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Perfect family pizza pub in Cuxham

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Say hello to the Half Moon at Cuxham, a pizza specialising pub that’s so family friendly I’m tempted to ask the landlady to babysit. Vaska, originally from Macedonia, took over this rundown joint last year, and has clearly had a vision to create a welcoming, unpretentious, family-centric experience, and I have to say that she has totally nailed it.

It helps that there’s a steady stream of trampers going by her front door, thanks to Cuxham’s pretty brick and colour-washed timber-framed cottages and proximity to easy walks. Christmas Common is also just a five minute drive away which is where we tromped around. Here we are, trying not to get lost in Cowleaze Wood, following the signs with all our might.

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The pub itself is pretty with its thatched roof and low-beamed higgledy piggledy interior. It’s simply attired inside, the fabric of the building lending the interest rather than any design flourishes…

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… but what you come for is the pizza. Check out these bad boys.

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If pizza’s not your thing, fear not, you can stodge up on pastas with lasagnes, cannelloni and bologneses all around the £9 mark. Desserts are typically Italian – tiramisu, affogato, figs in syrup, plus the kiddy catnip of banoffee pie, cheesecake (below) and all that jazz for £4.50ish.

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A massive boon for The Half Moon is the large graduated outdoor area at the rear.

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Even on a damp winter’s day you can see how lovely it will be come spring. There are picnic tables for eating or drinking outside but through the little gate is another whole area for playing, and then beyond that again the field, so the view is tremendous.

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In a deliberate move, there are no climbing frames, giant jenga or any of that stuff – just grass so that kids can kick a ball, do some gymnastics and work out ways to amuse themselves. I love that idea and in fact on the day I visited this is exactly what was happening with a couple of kids playing footy and my daughter cartwheeling everywhere.

Places of interest around Cuxham include Cuxham Mill (one of 3 Cuxham mills mentioned in 1086) now owned by Merton College Oxford, Cuxham’s Norman church, and the pretty town of Watlington a mile away. On the walking front, if you turn out of the pub to the left, walk along the road for a few minutes you’ll find footpath off to the left that leads up to the lovely hamlet of Pyrton and drops you back down again in a circular walk. Make sure you wear your wellies!

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THE MUDDY VERDICT:

Good for: Families, kids, walkers, and groups of friends looking for a relaxed, good value stop off. The pub is dog-friendly too.

Not for: Anyone allergic to kids. Fine diners – this isn’t the joint for you!

£: Excellent value. Pizzas start at £6.75 (add £1.50 for thin crust), pastas are around £9.20, and you can also get a ciabatta sandwich for £4.50ish.

The Half Moon, Cuxham, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49 5NF. Tel 01491. thehalfmooncuxham.co.uk

 

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