“ Sandford Lock, Oxford. „
I took my mother, who has dementia here recently on a Sunday afternoon. She wanted to wait in the garden as it was such a sunny day. I was nervous about leaving her while I got the drinks, but it wasn't too busy, so, thinking I wouldn't be long I took a chance on it. Ten minutes later I was still waiting, very anxiously. The woman behind the bar was as slow as it is humanly possible to be. There was no sense of urgency, no awareness that people were being kept waiting, and no apology. When, after 10 minutes I complained, I was told that she now had to go and get the last customer his coffee and that this would take even more time (at which point the customer said that he would go back to his table and could wait for the coffee). I complained about the slow service and asked to see the manager and she said she was the manager. I said "so you are responsible for the staff scheduling" and she said "I wasn't to know it would be a sunny day - do you want me to serve you or shall I go and get his coffee". I said (admittedly somewhat impatiently) "just serve me - please". At this point she decided I was being rude and refused to serve me. Wild horses wouldn't drag me back there. (Fortunately Mum was fine). Angela
By the side of Sandford Mill Lock on the River Thames just outside Oxford, the Kings Arms has been a doyen of canalside pubs for years. Presently, it's a Chef & Brewer, but previously I think it's belonged to virtually every other pub chain in existence, including Brewers Fayre.
As one might expect from an Oxfordshire canalside pub, if offers a taste of traditional old-fashioned Britain; at least in the décor anywhere. In addition to the ample seating inside, there are tables outside along the riverbank. The interior is what you might call 'full of rustic charm'.
Unfortunately, the pub's website is less comprehensive than it used to be, and it no longer lists the normal menu online. The last time we went, the food was excellent (I think I had Cod & Chips). As you might expect these days, if offers a wide selection of meals from traditional pub classics - pies and steaks etc. - to pasta and curry dishes. The food is reasonably priced too, all always piping hot.
To some extent, the pub is let down by its service. Whilst in general the waiters and waitresses are keen, they are not English. Quite obviously, this isn't a problem in itself, but there are often communication difficulties. You have to be quite careful to check back that they've written down exactly what it is you want as there seem to be frequent misunderstandings. I don't want this observation to in any way sound racist, but it just adds a slightly irritating layer to the experience, and it isn't always relaxing.
The pub often gets very crowded, especially in good weather. The car park is not enormous, but when we've been, there's always been ample space. Inside, it feels a little crowded, and they've tried to get in as many tables as they possibly can. Unfortunately, this means you feel a bit as if you're sitting on top of each other on occasion.
Whilst the quality of service is not always straightforward, the food has always been excellent. It's in a lovely location, and very close to the main road. There are plenty of riverside walks to be had to walk off the food!
The Kings Arms at Sandford has to be one of the best family pubs in Oxford if not THE best. Situated at the side of Sandford Lock on the Thames, it can be accessed via footpath from along the river or by car. It is a very picturesque pub and frequented by many families especially during the summer months. It has an outdoor play area for kids with things such as wooden climbing buildings, swings and slides. It is protected from the river by a fence so kids are safe. There are plenty of outside benches or take your drink and stand by the side of the lock and watch the boats coming through. On horrible days it is still a great place because they have a family area inside too. They have a very large ball pit with hanging shapes to swing on. There is also a selection of sweet machines, so for 20p the kids can go get a few sweets. Older kids have the opportunity to play video games. You could have a day out at this pub as they do food and have a large seating area. Sundays can be very busy and you may not get to sit in the eating area as quick as you may like to but on nice days you can eat outside! They are a 'Homespreads' pub and the menu has a variety of dishes including, burgers, currys, vegetarian and mexican and of course good old Sunday Roast! It is very well priced compared to other pubs in the area and there is a special menu for kids. You can also hold your child's birthday party here at a reasonable price per head so could turn out to be in better surroundings than McDonalds or Burgerking. If I have wet your whistle or you are passing here one day you can get to it from the ring road quite easily. If coming from North, exit left at Littlemore and follow the road past the hospital. Take 2nd turning on left (1st turning being Heyford Hill Lane) and keep following the lane until you get to the pub. If coming from south, same directions except exit right at Littlemore.
If walking from Oxford centre via the footpath, then you will soon get to it (about an hours moderate walk).