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7 waterside hangouts

Water, water everywhere and there's more than a drop to drink (thank god!). Watch the world float by at Muddy's fave riverside spots to eat and drink.

I’ve been to a gazillions of pubs and restaurants in Berkshire on Muddy duty and have drawn together this scratch list, admittedly half cut late in the evening, but hopefully with a degree of knowledge and insight. Yeah yeah, I’ve probably left some goodies off, and if you think there has been a libellous omission, genuinely please let me know.  I hope these suggestions help you have a wonderful weekend. Slap on the sunscreen and enjoy the view

Swan at Streatley, Streatley

The Swan at Streatley Berkshire riverside hotel, decorative barge weeping willows

If Cher did hotels, it would be the Swan at Streatley. In the final stage of a gargantuan renovation it has had some serious work done. But it is going to look mighty fine when it’s completed with the addition of a new Coppa Club opening next year. There’s every reason to visit right now because not only is the cafe-bar open from 7am-11pm, welcoming dogs, kids and laptops, you cannot wish for a prettier spot. The garden stretches down to willow tree-lined riverbank, swans pootle around and there’s a lot of messing about on the river to watch. You can even hire from boat a the Swan if you fancy a go yourself. Food is available but think pastries, sarnies and salads. Rather than a waist-busting three course.

 

Coppa Club, Sonning

view of the large boutique hotel The Great House in Sonning from the banks of the river Thames surrounded by trees

Since George Clooney moved to Sonning, you can’t keep me away from the place. No need for a restraining order, George, there’s a new love in my life – the Coppa Club. Cool interiors with pops of colour, cabanas in the summer, the Insta famous igloos in the winter and a garden that runs down to the river that’s perfect for R&R. The food is super family friendly, with plenty of choices for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.  There’s a lovely towpath walk, The Mill theatre is just over the bridge and you’re within stalking, I mean waving, distance of George.

 

The Boatman, Windsor

The Boatman windsor's onlt riverside pun in shadow of Windsor Castle by Rover Thames

Windsor’s only riverside pub, The Boatman is practically the Queen’s local and is a prime spot for people and boat watching. In the shadow of the castle and facing onto the Eton side of the Thames, it is idyllic when the sun shines. Grab table on the terrace and join Her Maj for an 11am G&T. Cheers Ma’am. If you’re in the mood for a bite, settle in for a menu of quality pub food with flair. A conservatory has a retractable roof, making the most of the waterside location without getting wet when it rains.

 

 

The Swan, Pangbourne

Swan at Pangbourne Berkshire riverside outdoor terrace paved tables and chairs boats

Literary lovers get thee to The Swan in Pangbourne and drink in the view that inspired Kenneth Grahame’s Wind In The Willows and the pub itself also features in Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat. A 17th century inn tucked up against the Thames, make a beeline for the small terrace and sit directly on the waterfront the view is to die for. Think tree-lined meadow, large and small boats (some even moor at the pub for lunch). The food is unpretentious but stylishly presented and a nice spot for a family lunch.

 

The Rowbarge, Woolhampton

The Rowbarge woolhampton rivers pub near Newbury Berkshire

As riverside pubs go, The Rowbarge in Woolhampton has one of the biggest gardens, perfect for energetic kids. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, a little of the beaten track and the food is good and reasonably priced. Kids are welcomed with opened arms, it has a superb section of wines and beers, plus 93 different gins. Slow down the pace, watch the canal boats make their way through the lock and drift down Kennet.

 

The Little Angel, Henley on Thames

Little Angel pub Henley on Thames Muddy Stilettos Berkshire

OK, so I’m slightly bending the H2O rules because The Little Angel is not next to water, but it is very near. It’s a favourite with rowers and regatta goers because of its proximity to the rowing club (alumni include Pinsent and Redgrave, no less). Dating back to the 1600s, The Little Angel is child and dog friendly, serving gastropub food  so you get a cracking trial cooked chip and side order of Lyra-clad six pack. Take a stroll along the towpath, enjoy a boat trip down the Thames or watch the world float by. Add to your must try-list.

 

Waterside Inn, Bray

The foodie enclave of Bray is not all about Heston Blumenthal. Long before he introduced the world to snail porridge, a French fancy was drawing a foodie crowd. Alain Roux’s The Waterside Inn has held three Michelin stars since 1985 and is blessed with a stonking riverside location. Loved by chefs, expect fine wines and French classics with a price tag to match. If you get the chance to eat here, do. Just make sure someone else is paying the bill.

Find more ideas here

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6 comments on “7 waterside hangouts”

  • Petra August 11, 2018

    Great recommendations, but I reckon you didn’t want to call the Waterside Inn “a STINKING riverside location”? Anyway, it made me laugh. Keep up the good work.
    I live on the Western outskirts of Surrey, only a few miles from Hampshire on one side and Berkshire on the other, and grateful for suggestions for all 3 counties.

    Reply
    • rachel August 11, 2018

      Ha! Safe to say it’s not stinking. Autocorrect is my kryptonite. Thanks for pointing it out.

      Reply
  • Laura August 11, 2018

    I love your write ups!! You capture the spirit beautifully and in just a short paragraph! The Swan at Streatley is just divine….super location with an awesome gym and cafe. Will always be my favourite.

    Reply
    • rachel August 11, 2018

      Shucks you say the nicest things. Love the Swan at Streatley and beyond excited about the new Coppa Club.

      Reply
  • Holly August 15, 2018

    Thank you for this, I was stuck for somewhere to go on our kid free weekend and have booked sonning for brunch x

    Reply
    • rachel August 20, 2018

      Hope you had fun… did you enjoy it?

      Reply

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Berkshire