The Black Boy, Headington, hotel review

Renovate a 1930s roadhouse, add in a restaurant and what do you have? A unassuming gastro pub and hotel, on the outskirts of Oxford. Run by owners Chris Bentham and Abigail Rose The Black Boy has a lovely welcoming feel and offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of London.

Chris and Abigail provide uncomplicated home-cooked meals at affordable prices, with rooms to match.

The Black Boy, Headington, hotel review

Where is The Black Boy?
The hotel is in Headington, Oxford.

How to get there?
Oxford is a little over an hour train ride from London Paddington. From Oxford it’s about a 10 minute journey by taxi. Alternatively, you can take the Oxford Tube bus from Notting Hill Gate or Marble Arch and get off in Headington. The Black Boy is a five minute walk from the bus stop.

What’s in the area?
Headington is a residential suburb in Oxfordshire so you can expect the usual shops, cafes and parks. Of course the beautiful city is close by, with its stunning University colleges, museums and river walks. It’s brimful of enticing places to grab a bits, and you can find more recommendations here.

What’s in the room?
Cosy, homely and quaint – those are the three words I’d use to describe our room. Located on the second floor, it was just the right size. The carpets were thick and plush, the bed cloud-like and all the basic amenities were provided, including bath robes. Because what’s a good hotel without a bath robe?

The bathroom was simple, mostly white and the heated towel rail was a lovely touch on a cold day. Luxury Duck Island toiletries were provided.

What about dinner?
The menu is à la carte, affordable and has an array of dishes to choose from. To start, I had the seasonal risotto – which in October 2017, when I visited, was pea and goat’s cheese. Nick went for the pan-fried scallops. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the risotto exuded goat’s cheese, without overpowering the peas. We were both happy as Larry.

For mains I chose the organic rib-eye steak with chips and pepper sauce. Despite also eyeing up the steak, Nick went for slow roast pork belly with garlic and thyme mash. My steak was tender, juicy and cooked just how I like it – medium rare. The chips were thick, chunky and while I like them cooked slightly longer, they were perfect for mopping up the leftover sauce.

Nick smiled with glee when biting into his crackling, with an audible crunch he was sold. The pork itself melted in the mouth.

We finished the meal by sharing the sticky toffee pudding and crumble. And when I say share, I mean that Nick ate most of it, while I sulked about not having ordered the chocolate fondant. Note to self: don’t let your boyfriend pick the desserts. The sticky toffee pudding was the clear winner, and disappeared almost immediately.

How was breakfast?
The breakfast menu provided a very satisfying array of dishes. Surprisingly, for me, it was the vegetarian cooked breakfast that took my fancy. Then again, anything with halloumi and avocado is a guaranteed winner. Complete with the perfect quantity of beans, an egg, two vegetarian sausages and thick slabs of squeaky cheese – I was a happy girl. The toast came with a selection of mini sauces and preserves, even a teeny HP sauce. Happy days.

Nick opted for his go-to dish – eggs benny. The eggs were perfectly poached and the sauce was rich and creamy, without being too thick. We also drowned ourselves in tea and coffee. Sunday perfection.

What’s the damage?
Rooms start at £125 per night, for two people. That’s less than £65 per person (depending on dates) – you can’t argue with that.

For more information on the hotel please visit

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