We had visitors over last weekend and instead of the typical touristy London visits, we decided (actually it was the crazy hubby) to go on a hiking weekend to Wales. Pen Y Fan was the chosen peak. Apparently this is the very trail that the SAS trains on…*gulp*…but we did it – and in psychotic wind in rain I might add…as if the trail wasn’t challenging enough! There were a few hairy moments on the hike that I thought the freezing wind was going to defeat us…geez, this can only make us stronger right??
Anyway, on the way to the Brecon Beacons in Wales, we stopped by beautiful Cotswolds – officially designated as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales. I do agree with whoever did the ‘designation’. Cotswolds is the quintessential English countryside that a local will be proud to show off. We stopped in two small towns – Burford and Burton-on-the-water.
It was in Burford that we stopped for lunch at Highway Inn – a 4-star bed and breakfast. The pub was awarded recommendation for 2010 in the Michelin Guide as well as the Good Pub Guide. It was also awarded an AA rosette for Food.
The original Highway Inn dates from way back in 1480 but it was bought over in 2006 and refurbished as a pub and B&B. I loved the décor of this place – bursting with character with little touches such as old farm boots, iron lamps, terracotta pots and more. Unlike the typical grimy English pub with sticky carpets and the unending whiffs of stale beer, the Highway Inn is cozy and inviting – bay windows, quilted cushions, dark wood dining tables and chairs and a small but beautiful courtyard in the back.
The menu boasts of classic English favourites like beer battered fish and chips and pork sausages and mash. All their dishes use local produce and they also promote local ales from the Cotswolds Brewing Company – which my friend was totally impressed with.
Between the six of us, we essentially ordered two meals. The girls ordered fish and chips and the guys had their sausage and mash. So I can’t really say much about the full menu now can I?
The beer battered fish was fresh and crisp, accompanied by chunky chips and fresh garden peas. It’s a classic dish – nothing wild about it – just a decently cooked piece of fish which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The sausages were succulent and delicious but I did find the onion sauce a tad on the sweet side and the mash was a little too runny. Then again, I’m not a big fan of mashed potatoes so I should stay away from further comments on the qualities of mash.
Decent food, beautiful environment, fresh clean country air. The Highway Inn was definitely a good stop for us before we ventured into the harrowing hike at Pen Y Fan.