Hidden away in north-east Gloucestershire is the attractive market town of Moreton-in-Marsh. The town is the only one in the Cotswolds with a mainline railway station, making it easily accessible from several destinations including London Paddington, Oxford and Worcester.
The railway line isn’t the only thoroughfare, the town sits along the old Fosse Road, built by Romans to travel from Lincoln to the West Country. It was later a main route for stagecoaches, with several historic inns still punctuating the route.
Old traditions still hold true in Moreton-in-Marsh. The town’s weekly market held on the High Street each Tuesday dates to a 1227 charter. It’s easily identifiable to visitors, by rows of striped awnings covering over 200 stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to handmade gifts, leather goods and textiles.
Places of Historic Interest
There are several places of historic interest in the town too, including 17th century coaching inn, the White Hart Hotel, frequented by King Charles I during the English Civil War. He used the inn for shelter and didn’t pay his bill – a copy of which is displayed on a plaque in the lobby. Visitors to the Cotswolds can book a room at the characterful hotel. Rooms are elegant and comfortable with plump pillows, stylish décor and even the odd original wooden beam.
The oldest building in the town is said to be Curfew Tower which was used to warn citizens of impending fires and was in daily use until the mid-1800s. Moreton-in-Marsh also has literary connections. It is claimed that JRR Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame was inspired by The Bell Inn, and ‘The Prancing Pony’ in Bree, Middle Earth, was based on it in the book and movie trilogy.
Shopping in Moreton-in-Marsh
In addition to markets and historic inns, the town is also a haven for shoppers. With independent Cotswold cheese shops, interior design emporiums, antique stores filled with jewels and treasures and art galleries showcasing works from local creatives, there’s much to keep day-trippers occupied.
Where to Dine in Moreton-in-Marsh
Dining in Moreton-in-Marsh is a treat with gastro pubs, quaint cafes and quintessentially English tearooms serving delicious treats. There are also Indian, Italian and Asian restaurants for those who enjoy global flavours.
The Black Bear Inn on the High Street is a local haunt serving seasonal food and craft ales aside a roaring log fire and a tall wood carving of a black bear. Expect to feast on dishes like twice baked goats’ cheese and thyme souffle, Todenham Beef & Ale pie and traditional Sunday roasts in addition to a selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Things to do near Moreton-in-Marsh
There are also invigorating walks that circumnavigate the town, including the Sezincote House Loop, an intermediate self-guided hiking tour that covers 8.5 miles of rolling Cotswolds countryside, navigating pretty villages and local attractions.
Staying in Moreton-in-Marsh for a few days? Head for Batsford Arboretum. The country park is home to 65 acres of different tree and shrub species. It’s beautiful at any time of year with changing colours and floral displays and there’s a delightful café, shop and plant nursery to explore.
Take the children for a falconry lesson at the Cotswolds Falconry Centre. It is home to over 120 Birds of Prey, Owl Woods walks, plus, there are areas to observe the birds in their natural habitat and see curated displays from experts.
History enthusiasts can spend half a day at 400-year-old Jacobean Chastleton House and Gardens. The stately home dating to the 1600s, remains true to its heritage and looks almost the same as it did centuries ago. The house has a storied past, and you can take a tour to learn more.
Outdoor enthusiasts and keen anglers will adore a trip to Lemington Lakes. Sixty acres of water and woodlands await with abundant birdlife and Roe deer to discover. If you fancy staying near Moreton-in-Marsh, they also offer chalets, B&B rooms and caravan pitches close to the water’s edge.
If you’re travelling to Moreton-in-Marsh in autumn. The town holds an annual agricultural show on the first Saturday in September. It celebrates farming life past and present and gives you an insight into local living.
There’s so much to see and do around Moreton-in-Marsh you will be spoilt for choice, look at our other blog posts to discover more local attractions and to gain further inspiration for your Cotswolds trip!