell. The well-chosen wine list presents smooth but affordable wines sourced in partnership with wine merchant legends Lea & Sandeman. With an apothecary of interesting and unusual spirits you can also sample a perfect serve 6 O Clock Gin and Tonic which goes down well with Joe & Sephs gin & tonic popcorn for sundowners by the fire.
If you like music in pubs the jukebox is on! From Django Reinhardt to Led Zeppelin, proceeds from your playlist go to support theWoodland Trust. Following a lazy Sunday lunch served till 5pm why not hang around for a Sunday Session featuring the Oak’s 1920s Berlin piano. Recent happenings have been courtesy of the genre-defying Moishe’s Bagel, who just dropped in to see what condition our condition was in while on a national tour, and Sidney & Percy, the undisputed love-children of Liza Minnelli and Chas & Dave. They’ll be back for a proper Christmas knees up round the old joanna at The Royal Oak’s ‘Winter Warmer’ on Sunday 22nd December.
For fun, creative, friendly festive cheer The Royal Oak is the perfect seasonal HQ from which to strike out and enjoy a stress-free, merry Christmas. So get out and about, and get inn!
Rooms available midweek from £75 per night and £95 at weekends include full English or Vegetarian breakfast. Reservations for rooms, Christmas Dinners and Party Bookings and New Year’s Eve are now being taken.
To make a reservation email Lucie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01666 500021
Nearest station is Kemble and direct trains take approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes from London Paddington.