Top 5 family meals out in Oxfordshire

Nothing can beat the feeling of having the family all sat around a table while digging into some great food – at Hardwick Parks we know how important it is to be well fed! Dining out can be one of the perks of any holiday and so we thought we’d let you in on our top 5 restaurants suitable for family-friendly dining!

The Horseshoes – Witney

The Horseshoes in Witney might be the best restaurant in the area and is a great place for a family get together. This modern gastropub has its focus on quality food made with fresh local ingredients. While a little more expensive than a standard pub grub meal, the Horseshoes more than makes up for it with great atmosphere and service and a seasonal rotation of high-quality food and local ales. If you’re looking for something special – without needing to travel too far from your home base at Hardwick Parks – then you can’t do much better than The Horseshoes.

Vaults & Garden Café – Oxford

Located right in the middle of the university – or should that be right under (?) – this quirky underground café makes a perfect lunchtime spot when exploring this historical city. Serving a range of light snacks and British classics alongside more exotic options, not forgetting the essential cups of tea and coffee of course, The Vaults & Garden Café was voted “The Most Sustainable Restaurant in Oxfordshire” for 2016. This unconventional eatery focuses on providing a small range of organic, fairly sourced and fresh menu options and – located in the vaults of the University’s Old Congregation House (built in 1320) – the setting is just as fresh and interesting as the food is. A great place to grab breakfast or lunch on your day out.

Banana Tree – Oxford

For families looking for something a little different, Oxford’s Banana Tree offers the taste of Pan Asian cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. Featuring dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and more, Banana Tree can cater to both the pickiest or most daring eaters as well as those with special dietary requirements. With many options for gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan eaters, no one will be left out. Banana Tree also offers special kids meal combos to help introduce the kids to Pan Asian dining.

Como Lounge – Witney

The Como Lounge is a comfortable and rather peculiar entry on our list. Located in Witney, the town that Hardwick Parks also calls home, the Como Lounge is a modern dining experience with an out-there taste in interior design and an eclectic variety of comfort foods from around the world. The Como Lounge is designed to be comfortable and friendly – just like your own lounge! If you want somewhere to relax and chill out – maybe even take in a board game while admiring the decor – then the Como Lounge is for you; a great place for a bite to eat in fantastic surroundings.

Fat Lil’s – Witney

Sometimes, especially where kids are involved, you just want something simple, delicious and lots of it. Fat Lil’s offers a great variety of American and Mexican favourites with extra bacon and melted cheese. With smaller and less overloaded versions for kids, Fat Lil’s grill gives you a great taste of the Americas in the heart of Witney. Going beyond just burgers and burritos, Lil’s offers a wide variety of thick milkshakes and floats and regularly hosts live music. Be on the lookout for some of Lil’s weekday deals like Taco Tuesdays for great savings on your special meal.

All of these locations – and many others like them – make for great family meals and all of them are just a short journey from Hardwick Parks! For more information on booking your 2018 stay, visit the Hardwick Parks website.

A Harry Potter Tour of Oxford

Calling all Harry Potter fans! Are you still waiting for your Hogwarts acceptance letter? Do you already know what house you’d be sorted into? Well, if your letter hasn’t arrived yet then there’s no need to worry! You can visit Hogwarts right now with one of the many Harry Potter themed tours available in Oxford.

Famous for it’s old university buildings – some dating back as far as 1040 – Oxford was an obvious choice when it came to choosing sets and inspiration for the Harry Potter film series released between 2001 and 2011. So get ready to explore the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, discover its hidden secrets and walk the same mysterious hallways as Harry, Hermione and Ron, as part of your next stay at Hardwick Parks.

You’ll be shown around by one of Oxford’s many experienced and knowledgeable tour guides who will let you in on the secrets of Oxford University itself as well as special behind-the-scenes knowledge of how the university was used to bring Hogwarts to life.

Christ Church college, located in the heart of the city, was used for many scenes throughout the film series. You might instantly recognise the New College Cloister and its large Oak tree, for example, as it was here that Mad-Eye Moody turned Draco Malfoy into a ferret in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

The great hall of Christ Church may also seem familiar, and it should! While not used in the films themselves, the hall (and the staircase leading to it) were used as direct inspiration for the great hall set that is seen on screen.

Down in the Bodleian Library, you can visit the Hogwarts infirmary (and sometimes dance studio), which, to the students and staff of Christ Church college, is known as the Divinity School. True fans of the series may also want to organise access to the Duke Humfrey’s Library. Only accessible on a private tour, the Duke Humfrey’s Library was used as the Hogwarts Library in some scenes – who knows, there may still be some spell books hidden among the dusty tomes.

Once you’ve had your fill of the sights and sounds of Hogwarts, you can pick up a few magical souvenirs from the City of Oxford Visitor Information Centre – it’s not quite Ollivanders, but they do sell wands and owls!

Harry Potter isn’t the only fictional figure whose past you can explore in Oxford. As part of the same tour, you’ll learn about the real Alice from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, learn more about J.R.R. Tolkien’s time at Oxford and explore the mischief of Oscar Wilde among many other notable figures from the world of literature.

If you’re looking for a magical holiday, then why not spend some time at Hardwick Parks this spring? With our central Oxfordshire position, you’re never too far from your next adventure – whether it’s among the mysterious spires of Oxford or among the natural beauty of the bewitching countryside. Book your stay at Hardwick