Monday, August 20, 2012

Laneway Leading from the Historic Turf Tavern

According to the sign at the entrance to this narrow laneway, The Turf Tavern is renowned for giving "an education in intoxication". 

Tucked away from passers by, information boards inside the tavern claim The Turf as probably Oxford's oldest pub. It was built in the moat of the Old Oxford Town Wall. Originally known as the Spotted Cow, the tavern became known as The Turf, due to it being a venue for gambling. People would come to The Turf to meet their "Turf Men" or "Turf Accountant" who would take a bet on almost anything.

It is also claimed that Bob Hawke, former Australian Prime Minister, entered the Guinness Book of Records there in 1963 when he downed a yard of ale in eleven seconds. Another claim to fame for The Turf is that it is alleged it was here that Bill Clinton did not inhale while at Oxford in the 60s!

I am sure there are many other stories that could be told about The Turf. 

For us it was much less exciting than the student days of the 60's. We did however enjoy a glass of beer and a bite to eat sitting in the outside garden next to a small section of the Old Oxford Town Wall that remains standing and adds to the ambience of this charming and historic tavern. 


  1. There is a lot of history here Rae. Nice B&W.

  2. Any trip to England isn't complete without a pie and a pint in an old alehouse. Must find this place next time I'm in Oxford.