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Lunch with a view: 16 top riverside eats

Ahh, is there anything better than a stroll along the riverside? Actually, yes - a riverside that includes a long lazy lunch and some stonking views across Bucks or Oxon!

The Trout Inn, Wolvercote

trout river british summer

The definition of bucolic riverside dining, The Trout is a total Oxford institution and much beloved by a certain Inspector Morse – although you’ll have to do some swift detective work if you want to nab a table in the beautiful garden overlooking the Thames, as they’re not taking outdoor bookings at the moment.

Minster Mill, Witney

Minster Mill

Head chef and Masterchef semi-finalist Tom Moody helms the restaurant at this serene Cotswolds bolthole. Come for a delicious dinner overlooking the water, stick around for the fabulous spa and comfy hotel rooms.

The Compleat Angler, Marlow

This foodie hotel by Marlow bridge has more dining options than you could shake a fishing rod at, including the newly-refurbished Riverside Restaurant (perfect for date night), Indian eatery Sindhu run by Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar, or al fresco light bites on the lawn overlooking the water.

Jacob’s Inn, Wolvercote

Jacobs Inn

Okay, so you technically can’t see the river from the garden, but it’s only a stone’s throw away, and we promise the al fresco dining at Jacob’s Inn is worth it all the same. This quirky pub is popular with people spending a day by the water in Port Meadow.

The Black Horse, Great Linford

house boats going down a canal next to a pub on a clear day

Sitting right on the Grand Union Canal in North Bucks, The Black Horse has a multi-level garden and a shaded courtyard to perch in while you enjoy your Sunday lunch. There’s also a great children’s menu here for families.

The Victoria Arms, Old Marston


The Victoria Arms reopens on Friday 14 August, so make your reservation and request a garden table to take advantage of the cracking views of the River Cherwell. Kids will love the open space; you’ll love the classic pub fare menu.

De Vere Latimer Estate, Chesham

De Vere Latimer Estate

Nothing as deliciously la-di-dah as a stately home overlooking the water, and De Vere Latimer Estate in Chesham ticks all the boxes for a riverside stay. For food, you have the elegant 1838 Restaurant & Bar (which looks like something out of an Art Deco postcard) or afternoon tea at the Huntley Bar.

Bistro at the Boathouse, Henley

Fancy nibbling on lobster mac and cheese as you watch the boats glide by? You can do just that at Henley’s Bistro at the Boathouse. This elegant restaurant is running at reduced capacity, so booking is strongly advised, but the view is 100% worth being organised for.

Danesfield House, Marlow

Danesfield House

Last time I visited Danesfield it was the for a spa day (I know, what an effort), but did you know the tranquil gardens also have a lovely view of the river? Combine with a lunch or dinner at The Orangery restaurant or an afternoon tea on The Terrace and you’re onto a winner.

The Navigation Inn, Cosgrove

Devour your wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas while overlooking the Grand Union Canal at this modernised Victorian inn dating back to 1822, with its lovely outdoor terrace and balcony.

The Perch, Binsey

The Perch pub garden

Follow the path out of The Perch’s pretty garden and duck under the willow arches and you’ll find yourself on the banks of the Thames overlooking Port Meadow. It’s the ideal spot for a postprandial stroll and the kids will feel like they’ve discovered a secret.

Cliveden House Hotel, Taplow

cliveden statue house

Perched above the Thames, Cliveden House is an iconic fine dining destination. thoroughly recommend for a special occasion – you can take a civilised stroll down to the river after enjoying an afternoon tea or dinner in the Cliveden Dining Room. Not close enough to the water for you? Residents can order a tailor-made picnic to take out on an a vintage boat launch.

Further afield…

The St George and Dragon, Wargrave

The St George and Dragon, Wargrave

The terrace of this cozy pub and restaurant is so close to the river that you could moor your boat just outside and then pop in for a bite to eat (or to take advantage of their excellent gin menu). It’s technically just over the border in Berks, but we’ll forgive it for these views.

Waterfront Cafe, Benson

Relaxed dining here at this long-established waterside favourite. There’s a huge terrace where you can eat anything from sour dough sandwiches through to fish and chips. Boat hire for kayaks or put-put boats is right next door for a lovely meander down the Thames.

Monkey Island Estate, Bray

Monkey Island Estate

You can’t get more riverside than your own island in the Thames! Situated a hop over the border in Berkshire, this fascinating centuries-old hotel is like a trip back in time – apart from the food in its Brasserie, which is thoroughly modern.

Thames Lido, Reading

Thames Lido

Work up an appetite for lunch at past Muddy Award-winner Thames Lido, with its restaurant nestled between the excellent outdoor pool and the River Thames. Whether you take a dip in the waters or a stroll along the river, you’ll want to dive into their excellent tapas menu (sorry).

The Waterside Inn, Bray

The only bigger draw than the stonking riverside location is The Waterside Inn’s three Michelin stars – a true foodie retreat with fine wines, French-inspired cuisine and an eye-watering price tag.

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