“People don’t take trips, trips take people” these words from John Steinbeck finely illustrate the way that many Londoners feel when the urge comes to escape the city. Rolling hills, fresh air and roaring country fires call from beyond the suburbs of the big smoke and sometimes it’s a call that’s just too loud to ignore.
The way that we travel can have a huge impact on the way that we perceive our journeys, to travel in comfort and with ease makes the transitional period an isolated time for reflection that can be almost as important, and as enjoyable, as your time spent at the destination. Something that Subaru keeps at the heart of its cars, producing a comfortable, understated way to get you there without the worry that it won’t be able to handle the route.
On Monday morning we set off on our adventure with the team from Galante Magazine, in stunning early spring sunshine, to sample some of the finest delights that the Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside have to offer.
Shooting like a bullet out of London’s metropolitan sprawl, we cruised deep into the Oxfordshire countryside towards our first stop – The Hook Norton Brewery. Our Subaru Outback LTL 2.0D SE Premium went from motorway to windy lanes with ease, in fact we barely would have noticed the change in terrain hadn’t it been for the stunning rural vistas that were captivating our gazes.
Once at Hook Norton Brewery, we were blown away by the incredible brew house that, founded in 1849, looked like something out of a Roald Dahl book. Here we were educated about the brewing process, taken on a full tour which culminated in a divine tasting bathed in the late afternoon sunshine. Sampling Lion, Hooky, Crafty Fox and Red Rye we also caught up with Serena and Mark from the brewery on the exciting plans ahead for Hook Norton Brewery. It truly is one of Britain’s heritage treasures, upholding and preserving so much of what makes the industry great in this country.
We headed off to The Yew Tree at Highclere for an early evening drink, soaking in the undeniable spring weather and enjoying a leisurely journey through the idyllic country lanes which led us to The Dundas Arms at Kintbury. Sitting on both the River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon canal The Dundas Arms is a wonderful waterside destination from which guests can explore the local area by taking a traditional horse-drawn carriage down the canal, by boat or foot.
We were greeted with the warmest welcome from Emily and the team as we were shown our country house style rooms which had private terraces, before heading to the bar for a number of cosy pre-dinner drinks. Supper was a relaxed affair and the food was excellent, a true taste of the British countryside.
Come morning, we were treated to a delicious breakfast in the sun filled restaurant before jumping back into the comfort of the Subaru Outback and on our way. Making a pit-stop at The Crab and Boar to admire the recently refurbished pub and its gorgeous, remote setting, we headed to The Oxford Gun Company where the Galante boys were put through their clay shooting paces by head instructor Robert. Refining their technique, there’s never any doubt that lessons really pay off when it comes to shooting. They had certainly earnt their lunch by the time we headed on our way to The Trout at Tadpole Bridge.
Set peacefully on the banks of the Thames, The Trout is a picture perfect Cotswolds inn. Here we were greeted by roaring fires and the smiling team who showed us around. Taking full advantage of its location, the restaurant serves excellent fresh fish dishes, with locally sourced salmon and trout on offer alongside salt-water catches like monkfish, as well as the seasonal fresh game dishes and locally sourced meats that you’d expect to see on a pub menu. The food was excellent, and once lunch was over, we reluctantly made our return journey to London, thoroughly appreciative of the two days that we had just enjoyed.
The Subaru was more than just a vehicle, it was a haven, a practical, comfortable portal to aid our trip. Its understated luxury made our aristopractical road trip a pleasure from start to finish.