A coffee with The Bower House
This month, we paid a visit to The Bower House in the pretty market town of Shipston-on-Stour. We chatted with their wonderful team over an oat milk flat white to learn all about their story, before having a nosy around...
How long have you been open?
We’ve been open for 5 years after purchasing the shop next door. The building used to be two separate shops; a ladies dress shop and a card shop to the front which were both open for around 15 years.
Tell us more about the Interior Design of the restaurant & rooms? We’re obsessed!
Everything was decorated by our wonderful Director, who isn’t an interior designer by profession but just has incredible taste! There were lots of visits to London, trawling round flea markets and antiques stores. It even took three days to hang all the artwork as everything was templated; there’s a mixture of vintage art pieces, modern prints and family paintings.
Why did you decide to open in Shipston-on-Stour?
It’s owned by a family who are local to the area. They always had a huge passion for food and dreamt of opening a restaurant with rooms, somewhere that locals could come and relax but that also acted as a base for visitors staying in the area.
Tell us more about the hotel side of the business…
We only have five rooms so we’re fairly small but always busy! We’ve noticed a huge increase in mid-week stays and it’s an incredibly diverse group of people who stay with us. We’re only down the road from Blackwell Grange, so we often get groups of wedding guests checking in, or couples who have booked the Gin & Whisky at The Cotswolds Distillery in nearby Stourton. Our visitors are here predominantly for leisure rather than work and come from everywhere from the Highlands, London and Cornwall, which is great as we meet a wonderful mix of people!
What is a typical day like at The Bower House?
We start our breakfast service at 9am until 11am then serve lunch until 3pm and dinner from 6pm. We’re always busy in the restaurant, even midweek thanks to locals and returning customers. Other restaurants rely on TripAdvisor etc to bring people in, but we love that most locals know us and eat here and recommend us to friends and family. Our bar stays open all day too serving coffee, drinks and cocktails!
Ah yes, we’ve already spotted the cocktail menu, it looks great!
Yes the cocktails are really popular! We often come up with new creations for the menu, which we cost up and then get the whole team to taste them. The kitchen team always insist on trying them too, just like they come up with new dishes that we all try, they love to sample the cocktails too and we can’t say we blame them!
Speaking of your menu, what’s your most popular dish?
At the moment it’s the Cotswolds lamb, which is served with courgette and basil. The Place was really popular a couple of weeks ago while the weather was warmer as it’s such a great light, summery dish and fantastic when paired with a white wine!
Do you locally source your ingredients?
As much as we can, yes. Obviously we’re as far from the sea as you can get in the middle of England so the seafood unfortunately isn’t local! But the fruit and veg is locally sourced and the meat is always from a local butchers.
What would you say to somebody looking to visit or move to the area?
As functioning market town’s go, we think Shipston is up there as one of the best…as do The Times, who recently voted us the 8th best place to live in the UK! We’re right in the middle of everything…only 15-20 minutes from all the picturesque chocolate-box villages like Chipping Norton, Chipping Campden and Bourton-on-the-Water, and also 15-20 minutes from the larger towns of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick and Cheltenham. There are regular trains from Moreton-in-Marsh (just down the road), so you can be in London within 50 minutes too and if you love walking, you’ll be spoilt for choice with stunning routes and rambling opportunities…
Finally, what’s next for you…
To make The Bower House even better! We really want to put both The Bower House and Shipston-on-Stour on the map. We’re already popular with the existing locals, but there are even more new homes being built in the town and surrounding areas so we want them to know we’re here. More often than not people go to work, come home and rarely venture into the local area due to the business of modern life. So we want to spread the word that we’re here and encourage people to support the amazing independent businesses that Shipston offers!
Thank you to the lovely Bower House team for chatting to us, we can’t wait to book our next stay…
All images: Rachel Ghent Photography