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8 of The Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining in Oxfordshire

 

Restrictions are slowly starting to ease, pubs are slowly starting to reopen and we can finally start eating outdoors in restaurants again – so it seems the next phase of our UK roadmap is going well! I’ve already written about my favourite walks and hikes in my local area of the Cotswolds so thought I’d put together a bumper dining guide for you to enjoy too now that things are opening up again. I have loved having meals out with friends down the pub again, but one thing I have really struggled with is knowing which places have the best gardens or are best set up for outdoor dining in Oxfordshire before indoor dining resumes on 17th May 2021. That’s why I thought I’d put together my bumper guide of local places to book dinner or drinks here in Oxfordshire, and they have all been tried and tested over the years by yours truly! Hungry? You will be by the time you get to the end of this list…

 

George & Dragon, Long Hanborough

 

 

Up first on my list of 8 of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in Oxfordshire is the George & Dragon in the pretty village of Long Hanborough. Close to the A40, and within easy reach of both Witney and Oxford, the George & Dragon is in a great location. It’s perfect for a pub lunch stop after a busy day of walking the grounds of nearby Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, or Pinsley Woods in Church Hanborough. They have made a huge effort to be Covid safe with their outdoor dining areas as they have multiple tables with umbrellas as well as a separate dining terrace adorned with fairy lights that look great after dark. There’s lots of free parking, the outdoor terrace is first come first served and you can just turn up but if you want a table I’d recommend booking in advance. The best time to go is on a Friday night when cocktails are £5 and they have a great atmosphere!

 

The Evenlode, Eynsham

 

 

Enjoying another great location just off the A40, the Evenlode at Eynsham is a traditional pub with seven en-suite bedrooms too. They have a huge garden out the front with large umbrellas offering shelter from the elements and there’s a small terrace right outside the entrance which is a little more covered. The friendly staff are on hand to give out blankets when it’s cold outside and the pergola has pretty fairy lights too. I booked in advance during my last visit, at lunch time on a Saturday afternoon, and it was fairly busy despite the weather not being great so I would make sure you book in advance when possible although they were accepting walk ins too. Free onsite parking is available on a first come first serve basis.

 

The Hollybush, Witney

 

 

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A personal favourite of mine and somewhere I have visited many times over the years, the Hollybush is located on Corn Street right in the centre of Witney. Their garden out the back has recently been redesigned to offer a fantastic outdoor dining in Oxfordshire experience with large tables, seating areas and big covers too. There are cosy blankets, patio heaters and four gorgeous private dining houses which are new for 2021. The smallest dining house is available for 2-4 guests with a £90.00 deposit and a £90.00 minimum spend, whilst the other three dining houses can seat 4-10 guests comfortably, with a £90.00 deposit and a £180.00 minimum spend. Their new chef has whipped up a delicious new menu and The Hollybush was recently featured on a list of the top 50 pubs in Oxfordshire by expert local guide The Cotswold Gentleman.

 

The Mermaid, Burford

 

 

Up next on my list of 8 of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in Oxfordshire is The Mermaid, located on the bustling high street in Burford. There are tables with umbrellas out the front if you want to sit and people watch but the enclosed garden at the back of the pub is a gorgeous little suntrap when the weather’s good, plus there are strings of fairy lights to gaze at when it’s dark. Prices are very reasonable for Burford and there are lots of dishes to choose from on their eclectic menu. There is no parking so you’ll either need to try and nab a space on Sheep Street or head down to the public car park at the bottom of the hill by the river Windrush.

 

Horse and Radish, Minster Lovell

 

 

Another firm favourite of mine is Minster Lovell’s Horse and Radish, slap bang in the middle of Burford and Witney just along from the A40. This place has stunning views of the rolling hills and fields in the distance and it’s certainly one of the prettiest gardens for outdoor dining in Oxfordshire in my opinion! Although there is a limited menu at the moment the food is delicious and they do incredible pizza’s from their brand new wood fired oven. There’s plenty of free parking and if you fancy a nice walk you can leave the car and walk to and from Little Minster to see the Minster Lovell Hall and Ruins, an English Heritage site dating back to the 14th century.

 

Victors, Oxford

 

 

We’re heading over to the dreaming spires of Oxford now on my list of 8 of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in Oxfordshire. I usually head to Victors, on the rooftop of the Westgate shopping centre, when I have a girls night out. Their interiors are so beautiful with lilac wisteria and pink blossom hanging from the ceiling and their cocktails are incredible (the candyfloss one is my favourite!) The menu is made up of small plates and pizzas which taste great too. In order to be Covid safe, Victors have launched their pop up ‘Riviera on the Roof’ event which features covered seating adorned with their signature wisteria for up to six people. A real treat of a venue, this restaurant is perfect for a special occasion and offers tonnes of great selfie opportunities. Westgate has a multi-storey car park below and is only £3 to park after 5pm, but if you fancy a drink the nearest bus stop is less than a 3 minute walk away.

 

 

Blue Boar, Witney

 

 

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Another place I have been visiting for the past 10 years or so is the Blue Boar in Witney. Located in market square, right at the heart of the town, the Blue Boar serves up delicious Italian style pizzas, pastas, risottos and more. Their woodfired pizzas and calzones are a must and they do a great range of drinks from the extensive bar menu. The garden to the rear is quite narrow but long enough to hold a number of tables and is fully covered with umbrellas, heaters and a marquee too. Park nearby on Church Green or the Waitrose car park as there is no car parking at the pub itself. I have celebrated many birthday’s and enjoyed plenty of meals with friends at the Blue Boar and it remains one of my favourite restaurants for outdoor dining in Oxfordshire.

 

 

The Perch, Botley

 

 

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Last but by no means least on my list of 8 of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in Oxfordshire is The Perch in Botley. Just a 20 minute walk (or a 5 minute drive) from central Oxford, The Perch is a pretty little gastro-pub offering a delicious menu in a pretty riverside setting. There are lots of tables, covered and uncovered, dotted around the large gardens. At night the fairy lights glisten and there’s an outdoor bar area too. You’ll also find a hedge covered walkway through a wrought iron arch at the back of the garden which leads you to the banks of the river Isis. Leave the car at the pub and follow the river along Port Meadow for a scenic walk to Oxford city centre and back.

 

These are just 8 of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in Oxfordshire but there are plenty more I could have added to this list. Being a local Oxfordshire resident I have spent many afternoons/evenings enjoying lunches/dinners al fresco and the restaurants on this list have some of the best gardens in the county. If you’re planning a little visit to the Cotswolds don’t forget to check out my ultimate Cotswolds weekend itinerary for all my top tips and tricks! After 17th May, when we can resume indoor dining, I will still be going to these restaurants because their interiors are just as beautiful as their outdoor counterparts! But for now you can take my word for it and get booking some of my picks for the best restaurants in Oxfordshire for outdoor dining. How many will you tick off this summer? The heat is on…

 

 

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