Anyone living in London knows (or will soon learn) the importance of balancing your fast-paced city life with something else to maintain sanity. No wonder many Londoners retire to the country side over weekends – I can’t think of any better way of disconnecting from the city’s buzz, than with a home-made meal accompanied by a full-bodied red wine, a thrilling book and a real fireplace.
That’s how I had imagined the weekends in the english country side – and this couldn’t have gotten any closer to my reality.
My first visit to the english country side was on the snowiest day of the year. My destination? Ramsden – a tiny little village in Oxfordshire. Attracted by their award-winning public house, The Royal Oak, we drove one and a half hours towards the north-west from London.
The land was covered in a sugar white coat of fresh snow – turning the otherwise common surroundings into a fairy tale land. As soon as we got off the highway, roads became narrower, icy, less trafficked and, consequently, more adventurous.
Sheep were staring at us as we attempted not to lose traction in one of the road’s many curves.
We did arrive at Ramsden, eventually. The village is a beautiful Cotswold village tucked away off the beaten track. It might not be large, but it has class and style. Every house is built individually. No two homes are the same, but all of them share something in common – the use of stone in construction.
The Royal Oak is a popular meeting place for locals, and an attraction for the occasional strangers like us – the ones that are willing to drive hundreds of km for fantastic food and genuine beers and wine (including rare beers from independent breweries!).
The chef uses local suppliers whenever possible, which also allows them to have fantastic daily specials. The pheasant – my order – was incredibly juicy and tender; and was dressed with an orange-infused gravy that complimented its taste perfectly. Although plates were of reasonable size (and you’re probably ok with one), we didn’t drive all this way to not order one of my favorite deserts – red fruit crumble.
With our tummies full, we took a short walk around Ramsden, visiting their church and war memorial, but soon felt our frozen feet and headed back home into our noisy (but heated) flats. It was a great way to experience a little adventure, inhale fresh air and slow the otherwise hectic pace.
- For Events, Food & Accommodation in Ramsden, Oxfordshire – Ramsden Village Website
- For directions to Ramsden, Oxfordshire – Map
- For details on the Royal Oak public house – The Royal Oak Website