Arriving by car, you’ll pass sprawling fields awash with colour as far as the eye can see. You’ll find it hard to believe you’re just two and a half hours from London, as you feel the tension lift from your shoulders with every gentle curve of the winding road.
The Bell Inn sits a mere few minutes from Yew Tree, a traditional Cotswolds pub serving home-cooked food and real English ale. The Bell is also home to Beau, a French shorthaired shepherd dog.
Swalcliffe is a delightful little village with a population of under 300 people. At the helm is a small family run pub complete with open fire and friendly landlady. The well-respected equestrian centre ‘Swalcliffe Park’ is also located within the village, and is well known for the British trials that it holds.
About 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km) northeast of the village are the remains of an Iron Age hill fort on Madmarston Hill and the site of a Roman villa at Swalcliffe Lea. The hill fort is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The site of the villa is close to the course of a former Roman road running approximately east to west. Its course is now a bridleway. One authority asserts that there was a Roman or Romano-British village here.
Swalcliffe tithe barn was built for New College, Oxford in 1401–07. It has an almost completely intact medieval timber half-cruck roof and is considered the finest medieval tithe barn in Oxfordshire and one of the best examples in England. It is a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The barn is open free of charge on Sundays from Easter to October and houses part of the Oxfordshire Museum’s collection of traditional agricultural and trade vehicles and an exhibition of 2,500 years of Swalcliffe history. The building has similarities to the tithe barns at Adderbury and Upper Heyford, which also were built for New College around the beginning of the 15th century.
Looking for more? Close by are the towns of Chipping Norton (20 minutes), Stow-on-Wold (27 minutes) Burford (38 minutes)
If you are keen to do some shopping, Bicester Village is just 34 minutes drive.
Two miles from Yew Tree Cottage lies Broadway High Street. With ample parking behind the main road, it’s easily accessible by car. Take a leisurely stroll along Broadway High Street to explore the array of independent shops and enjoy fish and chips from Russells.
Unwind with a drink on the terrace at The Swan, in a prime position opposite the village green, where you’ll see children chasing after footballs. The recently refurbished pub is renowned for serving delicious dishes from a team of talented chefs. The terrace area is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of the summer concerts and festivals regularly held on the green, while the winter months play host to a series of live music nights in the warmth of the pub. Pop next door to Cheltenham House Antiques, selling lovingly hand-picked pieces of furniture, fine art and silver wear. The wisteria-draped Bakehouse serves artisan coffees and fresh, regional dishes. With gift shops scattered along the high street, there’s no excuse to go home empty-handed!