Whether you are celebrating with friends and family, or entertaining business clients, private dining offers all the convenience of a restaurant with a more personal ambiance. On the following pages, we highlight some of the Cotswolds’ top private dining venues…
COTSWOLD AIRPORT, near Cirencester
01285 771177 / GL7 6BA / av8-cotswoldairport.co.uk
Due to be launched shortly as a private hire venue, the Boeing 747 at Kemble offers a totally unique space in which to host a party or dinner. The plane has been stripped and carpeted and can be hired for up to 200 guests. Whether you are looking to organise your own event, with your choice of caterers and entertainment, or would like it all managed for you, this venue allows complete flexibility. With its own private entrance and parking at the airfield, it also offers privacy.
Alternatively, at the other side of the airfield and with unrivalled views over Cotswold Airport’s runway, AV8 restaurant is currently open to the public seven days a week, from 9am–5pm, or it can be hired on an exclusive use basis during the day or evening for a private function. The kitchen sources local ingredients for its bistro style menu and the flexibility of the space allows for any kind of occasion. An obvious advantage is that live music won’t trouble any neighbours: the runway is a busy one, with recent visitors including Spitfires and 747s.
ETTINGTON PARK HOTEL, near Stratford-upon-Avon
01789 450123 / CV37 8BU / handpickedhotels.co.uk/ettingtonpark
Set in an impressive neo-Gothic mansion, Ettington Park has a number of private dining options. The 19th century Chapel, with its lovely stained glass windows, can host candle-lit dining for up to 14 guests, or you can hire the book-lined Library, with its ornate ceiling and ’secret’ door, which seats 36. For larger groups, The South Room, which has an ancient stone fireplace, wood panelled ceiling and high windows, can cater for parties of up to 55 guests. The largest private hire space is The Long Gallery, suitable for up to 96 guests, which was originally the family museum. This spectacular room runs the full length of the building on the second floor, with both sides lined by wood panelling and bookcases.
Dining options can be selected from the à la carte menu which includes dishes such as peanut crusted seared scallops, carpaccio of broccoli, broccoli purée and parma ham; fillet of Herefordshire beef, sautéed bok choi, roasted shallots, creamed artichokes, oxtail tortellini and baby watercress; and for dessert, Morello cherry soufflé with Pedro Ximenez sherry ice cream. Alternatively, head chef Paul Soczowka is happy to work with you to create a special set menu.
KINGS HEAD HOTEL, Cirencester
01285 700900 / GL7 2NR /
The Kings Head Hotel, located in the heart of Cirencester, re-opened in September 2014 following an extensive restoration programme. The elegant boutique hotel now offers several unique dining and entertaining spaces such as The Cellar, an atmospheric room a few steps down from the restaurant. Featuring a glass walled wine display and bespoke dining table, it is the perfect space for an intimate private dinner for 8–16 guests. Alternatively, adjacent to the main restaurant, the sophisticated Panel Room allows for the flexibility of a partially or totally private dining space, suitable for a private party for 10–24 guests or to host a private drinks reception. The Assembly Room is an impressive space with a host of original architectural features, ideal for 80 to 120 guests. This room also has its own private bar, separate mezzanine and roof top garden, so is perfect for a Champagne reception.
The Library is a modern take on the old fashioned gentleman’s club and has a turntable along with an extensive collection of original 45” vinyl records for guests to enjoy. It’s ideal to hire for an informal gathering and drinks reception for up to 25 people. Finally, The Vaulted Cellar will host up to 200 guests and is an events space with a difference: with its arched walls and exposed brickwork, bespoke lighting and leather tub chairs, it has a distinctive Jazz club vibe that should get everyone dancing the night away.
OWLPEN MANOR, near Uley
01453 860261 / GL11 5BZ / owlpen.com
Grade I listed Owlpen Manor is a Tudor manor surrounded by yew trees, some dating back to the early 17th century, and terraced gardens lined with manicured box hedges. It is a popular choice to hire for special parties, celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries and chic hen nights, where a group of friends and family can have exclusive use of the cottages and restaurant.
Next door to the manor house, a medieval barn currently houses the Cyder House Restaurant, an atmospheric setting for dining and celebrations at the centre of the estate. The barn is a listed building dating back to the 15th century, with ’cruck’ trusses and a gigantic, 300 year old
oak cider press. The restaurant’s menu emphasizes bistro style cooking, using seasonal produce from Owlpen’s Elizabethan kitchen garden, which is set just below the restaurant. The Cyder House can be hired on an exclusive basis for celebrations or events, with personal requirements and special dietary needs easily accommodated with reasonable notice. Dinners can be booked by request, for groups of 15 or more in a choice of casual or formal settings.
