Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds are bursting with independent businesses to champion.

Britain is awash with beautiful, inventive and idiosyncratic small businesses to sing about – and never have we wanted to celebrate them more. As part of a new series, we will be showcasing the best each region in the British Isles has to offer, from foodie brands to indie businesses to places to stay to shops to browse. We will keep updating each guide. If you have a business you’d like to nominate, tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #GWGbestof

Food & Drink



Nettlebed Creamery




‘Good food, beautiful countryside and respect for people underpin everything we do,’ says Rose Grimond, who founded the Nettlebed Creamery on her family’s farm in Oxfordshire in 2015. She and her team have been churning out award-winning organic cheese, unhomogenised milk, kefir and cultured butter ever since. Order online – or, even better, discover the delights of the Creamery’s charming Cheese Hatch.

Upton Smokery




Specialising in exquisite smoked meat, fish, biltong and seasonings, the Upton Smokery is nestled in rolling Cotswold countryside and well worth a visit. Their Gravadlax is unforgettable.

The Orange Bakery




An enchanting father and daughter team run this tiny Watlington bakery. Their sourdough and cinnamon rolls are legendary. But be fast: they close up when they sell out, which is usually around 1pm.

Horsebox Coffee Co.




In 2014, Emily Stewart combined her passion for (and knowledge of) coffee with her love for her childhood horsebox and created Horsebox Coffee Co. The lovingly converted horsebox now tours Oxfordshire serving impeccably sourced speciality coffee at festivals, parties and farmers markets.

Phenology




‘Phenology’ is the scientific study of the seasonal natural phenomena of plant and animal life. It is the perfect name for this sensational food-delivery service. Using produce from their walled garden, they create a magical menu of meals, treats and pantry staples and deliver them to addresses in the local area. Orders via Instagram and WhatsApp.

Hotels



The Wheatsheaf Inn




This 17th-century coaching inn represents the best of the British countryside – think roaring fires, beautiful gardens, exquisite food and beds to lose yourself in at the end of it all.

Artist Residence




Set in idyllic Oxfordshire countryside, the quirky décor, shepherds huts, copper baths and perfectly curated art collection here will turn even the most cynical of heads. The attention to bonkers detail is second to none.

The Bull Inn




Whatever florist Willow Crossley turns her hand to works – and this pub with rooms that she owns with her husband is no exception. In the heart of the pretty village of Charlbury, the Bull Inn is just how you’d make your home look if your taste was as good as Crossley’s. Everything, from the wallpaper in the loos to the burgers on the menu, is lovely.

Thyme




This impeccable ‘village within a village’ is all things to all men. It is basically an enclosed collection of restored historic buildings, including rooms, cottages, restaurants, bars, a spa, a cookery school and gardens to die for. Nobody could have a bad time here.

The Rectory




Elegant, timeless and deeply comfortable, this hotel is hard to leave – except to go on a wonderful walk from its honeyed doorstep. Relaxation is so strongly encouraged that the wherewithal is laid out for you to make your own Bloody Mary at breakfast.

Shopping



Burford Garden Centre




Sure, you can get top-notch plants and copious advice at this garden centre on steroids. But you can also buy beautifully packaged specialty food, an edit of very chic clothes, paintings by local artists, proper sticks of furniture you will love for ever and the best selection of toys for miles around.

Hadeda




A newcomer to the market town of Chipping Norton, Hadeda is a lifestyle brand that collaborates with talented artisans all over Africa. It is a cornucopia of hand-woven baskets, cane furniture, cushions, towels and ceramics. Buy online or ring ahead for a visit to the showroom.

Objects of Use




Tucked away in an Oxford side street, this shop is for all the people out there who get the boundless joy of a utility room. Its collection of beautiful household tools is sourced from around the globe; these are simple things that quietly improve the quality of everyday life. Feather dusters, enamel teapots, the perfect towel hooks. If you know, you know.

Cutter Brooks




Deep pockets are required at this haven in Stow on the Wold. It sells clothes, homewares, scents and stationary of such delicate beauty that you feel transported to another world.

Jaffe & Neale




Imagine your dream bookshop and Jaffe & Neale will come to mind. Its tables and shelves are stocked with books that you really do want to read; its cake and coffee warm the cockles of your heart; and its peaceful vibes welcome you to browse indefinitely.

By Becky Ladenburg
March 2021

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.

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