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Royal Blenheim, Oxford

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user reviews of Royal Blenheim, Oxford

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Owned by Everards but leased to White Horse Brewery who run it with Titanic so 5 handpulls from those 3 breweries with Box Steam's Piston Broke, Mighty Oak's Gorgeous George and Welbeck Abbey Brewery's Cavendish also on sale. Maybe I should have been more imaginative and opted for something I hadn't tried before but I chose the Titanic Plum Porter which was in very good condition and cost £4.40 per pint. Even though it's just seconds away from the main thoroughfare of St Aldate's, there was hardly anyone inside on Sunday lunchtime.
paul_d102 - 3 May 2022 09:20
Not come across White Horse Brewery before.

Went for a Waylands Smithy for the simple reason I had walked past it on the Ridgeway a couple of years ago!

Beer was in good condition. Pub was a nice victorian single room. Only thing not to like was the soft rock piped in for ambiance.

Visit blogged at
Mappiman - 27 Jul 2017 15:14
The last pub on our crawl due to the closeness of the Train Station.All ten handpumps on A Golden ale from Navigation was my choice.A friendly pub on the corner owned I believe by the White Horse Brewery,many of their beers were on.
slerpy - 22 May 2016 19:38
Popular corner pub, quite large. Dart board, TV on but no volume.
10 Handpumps, six were in use on my visit.Beers sold in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1 pint.
Titanic Plum Porter was really good £3.70. Seems to going rate in Oxford
rpf1955 - 25 Feb 2015 20:49
This was our last port of call on a pub crawl so I can't claim to remember it all that well! But I know there was a large round table suitable for accommodating five or six people together, and there was an interesting range of ales.
Trev - 14 Sep 2014 16:25
Called in here as we were slightly lost! First visit to Oxford and were struggling to get our bearings!
Tidy pint of White Horse. "Village Idiot" which seemed appropriate!

We didn't eat but they guy opposite us had a rather tasty looking sausage sarnie on granary with chips and some salad. Looked lush.
LickeyEndBooze - 2 Feb 2014 20:49

GBG pub number 3 of the day.

A quick cab ride from the Oxford Blue brought us to the Royal Blenheim just as Andy Murray was winning Wimbledon...bloody glad I missed it!

7 beers on tap, of which 3 were from White Horse brewery no surprise as this is their brewery tap. My pint of School of rock from Wentworth was excellent.

Decent pub, after the tennis it did empty out considerably.

lezford - 12 Jul 2013 13:28
Beer range OK, but food was pretty grim. Dried up tasteless oven chips and overcooked peas, plus a piece of flavourless encrusted fish wasn't my idea of a meal, particularly at the price. A pub living on past glories, I would suggest.
biggles221 - 4 Jul 2013 20:38
Called in on recent visit to Oxford - beer selection very good - would definitely visit again when back in oxford
boroboy23 - 10 Jun 2013 16:47
Good pub, good choice of Ales with choice and description clear on a blackboard. White Horse Ales lovely and if you go to Oxford and want the best 2 Ale Pubs, go to this one and Far From the Madding Crowd.
Gar - 4 May 2013 18:44
Love the beer range all laid out on a blackboard menu with a key to describe the style. There were 5 on with another 3 coming The Wentworth WPA and Miltons Nero were excellent.
Steamer1 - 6 Feb 2013 15:07
An excellent pub ,it doesn't enjoy the historic quality's of many of its neighbors but the quality of its White Horse ales are second to none and at a decent price .
Picasso09 - 23 Oct 2012 09:11
A proper pub that isn't full of tourists, which is rare in Oxford and worth seeking out! Linked with White Horse Brewery with most of their beers available plus a number of guest ales.
Mike_Oxford - 25 Jul 2012 12:09