October also sees the first in series of supper club events at Owlpen Manor: the evening forms part of the third Refractions Music Festival, which is returning to take up residence at the manor for the weekend of 8–9 October. On Sunday 9 October, guests can enjoy an intimate dining experience overseen by Cyder House Restaurant’s award winning chef, whilst listening to performances of baroque music.
THE LION INN, Winchcombe
01242 603300 / GL54 5PS / thelionwinchcombe.co.uk
The Lion Inn is a 15th century coaching inn, located right in the heart of Winchcombe. After a major renovation of the building and grounds, it has been transformed into a boutique countryside destination offering fine food, wine and ales.
The Lion Inn’s private dining room, The Clubroom, is light, airy and full of charm, and can host parties of up to 20 guests. There is a selection of private dining menus from which to choose as well as the option to create your own bespoke menu, advised by the head chef.
Seasonal ingredients are sourced from the best suppliers in the area and, as such, the menus are based on what is fresh and available: this dedication to great ingredients has earned The Lion Inn an AA rosette. For those who would like the celebrations to continue, there’s the option of staying the night in one of The Lion’s eight individually designed, double en suite rooms. The inn prides itself on being family and dog friendly, providing an ideal venue for many different types of occasion.
THE PLOUGH INN, Kelmscott
01367 253543 / GL7 3HG / theploughinnkelmscott.com
Tucked away in the village of Kelmscott, near Lechlade, The Plough Inn re-opened last year following an extensive renovation. The main building is a 17th century Grade II listed Cotswold stone inn, while the former stable block houses a fabulous private dining space, The Hideaway Bar, overlooking the inn’s pretty beer garden. Inside, co-owner Lana Snow has created a chic, rustic ambiance with painted walls, limestone tiled floors and quirky, vintage finds such as pendant lighting, trestle tables and wooden stools. Behind the bar, craft beers, bottles of liqueur and glasses are displayed in crates made from recycled pallet wood.
Seating up to ten, The Hideaway Bar is available for private dinner parties, lunches and small parties. The Plough’s head chef, Matt Read, serves up an impressive à la carte menu of seasonal dishes, accompanied by a good range of craft ales, lagers, ciders and locally sourced artisan juices.
THE SHAVEN CROWN, Shipton-under-Wychwood
01993 830500 / OX7 6BA / theshavencrown.co.uk
The Shaven Crown was originally founded in the 14th century by the monks of Bruern Abbey to house pilgrims and as a hospice for the poor and needy. The inn has managed to retain its charm over the centuries and today is one of the oldest inns in the country, with its name playing tribute to its past. Following a careful refurbishment programme two years ago, the inn’s stylish, contemporary interior now complements the original features such as the 14th century gateway and the wonderful double-braced roof structure of the iconic Great Hall. Open fires, real ales and home-made food add character and charm to the atmospheric setting.
The private dining room, situated just off the courtyard, seats up to 10 people and is ideal for a business meeting, family celebration or intimate dinner party. Chef Jon Ineson takes great care and delight in hunting out the best local and regional ingredients for his seasonal dishes, with guests able to pre-order from the à la carte menu or enjoy bespoke dining. For larger numbers of up to 100, the whole property, with its seven en suite bedrooms, can be hired exclusively, providing a perfect space for weddings, cocktail parties or family reunions.
WILD GARLIC AND RAMSONS, Nailsworth
01453 832615 / GL6 0DB / wild-garlic.co.uk
Nailsworth restaurateurs Matthew and Hannah Beardshall offer two unique options for private dining: Wild Garlic and the new Ramsons. These two restaurants provide two very different private dining experiences. Wild Garlic, the Beardshall’s original venture, is housed in a double fronted Cotswold stone building with a sunny terrace facing Nailsworth’s Cossack square. The restaurant has held two AA rosettes ever since it opened in 2007 and, hired as a private venue, can accommodate up to 44 diners. The style of dining here is smart yet relaxed, bistro style. Highlights include confit duck leg, steaks, pork belly served with polenta and freshly made artisan pasta. It is an ideal space for Champagne brunches, weddings, anniversaries, book launches or artist previews.
Ramsons, just a stone’s throw from Wild Garlic, is also a fine dining restaurant and it is where chef patron Matthew really lets loose: his considerable chef’s pedigree is the star of the show. In this small, intimate dining venue, the focus is firmly on the food, with a menu that varies daily depending on what catches Matthew’s eye at the markets. The contemporary dining room suits smaller parties, with exclusive use for up to 20 diners. During the course of an evening, Matthew often pops out to explain elements of the dishes to interested diners, giving a ’Chef’s table’ feel to the whole experience. After enjoying these gastronomic delights, diners often retire to the four star accommodation available above