The best pubs for a sundowner
So, as we’re all now free to roam (a little), it’s time to search out the best pubs in Bucks and Oxon that have the added benefit of a scenic view. Aperol Spritz (and Instagram) at the ready.
They’ve been a long time coming: summer, eating out, seeing other human beings. But, finally, all being well, it looks like we might have a stab at something resembling normality this year. So, dream no longer, book yourself a table at one of these and remind yourself what English summers are all about.
The Trout Inn, Wolvercote
Potentially one of the most photographed pubs in England, The Trout Inn – just north of Oxford – sits on the banks of the Lower Thames and boasts a riverside terrace to boot, making it a hotspot for lazy, summertime drinking. Al fresco dining is already in full swing here but you do have to book. Choose a late afternoon slot and enjoy the river idling past as the sun comes down.
The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote
Set smack in the middle of the Cotswolds, you couldn’t ask for more idyllic countryside. Nether Westcote is a tiny village but that does little to prevent visitors from descending on this highly rated pub with rooms. Walkers (the Oxfordshire and Diamond Way footpaths are nearby) and families are welcome, as are guests who just want a drink or perhaps a meal on the (newly heated) terrace overlooking the rolling hills. The team have just announced a new pizza night on Sundays so what are you waiting for? Book here.
The Sir Charles Napier, Chinnor
If we’re being entirely honest, this is more of a restaurant than a pub, but if you’re happy to stay for a meal on the terrace, there are worse way to enjoy the sunset than lounging in this glorious mature garden or walking among the beeches with a glass of fizz. British and French cuisine is served at lunch and dinner, but we say book for the evening to make the most of the twilight.
The Victoria Arms, Marston
Expansive beer gardens and heated pergola terrace overlooking the River Cherwell, you say? Don’t mind if we do. When the sun is beating a retreat after a hot summer’s day, you could do far worse than rock up here, get the Aperols in, and watch as the hazy peach and purples fade into night, all helped along with wood fired pizza and street food from the kitchen.
The Killingworth Castle, Woodstock
If Two AA Rosettes and a ‘Pub of the Year’ label doesn’t pull you in, the delightful beer gardens of this much-loved pub will. You can book a garden table now and plates of food are being served for £15 – the team are basically trying out their future menus in preparation for full reopening come 19 May.
The Pointer, Brill
So, while the outdoor area of this delightful gastropub isn’t massive, it is in the ever-so-picturesque village of Brill, and if you feel like lying down and gazing at the stars (three G&Ts might have that effect), you can always take the five-minute hike to the Grade II-listed Brill windmill to do so. Fancy more drinks and a meal to steady you out? The Pointer’s cooking is exemplary and you can stay over, too.
The Mole & Chicken, Long Crendon
This al fresco hotspot isn’t opening until 17 May but once it does (bookings are open now), the terraces overlooking glorious Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire countryside will no doubt be featuring in many people’s summer bucket list. British food with an Asian twist is what’s on offer should you want a meal, and there are six rooms too if you want to stay until closing and beyond.
The Black Boy, Oving
Under five-minute’s drive to Waddesdon sits Oving and its pub, The Black Boy, that as you can see, has panoramas that would make Betjeman weep. The pub is closed until 17 May but once the doors open, come for the views, enjoy the food (seasonal mains, a grill, burgers, pub classics) then stay for the sunset with an artisan gin in hand. Book are being taken now.
The Mash Inn, Radnage
The Mash Inn is ensconced in the Chiltern Hills, equidistant between Wycombe, Watlington and Princes Risborough, and a more scenic spot you’d struggle to find. It’s all about quality rather than quantity here so the simple, honest menu reflects the seasons and surroundings, as do the six guest rooms. Enjoy drinks in the gardens before dinner and watch the sun sink behind the undulating chalk hills.
The Pilgrim Pub, North Marston
Situated in the verdant Bucks countryside north of Aylesbury, the Michelin-rated Pilgrim Pub is well worth the trip through the winding country lanes. Its Garden Menu (the A La Carte menu will reappear once Covid restrictions allow) means you can order excellent food while sipping fine wine in the beautifully tended beer garden, that is not only very large but overlooks the pretty village. After sunset, there is a tented area with fairy lights should you want to stay out.