I really liked this pub - and especially it's friendly attitude towards rugby and rugby fans. Friendly staff happy to advise on a good beer, and they have a big selection. Lots of people dining when I went there on a sunday afternoon. Really enjoyed watching the Heinken cup with people who were knowledgeable and good humoured and open. Keep up the good work!
mcgram10 - 15 Jan 2012 19:09
Think this is owned or leased by the White Horse brewery and has their beers at a very reasonable 2.40 upwards alongside guests including the excellent Hopback Entire Stout on my visit. Very good service and a nice pub. Highly recommended.
baxterfish - 14 Nov 2011 19:25
Nice hidden away boozer run by a friendly and helpful welsh chap. Loads of beers and a couple of decent ciders.
EricOlthwaite - 27 Oct 2011 12:13
Was slightly disappointed with the Royal Blenheim, given its high rating. 6 ales were on - White Horse Bitter & Village Idiot, Thwaites Nutty Black, Batemans XXXB, Isle of Purbeck Best Bitter & Box Steam Chuffin' Ale. They also had a real cider - Westons Traditional Scrumpy. The single bar was fairly busy on our Friday evening visit. Despite the wood panelling, it has a fairly light and airy modern feel. A nice place. But I remember better in Oxford on my previous visit.
blue_scrumpy - 31 Jul 2011 21:20
"Hoity toity"? The Blenheim is run by a Welshman - that's the reason for the rugby policy on the TV. Football can be found in every single pub with a TV - I for one appreciate a place that I know will be showing rugby. Still a cracking place.
thomashenry - 13 Jun 2011 14:33
Extremely friendly and civilised drinkers pub, good customer mix, and local beer 2.40 a pint (save over a 1 on typical Cambridge prices !).
mtaylor40 - 9 Jun 2011 22:13
A good place for a quiet pint near to Oxford City centre and near enough to its far flung station not to be too inconvenient. The one slight drawback is the favouring of rugby over football - either don't show sport at all (my preference) or everything. Still, I shouldn't be surprised in such a hoity toity town. Quality ales. On balance: way above average.
BoehmBawerk - 7 Jun 2011 18:09
It's okay for a city centre pub - has a proper pub feel (not refurbed or contrived) and had 8 different ales on (though I did have to change my ropey first pint of Village Idiot - probably first pint of it drawn methinks).
anonymous - 29 May 2011 11:07
It's all right, but not that outstanding. There are plenty of real ale city-centre pubs I'd rate higher than this (the Plough in Worcester, say). I'll stop here for a half, but if I were settling in for the afternoon I'd far prefer the Jericho Tavern or the Cape of Good Hope.

And I'd echo what the previous poster said about cider - simply having keg cider on (even though it is Stowford Press, which is as good as keg cider gets) isn't up to scratch in this day and age. (And I'm a chunky jumper wearer!) Come on guys, even Wetherspoons have a bag-in-a-box of proper stuff behind the bar.
el_capitano - 5 Mar 2011 13:54
went to watch the rugby on saturday and it was superb, 10 real ales on, white horse bitter was great and so was the village idiot, atmosphere was fantastic, and so were the bar staff
bacon butty at half time for 1, and a scotch egg in the fridge, menu looked good too
i can not rate this pub any higher but wish i could
realaleman1979 - 27 Feb 2011 22:50
What is all this crap? This website is about beer in pubs and not jumpers or your shaving habits - try Facebook (get it?) or Twitts. I go to The Blenheim for the ales and am usually happy with what I get. That's what it's all about guys.
mcroyal - 9 Feb 2011 21:21
"Well I'm sorry, but I'm clean shaven and I also don't happen to own a jumper of the chunky variety."

No need to apologise for being clean shaven. A chunky jumper can come in handy during cold winters like the one we've just had though.

P.S. You sound like a trendy sort, why not wear sunglasses to The Blenheim if you find it too brightly lit?

thomashenry - 28 Jan 2011 19:19
The_Final_Arbiter wrote:

"I drink cider, but I appreciate a proper BEER in the evening or otherwise.
Cider does not qualify as beer."


Oh, I see, I see, I got you. So because this site is called "beer" in the evening, you are interpreting that as meaning Real Ale. Hence and therefore we should all be discussing nothing but Real Ale.

Well I'm sorry, but I'm clean shaven and I also don't happen to own a jumper of the chunky variety.

What happens if a mate says to you:

"fancy meeting up for a beer tonight?"

If he orders a Lager or a Cider, do you scream "NOOOOOOOO!!!!" ... then grab the glass from his hand and smash it to the floor, before storming out whilst howling ... "you said beer, you said meet up for a BEER!!!"

