Nestled in the small Cotswolds village of Cold Aston between Cheltenham and Bourton-on-the-water, The Plough Inn is a true country pub. Michael Purton spent the night there.

The Plough is run by husband-and-wife Tom and Josie Hughes, with her brother Christopher also a major part of the team, and this manifests in the family-like atmosphere of the picturesque inn – the barman, a New Zealander who has made the Cotswolds his home, welcomes guests with the warmth of a relative and the staff chat away with customers like they're entertaining friends.

Family friends since the age of three, Tom and Josie's lives took very different directions before they ended up together and then at the Plough. Tom went to Oxford before a stint as a consultant based on Carnaby Street in London, while Josie enjoyed the high life of acting school in New York. Their passion for food, drink, hospitality and design ultimately brought them to Cold Aston, with two children in tow, to take charge at The Plough.

The grade II listed, 17th Century Plough, with its old flagstones, original beams and roaring fire, comes across as the quintessential Cotswold country inn and is also an ideal base for exploring the North Cotswolds and beyond.

That roaring fire was very welcome on the winter weekend that we visited The Plough. The warm, amber-lit bar was the perfect antidote to the cold, rainy evening as we sat down for a drink (a pint of the Cotswold Cider Co's NoBrainer at £4.20 for me, and a glass of the Picpoul de Pinet, Dom De La Serre, Languedoc, 2017 at £6.75 for 175ml for her). I'm something of a cider snob and find Cotswold Cider Co to be right up there with Dunkertons as the best in the business at the moment, and my companion, who normally drinks Sauvignon blanc, was pleasantly surprised by the Picpoul de Pinet.

We began our meal with the Windrush Farm mutton scrumpet for me and the heritage beetroot & goat’s curd with caramelised baby onions and rocket oil for her (£8.50 each). For main, I chose the 30+day aged sirloin steak with confit tomato, Portobello mushroom and French fries (£24) and blue cheese & truffle sauce (£2.50), while she opted for the fillet of stonebass with greens and fries (£18). For dessert, it was the dark chocolate and cointreau parfait with chocolate orange ice cream (£6.50) for me, and the apple and raisin crumble with custard (£6.50) for her.

The entire meal was superb – everything was spot on: flavour, presentation and portion size. This was way beyond quality pub grub and into fine dining territory and, as you can see, the prices are reasonable.

The Plough has three ensuite double rooms, starting from £80, which, although not exactly huge, are perfectly adequate for a couple for an overnight stay. The kingsize beds are comfortable and the bathrooms are stocked with luxury 100 Acres toiletries, and the rooms have been renovated and decorated to preserve the character of the grade II listed building. We certainly had no complaints, but if you're planning to spend most of the time in your room rather than in the bar or out exploring the Cotswolds, you may find the rooms a bit basic.

Breakfast, served in the main bar, was simply a full English with a vegetarian variant if required. There was no buffet of cereals and bread but there was muesli. Whether or not you're a fan of a full English will dictate whether you're impressed by the breakfast at The Plough. I was, especially the coffee.

After breakfast, we made the most of the Plough's location and embarked on a scenic walk through an avenue of trees to the nearby Notgrove estate. It was the perfect way to cap off a fantastic stay.

So, if you're looking for a weekend break in a quintessential Cotswold inn, The Plough at Cold Aston is pretty much perfect.

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