Abingdon Arms, Beckley
Muddy says: This community-owned 17th century pub in the quiet village of Beckley offers gorgeous views over fields and family-friendly walks across the Otmoor nature reserve.
This 17th century village pub in Beckley, north-east of Oxford – which once saw Lewis Carroll propping up the bar – was saved from closure earlier this year by a community consortium, understandably keen not to see their historic local boozer bite the dust. They’ve done a brilliant job of sprucing it up, with rustic yet bright’n’breezy interiors (love the cornflower blue painted woodwork). They claim to have one of the best pub gardens in Oxfordshire and they’re probably right – there are gorgeous views across the Otmoor nature reserve and endless rolling fields, and there’s a large grassy area on which small people can whizz around like lunatics, while you nurse a glass of Merlot.
The menu combines classic pub grub dishes such as fish and chips and more inventive fare – make mine the roast lamb with romesco sauce, smoked aubergine and new potatoes, please. And I’ve heard very good things about their epic Sunday roasts, which you can walk off afterwards with a stomp around nearby Bernwood Forest.