Pat_Bateman - 28 Jan 2011 09:56
Hear hear.
I drink cider, but I appreciate a proper BEER in the evening or otherwise.
Cider does not qualify as beer.
The_Final_Arbiter - 27 Jan 2011 17:05
Perhaps you should set up '' then.
thomashenry - 27 Jan 2011 16:42
I don't like ale that much.

I'm a cider man.
Pat_Bateman - 27 Jan 2011 16:01
"very ordinary"???

Since when was having 10 excellently served ales 'ordinary'? The Blenheim is a top pub.
thomashenry - 27 Jan 2011 15:38
How this very ordinary brightly lit boozer got to number one or 7.7 is beyond me.

Wasn't even in my top 5 favourite Oxford pubs.
Pat_Bateman - 26 Jan 2011 13:30
Good pint of ale and decent fish and chips. Will return when in oxford
guestale - 24 Jan 2011 14:16
The White Horse brews are great, the food is also good. If you're into rugby i should imagine it's close to the perfect pub, though I tend to avoid it when they're showing a game as it gets very crowded.
beerminx - 23 Jan 2011 18:37
Nearly as good as Far from the Madding Crowd, which is high praise in my books. Good range of well-kept beers and a nice atmosphere, even on a busy Saturday night. Probably Oxford's most improved pub.
paul154 - 20 Dec 2010 14:55
Really good place. White Horse beers top notch. Good atmosphere and staff. Definitely worth seeking out and no tourists when I went in.
Corkypunt - 11 Dec 2010 22:30
What a fine town pub, great beer, warm and comfey, just off the main drag in Oxford, 3 White horse beers and 3 guests, top, what more could you ask for?
Hodge1 - 25 Nov 2010 19:35
The Blenheim seems to be getting better all the time. Trade has picked up so much in the two years since the White Horse brewery took it over and put Ian and Sara in charge. During my last visit at 5pm on a Saturday, the pub was absolutely heaving, with students, shoppers, ale spotters, and workmen in overalls. There was a great atmosphere, with plenty of banter between groups. It was the embodiment of what a town pub should be like.
thomashenry - 18 Oct 2010 13:19
Excellent place, friendly barstaff, excellent White Horse Brewing beers (plus a few guests and the obligatory Everards). Pork Scratchings come from the covered market and are great too.
swcooper - 9 Sep 2010 14:59
Been there a couple of times now, once of which was on their pub quiz night which was very entertaining. Small but good selection of real ales present and lively atmosphere.
oxford_hasher - 29 Jul 2010 22:39
Excellent selection of beer that is always in top nick. Friendly staff will also let you try a sample if you ask nicely. Good place to watch the Six Nations although it can get rather busy during the matches.
cheesyal - 8 Apr 2010 22:59
I found this pub a bit bland, lacking character and atmosphere.

I must admit, it was early Saturday afternoon, but I just instantly disliked it.

Having said that, it seems to get glowing reports if you are a real ale fan.
Pat_Bateman - 7 Apr 2010 16:42
Excellent White Horse beers were quaffed here after the disappointment of the Turf beer fest. Friendly staff and reasonably patronised. The only slight qualm for me would have been that the egg chasing on the gogglebox was a tad too loud for a not very important fixture.
an_ecunemical_matter - 31 Oct 2009 12:14
The best real ale pub in Oxford town, no contest.

Has a good, interesting range of bitter and (on my last visit) Elgoods Black Dog mild. On a saturday night, it wasn't full of the kind of heaving clientele that spoils the White Horse and the Turf Tavern. So you could actually have a seat and a civilised pint without feeling like you're in a tourist trap or student bar. In other words, a proper normal drinkers' pub.

Served food, but I didn't try it, though menu looked cheap. Beer was good, staff pleasant, pub interior nice. A real gem, 5-10 min walk from the station. The only pub I've found in Oxford that could hold a candle up to Cambridge's premier league.
mafting - 18 Oct 2009 00:30
Popped in pre and post Oxford Beer Festival and was very impressed ,great selection of ale at very reasonable prices.

