My post about our stay at Heron Hut was chock-full of photos because I took so many that I liked that I couldn’t just not include them – it was just too pretty. However, what I left out was anything about what we got up to when we were glamping, which let’s be honest, was mostly eating. Although we did spend most of our time pottering on the lake in Peggy Sue, exploring, reading or playing cards and just generally relaxing, we did spend a lot of our time eating. We were on holiday…
So, just in case you happen to be in the Oxfordshire area (or, even better, staying at one of the huts at Rushy Meadows), then I thought I’d do a very short post on two of the places we ate.
As we needed to stock up on groceries, we headed to Sainsburys in Witney on our first day and while we were there, had a wander around Witney and decided to have lunch there. It was a Sunday and we hadn’t planned where we were going to eat but decided to hope that somewhere would have room for us. Witney is pretty (strangely I didn’t take any photos). After a quick google, we decided on The Horsehoes which looked good and was able to squeeze us in.
We were impressed by the atmosphere and the decor and also the fact that on a Sunday they offered more than just a Sunday roast, although we did question the wisdom of having so many options as our food did take a very long time to arrive (so much so that we jettisoned the idea of having dessert), although service was nice and attentive.
We started by sharing three cheese beignets served with sautéed spinach and chive oil. Good little cheesey morsels which, with hindsight, we should have ordered more of as we relied upon them to carry us through.
For mains my boyfriend had the seared tuna niçoise which was a cut above your average niçoise, so he almost forgave them the wait.
I had the roast chicken which was fine, standard Sunday dinner.
It did come with all the trimming though and a good side of veg, served along with a little boat of extra gravy, because you can’t ever have too much gravy.
The next day (a beautiful one) we decided to visit somewhere closer to home, the Hand and Shears in Church Hanborough. It came recommended by Ali, our host and was walking distance from our hut via a public footpath across the fields. With bare arms in the gorgeous weather, we ran the gauntlet of nettles on our way across one of the fields and followed the church spire towards Church Hanborough.
We arrived at the Hand and Shears to find locals enjoying a Bank Holiday drink (along with a great dog) and were greeted by Chris, who got us settled at a table with drinks – as I was the designated driver for the weekend and for our trips out, it was nice to be able to have a cold glass of rose on a gorgeous day knowing I didn’t have to drive that day.
Offering a menu of pub classics and seasonal mains, we chose to share chargrilled halloumi to start, which I was encouraged to start before my boyfriend arrived back at the table, having been distracted by a bookcase full of great books that were right up his slightly anti-establishment street.
My boyfriend ordered seabass which came with Mediterranean style sides.
Whereas I went for a bacon and blue cheese sandwich with chunky chips and a colourful side salad.
Happy to sit and nurse another glass of wine, we ordered desserts to share – Eton Mess and a cheeseboard.
Seriously though, how adorable is the cheeseboard?
The food and hospitality at the Hand and Shears were lovely, we both wished it could be our local.
Full and happy, we headed back across the fields for an afternoon sprawled out on the picnic blanket reading in the sun (no wonder I ended up a bit pink the next day).
Whilst I don’t profess to be a glamping expert after just one trip (although there will definitely now be more), here are my tips for how to survive a glamping trip:
- Think about how you’ll cope without all the trappings of modern life – for me, my main loss was a hairdryer and straighteners, so I googled ways to style hair without heat, it still left me without my usual ironed straight hair, but it felt a little more under control than my usual early morning bird’s nest.
- Pack clothes for all eventualities – layering is key here. Even if it turns out to be a beautiful day, chances are that it will be chilly in the morning (or the middle of the night if you really can’t wait until morning to walk to the toilet) so pack a warm hoodie and a coat that will act as a windbreaker. Pack wellies too, it might not be muddy but early morning dew on long grass will soak your trousers and shoes through before you even know it.
- If you’re travelling there by car, buy an in-car charger with multiple USB slots so you can charge phones while you drive. It takes longer than charging from the mains, but it might give that crucial bit of juice for one last Instagram. I found this one on Amazon. It turned out that our hire car had a USB slot too so we were well away for charging both our phones and my work phone. If you aren’t going by car then consider buying a spare battery or portable charger. The same goes for your camera if you’re going to be there for more than a day or two.
- Learn how to make a proper fire – you might be relying upon it for warmth in a woodburner or just for toasting marshmallows over a fire pit, but either way, it probably wouldn’t hurt to brush up on the best way to go about making one, it’s not a skill they teach in schools these days.
- Meal plan – ok, so we went out for lunch both days, but we did have breakfast and dinner each day to sort out. Try and find tasty one-pan recipes – ideally using ingredients that don’t need refrigerating if possible. So, for breakfast on two of the days we were there we had pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast using one of those pre-made mixes that you just have to add water to. For dinner we cooked on the gas hob and also toasted crumpets over the fire. Plan ahead and you’ll be fine! At the very worst, know where the local chippy or pub is!
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