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Set in a pair of 19th-century stone warehouses around a former wharf and boatyard, the Head of the River is a lively waterfront pub and hotel right in the heart of Oxford. The boatyard is now a beer garden, the bar and restaurant are popular local meeting places. The rooms are individually decorated in a tastefully playful style and rowing memorabilia dots the walls - the hotel is named after the winning boat in the university rowing regatta which finishes just downstream. Oxford's sights, shops and attractions are all within walking distance; you can nip around the back to stroll in Christ Church Meadow or walk along the towpath to a choice of other riverside pubs.

Your expert reviewer

Etain O'Carroll
Travel Writer
Etain O’Carroll is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Oxford with a passion for wild places, human stories and how travel affects the world



Immediate access to college grounds and the river means you can get away from the bustle of the city in minutes.

The hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Oxford's quaint shops, lively theatres and the famous Oxford University colleges.
By car: the journey takes around 1 hour 30 minutes from London or Bristol and just over 3 hours from Manchester. There is no parking on-site but the Westgate shopping centre car park is around a 10-minute walk away.
By train: 50 minutes from London Paddington, 1 hour 20 minutes from Bristol Temple Meads and 2 hours 45 minutes from Manchester Piccadilly. Oxford Station is a five-minute taxi ride from the hotel.

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Style & Character

Visitors looking for quirky character, decent pub food, and a lively base from which to explore the city will like this hotel. The riverside courtyard garden is one of the only places to drink outdoors in central Oxford on a sunny day.

Service & Facilities

We love hiring a punt for a lazy wander up the river to the university boathouses.

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Breakfast included
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Family-friendly
  • Riverside beer garden


The fresh, bold décor teams contemporary style with cast-iron bedsteads, retro, rotary-dial phones and plenty of original features. We love the Edmund Halley room for its double-aspect river views, deep teal colour scheme and images of the night sky.

Cosy Room, Comfy Room, Indulgence Room
Facilities include: king size bed, ensuite bathroom, free toiletries, TV, Wi-Fi, Nespresso machine

Food & Drink

The menu is seasonal and local where possible, with a focus on food provenance and naming producers. The pumpkin risotto is creamy, perfectly seasoned and has a delicious crunch of crispy sage and pumpkin seeds.

The Kitchen: relaxed, refined British pub food and hearty breakfasts. Open 11am-10pm. Mains from £11.

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Rooms available from £179.10 per night

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