Staff were also very friendly. If there is one pub to visit in Oxford city Centre, this is it.
Huey - 17 Oct 2009 11:53
This pub is a great little find and shows what happens when someone who cares about beer takes over what used to be a fairly unmemorable pub. I have been returning when I can over the last year or so and have never been disappointed. The range of beer is excellent and there are up to 10 beers on at any stage, normally with one mild or stout in the winter months. The White Horse beer served here is great which is to be expected as it an unofficial brewery tap. If you are a fan of White Horse Porter (which I am), make sure to ask when that is coming on as well. The choice of beers is also really good and I have had the chance to try a lot of beers that you would not necessarily find in other places. Added to that the food is really tasty and well priced and the landlord sure loves his beer and banter, all in all, an excellent combination.
cosmolarkin - 16 Oct 2009 20:11
After hearing the numerous positive reports about this pub of late, I felt it deserved a visit to see if the fuss was justified, as so often one finds that hype leads to unduly-high expectations that can only be disappointed. By and large, I am happy to say I left feeling that it is deserving of its blossoming reputation.

Any pub packing 10 pumps and able to shift enough beer to justify them has to be given credit, and certainly the ales were freely-flowing here, dispensed by the outgoing and jolly staff, who helped to create a lively focus of fun at the bar without being too skittish. The usual range of White Horse and Everards brews were on, along with 3 from Holden's, which aren't personally to my taste but I have little doubt they were kept as well as the others (the Village Idiot was superb). The staff boldly endeavoured to push us towards taking lunch there; the fact that we ultimately resisted had more to do with the lure of other venues and limited hunger than the quality of the grub on offer. Various dishes emerged from the kitchen including hearty Ploughman's and fish and chips, all of which appeared to be delicious. A good mix of punters were in and enjoying the victuals so I assume all is well on that front. Maybe next time.

The refurb is rather more traditional than the exterior signage might suggest - and all to the good as far as I'm concerned. If the Blenheim remains well-managed and continues to major on quality traditional fare and cask ales, it has a bright future.

TWG - 2 Sep 2009 11:41
A great pub, which I plan to frequent far more often in the future. I had three pints of Venerable Bede, a Jarrow beer, and they were stunning. Nice to know you are handing money over to independent, and often local, brewers.

Sh*te policy on the football, though.

plymouthpirate - 14 Aug 2009 22:01
A stonking pub for people who like their real ales. I stopped by on saturday and found 8 of the 10 handpumps in use. The White Horse bitter was outstanding. Really fresh tasting and amazingly hoppy. And I couldn't believe only 2.30 a pint. Very good. There were guests from Tom Woods and Salopian amongst others. Such a refreshing choice in a Greene King dominated area.
Service was quick and efficient and the bar staff were all very friendly.
My only complaint is the TV is dominated by rugby. OK when there's a live game on, but to show repeats of rugby matches when there is other live sport on is annoying. Hey ho, it's not the end of the world.
Grailhunter - 22 Jun 2009 15:43
I tried The Wayland Smithy, The Village Idiot and The Guv'nor. All three brewed by the White Horse Brewery.

I found the Village Idiot to be the best of the three. That's 'cause I like light hoppy beer.
The Wayland Smithy is darker and more malty, and the Guv'nor is stronger than The Idiot, and sacrifices delicacy and fragrance for body and strength.

The staff are knowledgeable about the beers and will let you try a sample - so, you try before you buy.

