Last month (June), hubby and I visited the north Cotswolds for part one of our ‘Babymoon’, and on our second night there we stayed at The Howard Arms. Even with the weather being less than ideal upon our visit, we were immediately charmed driving up to this quaint village gastro pub and B&B.
We stayed in ‘The Village Room’, unusual in that it had windows on two sides of the room – giving us views onto the village green (including a beautiful chestnut tree) and also of the well tended gardens (pictured below).
Taste of the Country, a fab independent food retailer down the road in Shipston on Stour.
Having discovered the night previous on our visit to The Bower House that Evesham asparagus was a local delicacy, this time it was Chris’ turn to sample the asparagus, as it came with Parma ham which unfortunately I’m not currently permitted (boo!).
Chris informs me the asparagus was perfectly cooked, maintaining just enough bite (because nobody likes limp asparagus right?) and the salty parma ham with poached egg and Hollandaise proved as ever, a classic combination. The pastry nestled underneath wasn’t a particularly necessary addition, but a tasty treat that my ever hungry husband enjoyed.
I went for the spiced lamb kofta kebab to start, served with red pepper salsa, tzatziki and herb pitta bread. For me this was an absolute highlight, (with the fact I’m beginning to salivate as I type being testament to that fact..!) Being a bit of a fusspot I don’t generally like lamb so Chris was a little shocked by my choice, however I don’t mind it minced with lots of spices (as a teen I loved a ‘seekh kebab’ at the local Indian) and this was a superb example of that.
The kebab itself was delicious, the accompaniments tasted incredibly fresh and zingy, the pitta bread homemade. It was for me the perfect summer starter, and in all honesty if they did a bigger portion I’d have had it for lunch the next day too!! Planning my next trip back just so I can order it again. Yum!
For my main meal, I moved onto the local ale battered haddock, served with chips, peas and tartare sauce. An excellent sized portion of fish in a light crispy batter, my only disappointment with this was that it was served with fries rather than the promised chips – but that’s preference on my part, I’m just not a fries person! On the other hand, I am definitely a peas person, so I was very pleased to see there were plenty of peas!! The tartare sauce also tasted fresh/homemade… Can’t stand the long life stuff!!
Chris decided to go for the steak, which came with a leafy salad, roasted vine tomato, mushroom, fries and peppercorn sauce. I didn’t try any but he polished off the lot pretty quickly (even the mushroom, which he’s not generally keen on) which is a good enough recommendation for me!
For puddings, we went for the Mississipi Mud Pie and Apple Tart. They were both very attractive and generous sized portions, but possibly more winter type puddings than summer? The apple tart was particularly dense, and more like apple cake in texture, which while delicious was just a little heavy.
You may also notice no black pudding there – Chris isn’t a fan so asked for this to be omitted.
My salmon and eggs were very tasty, and I was happy there was only one slice of toast hiding underneath as this is how I do it at home – give me all the protein! That said the buttered granary toast was delicious.
We really enjoyed our stay at The Howard Arms. We had a really warm welcome and our room was large and comfortable. I loved the country pub vibe combined with delicious food, and it was perfectly located not just for walks in the surrounding village but for exploring the north Cotswolds or Stratford upon Avon and Shakespeare country.
Our visit to The Howard Arms was gifted, but this has not swayed or influenced this post in any way. No one at The Howard Arms has been able to view or approve this content prior to me publishing. I’ve trusted husband to help with a sanity/fact check, so if you spot any errors please let me know but also be aware it’s not just my fault 🤣
Where: The Howard Arms, Lower Green, Ilmington, CV36 4LT
As ever – thank you for reading!
Lizzie (with a little help from Christoff) xxx
P.s. since writing this our new addition has arrived, which delayed publication a little! So welcome to the world (and my blog 😆) Beatrice Jennifer Anne George 🐘💕👶🏻