A Charming Cotswolds Escape: The Black Horse, Salford
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A Charming Cotswolds Escape: The Black Horse, Salford

This pub with rooms is the perfect place for a cosy staycation

 It’s earned a reputation as the place where the well-heeled go to weekend. But in the chocolate-box pretty Cotswolds, The Black Horse is a thriving local pub offering a more down-to-earth experience and some of the best food in the region – plus, a new one-bedroom cottage, if you fancy stopping a little longer. Kirsty Nutkins reviews.

Review: The Black Horse, Salford

Cottage bedroom with colourful wool quilt and white bedding.

Credit: Sarah Frances Kelley

STAY

The Black Horse is tucked away in the idyllic village of Salford, not far from Chipping Norton and the Neolithic Rollright Stones, and was re-opened in September 2023 following extensive renovation. 

The newest addition to the Lionhearth group of hotels, which also includes The Chequers in Churchill and The Swan in Ascott-under-Wychwood (and will be followed by The Cock in Combe this summer), it’s a stylish but snug gastropub that’s been decked out with the same attention to detail as its sister pubs.

Dark antique wood, classic panelling, a maroon and forest green colour scheme, mahogany-coloured leather banquettes and a roaring inglenook invite you in, but it’s the delicious locally-sourced food that really makes you want to linger.  

And luckily, that’s not a problem: the small but perfectly formed Salford Cottage is located just behind the pub, offering a bedroom suite, elegant lounge and fully equipped kitchenette. Like the pub, this Cotswold stone property is decorated in pale green and neutral tones, with panelling, ceiling beams and the deepest, squidgiest sofas to snuggle down in. 

The cottage is dog-friendly, too, and is set on one level, making it easily accessible.

EAT

Gastropub dining room with red banquette seating and wooden chairs.

Head chef Dan Smith – who was formerly head chef at The Swan, and whose CV also includes Gidleigh Park and Lower Slaughter Manor – whips up pub classics set around a grill and rotisserie, all sourced within 20 miles where possible. 

The menu features generous prime rib or porterhouse cuts, pork belly and sea bass with salt-baked celeriac, and you should also take a punt on the goat skewers to start (you won’t be disappointed). If you still have room, we highly recommend the doughnuts or the spotted dick drenched in oodles of custard. There’s also a selection of local beers and an impressive wine menu.

DO

Cottage living room with grey sofa and fresh pastries on the table beside.

Credit: Sarah Frances Kelley

Just two and a half miles from Chipping Norton, The Black Horse is perfectly placed to enjoy the endless walks in the Cotswold countryside – which is just as well, given the amount of food you may end up eating here!

Many popular routes pass by the front door, such as the Chipping Norton to Rollright Stones loop, through the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A hand-drawn paper map in the cottage is a lovely touch and provides inspiration, too.

A short drive away is the famous Daylesford Organic Farm Shop, Soho Farmhouse, Bourton-on-the-Water – one of the prettiest Cotswolds villages, with the gently flowing River Windrush running through the centre – and Stow-on-the-Wold, which is home to many antique shops and galleries. And it’s only 15 minutes from the chocolate box village of Kingham, where trains from London arrive in less than 90 minutes.

THE FINAL WORD

Exterior of The Black Horse gastropub in Salford

The Black Horse has nailed the posh pub vibe, but despite this it’s cosy and unpretentious. Set in the heart of the Cotswolds’ most picturesque countryside and a stone’s throw from some of its most famous villages, this is the perfect place to bed down for a cosy winter weekend break. 

BOOK IT

Prices at The Salford Cottage at The Black Horse start from £185 per night (sleeps two). lionhearth.co.uk

Kirsty travelled by car to The Black Horse, with a carbon footprint of 0.051 t. ecollectivecarbon.com