The Fox Inn, Boars Hill
This refurbed pub in well-heeled Boars Hill is family catnip - think large garden, kid-friendly menu and circular walk.
Nothing we like more than an old pub revitalised, and this Boars Hill in has had the full foxy treatment.
You’ll find The Fox Inn in well-heeled Boars Hill in Oxford, an exclusive hamlet just 3 miles southwest of Oxford. With its elevated location, there are some beautiful walks and stunning views of the city – it was from the ‘hill’ that Matthew Arnold talked of Oxford’s ‘dreaming spires’ in his poem Thyrsis (1866). The pub itself is large, and sits fairly close to the main road, though don’t that put you off – there’s a large outside area behind the pub with an attractive raised decking area so you’ll feel suitably ‘country’.
Warm and friendly which is no mean feat as the pub is huge. The pub, a bit down on its luck previously, has been given a stylish makeover, particularly in the bar/snug area, which would be my tip where to sit for lunch or dinner with its huge beams and traditional fireplaces accentuated by mid-century style chairs, leather stools and a striking tiled floor. In summer, I can imagine the large garden, balcony and this impressive raised covered decking area (gorgeous view alert) will be top spot for a Pimm’s or two to join the locals.
The offering is definitely more pubby than gastro I’d say. Though it could have been plated in a prettier way (below), my pie was tasty enough. However, I think the real calling card for The Fox is its family-friendly credentials, particularly the children’s menu.
My children absolutely loved it here, because they could make their own pizza wraps for lunch, with the ingredients brought to the table so they could ‘build’ them, then taken away for cooking and brought back again.
If you have young children it’s genius, as they’re kept occupied and more liable to eat their own creation too. Expect pub classics on the a la carte – burger, fish and chips, beef bourguignon, fishcakes – and a dedicated children’s menu too that includes the pizza wrap, chicken burgers and a 50z steak.
AROUND AND ABOUT
The main attraction in Boars Hill are the old village, Oxford views and the walking. You can do a circular walk, first opened in 2016 and just shy of 2.5 miles, from the Old Berkeley Golf Course (pictured) – a couple of minute’s drive from The Fox. Alternatively it’s super easy to get into Oxford from Boars Hill – you’ll be there in 10 minutes.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Young families, relaxed Sunday lunches (roasts are good value at around £14.50), drop in walkers and dog lovers – four-legged friends are welcome in the bar and the extensive gardens. Kids will love
Not for: Gourmets – this is pleasing pub grub served in an attractive space, with an a excellent children’s offering, but The Fox won’t trouble the local gastropubs.
££: Average I’d say. A la carter starters £5.50-8; mains £13.50 – £19.25, Sunday lunches around £14.50, and steaks £19.50-22.50.
The Fox Inn, Fox Lane, Boars Hill Oxford OX1 5DR. Tel: 01865 735131.