tell us about your favourite waterside pub and restaurant
the pig place at Adderbury
The Pig Place has to be one of the most delightfully different pubs we have ever come across, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were one of very few truly 'outdoor' pubs in Britain. Most of the seating is outdoors, with an abundance of sofas centred around fire pits. Talk about bringing all the comfort of your living room into the great outdoors! The views are amazing, and it's great to sit and watch life pass you by on the canal.
Everything at The Pig Place has a pig theme, so it's not surprising to find the bar (a converted livestock trailer) is named Trotters Bar. It is only here that you can come across seemingly decapitated bar staff. The trailer is not very high, and the staff seem to be universally pretty tall, with the result that when they are not bending low to serve you, you can only see the body up to the neck.
Trotters Bar has a very good range of bottled beers and ciders. Plus the usual range of stronger stuff. The wine that stood out for us was of course 'Shy Pig'.
You cannot visit The Pig Place without sampling the food - served at The Trough of course! We had a full English Breakfast on more than one occasion, and it was superb every time. The bacon is particularly good, and the sausages were the best ever. Of course The Trough also caters for those amongst us who do not eat meat, and there are even some Vegan options.
The Farm Shop
The Farm Shop sells everything from kindling and logs (buy these to burn on the fire pits) to some rather special ice cream from a dairy in Worcester, plus a good range of beers and wines at very reasonable prices, essential groceries, vegetables and of course meat. There is always plenty of bacon, and if you are very lucky you might be able to buy home-produced sausages before they sell out. If you fall in love with the whole concept of The Pig Place, you can even buy yourself a Pig Place T Shirt.
The Sty is the only really indoor part of the establishment. Hand built by Dean from recycled building materials, (mainly old doors...) it is a delightfully quirky and cosy area for when the weather is being less than kind. Many events take place here (either inside or just outside): There are fairly regular themed weekends, and always plenty of live music. This might be staff members Greg or Tom playing guitar and singing, customers jamming, or invited guests. There is also the occasional opportunity for very young musicians to have the chance to shine in front of an afternoon audience.
Campsite and Mooring
The Pig Place has a lovely grass pitch for all sizes of tents, plus room for campervans and motorhomes, caravans and trailer tents. Interestingly, the site is on English Heritage Ridge and Furrow land, but as the pitches are not marked out, campers can find their own suitable spot.
There is such a friendly atmosphere at The Pig Place, that a good proportion of campers tend to join in with any festivities, and of course all are encouraged to partake of food and drinks at the Trough and Trotters Bar. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it, children are not allowed to stay. Under 18s are welcome to visit The Pig Place up until 6pm, but then the entire site is child free. Dogs, on the other hand, are most warmly welcomed at any time!
The Pig Place is right on the Oxford Canal, just north of Bridge 187. There are some mooring spots available on the opposite side (towpath side), but The Pig Place has its own visitor moorings. These are free for visitors during the day, but when it is busy you may well have to double up on a mooring. Overnight mooring is available, with electric hook up if you want it, but this comes at a reasonable cost. The management do ask you not to run engines or generators while you are there, as this would impinge on the peaceful enjoyment of others.
The Pig Farm
For some, the main attraction of 'The Pig Place' is the presence of the pig farm. The idea of a pig farm can sometimes conjure up the thought of something dirty or smelly, but here, nothing could be further from the truth. Happy, clean, contented and friendly pigs play and roll and trundle about in their pens and there is absolutely no smell at all. They scarper inside their wooden huts as soon as the first drops of rain fall, and come out again with the sunshine. They have a very good life, and it is lovely to simply sit and watch their antics.
Behind the scenes
The people behind The Pig Place are Dean and his wife Sara. They live in a Narrowboat on The Pig Place moorings, and have several dogs as well as the pigs. They also have a few ducks, and you can't buy fresher duck eggs anywhere. Dean and Sara have spent their lives being that little bit different - from the very beginning when they ran off to Gretna Green to take their marriage vows. When they eventually decided to live on a boat, Dean built one for them as at that time they had plenty of time on their hands but little money. And while he was doing this, he was taken on by a boatyard and became an official boat builder. Dean's creative streak is visible all around The Pig Place, and a member of his staff told us he always had to have a project on the go. The couple also have a love of motorbikes and vintage cars - there are a few classics dotted around. Hence the motorbike night which is held every Thursday - bikers come from all over to eat, meet and have a quick drink.
I asked Dean how they came to be running The Pig Place, and he told me they had been looking everywhere for a bit of land to buy and were incredibly fortunate to be able to buy what they have named 'Narrowboat Acres'. They have never looked back, and although they say it is hard work, especially in the winter, they love the farm, the pigs, the lifestyle and the people who work for and with them. They were both well and truly hooked from the day they sold their very first packet of sausages from one of their very own pigs.
We had a wonderful few days at The Pig Place. The staff were universally very friendly and welcoming, and Sara and Dean always had time for a chat. We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this pub as our 'pub of the season', and we shall definitely be returning when we are next in the region. Remember - it is just north of Nell Bridge (187) and Nell Bridge Lock (32) between Kings Sutton and Aynho on the Oxford Canal. Don't miss it!