Craving a charming autumn/winter mini break in the Cotswolds? Dreaming of cozy log fires and long country walks with your favourite person. Partial to gorging on traditional pub grub comfort food in quaint surroundings steeped in history?
Look no further than the Idyllic 17th century Cotswold stone village inn, The Crown at Church Enstone, near Chipping Norton. The perfect place to indulge in a chic yet cozy break, this charming home away from home is the ideal choice for stress-out city dwellers in search of some much needed rustic escapism.
I was invited to stay at The Crown during a particularly stressful time and It provided the tonic I needed in order to truly unwind.
Traditional chic in appearance from the outside, indoors the decor was inviting and homely. Upstairs resides five recently launched and luxurious rooms with stylish decor and home comforts such as tea and coffee making facilities. This month also saw the grand opening of a new, fully refurbished two-bed self-catering cottage next door to the pub and another one bed studio space adjoining Crown Cottage.
Anyone in search of a festive break with a wholesome edge will be pleased to know that from Friday 29th November – Monday 23rd December, The Crown is offering special Christmas Party Menu group bookings at lunch and dinner, with £20 for 2 courses or £25 for 3 courses and available on a pre-booked only basis.
In the kitchen, chefs Chris Taylor and Christopher Sheppard, use the finest fresh and locally sourced produce to create stunning seasonal menus of modern British dishes and pub classics with innovative twists including a seasonally-changing à la carte menu, a ‘Crown Classics’ menu focusing on pub classics, a weekly changing Sunday lunch menu with two courses for £20 and three courses for £25pp.
There’s also a sandwich board menu and an enticing range of traditional British desserts and local cheeses. For children, The Crown offers half size, half-price portions of most dishes on the menus.
Vegans, vegetarians and those opposed to gluten are also taken care of with a tempting selection of home-cooked meals to tantalise even the fussiest tastebuds.
Crown owners and locals, Victoria and George Irvine, bought The Crown, their village pub in May 2018. Since taking over, they have added five new bedrooms upstairs and from 1st October 2019, a newly refurbished 2 bed cottage next door providing additional accommodation for up to 4 people.
The Crown is now central to village life and a real community hub, welcoming both locals and visitors to the area whilst consistently offering standout food and carefully selected ales, wines and ciders served in comfortable and well-styled surroundings.
George, a renowned local artist, and Victoria, chose a simple, rustic palette of soft greys and chalky whites to create a fresh, relaxing vibe that complements and highlights the inn’s airy interiors and its many original features, including exposed oak beams, flagstone and reclaimed timber floors overlaid with Turkish kilims.
The inn’s walls display original contemporary landscapes, photographs and prints by George Irvine (all for sale) alongside works by other local artists. George has also created illustrations for the pub’s signage, blackboard displays, menus, wine list and walking maps.
Furnishings include quality scrubbed pine table with bouquets of fresh flowers from the Irvine’s garden and antique pieces and quirky vintage finds sourced locally in the Bar and adjoining dining spaces, seating up to 65, include a conservatory (also available for private lunches, dinners, meetings and events). Collections of cookbooks and modern art tomes adorn windowsills and in the main hallway, a graffitied upright piano accompanies regular singalongs and at Christmas, carol singers.
Locally based, general manager and celebrity sheep trainer, Felicity Wilson, and her well-trained team of friendly and efficient staff welcome regulars, families, walkers, cyclists and dogs. Dogs are well catered for with treats and water bowls available at the bar. There’s also one dog-friendly bedroom available for overnight stays for an extra £10 a night.
Upstairs, each of The Crown’s five very comfortable and spacious guestrooms, all en-suite, are named after neighbouring villages and hamlets. Warming and sophisticated, each share a comforting, high-end feel using an inspired mix of styles that blend creams and whites with reclaimed timber floors, neutral carpets and hand-printed wallpapers and fabrics by Rapture & Wright. Exposed oak beams, rendered Cotswold stone walls and other architectural details add character along with locally sourced vintage and antique finds and original artworks by George and other local artists.
Spacious and luxuriously fitted bathrooms, two with stand-alone tubs and all with powerful walk-in or above-bath showers, are tiled in bold, contemporary style and feature locally made toiletries by 100 Acres, tea and coffee-making facilities, fresh milk and seasonal treats.
Breakfast specialities include a delicious Crown Full English, home-made breads, locally made jams and marmalades and honey from a friend’s hives and hand-pressed apple juice.
Surrounded by glorious Cotswolds countryside The Crown lies at the heart of the beautifully preserved Cotswolds village of Church Enstone. close to Chipping Norton, Blenheim Palace, Bicester Village and Soho Farmhouse. Church Enstone also boasts St Kenelms’, a gorgeous 12th century Saxon church with a Norman doorway and which is mentioned in the Canterbury Tales. The Crown was originally built to accommodate the workers who restored and developed the Church in the 16th Century. Rumour has it that Charles I once stayed at the inn (and why it is called the Crown) when he came to visit from Oxford.
If its good enough for royalty….
The Crown Inn, Mill Lane, Church Enstone, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 4NN; To book, call 01608 677 262 or visit www.crowninnenstone.co.uk and for more information on George Irvine visit www.georgeirvinefineart.co.uk