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Ready for Crimbo? Stratton Audley Xmas Barn is!


One of the things I love most about working on Muddy is that I get to see businesses grow. I first came across Stratton Audley Christmas Barn (near Bicester) a few years back when it was just a fledgling business. There was a basic shack ‘barn’, a small, well chosen collection of gifts, and a lot of fingers crossed behind backs that it would take off.

The Barn from the outside. Don't know about you, I'd live in it!

The Barn from the outside. Don’t know about you, I’d live in it!


I went back earlier this week, because as you know, in retail land, Christmas has well and truly arrived, and it’s really stepped up another gear to become a replete Christmas gift shop. Yes there are plenty of decorations (and no doubt more will come out when the Christmas trees arrive for sale in early December) but it’s a great place to come for the smaller, sweeter, more thoughtful gifts too.


As in previous years, owner Sara has brought out really good ranges for men and kids – let’s face it, those are the presents we are buying mostly  (I just tell Mr Muddy want I want for Christmas, all he has to do is wrap it badly).

stratton collage 2 stratton collage 1

The cafe has also really expanded this year – not in size but in aspiration. The day I was there the lovely Elliot from former Muddy cafe winners Gyre & Gimble was in helping to train the cafe staff, and what that guy doesn’t know about coffee can be written on the back of a bean.


Stratton Audley is a small, pretty village with a lovely church and a sweet-looking pub just to the north of Bicester, but if you’re thinking of coming in from further afield to take a look, maybe tie it in with a trip to Claydon House or Stowe Landscape Gardens with kids, or Rousham Gardens without (minimum age for ankle biters is 15 – by which stage they’re grunting rather than biting). Good pubs around that area include The Old Thatched Inn in Adstock (see my review here), The Nut Tree in Murcot (Michelin-starred but not crazily priced), and closest of all, The Muddy Duck in Hethe, just a few miles away.


Owner Sara is very hands on, so you’ll probably see her stacking the shelves, and the staff are all incredibly friendly and helpful (and local – it really helps!), so if you fancy a trip out with some shopping therapy and (from next month) Christmas tree buying attached, this could be it.

West Farm Barns  Launton Road  Stratton Audley, Nr Bicester, OX27 9AS. Tel: 01869 278184.

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