I think you all know by now how much I love a country get away. The older I get the more appealing it is to me, the idea of owning a cosy little place in the middle of nowhere. Q and I have already made retirement plans to own a small holding when we grow old! But until then, it seems only right to stay in the city (I’m still young after all!) and get my country kicks on the weekend.
On this particular weekend, we were invited to come and stay at the Fat Fox Inn, in a tiny little town (the tiniest in the whole of England actually!) called Watlington. Let me start by saying that this is a beautiful setting for an inn; practically every building you walk by is utterly adorable or wonderfully quirky.
As we acquainted ourselves with the surroundings we couldn’t help but take a peak through the windows of some cottages we walked by as the dark began creeping in; everywhere looked so homely! The streets are so very sleepy around here that we found ourselves treading quietly and talking to each other in hushed voices.
Our tour of Watlington complete – and it really is small: we were done in 15 minutes – we headed to our base for the night.
In the UK, I think little things are more satisfying than coming in off a cold, dark street and being met with the warmth of a pub. My eyes lit up as they fell upon a grand mantle piece adorned with glowing candles and foliage and old brass trinkets set against a maroon wall.
We were staying overnight in a building behind the inn, which we were politely shown to.
The Fat Fox has a range of accommodation, ranging from economy to more luxurious. We stayed in one of their premier rooms which was very attractive. Perfectly in-keeping with the traditional country vibes, the room is classical with beautiful exposed beams and a high ceiling, dark and ornate wooden furniture and a grand, silver studded sleigh bed stealing the show.
The bathroom is equipped with a rainforest shower head and a selection of really lovely toiletries from Duck Island.
The room really invites you to relax and get back to basics. I didn’t even mind the intermittent wifi and complete lack of 4G (you’re in the country now!) forcing me to take a few much needed breaks from my phone.
You know what else was much needed? A cider.
We headed back to the bar and settled ourselves into a wooden bench, where we sat back and chatted, relaxing and watching locals and fellow country getaway-ers slowly trickle in. I was really enjoying the laid back pace.
Our table in the restaurant was booked for 7pm and having sat for a few hours peeping through at the beautiful dining space with growing hunger (and being sat below numerous awards for the food) I was pretty eager for dinner.
I really like the red interior at the Fat Fox; what is so very easily an angry and imposing colour they’ve pulled off as regal and comforting. Bravo!
After an evening wondering around a Medieval town, sipping on cider and sitting in grand wooden pews I was feeling like I’d gone back in time, and my choice of starter might have been influenced by just that.
Oh yes! Ye olde England feasting or what? My bone marrow with toast and garlic had incredible presence as three large chunks of bone appeared before me! A bold move on presentation that I really respected as it would no doubt displease some diners, I just loved it though!
Q ordered the scotch egg, which had a lot to live up to after he’d planned to order it weeks ago, having seen it in a photograph.
It did good. Real good. Soft boiled, richly spiced and sat on a tangy bed of creamy slaw.
It’s gotta be said, our mains looked ever so similar, but Q went for lamb with the usual trimmings and I went for pheasant, on a bed of spiced lentils. I think classic lamb won this round, with incredibly soft, buttery, sweet meat! My pheasant was nice, though a little dry and I found the lentils just a tad overpowered with spices; a dash of cream could have mellowed it out I feel. Ooh, that lamb though.
It’s usually at this point that Q is tapping out, and I must go on alone. The dessert menu has some seriously delicious sounding treats and it was a close call for me between sticky date pudding and the chocolate mousse…
Mousse it was! Now, it looks like my dessert may have stayed under the kitchen lights a little too long and yes, let’s address the obvious that my lovely coffee ice cream had melted. But despite it’s ugly duckling appearance, lovely ice cream it definitely was. I just love coffee flavours and this was delicious, especially teamed with the indulgent chocolate mousse and crumbly, slightly chewy biscuity bits sprinkled on top. A strong dessert that even persuaded Q to come out of retirement to try!
Starting our dinner early, we were the first into the dining room. But by the end of our meal all the tables were full up. We left feeling like very plump little foxes indeed, in need of hibernation.
I really love the books nestled in the corners. I’m not sure what it is about the presence of books that I find comforting. Lying in a large bed, staring up at the wooden beams with a belly full of hearty food and a head just a little bit hazy with cider I drifted off to sleep in no time.
And in no time at all… it was time to eat again! It’s what I do best right? When morning came around, and we had spent a whopping 10 hours in bed, we woke ourselves up with a rainforest shower and headed over for breakfast.
I chuckled as we were seated in the same place as we had been for dinner. The room felt completely different in the daylight: bright and airy.
I feel as though the best way to describe breakfast would be ‘extremely pleasant’. Yes, that feels like a suitably British term to sum up the crisp morning flooding through the windows, the couple next to us quietly engrossed in their newspapers, the mother insisting that her young daughter say her please-and-thankyou’s. I was surprised to see so many people were staying at the Inn!
Q and I both started the day with a full English which was indeed, extremely pleasant! The black pudding and adorable little potato cake in particular were excellent. Top marks to the Fat Fox for serving local ingredients.
Oh ye olde England, how lovely thou art! The Fat Fox is a lovely, easy stay. It’s pretty good value too; whilst our stay was complimentary our room with breakfast would have cost £130, and rooms go as low as £85. Humble, cosy, classic. One to consider for an Oxfordshire retreat for sure!