Why we love The Harcourt Arms for a weekend
This is the clever choice when you want a bear-sized hug from a giant of a pub, which has 2 AA Rosettes and 5 AA Gold Stars to its name. At The Harcourt Arms, you’re welcomed with open arms whether you’re trundling around in your wellies or clip-clopping in heels. The friendly team easily fills the pub with warmth, conviviality and slick service.
The original 400-year-old building of honey-coloured stone is flanked by modern red-brick extensions both sideways and upwards. Downstairs, there are flagged-stone floors and criss-crossing timbers uniting the bar, dining bar and restaurant. Gilt-framed paintings hang at the walls. Timeworn leather sofas laze in front of brooding fireplaces. Long, low wooden benches and antique chairs gather around candlelit tables in secret conversations, whilst cheerey chalkboards greet you on arrival.
Upstairs, 10 exceptional rooms await, named after local towns and villages. Each one a masterclass in countryside comfort, decorated individually so you can make a return stay and not get bored. The Blenheim Suite (where we stayed) could’ve been plucked from the Tudor court with its soaring timber ceiling, stately four-poster bed, grand objet d’art and huge free-standing copper bathtub. The other rooms are equally delightful; fit for the 21st-century with a soothing country-inn feel.
On the ever-changing seasonal menu, there’s some seriously good food to try before slipping to bed: charred mackerel with tomato and strawberry ceviche; chicken milanese with spaghetti; and white chocolate cheesecake, mint crumb, pomegranate, raspberry and basil. We ate like royalty and rolled into bed. In the morning, a hearty traditional breakfast awaits to start your day with a spring in your step. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a bottomless brunch, complete with DJ set, every other Saturday. Brilliant
- 2 AA Rosettes gastro pub serving seriously tasty pub classics alongside top notch seasonal specials
- Bedrooms come with complimentary locally-sourced Branche d’Olive bath and body products, super-comfortable beds, a Smart TV, Nespresso machine, still and sparkling water, free WiFi
- Well-behaved dogs are welcome in some of our bedrooms, please ask for details
- Great location near Oxford and Whitney with Blenheim Palace, Cotswold Wildlife Park and the Oxford Botanic Garden all within reach
- Great choice of real ales and beers, wines from around the world and an eclectic cocktail list
- 2 AA Rosettes and serves seriously tasty pub classics alongside top notch seasonal specials