ALL WE DO IS WIN, WIN, WIN
Pop the champagne, and book yourself a table reservation! Three Bucks and Oxon pubs have been named in the top 10 gastropubs in the United Kingdom by Big 7 Travel, in a list of top 50. And who’s surprised? If there’s one thing we do well in these fine counties… it’s eat.
According to Big 7 Travel, the 10 best gastropubs in the UK include The Wild Rabbit in Kingham (at no. 2 no less), The Coach in Marlow (no. 4), and The Hind’s Head in Bray (no. 8). The whole top 50 also includes Sir Charles Napier Inn, Chinnor (no. 50), the Magdalen Arms in Oxford (no. 44), and the Killingworth Castle in Woodstock (no. 38).
This follows Estrella Damm’s list earlier in the year, which put two B/O pubs in its top 10 — not too shabby either!
WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM
Congratulations are also in order for Muddy Awards Finalist The Willen Ice Cream Company, a family-run company based in Milton Keynes (no prizes for guessing what it sells), which has just been awarded a Great Taste star for its ‘Simply Dairy’ flavour. Well deserved.
Right, who wants to hear about the recent celeb gossip in Bucks and Oxon? That’ll be all of you nosy parkers, then. First up: Teddy Soares — swoon-worthy finalist in this year’s Love Island; don’t pretend you don’t already know — posted an Instagram story over the weekend revealing he trains in a High Wycombe gym (oh, did we mention we’re suddenly thinking about joining a gym again?). Soares actually went to school in High Wycombe, and tuned into Lorraine from there at the end of last month.
And earlier in the month, gorgeous India Hicks (designer, fashion model, godchild of Prince Charles, bridesmaid to Princess Diana…) put the sleepy Cotswolds village of Brightwell Baldwin on the map by marrying her life partner there. After 26 years together and five children, and despite living in the Bahamas, the couple decided to tie the knot in the village where she grew up. Très charming — and we love the Grace-Kelly-esque dress. If you fancy a nosy around the village yourself, we recommend The Nelson for good food and a dog-friendly vibe.
We start with the the super-sad news that the former Muddy-Award-winning shop From in Thame will be closing at the end of the month. For almost ten years it has focused on cool local makers and producers, selling stylish, beautiful, artisan items. It’s very much Thame’s loss. True to the From ethos there’s no crazy closing-down sale, but there are certain reductions and a final shift of stock, so worth heading on over to give the shop some goodbye love.
Where one door closes, another opens. Have you seen the new ice cream bar in Thame, yet? Named Smoochy Moo Moos and harking super-sweet milkshakes, hot chocolates, and trendy bubble teas, it’s definitely one for the kids. (Or — “one for the kids”).
Then, over in Oxford, we’ve got our very own Hamleys, people! Stuffed animals and miniature hovering helicopters galore on Westgate — somehow that’s still disproportionately exciting, even as grown-ups. There’s also the triumphant return of an Oxford HMV, after the original on the main Oxford High Street closed years ago. We really do love a redemption arc!