The Inspector calls at a Cotswolds pub where everything is just about right – including the price…
- The George Inn near Barford St Michael has nine rooms – three in the main building and six in a former stables
- The Inspector pays £110 for bed and breakfast, and admires the antique bed and brass coat rack in his room
- In the pub, he dines on tuna ceviche and beef medallion topped off with a faultless creme brulee dessert
No getting away from it. The Cotswolds in spring is a treat. And if you live near the village of Barford St Michael, near Banbury, you’ll pleased at what’s been going on at The George Inn.
In 2016, this 17th-century thatched boozer (which clearly didn’t have enough boozers to make it viable) was bought by a husband-and-wife team who have transformed it, with three rooms in the main building and six in the former stables at the back, which lead directly on to the terrace and garden.
Rather too directly, actually, especially in summer when people will be eating al fresco. And I can’t work out why the ‘garden rooms’ have clear glass in the doors at such a height that anyone can see in. Perhaps, it was a planning issue.
The George Inn is a 17th-century thatched pub-with-rooms near the village of Barford St Michael, near Banbury
The Inspector likes the price of his room at The George Inn – £110 B&B – and also admires the antique bed and bedside tables
In 2016, the pub was bought by a husband-and-wife team who have transformed it, the Inspector reveals
Speaking of heights, the TV on the wall is way too high and the same can be said about the wall lights. Minor quibbles.
We like the antique bed and bedside tables (but not the synthetic pillows), the two delicious chocolates waiting by the espresso machine, the big bottles of Blenheim Palace water and the brass coat rack like the ones you used to find in British Rail carriages.
We like the price, too: £110 B&B. But what we appreciate most are the food and the atmosphere in the flagstone-floor pub.
A freestanding bath in one of the pub’s nine rooms. There are three rooms in the main building and six in the former stables at the back
Some of the pub’s rooms lead directly on to the terrace and garden, pictured above
The Inspector writes: ‘What we appreciate most are the food and the atmosphere in the flagstone-floor pub (pictured)’
The Inspector describes the pub’s decor as a ‘traditional refurb with twists’ and highlights the ‘framed posters of blockbuster movies’ on its walls
One of the desserts that diners can look forward to at The George Inn
There’s a fancy a la carte menu, plus classics such as fish and chips, a posh hamburger and charcuterie to share.
My tuna ceviche is outstanding and so is the beef medallion with pickled shallots and salsify. I’m surprised there’s no cheese option with the desserts, but I can’t fault the vanilla creme brulee.
Staff are bright and enthusiastic, and somehow, the décor works. One wall features a cow, sheep and pig garlanded with flowers; another has framed LP covers: the Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix.
But this is no rock ’n’ roll pub — more a traditional refurb with twists, such as framed posters of blockbuster movies (Gone With The Wind, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and a row of red cinema seats by the loos.
You have to choose what you want for breakfast the night before, which never feels right. But my scrambled eggs with avocado on sourdough set me up for the day perfectly. As does an audience with two adorable, white Shetland ponies in the field behind the car park.
The George Inn, Barford St Michael, Banbury, OX15 0RH.
Doubles are priced from £110 B&B. For more information, call 01869 338160, or visit thegeorgebarford.co.uk.