The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Bucks & Oxon Edition

Category: My Favourite Places

Where you going, Clover?

1 Feb 2017

When horse-mad Clover Stroud was just 16, her mother suffered a deadly riding accident, an event that detonated family life as Clover knew it. The Times and Telegraph journalist recounts her extraordinary story in The Wild Other, the most moving memoir you’ll read this year. (Warning: do not read it in public while wearing non-waterproof mascara – it’s a proper weepie). She’s lived all over the world, but is now firmly rooted back in her home county of Oxfordshire, in the tiny village of Baulking, near Uffington, so we’ve tapped her up for her excellent local recommendations.

Read more

My Favourite Places: Mike Woodward, Opera Anywhere

11 Dec 2016

Opera isn’t just for the elite and nor does it have to be performed in staid, fancy venues, according to Mike Woodward, founder of Opera Anywhere. Since 2000, Mike and his wife Vanessa have sought to ditch the art form’s lofty connotations, producing performances everywhere from an ice cream van to the roof of a Land Rover. The musical couple live in Sunningwell, a village south of Oxford, and, having spent years scouting out quirky venues for performances, Mike has an encyclopaedic knowledge of cool local spots so he’s the perfect person to grill for his top picks…

The pond, Sunningwell

No, it’s not a pub, it’s literally the village pond.

Read more

Fave Places: The Wonder Kitchen’s Sammie Goddard

15 Aug 2016

Sammie Goddard runs The Wonder Kitchen, a lipsmacking cupcake business based in North Oxfordshire with a huge local following. Her pink customized 18ft van Lily is a regular at food festivals, parties, school proms and weddings and has racking for a mind-blowing 500 cupcakes (yeah, just mull that around!). Born and bred in Buckinghamshire, here are Sammie’s favourite places.

Bletchley Park

I started my cupcake business five years ago, after years in the city doing recruitment, but I do have another job too – as a singer with the 1940’s trio The Sasparillas.

Read more

Becky Paton: My Favourite Places

14 Apr 2016


Becky Paton is an Oxfordshire-based mosaic artist specialising in public art. With work at the V&A museum of childhood and the John Radcliffe Hospital, you can catch her work at the forthcoming Oxford Artweeks in May. Having grown up near Burford in the Cotswolds she trained as a nurse before going on to study Public Art and Design at Chelsea School of Art, where she discovered her love for Mosaics.

Read more

Joanne Harris: My Favourite Places

12 Mar 2016

Joanne Harris is the acclaimed author of Chocolat made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. Since then, she has written 15 more novels, two collections of short stories and three cookbooks. Her books are now published in over 50 countries. She appears at the Oxford Literary Festival in three separate events from Friday 8 – Sunday 10 April 2016. In the meantie, here are her favourite places in Bucks/Oxon and beyond and they’re brilliant – offering ghosts, neolithic folklore and tips on writing.

Read more

My Fave Places: fashion designer Emma Rutherford

15 Feb 2015

Emma Rutherford is one half of Needle, a luxury knitwear brand (pictured above) that in 18 months has already been snapped up by Anthropologie and other top London boutiques and whose stock I have totally pillaged since I discovered them a few months back (four jumpers and counting). A designer for Burberry and LK Bennett before setting up Needle, Emma had a baby last year and moved back to mid-Bucks where she grew up.

Read more

Saro Brindley’s Favourite Places

19 Jan 2015

Saro Brindley is the owner of EyeLike in Beaconsfield, a contemporary gallery that boasts Banksy, Pure Evil and Peter Blake amongst its artists. From going walkies with her dog, to eating out big style, here are her favourite places.

 Burnham Beeches in Burnham


We bought Brody, a coton de tulear dog, six years ago so we spend a lot of time walking him.

Read more

Highwire act

18 Jun 2014

Kate Higginbottom grew up in Oxford. A dancer, actor, writer and director, she works as artistic director for Nicole & Martin, an award-winning boutique theatrical circus from mainland Europe, which tells tales from Grimm, loved by all from 6 to 106. The circus comes to North Wall Arts Centre (St Edwards School playing fields) from 10-12 July.

The walk from Begbroke to Oxford

We did this walk when I was at school, and, unlike most of my school days, I still think about it decades later.

Read more

Artist’s View

29 May 2014

I ran a really lovely feature recently with the director of the Oxfordshire Art Weeks where we illustrated her favourite places in Oxon with art from the featured artists. For Bucks Open Studios we’ve gone one better – 6 artists themselves have each chosen their favourite place in the county, and in some cases have created art from scratch to represent it.

Bucks Open Studios starts next Saturday (7 June) and runs until 22 June, and is absolutely one of my favourite dates in the Muddy calendar, brimful of unusual characters, gorgeous art, demos in special locations and some real bargains.

Read more

Antonia’s Favourite Places

18 Feb 2014

Antonia Joyce, who runs Sanctum, the Home Counties’ first private pre-school club in Beaconsfield, moved to the local area a few years back, and now spends her days not only with her own toddler, but with dozens of others! Here are her favourite places.

La Maison, Bourne End

I love browsing through the shop and the workshops at the back, and the owner is always willing to repaint pieces that I fall in love with.

Read more
The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Bucks & Oxon Edition