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The Beetle & Wedge Boathouse

Muddy says: Messing about on the river? This restaurant-with-rooms near Wallingford is the place to do it in style.

The Beetle & Wedge occupies an especially picturesque part of Oxfordshire, just south of Wallingford and nudging the border of Berkshire, with Streatley and Goring only minutes away, and the River Thames the common theme, winding south past each gorgeous village. This restaurant with rooms (three double, ensuite, all river-facing) plays heavily on its river credentials, as it should since it’s among the prettiest waterside frontages I’ve seen in our ‘hood. Its literary credentials are pretty cool too – it’s set on the riverbank immortalised in Wind in the Willows and Three Men in a Boat.

The dining room is an elegant beamed boathouse with white-linen tablecloths and mains nudging the £20 mark, which give it more of a chi-chi restaurant feel than a gastropub experience. I’d come here to linger over a romantic meal, for a generational family gathering or for a business lunch if you want to impress your guest.

Do allow time to walk off your meal afterwards and take in those views – just turn right and stroll along the waterside path. I can’t think of anywhere I’d prefer to mess about on the river.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon