The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington

Exterior of the Fat Fox Inn, Watlington

What’s The Fat Fox Inn like?

A warm welcome is guaranteed at this traditional inn, in the market town of Watlington. There are great walks to be had in the nearby Chilterns and if you’re lucky, you’ll even see red kites soaring overhead. All of the guest accommodation is in a converted barn, away from the main pub.

How dog-friendly is The Fat Fox Inn?

It’s great. Dogs are allowed in the bar area, where there are plenty of tables, as well as the paved patio outside. And behind the converted barn, there’s a large beer garden – or Summer Meadow – which overlooks some tennis courts.

You’ll need to bring your own dog bed and food here, but you will find some Bark Burgers from Sir Woofchester’s on the bar. These are available in exchange for a small donation to a local animal charity. There’s an extra charge of £10 per night for dogs to stay.

Our Premier room at the Fat Fox Inn, Watlington, with handmade sleigh bed

Tell me more about The Fat Fox Inn

There are nine rooms available in the converted barn by the car park, all of which are dog-friendly. We stayed in Room Five – a Premier room on the first floor – which was lovely and quiet.

With its vaulted ceiling, huge Frank Hudson bed and original wooden beams, the room really had the wow factor. There were lots of little things that made you want to cosy up and stay there too, from fluffy rugs to tea and coffee-making facilities and even a small book library. The compact bathroom had luxurious Duck Island toiletries, too.

We visited the Fat Fox after the first coronavirus lockdown had lifted and found a number of safety measures had been brought in to protect customers and staff. As well as extra cleaning, a one-way system was in place in the bar and there were also floor markings to aid social distancing. Hand sanitisers were also dotted around.

Bar area at the Fat Fox Inn, Watlington

What’s the food like at The Fat Fox Inn?

Really good. The menu has a well-priced range of pub classics such as gammon, egg and chips and steak and ale pie but it could do with a few more veggie and vegan options. The service was a bit hit-and-miss on the night we ate in the bar but it was a very busy night!

I can also recommend driving to The Half Moon in Cuxham, if pizza is your thing. This 16th-century thatched pub, just a couple of miles from Watlington, serves delicious Italian fayre and has a garden so big, it has a volleyball net in it. When we visited post-lockdown, the pub was only open for takeaways but it is normally dog-friendly both inside and out.

Are there resident dogs at The Fat Fox Inn?

No, but you’ll probably meet several others – both locals and visitors – in either the bar area or garden.

Ernie explores the Thames Path in Henley-on-Thames

Where are the best dog walks near The Fat Fox Inn?

Watlington itself is a lovely place to explore, with well-maintained parks, boutique shops and buildings dating back to the 15th Century. To fully explore the historic market town, check out the two-mile route suggested by the parish council.

The Icknield Way Trail, which crosses six counties, also comes within half a mile of Watlington. But for wonderful views of the Chilterns – designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1965 – head to Watlington Hill. The site, maintained by the National Trust, is famed for the triangular chalk mark carved into the earth. It is also one of the best places in the area to see red kites. Stretch your legs on this 1.5-mile circular walk, which starts from the car park.

Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve, a short drive from Watlington, is well worth a visit. And for beautiful riverside walks, you can’t beat a trip to the nearby town of Henley-on-Thames, where you can stroll along the Thames Path or even take a boat trip.

Ernie looks out of the window at the Fat Fox Inn, Watlington

What Ernie loved about The Fat Fox Inn

The sausages for breakfast, keeping a watchful eye on other guests from the window in our room, exploring the footpaths of Watlington

What I loved about The Fat Fox Inn

Our character-packed room, being able to get a good night’s sleep, the location

How to book The Fat Fox Inn

Rooms start from £79, including breakfast. Be sure to look out for special offers online, too. At the time of writing, the inn was offering a Sunday Escape in a Premier room – including a two-course Sunday roast and breakfast the next day – for £79, based on two people sharing. For more information or to book, call 01491 613040 or visit The Fat Fox Inn website.

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