Old Swan & Minster Mill
What We Love
- Full English breakfast is included in the rate
- Idyllic setting in a cute Cotswold village surrounded by thatch-roofed cottages
- Tons of original features dating from the 15th century
- Sloe gin, tea, coffee and shortbread cookies provided in the rooms
What To Know
- A car is essential if you want to explore the area. The nearest train station (Charlbury) is seven miles away
- It’s pet-friendly; dogs can be accommodated for an additional $30 per day
- Spa treatments are available, but there are plans for a pool, sauna and steam room in early 2015
- There is a minimum two-night stay policy on a Saturday
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
Surrounded by 60 acres of wildflower meadow, the Old Swan & Minster Mill is a 15th-century coaching inn in the heart of the Cotswolds, a 90-minute drive from London. Clad in traditional honey-hued stone, this idyllic country pad is as cozy as it is characterful. Inside, it’s a warren of creaky-floored nooks and crannies complete with beam ceilings, rugged stone floors and crackling fires. The property is split into two parts: The original inn is home to a pub, restaurant and 16 guestrooms, and the newer Minster Mill contains sleek chalet-style quarters overlooking the babbling river Windrush.
Bed and Bath
In the original chunk of the property, rooms are reached by a wooden spiral staircase and lead off wonky corridors dotted with arty photos. They’re named after local luminaries or previous guests (Richard III, Churchill, Gladstone) and have a homey country house vibe, with thick stone walls, beam ceilings and quirky alcoves. Mighty wooden bed frames are piled high with pillows and burgundy bedspreads, and hot water bottles are tucked under the covers as part of the turn-down service. Writing bureaus are topped with glossy Cotswolds mags, a decanter of sloe gin, tea pots and shortbread cookies, and light-flooded bathrooms are dressed with fresh flowers and stocked with products from the White Company. The 40 chalet-style rooms in the two-tier Minster Mill were added in the 1970s, and all have sleek bathrooms and giant windows overlooking the gardens and river. Some come with private courtyards with firepits.
Grab a board game or a newspaper and sip a pint of real ale by the fire if the weather doesn’t allow you to take advantage of the deck chairs in the garden. Hearty pub grub is served during the day, and souped-up gastro classics are offered in the evening (Oxfordshire farm belly pork with mash and cider jus, Wychwood Forest venison, a mammoth cheese board heaving with hunks from Gloucestershire farms). Breakfast is taken in a wood-paneled room off the bar decorated with gilt-framed oil paintings, tapestries and wrought iron chandeliers, and it showcases an impressive lineup of locavore treats including fresh honeycomb and eggs laid by hens in the garden. The grounds are home to a croquet lawn, tennis courts and a petanque court, and bikes and fishing equipment can be rented from reception.
How to Get There
My family of 11 people travelled from the states (Texas, to be specific) to England. On 8 July 2019 we travelled into the Cotswolds, starting in Minster Lovell to look at the ruins. For lunch, just down the street of the car park we were in there is an old Inn and Restaurant called the Old Swan. Walking inside is like you’re being transported back in time, and the ambiance is only part of the experience. The food and the presentation is almost as incredible as the town. Inside the restaurant, there are small tables in multiple different rooms, a fireplace in almost every room, and it looked like you could reserve a room for a large party. Our group of 11 sat in one room in the front of the restaurant right outside the bar as this was the most accessible (they have portable ramps for wheelchairs or anyone else who can’t make it up stairs, there are very few stairs though). Because it is a pub, you look at your menu and order at the bar, but the waitresses were very accommodating for my uncle who wanted to take the family’s orders just for the fun of it. The food came out very quickly and was still hot and fresh and not to mention absolutely delicious. Many people in our party, including me, had the afternoon tea which comes with a savory tray, a sweet tray, and your choice of tea or coffee. The wild boar sausage was my absolute favorite but nearly everyone that tried the egg salad sandwhich said it was the best egg salad they had ever eaten. The sweets tray was just as delicious with the salted caramel dessert being a crowd favorite. As a suggestion, I’d say get the Strawberry Mango as your tea selection it was probably the best hot tea i’ve ever tasted. All in all, our experience at the Old Swan was incredible and if I could go back I definitely would, I highly recommend to everyone visiting Oxford or even just driving past, it’s worth every minute of the detour.
Popped in for lunch.Not your average pub food on the menu which was a little refreshing ie no burgers,scampie,ploughmans except for fish n chips.
Despite this I ordered pollock n chips but was told it was not available so, then asked if I could have the rare beef starter but doubled up ? Was told chef would give me as much as possible. I was happy to pay double the price.
What appeared after a 30 minute wait was disappointing. Instead of what I would usually expect, rare roast beef slice of rib, I was served 1cm thick slices of medium cooked cold steak on a doorstop of tough ciabatta. Bizzare
Apart from this, great location and charming setting.
Will return out of season and hopefully find some simpler British pub food on the menu.I like a chef to be experimental however in this case its not working.
There's nothing wrong with good British pub food if it is done well.
This is a 1485 lodging that is absolutely charming! It is on a lane with wonderful thatched roof houses. One can walk up the road and find an ancient ruin where you can bring a picnic. The staff was excellent, helpful and charming. The food was fantastic and breakfast is included! The Cotswolds should not be missed and nor should the Old Swan Inn Minster Lovell!