Oxford, England

Turf Tavern

Originally the Spotted Cow and built in the ditch of the original town wall, the Turf dates back to the 13th Century and the low-beamed front bar from the 17th. A location for the Inspector Morse TV series, it also boasts a past entry in the Guinness Book of Records


From medieval times

The pub was famed through the centuries as a gambling pub boasting an illegal cockpit where bets were placed on which fighting cockerel would win. In 1842 it was renamed the Turf Tavern in recognition of its gambling past.

Records and Rhodes Scholars

In 1963, the then Rhodes Scholar Bob Hawkes ‘bumped’ a yard-of-ale on the premises in a world record time of 11 seconds. Bob went on to become Prime Minister of Australia (and a teetotaller). Another Rhodes Scholar, Bill Clinton, is said to have smoked marijuana in the back garden (but didn’t inhale!).

The Turf is a popular haunt for students, townies and tourists.



Entry via two narrow winding passageways: St. Helen’s Passage (originally Hell’s Passage), off of New College Lane, by the Bridge of Sighs, or from Holywell Street.



Photos from Turf Tavern