6 circular family walks we love
Time to get outside! No need to stay cooped up - these local walks with takeaway coffee/food options nearby will keep your family healthy (and sane!).
Stretch your legs with these countryside rambles, and pick up a coffee or bite to eat too – we’ve included some of our favourite eateries with coronavirus-safe takeaway options.
CHRISTMAS COMMON, MID OXON
Distance and difficulty: Moderate – mostly flat with a couple of stiles and hills. 2.8 mile route taking 1 hours 15 mins. View walk here.
Good for: Families, loafers, half-hearted stretchy leggers
Why we love it: Christmas Common may be close to the M40 (Junction 5, fact fans) but you’d never know it – high up in the Chilterns, this Area of Outstanding Beauty is home to some of the loveliest views and prettiest bluebell woods in the county.
Muddy Award winner The Granary Deli is just an 8-minute drive into nearby Watlington, so you can easily pop into their cafe to pick up a takeaway soup and sandwich to tuck into halfway round.
Distance and difficulty: 5miles, easy. View walk here.
Good for: All age groups – the fact that is goes through two villages with excellent pubs means that there are options for tired little legs.
Why we love it: The Windrush Valley in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds is stunning and Asthall and Swinbrook are two of the loveliest villages. Asthall’s gorgeous 12th century church is well worth your time.
This walk handily takes you right past the door of The Swan Inn in Swinbrook, who are currently offering takeaway burgers and fish and chips to hardy walkers. Give them a call on 01993 823339 at the start of the walk to place your order and you’ll have delicious grub waiting for pick-up by the time you get there. Genius.
HENLEY TO SHIPLAKE
Distance and difficulty: Easy and flat, 2.5 – 5m (45 mins to 1.5 hours). View walk here.
Good for: Those wanting a short stroll to the pub (great for littlies).
Why we love it: This walk is very civilised! No squidgy slippery grass and mud, a gorgeous riverside meander in Henley before reaching a lock (great fun for littlies), and then a gentle, quiet wander into the well-heeled village of Shiplake. Best of all, if you decide you don’t want to walk back where you came from, take the train from Shiplake back to Henley in 10 minutes.
There are plenty of cute caffs in Henley that will help satiate your caffeine craving, but one of our top spots is past Muddy Awards winner Drifters Coffee. Pop into their downstairs takeaway to nab a coffee and one of their delicious homemade cakes.
For a hearty takeaway lunch, The Baskerville is your destination in Shiplake. Every Wednesday to Saturday between 12-2pm or 6-8.30pm, you can pick up a chunky portion of cod and chips or a 28-day aged beef burger in a brioche bun with fries to take away (or, lucky Shiplake locals can have them dropped at their doorstep for free). Call 01189 403332 for orders.
COOMBE HILL AND CHEQUERS
Distance and difficulty: 5-7 miles, challenging. View map here.
Good for: Fitties, hikers, those who want to work up an appetite before lunch
Why we love it: This walk takes you up to Coombe Hill, highest viewpoint in the Chilterns, and offers exquisite views out to the PM’s Chequers (you’ll be clocked by the secret service way before you see the estate!). You’re enveloped in the rolling Chilterns and pretty much totally off road.
The Russell Arms in Butlers Cross is a 5 minute drive from the National Trust car park from which you finish this walk – which is ideal, as you’ll likely be in need of sustenance afterward. This 18th century coaching house offers loads of takeaway options from their menus, including their stone baked pizzas, veggie and vegan options and children’s dishes.
SKIRMETT, TURVILLE AND FINGEST
Distance and difficulty: Circular walk, 4 miles, two hills, moderate. View map here.
Good for: Those who want to work up an appetite and fancy a choice of pubs – all three villages offer possibilities.
Why we love it: The Hambleden valley is one of the most stunning parts of the Buckinghamshire Chilterns and as it’s a circular walk you can start at any of the three villages. The walk takes in the windmill at Turville (filmed in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang); the Norman church in Fingest; Adams Wood and some of the loveliest scenery you’ll find in this part of the world.
Whichever village you start in, you’re a 5-10 minute drive from the kitschy Strawberry Grove Cafe on Lane End, near High Wycombe – the perfect opportunity to collect a hot drink, one of their deli-style sandwiches or a Buddha box for the road.
PORT MEADOW, OXFORD
Distance and difficulty: 3.5 miles (one way), 7 miles (circular). Moderate.
Good for: Pretty much everyone as it’s totally flat, though clearly pretty long. There is a pub half way through the first leg of this walk if you can’t make it all the way to Wolvercote for the main pub choice!
Why we love it: Port Meadow is still Oxford’s biggest secret (and arguably biggest asset), an enormous stretch of free grazing land accessed just 10 minutes from the centre of the city. Port Meadow goes back as far as the Doomsday Book, and takes in the River Isis, free grazing cows and horses, Godstow lock, the remains of Godstow Abbey and some mightily lovely views of Oxford’s dreaming spires.
Jacob’s Inn is your prize if you walk the three miles to Wolvercote. One of the first pubs in the area to really nail cool, quirky styling, it’s a pleasing mix of classic stone country pub and hipster hangout. Their new takeaway menu is available Mon-Sun, 12-8pm and includes starters and desserts (homemade scotch egg or sticky toffee pudding, anyone?) as well as pies, sandwiches and sausage and mash.