Perfect for an Autumn break, The Crown at Church Enstone in West Oxfordshire, was recently taken over by experienced hospitality stars, Matt and Katie Beamish, who also run acclaimed foodie pub with rooms, The Kingham Plough and dining hub, The Hare at Milton.
The couple bought The Crown in September 2022, following on from the success of the Kingham Plough, which Matt and Katie took over from chef patron and Great British Menu winner, Emily Watkins, in late 2019. Matt and Katie also own and run village dining pub, The Hare at Milton-under-Wychwood, on the Oxfordshire /Gloucestershire borders, and which they acquired in August 2020.
The husband-and-wife team had been on the lookout for a suitable third pub site in the local area for some time, and were thrilled to be taking on The Crown, a beautiful, Cotswold stone building, at the heart of the picture-perfect village of Church Enstone. “This hidden gem of a pub in a gorgeous village is so warm and inviting and heaving with old-world charm,“ says Matt Beamish. “We couldn’t have found a place in a more idyllic setting.”
The re-launch sees a highly skilled brigade headed up by former Kingham Plough sous chef, Jason Christie. Jason is passionate about creating and serving stunning seasonal menus of fantastic modern British dishes at breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, whilst championing the very best fresh, local produce available. Expect innovative twists, re-imagined pub classics and daily changing specials alongside an all-day, seasonal Bar Snack Menu, a Sunday Roasts and Children’s Menu and for dogs; water bowls and biscuits. Vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options are always available.
Behind the flagstoned bar with working fireplace, a newly curated wine list, weekly changing local and guest ales and artisanal soft drinks on offer.
Prior to its re-opening, The Crown underwent a sensitive refurbishment of its ground floor bar and adjoining dining rooms in a relaxed palette of inky blues, soft greens and greys and hand-blocked wallpapers and fabrics by Rapture & Wright. Exposed oak beams, rendered Cotswold stone walls, reclaimed timber floors softened with Turkish kilims and locally sourced vintage and antique furnishings, original contemporary artworks and old photographs and prints, create a charming country pub vibe. To one side of the pub, an old lean-to conservatory is now a beautiful, plant-filled garden room with French doors leading directly onto a sunny walled, cottage garden with mature plants and climbers in amongst the seating areas, including a new sunken garden area edged by dry stone walls and surrounded by cottage garden plants, and a new head chef veg garden growing seasonal vegetables, summer herbs and chilis.
Above the pub, five bedrooms finished to a very high spec and named after neighbouring villages and hamlets come with Kingsize double / twin beds with Ambassador mattresses, upholstered velvet, linen or natural leather headboards. Extra comforting touches include hypoallergenic duvets and pillows covered with crisp white linen and cotton quilts by Soak & Sleep, alongside velvet cushions, chic table lamps, cosy armchairs and lovely views over the village.
Luxurious and spacious en-suite bathrooms feature stand-alone tubs and powerful walk-in or above-bath showers tiled in bold, contemporary style.
The Beamishs’ more recently bought and refurbished the cottage and studio next door to The Crown. The Cottage/Studio offers two additional bedrooms, both en-suite, a fully equipped kitchen, sitting room and rear patio space. Doubles from £225.00 with a minimum two-night stay on a B&B basis.
Surrounded by glorious Cotswolds’ countryside The Crown lies at the heart of the beautifully preserved Cotswolds village of Church Enstone. close to Chipping Norton, Blenheim Palace, Bicester Village and Soho Farmhouse. Church Enstone also boasts St Kenelms’, a gorgeous 12th century Saxon church with a Norman doorway and mentioned in the Canterbury Tales. The Crown was originally built to accommodate the workers who restored and developed the Church in the 16th Century. Rumour has it that Charles I once stayed at the inn (and why it is called the Crown) when he visited from Oxford.
The Crown Inn, Mill Lane, Church Enstone, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 4NN; To book, call 01608 677 262 or visit www.crowninnenstone.co.uk
How to get to Church Enstone
By Car. Church Enstone is less than 90 minutes from London by car and lies ½ mile off the A44 Oxford to Evesham Road. Off-road car parking for five cars available alongside the inn.
On foot. The village of Church Enstone lies close to the famous walking route, Shakespeare’s Way, and is easily accessible.
Bar open from 11am daily
Dining Monday - Saturday 12 - 2.30pm and 18.00 - 21.00
Sunday Bar open 11.00 - 21.00. Sunday lunch 12.00 - 15.00
Covers – 60. The garden room can also be booked for private dining for 18 and the rear walled garden seats 30.
Room rates and facilities
The Crown’s double/twin and cottage rooms from £150 a night for two people on a B&B basis. Dogs are permitted for overnight stays in the Lidstone room above pub and at the Cottage/Studio for an extra £10 a night - bed and bowl provided.
Breakfast specialities include a delicious Crown Full English, home-made breads, locally made jams and marmalades and honey.
All rooms include:
Flatscreen freeview TV
Roberts digital radio
Tea and coffee-making facilities, fresh milk, bottled water and treats
Robes – Cotswold Linen
Crowd - Welcomes everyone. Bookings of eight or more are asked to pre-order from the menu a few days in advance.
Local suppliers and artisan producers
The Crown is proud to source from and support local artisan suppliers and produce from local farms. These include:
Meat from Paddock Farm
Fresh, daily deliveries of seafood and responsibly sourced fish from the South Coast from New Wave Seafood & Kingfisher
Fruit, vegetables & herbs from local suppliers and farmers
Eggs from Cacklebean Eggs
Cured meats from ‘Salt Pig’ Chipping Norton
Bread from Marks Cotswold Bakery, also based in Chipping Norton
To do and see in the area
Chipping Norton, 5 miles away, is an attractive Georgian market town with a wide range of independent boutiques, galleries, gift shops, cafes, an independent theatre, an antiques centre, open-air Lido, leisure centre, monthly Farmer’s market and a small museum.
Other nearby towns: Oxford, Woodstock, Bicester, Moreton-in-Marsh, Banbury, Stow-on-the-Wold, Stratford-upon-Avon
Great walks from the front door. Ask for one of the pub’s circular walking maps, from an easy 30-minute stroll through the village to a 90-minute hike to Soho Farmhouse.
Alternatively, guests can opt for a sightseeing and shopping trip to nearby Oxford, 22 miles away, Stratford-upon-Avon, 25 miles away or Bicester Village, 14 miles away.
Historic houses and gardens nearby: Chastleton, Rousham House & Garden, Hidcote Manor, Upton House & Garden, Snowshill Manor
A wide range of local events include Oxfordshire Artweeks (May), Feastival, Cornbury and Wilderness Festivals, Gifford Circus and Blenheim Horse Trials.
All photography taken by Ben Nicholson www.snappyben.co.uk