Date visited: Monday 15th July 2019
The historic county town of Berkshire, but since 1974 in the administrative county of Oxfordshire, Abingdon-on-Thames has many fine buildings as befits an old county town. It also has, on a sunny summer’s day at least, a rather European street dining culture, with the pedestrianised streets around its market square filled with busy tables.
For somewhere to eat that’s slightly less busy, and slightly less glamorous architecturally, Annie’s at the Boathouse offers an exceptionally wide range of cakes – almost twenty on the day I visited including gluten free options – and a fine riverside location to sit drinking tea watching the world – or at least narrowboats, geese and swans – go by. Annie’s other, original branch is beside the Oxford Canal in Thrupp near Kidlington.
In addition to the exceptional range of cakes, the menu offers a fairly extensive range of options, with sandwiches of varying sizes (Boaters’ sandwiches for doorsteps, Cottage sandwiches for something slightly daintier), hot meals, and breakfast until 11.30am. There is a reasonable range of loose leaf teas and other hot beverages, and a well stocked fridge filled with cold soft drinks. For those wanting something colder still, ice cream is served, not just for those staying to take tea but also to those passing by to take away. There are plenty of tables inside and also plenty of benches outside for those taking tea.
Arriving just before it got busy for lunch (though with so many tables and benches, there was space for plenty more), I had a bacon, lettuce and tomato Boaters’ sandwich, a slice of coffee and walnut cake, and a pot of gunpowder green tea, for £13.55. It was quite delicious and filling, almost of Yorkshire tearoom proportions.