Boulters Lock Island Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 8PE 01628 621 291
Perched on an island in the Thames just west of Maidenhead, and accessed over a narrow stone bridge, this restaurant and bar has a superb view down the river, with its swans, willows and pleasure cruisers. Downstairs there's an upscale but unpretentious restaurant serving classic dishes with imaginative twists (try the Berkshire beef with truffle emulsion starter). Upstairs is a bar which does a lively trade in burgers, fish & chips and salads (no reservations). It's the sort of place that has INXS on the stereo and Sky News in the background, but despite distractions the glass-walled dining room is a fabulous spot to watch river life unfold. There are two decked outdoor terraces, too – perfect places to uncork a bottle of Sauvignon in the summer months. Both restaurant and bar are very child-friendly. Outside the restaurant, through a gate, you can stroll over to quirky little Ray Mill island, named after a now defunct family-run flour mill. There are pleasant gardens here, a café, some cages housing parakeets and guinea pigs, and numerous signs warning against feeding the remarkably cocky local squirrels (they bite). At the end of the island is Boulter's weir, a popular spot for kayakers.
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