A spring staycation in a cosy country pub with rooms
8 March 2019
It’s spring and whilst the weather may be erratic, the days are getting longer, the spring flowers are in full bloom and the countryside is truly reawakening from its winter sleep, so what better time of year to take a short or weekend break away. Cosy country inns in sleepy villages and charming small towns make the ideal base for exploring the beautiful British countryside and with Mothering Sunday (31st March), Easter (19th-22nd April) and the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (4th – 6th May) fast approaching, it is time to get on and book your spring staycation.
Below are 12 of David’s top recommendations for a spring break but for many more choices (and to book), visit www.innplaces.co.uk
Well off-the-beaten-track, nestled in a sleepy village in the tranquil and beautiful Camel Valley, yet within easy reach of both Bodmin Moor and Cornwall’s rugged north coast, you will find Emily Scott’s fabulous foodie inn that draws discerning diners from far and wide. Four elegant country style bedrooms (added in 2017) are the icing on the cake and make the St Tudy Inn an ideal base from which to explore the North Cornwall coast path, Bodmin Moor, and Lanhydrock House & Gardens.
Lost in a truly rural spot on the flanks of Exmoor, this revamped village inn is now a cracking destination inn, firmly established on Somerset’s culinary map offering top-notch modern British food with daily menus and a clutch of very comfortable rooms. Wonderful walking is on hand on the Exmoor National Park as well as on the gentler Quantock Hills and the National Trust’s Dunster Castle is close by too.
Backing on to the River Test in Stockbridge (England’s fly-fishing capital) with a smart riverside garden and 10 stylish bedrooms, this civilised country inn has the added benefit of having its own half-mile fishing beat. You’ll find super walking on the Test Way and nearby is the glorious Mottisfont Abbey Gardens (NT), Longstock Park Water Gardens and Broadlands.
Rescued and stylishly revamped, the Milk House in Sissinghurst has a laid-back vibe, brilliant staff and exciting food on crowd-pleasing menus. The four very relaxing bedrooms provide the perfect bolthole for visiting magnificent Sissinghurst Castle Garden, just a stroll away across fields strewn with bluebells in the spring. Pashley Manor Gardens and Great Dixter House & Gardens are nearby too.
Bel & the Dragon – Churt, Surrey
Set at a lonely crossroads deep in the wooded Surrey Hills, this restored country inn has contemporary rooms, an eclectic modern European menu, a relaxed vibe and a fabulous summer garden. Once the hunting lodge of former Prime Minister David Lloyd George, the inn is popular with walkers being just a short stroll to the Devil’s Punchbowl and sweeping views of Surrey’s ‘Little Switzerland’. An ideal base from which to visit RHS Wisley and Alice Holt Forest too.
The 17th century Crown & Garter, hidden away down a maze of Berkshire rural lanes, has much to offer including 10 very smart chalet-style rooms tucked away behind the pub in an attractive courtyard and the Honesty Cafe next door which opens early and is popular with walkers and cyclists. Close by are the Kennet & Avon Canal, Inkpen Beacon with its downland walks and Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey).
Rescued from closure in 2015 the Masons Arms, located by the green in the pretty village of Meysey Hampton, is now a thriving community pub and an excellent base for exploring many of the attractions in Gloucestershire. Nearby is Kelmscott Manor and Buscot & Colehill Estates (NT), the Thames Path for walkers and the Cotswold Water Park for families. Expect a simple, stylish interior, cool contemporary rooms, good modern pub food, and a big genuine welcome for families and dogs too.
This iconic inn stands in a stunning spot overlooking Long Melford’s green and tudor Melford Hall (opposite). It has been refurbished with style and panache giving an informal country-house feel, with imaginative food, a fabulous sheltered terrace for alfresco dining, and smart spacious bedrooms. It’s the perfect base for antique buffs on the Lovejoy Trail but also for walkers wanting to explore the Stour Valley Way and Constable Country.
This old coaching inn, with a relaxed seaside feel, overlooks a pretty, leafy Georgian square known as The Buttlands, just inland from the Quay in the quaint seaside town of Wells-next-the-Sea. Menus brimming with local produce and 19 super smart bedrooms (and a holiday cottage) make it a popular choice. The coastal path virtually passes the door whilst seal trips to Blakeney Point, Holkham Hall and Blickling & Felbrigg Halls (NT) are all close at hand.
A sleepy village setting in deepest Shropshire for this pub-restaurant with rooms offering innovative seasonal food from a talented young chef and seven comfortable bedrooms results in a cracking base from which to explore this fascinating area – Powis Castle & Gardens (NT), Stokesay Castle, Ludlow and Shrewsbury are close, and superb walking on the Long Mynd and the Shropshire Way are just 10 minutes from the front door.
The Ibbotson’s fabulous foodie pub set in an idyllic village with views across the Vale of York, draws the discerning for seasonal British cooking, fabulous wines and local beers, and country-chic rooms. With so much to do in the area, if you can tear yourself away from ‘the ox’, walk on the North York Moors or spend time visiting Castle Howard, Nunnington Hall (for it’s spring flower meadows) or Sutton Bank National Park Centre.
Hidden down country lanes and tucked into the hillside high in the Peckforton Hills, the Pheasant draws the crowds for the far-reaching views across the Cheshire Plain to the Welsh mountains. This gorgeous inn is conveniently located in the middle of one of the biggest walks in the county, the 34-mile Sandstone Trail and with 12 double bedrooms and great food served all day, you won’t find a better base. For those looking for gentler activity, it is close to Cholmondeley Castle & Gardens too.
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