Banburyshire (source:Wiki) has more to offer than £4 roast dinners. Just down the A4260 is one of the many golden stone villages that make the Oxon/Northants/Warwicks borders a competitor for the Cotswolds.
Deddington has the usual minor tourist attractions; a ruined castle, one sided football pitch, snowdrops, antique centre and gun shop. “The quietest place reading the Daily Mail” as Housman might have said.
I could eulogise about the church and market place, but frankly the reason to come is to fathom out what’s going on at Northcote House, a slightly scary looking building in Chapel Square. The Chinese takeaway menu pinned to the board, like Luther’s theses to the church door in Wittenberg, is both thrilling and unnerving.
Streets called Hopcraft Lane, the Stile and Goose Green were still, apart from the endless barking of dogs. I saw no-one under 50.
Less excitement in the Unicorn, but then it’s a Charles Wells house. Ferocious fire, and a decent half of Eagle in a cosy corner of a pleasant dining pub.
Deddington has a special place in my heart; the Crown & Tuns was one of the 25 pubs in each of the first 25 Good Beer Guides.
QUIZ TIME – What’s misleading about Deddingtons football team ?
Back in Banbury, a town staunchly resisting the onset of craft, even with so many Greene King houses. Every year brings a lone new Beer Guide entry, a doomed attempt to get a decent price at the Travelodge, and a real effort to find something to enthuse about.
It’s getting there. Rather like Hitchin, independent business has been slow to arrive,but there were a decent number of newish lunch stops, including a very decent Mexican at Lucha Burrito. Their Spoons is a bit livelier than the one in Hitchin though. The famed frontage of the Olde Reine Deer contrasts sharply with the other ’70s frontages along Parsons Street, which suits me fine.
Plenty of proper pubs in the centre, and good to see the smartened up Three Pigeons finally get in the Guide. If it’s still in the GBG when Simon gets there in 2027, he may have something to say about the seating, lack of beer mats and a clientele fussing about “butter spoons“, but I’m staying charitable and will tell you the staff are charming and the Purity smooth and chewy (as if I know what that means). NBSS 3.
House building in Banbury shows no let-up, and the leisure developments around the Cherwell are attractive enough to keep the town centre busy.
It’s a measure of how North Oxon CAMRA put quality first that the Three Pigeons can get in the Beer Guide with a line-up of Purity and Doom Bar in what is effectively a restaurant, but I applaud them for their approach.
19 thoughts on “BANBURYSHIRE”
Banbury in my experience is a good proper country town with a lot of real life about it. And two Hook Norton tied houses are not to be sneezed at. Must put it on the list for a short break.
I’d like to read your experiences there. Quite probably has a lower GBG allocation than it deserves. The pubs up toward Upton House (NT) very good.
I remember going to a pub in Swalcliffe (I assume the Stag’s Head) in Spring 2002, indeed on the day I visited Upton House. Nice but a bit gastro, as I recall.
I just looked at my spreadsheet of GBG pub visits and see I have a big X against the Stags Head, meaning rubbish beer. 2 people in on Sat lunchtime, Greek restaurant posing as a pub.
It would have been the Stag’s Head as that’s in the 2002 GBG, listed as having Brakspear (when still brewed in Henley) and Hook Norton bitters. That was before the days I started keeping a diary of pub visits, which was from the middle of 2009. First pub listed was the Navigation at Lapworth in Warwickshire.
We haven’t been through Banbury on the cut for many years, but I always look forward to stopping there for the (relatively) large number of proper pubs!
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Deddinngton’s football team is misleading because all of the players are alive and kicking. Indeed, they all still have double digit ages. I’m intrigued by the one sided pitch. Is it circular?
The idea of a dedicated nail shop intrigues me, I presume they sell all sorts of different sizes.
We’re going to lose today.
It’s the hope that kills you, Tom.
The pitch is just a goal and a dugout in the site of a disused (I think) castle.
Wrong answer by the way. A geographical question, of sorts.
Good spot. I think they’re superior nails for people to attach Chinese takeaway menus to their front doors.
Some research reveals their name to be Deddington Town FC. I propose that to be wrong due to Deddington being a village, it seems very small to have been townificated. Your illustration appears to include a church, so assuming it is CoE it can’t be a hamlet. Unusually, the club’s website seems to provide no information about the ground.
Spot on Tom ! Obviously sponsored by Mr Town of Town Antiques or something.
You can breathe now Tom.
I don’t like this winning business, it makes me feel a little uneasy. Besides, I’ve been starting to actually look forward to the trip to Glanford Park.
In seriousness, I agree. Expectations ruin the fun.
Spoons in Banbury has been bought by Stonegate, that’ll do a lot for standards.
There were 2, the rough Exchange and the Lloyds no.1 Fleur du Lis.
Fleur de lis has been sold.
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That makes sense.
I have been to Deddington twice as the first time we went there to do the Crown and Tuns a Hook Norton tied house on the 19th may 2012 we liked the look of the town so much we went back on the 10th May 2013 to do the other 3 pubs which are all on the nice looking market place.
I always drink Eagle bitter if on when doing Charles Wells tied houses.