Do you live in the best place in Britain?
A new survey of the UK's loveliest locales sees Bucks and Oxon trending. But you knew that already right? So does your neighbourhood make the list?
The Sunday Times published its annual Best Places To Live list last weekend and four Bucks and Oxon locations made the top 10 of the Southeast category. Well, tell us something we don’t know, right?!
Local knowledge and seeking out the fun stuff is Muddy’s speciality obvs, so here’s our take on those four hotspots, with some suggestions in case you want to go have a nosey this weekend. And if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the winning locales, let us know if you’ve been overrun by over-excited Sunday Times readers!
The aptly named picture-perfect hilltop village is close to Muddy HQ and definitely one of our happy places. You can blow away the cobwebs by stomping up and down the hills on Brill Common, which is resided over by one of the oldest windmills in the country – my kids love it up here. Regroup at The Pointer just up the road, a chic gastropub and named Hotel of the Year 2017 by the same paper, no less. We reviewed it recently and ate ALL the food. The Pointer is extending its beer garden just in time for summer but if you’re looking for al fresco entertainment over the Easter Weekend, try the nearby Boarstall Duck Decoy. A five minute drive from the village, this quirky National Trust location is doing a Cadbury’s egg hunt. Brill, indeed.
This Cotswolds village is home to 16th century gastropub The Bull, one of our favourite Sunday lunch spots for a roast (see here), with equally excellent interiors by owner-cum-stylist Willow Crossley. The area is also a magnet for music-lovers and cider-swiggers in the summer, with both Cornbury Festival and Wilderness nearby – more on those in our local festivals guide here. Back in the village, fans of more wholesome pursuits may prefer a hearty stroll around Wychwood Forest. Bluebells, ahoy!
Hambleden Valley, Bucks
It’s “spot the film crew” in this idyllic area of the Chilterns near Henley and Marlow, with everything from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Midsomer Murders to The Vicar Of Dibley being shot among the rose-clad cottages, lush fields, and ridiculously pretty villages. We reviewed The Bull & Butcher at Turville here – after lunch you can hike up Cobstone Hill to the famous Chitty windmill. There are loads of lovely walks to be had around Fingest and Skirmett too and you could also try The Yew Tree in Frieth (review here), The Stag & Huntsmen in Hambleden and The Chequers Inn, Fingest.
Hands down my favourite part of Oxford, bohemian, hip Jericho is central but at the same time far from the madding tourist crowds. Little Clarendon Street and Walton Street are rammed with eating and drinking options – I love Mediterranean restaurant Branca for a relaxed dinner, The Rickety Press (tucked away on Cranham Street) for pizza, and Raoul’s and Freud for cocktails. Or stroll five minutes north up Kingston Road to neighbourhood institution, The Anchor, the gastropub which Oxon-based novelist Clover Stroud reviewed for us here. Lots of people don’t realise that the gorgeous green riverside expanse of Port Meadow is so close by – and you’ll certainly need a good trot around it after all that delicious food. In the summer, you can go for a wild swim or just take in the glorious sight of horses grazing by the water.
Anywhere in Bucks or Oxon that you think should have made it onto the list? Let us know!