badger578 - 15 May 2009 23:41
When I last visited this about a year ago it was an above-average Everards pub with about four handpumps. Since then I understand that Everards has leased the pub to the Oxfordshire-based White Horse brewery, which has installed a splendid ten handpumps along the bar each dispensing real ale. As others say, three of those are Whtie Horse brews - I had the Bitter and the Village Idiot and both were on extremely fine form (with the Bitter at 2.30 being fantastic value to boot). There were a couple of Everards ales there as well, with the rest being a range of interesting-looking guests, mostly from microbreweries by the look of it. Service was first class; the barman took pains to find out what kind of ale I preferred and poured a couple of tasters. Oxford is (still) a city fantastically well-served by decent pubs, so it takes a lot for a newcomer to impress, but this certainly does. Top class and I expect to see it firmly in the BITE top 20 in due course.
grecian - 20 Apr 2009 10:02
10 fantastically kept everchanging ales, friendly staff, rugby friendly (no football), tasty yet cheap food and a great quiz night on wednesdays. In my opinion it's the best pub in Oxford by a long way!
stuster - 19 Mar 2009 18:24
Great beer - as you'd expect from the White Horse brewery tap (not that I'd fancy lugging barrels from Stamford in the Vale to OX1.
Also does good value pub grub (2 meals for 10 at the moment).
My weekday lunchtime visit was only spoiled by (in my view) some over officious policing of the couple of children in there. I can understand they might not be everyone's choice, especially at later in the evening, but I thought these seemed OK.
That one thing aside, well worth seeking out. I do have a feeling that for some reason they may be closed for new year though..... which is a bit odd for a city centre location.
jonno_ - 31 Dec 2008 10:12
10 real ales of which 3 were from the White Horse brewery - I tried the Wayland Smithy and the Banks & Taylor Christmas porter. Absolutely gorgeous. Not too busy late Saturday afternoon but it started to pick up as we left. Shame I can't see the footy scores as it's a Rugby shrine but these are minor matters! A worthy rival to the Turf tavern.
Booze_Allen - 8 Dec 2008 17:56
This pub ticks several boxes, 10 real ales, the 2 I had were top notch quality, there were tourists trying the ales alongside several of the younger generation, all drinking real ale. Very reasonable prices for the South of England too. A White Horse Brewery pub and I am sure this venture will be a success despite the current economic climate.
Abteilung - 6 Dec 2008 23:54
Good luck to Andy and the White Horse crew for this their first pub, lets see how many more you can add
rabc1963 - 10 Nov 2008 17:43
Probably also worth mentioning that the pub is a very Rugby friendly place, and can be relied on to show Rugby if there is any on - a Football free zone.
thomashenry - 28 Oct 2008 17:26
Aha. Good work ThomasHenry - been trying to login to update and you've done it for me in the meantime!

Yep - the Royal Blenheim was all looking good when we went in for a few the other night. Dragon Hill and Village Idiot both superb, and 8 others to get through too.

Free wireless on the way, and they will be showing sport on one or two plasma's. Kitchen will also be up and running too soon having chatted to one of the guys there.

Finally somewhere directly in Ox city centre worth going to.
toaster - 28 Oct 2008 08:53
Probably deserves an update since my last (recent) review. After a small refurbishment and re-branding, the pub now boats 10(!) handpumps. A full range of White Horse beers were available, along with one Everards offering, plus five interesting and varied guest ales. The beer was immaculate when I visited last night, and extremely reasonably priced (beers range from 2.30 to 2.80). If it can keep this up, the pub ought to be a big hit, as it must now has without doubt the best range of real ale available in the city centre.
thomashenry - 28 Oct 2008 08:50
Good pub in oxford, always with a wide range of Everards beers on tap and good value food.

However, service is sometimes rather anonymous and unfriendly.
in_the_shed - 24 Jun 2008 20:01
looks like it has been recently refurbished..spent a eventually hazy afternoon in here watching rugby yesterday whilst my wife shopped until she dropped......five real ales on offer
Everards Original,Tiger,Beacon,Sunchaser and Greene Kings Tanner`s Jack...had a half of each all on form and settled in with a couple more pints of Sunchaser.
Will definately use ths place again
lilscse - 4 May 2008 19:37
Recently refurbished, friendly and a good range of beers (particularly if you come from Leicester!). Small and like most city centre pubs there's no garden so smokers need to beware of the army of beggers who swarm over Oxford whilst standing outside.
GRMull - 3 Mar 2008 22:08
Reasonably late opening standard boozer, handy for a quick one while you're shopping, or a late one on the way home. Quite spacious. The beers are nothing to write home about, but generally fine. It'll never be your regular, but it's got its uses, and probably deserves to be on a crawl.
thedts - 5 Sep 2006 15:28
Good beers and friendly landlord at current time. A little find if you like this sort of place and wouldn't say dead after 9 anymore. Good food served too.
Muntjac - 28 Mar 2006 16:16
Decent food, friendly staff, vaguely creepy regulars. Tends to be busy early evening with shop workers. Empty after nine.
anonymous - 8 Mar 2005 23:09

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