The Perch

Binsey Lane Oxford OX2 0NG

Nestled along the Thames Coast Path, half-way between Jericho and Wolvercote, in the tiny village of Binsey, this 17th century pub is one of the oldest places to drink in the city. There's been some sort of hostelry on this site for some 800 years: rumour has it that Lewis Carroll based the ‘Treacle Well’ at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on a ‘miracle’ well in the nearby churchyard, and certainly the pub was said to be a regular haunt of the writer – the Alice memorabilia and eccentric decorations inside will soon have you convinced; it was also one of Inspector Morse's favourite watering-holes and a popular venue for jazz in the 1960s. Aside from its history and a frankly glorious riverside setting – especially in the summer months, when the gardens are home to gigantic, shady willows, a scattering of wild herbs and fruits ready for picking – the Perch has one more draw: fantastic food – indeed this and everything else is better than ever after a recent extensive renovation, with food served all day now from menus that take in a variety of classic British dishes from a superb fish and triple-cooked chips to delectable roasted pot-roasted ox cheeks with cauliflower champ, Dorset crab on toast, potted rabbit and roasts on Sunday. They do a great burger and excellent steaks too, and their meat and fish sharing platters are a joy to behold – plus there are always a few good and imaginative veggie dishes to choose from.  They also do sandwiches at lunchtime and old-fashioned bar snacks like quails' eggs and pickled radishes – all washed down with a host of excellent and well-chosen local ales. One of Oxford's nicest places to eat, or just to drink, and not to be missed at any time, but especially if you're lucky enough to be around for their annual beer and cider festival in early September.  

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