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Wootton wonder

Muddy Stilettos' honest review of The Killingworth Castle, a stylishly rustic inn in mid Oxfordshire.

outside of stone pub with grass and sign

THE LOCATION

The Killingworth Castle is a stone and brick 17th century inn in Wootton, close to Woodstock and a little further from Oxford. You can’t miss its imposing, handsome form, as it hugs the corner rather closely to the A44 – but don’t let that put you off, there’s plenty to recommend it.

THE VIBE

This is the second time I’ve been to this inn – (both for lunch) – and each time it’s been very buzzy, with a mix of locals, working lunchers and general shirkers like me. Let me say from the off that I’m a big fan of this place – it feels cosy and unpretentious like the very best locals, but also gives off the aura of a pub that really knows what it’s doing.

Interiors are earthy and warm, with dark walls, wooden tables and settles, a couple of fireplaces to warm up chilly nights, and the odd pheasant on the wall to nod to The Killingworth Castle’s rural Oxfordshire creds. Inside there are a couple of eating areas – the main bar and then two snugs (my vote is for the main bar, just so you know), plus outside there’s a large, attractive garden.

SCOFF & QUAFF

The food was excellent (bravo new chef). Pub food delivered with panache, great presentation and good value. My indulgent lamb pie with cornish new potatoes, hispi cabbage and roasted carrots was a triumph (and at £12.50, very good value) , and the dessert – a white chocolate, poached peach and honeycomb panna cotta (£7) – was just as good.

My oldest son was my date on the day (have fractured neck, will take weeks off school), and what he doesn’t know about fish and chips isn’t worth knowing. He described his meal as  ‘Er yeah, it’s actually decent’. Please note, this is gushing in 15 year old terms.

 

PILLOW TALK


Want to indulge so much you just want to waddle off to bed? Oh but you can! There are 8 bedrooms, all prettily appointed in country style so it’s a good option for bigger groups and private parties.

 

OUT & ABOUT

blenheim palace grand yellow brick Manor House heeded mazes spraying water feature fountain

Well, you’re 11 miles from Bicester Village, and a couple of miles from Rousham Gardens, and in the summer the deliciously quirky Jane’s Teas in Kirtlington is close, but the big beast on the doorstep is Blenheim Palace (pictured), only a few miles away.

 

THE MUDDY VERDICT:

Good for: Sunday lunchers on a day out, relaxed groups (kids would be fine in here, the garden out the back is perfectly safe), anyone searching out a local pub with atmosphere. Dog-friendly too.
Not for: Those who are picturing bucolic country scenes from a bay window – the position on the side of the road is, well, ‘roady’!

££: Mid range. Lunches of the ‘pub classics’ are between £12.50 – £14, sandwiches from the bar £6.50, á la carte starters £6-8, mains £15-21, with a 40 day dry aged sirloin coming in at £28. Sunday lunch is £22 for two courses or £27 for three. I’d say it’s fairly priced.

 

The Killingworth Castle, Glympton Rd, Woodstock, Wootton OX20 1EJ. Tel: 01993 811401.

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