The Fat Fox Inn Watlington

Housed in a historic building, The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington has a very inviting and welcome feel, decorated with‘foxy’ quirks and plentiful board games.

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We recently drove down to Watlington on a sunny afternoon where we found this beautiful market town just 30 mins away from Oxford. The origins of this town date back to the 6th century, and you can undoubtedly see glimpses of this history when strolling around town. The beautiful 17th-century Town Hall is surrounded by plenty of 16th-century Georgian buildings, including the venerable church of St Leonard’s. But this quaint town is anything but stuck in time.

Classic car in Watlington
Watlington High Street
Cafe in Watlington

Watlington is dotted with numerous independent businesses, specialist shops, eateries, and a great atmosphere. It certainly has all the makings of a quintessential and picturesque English market town. On a Saturday morning, you’ll be swept away by the busy routines as locals make their way around town momentarily broken by the occasional loud neighbourly conversations across the high street as familiar faces cross paths.

By local recommendation, we made our way to the family-run Fat Fox Inn pub and restaurant, where we checked into our room for the evening. We were welcomed by the joyful laughter of locals attending the pub and some enticing aromas from the hustling kitchen.

Blue sign reading
Exterior of The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington
Exterior of The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington

Housed in a historic building, the pub has a very inviting and welcome feel, decorated with ‘foxy’ quirks and plentiful board games. Our friendly host, Rob, immediately made us feel right at home while simultaneously ensuring service continues efficiently as food and drinks were plentiful. The pub is dog friendly and our frenchie, @deliciouspepper, wasted no time finding a cosy spot under the table.

For starters, we shared a plate of garlic butter prawns accompanied by focaccia bread. The prawns were perfectly cooked, and the sauce was buttery and herby, ideal for mopping up all the sauce with the focaccia.

Garlic butter prawns with focaccia bread at the Fat Fox Inn, Watlington

For mains, we tried the confit duck leg and the homemade lasagna. The duck was cooked with perfectly crispy skin, and the tender meat fell off the bone. To top it off, it was accompanied by delicious Thai curry sauce and warm fluffy rice. The lasagna did not disappoint either. It had delicious layers of pasta and sauce which melts in the mouth, exactly what you expect from a homemade recipe.

Duck confit left and homemade lasagne at The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington
Homemade Lasagna and Garlic Bread at The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington.

We finished off the dinner with a warm, gooey chocolate brownie accompanied by a scoop of ice cream for the sweet finale. We noticed their fantastic wine list and cocktails menu, which appeared to be very popular with the regulars. However, we let Rob tempt us with two local ales, which was very satisfying indeed.

The pub landlord told us that they have been quite busy since fully opening after the recent pandemic. The rooms continue to be fully booked. In fact, so popular that the restaurant now also opens on Monday evenings to serve the overnight guests. They have been working hard to keep the guests fed and now offer a full breakfast spread for all their guests. But with that, it was time for us to make our way to bed.

Warm, gooey chocolate brownie accompanied by a scoop of ice cream at The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington.

After a quick post-dinner walk with @deliciouspepper, we checked into our room on the first floor. The rooms are located just behind the main pub building, where you will also find plenty of free off-street parking. Once up the stairs, the first thing we noticed upon entering the room was the high ceilings and the beautiful wooden beams and arches in the room. The room was spotlessly clean and tastefully decorated, with many thoughtful touches to make your stay memorable. The private bathroom was clean and functional, with a bathtub and overhead shower. Most importantly, the big bed and comfortable mattress were a welcome retreat after a day of adventurous exploring.

Our room window opened onto the courts of the adjacent tennis club at the back and had the best view, framed by luscious ivy. Pepper loves a good view and immediately took to the window to inspect the outside while we retired into our cosy bed with a book and enjoyed a very restful sleep.

Bed at The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington

Breakfast is served back in the pub from 7am to 9am every morning. We enjoyed our breakfast of porridge, eggs and bacon, toast with jam and coffee. We wish we had more space as we missed out on the selection of cereals, fruits, and juices that were also on offer at the breakfast table.

After a good night’s rest, we headed back into town to stock up with some local fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers market down the road, hosted in the old Town Hall right at the heart of the town. We then stood in a long queue for the Orange bakery with other friendly locals. We bought way too much sourdough, cinnamon buns, Chelsea buns and pizza breads. You can’t blame us as they were all divinely delicious - the perfect end to our Watlington adventure.

The Orange Bakery, Watlington.
Watlington Town Hall

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