The Red Lion, East Chisenbury, Pewsey SN9 6AQ--foodtrail-----1.800791--51.27359
Crown & Garter Inkpen Common, Berkshire, RG17 7QR
The personal touch
Hidden away down a maze of rural lanes close to Inkpen Beacon and the Kennet & Avon Canal, the 17th-century former coaching inn stands in extensive grounds overlooking glorious Berkshire countryside. Cookery writer Romilla Arber bought and totally refurbished the attractive red brick pub in 2014, sprucing up the bar and dining areas with a contemporary new look and stylishly upgrading the ten courtyard bedrooms. Having set up a cookery school at near North Sydenham House in 2013, the acquisition of the Crown & Garter and opening a bakery and café in the barn beside the pub sowed the seed in the development of the Honesty Group (www.honestygroup.co.uk). Romilla now operates six coffee shops on village high streets in Berkshire and North Hampshire with the central artisan bakery (now located in Newbury) supplying the bread and cakes to the thriving cafes. The Honesty Café at the pub opens early and is a community hub, as well as being popular with walkers and cyclists. For a pint and something more substantial to eat you head next door to the quirky, rustic-chic pub. Expect wooden floors, cool heritage hues or unusual print wallpaper in corner alcoves, quality fabrics, upholstered chairs beside glowing log fires, a striking lacquered cabinet, jugs of fresh flowers, interesting lamps and objet d’art, and airy, stylish dining areas. It’s still very much a pub with ale on tap, sandwiches at lunchtime and a big welcome to dogs and kids.
Families are very welcome; smaller portions are available; extra beds and cots are available and rooms 9 and 10 interconnect.
It’s a great area for walking so dogs are welcome in the pub where they will find dog bowls and treats. They are not allowed overnight in the rooms.
It’s a truly peaceful spot on a rural lane so make the most of the secluded garden where you’ll find smart teak tables dotted around colourful flower borders or under a huge oak tree for shade. Some tables enjoy views across fields towards Inkpen Beacon.
Crown & Garter Inkpen Common, Berkshire, RG17 7QR
Do not disturb
Crown & Garter Inkpen Common, Berkshire, RG17 7QR
Mastering the menu
Time to Eat
Time at the bar
Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.
Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Inn Location - Crown & Garter
Certified as organic and biodynamic, this multi award-winning farm is owned by former Formula 1 champion Jody Schecktar. With its own on-site butchers, the farm shop provides an outlet for its products, including organic meats, seasonal fruit and veg grown in the walled garden, prize-winning mozzarella, ice cream buffalo milk and beers.
Taking place in Middle Brook Street on the last Sunday of the month, this award-winning farmers' market has around 90 stalls including artisan breads from the Hoxton Bakehouse.
Five minutes' drive from The Greyhound on the Test, this Waitrose-owned farm shop stocks over a 1000 different products. Although they use 60 local suppliers, many of the items are produced on the estate itself, including the wheat used in its own-label flour, milk, apples, pears, free-range eggs and chickens. There's a cafe, too, offering a breakfast and lunch menu.
Whether your preference is for traditional best bitter or something stronger, this brewery stocks a range for all tastes, including its Deer Hunter, Ramsbury Gold and also Silver Pig Stout. As part of the Ramsbury Estate, they use barley and water that comes from their own land and offer tours of the brewery.
This wonderful farm shop and butchers offers a wide range of seasonal produce including spring-time gull's eggs and autumn game from local shoots including wild venison from Salisbury Plain.
Discover the artistry and heritage behind Bombay Sapphire at a state-of-the-art distillery, set astride the banks of the crystal clear River Test. Go behind the scenes and discover how the gin is infused with ten exotic botanicals from around the world.
1 Inn Location - Crown & Garter
The present theatre is mid-19th century though there has been a mill here since the time of the Doomsday Book. The Watermill is just the place to combine peace and tranquility and a picturesque riverside setting with theatre of the highest calibre. Many major productions have been staged at this prestigious playhouse.
Dating back to the start of the 20th century and used as a POW camp for German prisoners during the First World War, Newbury Racecourse has courses for flat races and over jumps. Long a popular venue for the Royal Family, this is where Her Majesty the Queen celebrated her 86th birthday.
An ideal attraction for plenty of family fun and entertainment, Bucklebury Farm Park is located to the east of Newbury. The farm has lots of animals, play equipment and even a zip wire. You’ll also find a farm shop, café and range of picnic tables.
Weather permitting, you might get a bird’s eye view of West Berkshire and even the stunning landscape that surrounds the Pheasant. There’s no better way to appreciate the beauty of this corner of England than from the basket of a hot-air balloon.
Thruxton Motorsport Centre, near Andover, is the perfect playground for Top Gear petrol heads. This is where you get to drive your dream car on Britain’s fastest race circuit. In addition to circuit driving experiences, there’s 4x4 off-road driving and plenty more opportunity for thrills and adventure.
The White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough’s handsome High Street has an excellent selection of books – both bestsellers and lesser-known titles. The shop also stocks a wide range of quality art materials, including Daler-Rowney and Winsor & Newton paints.
An amazing and unique shop specialising in items from the 19th and early 20th century, and an ideal hunting ground for anyone doing up an old house. If you need door furniture or actual doors, coat hooks or stair rods, light fittings or kitchenware, or have an obsession with medical collectables, or old keys, fishing tackle or shop fittings, this place is highly recommended. Everything is beautifully arranged as well.
Vintage, pre-owned designer fashion is the theme at Bertie Golightly in Marlborough’s Kingsbury St. One of the first top designer re-sale boutiques, Bertie’s has an established clientele and items by many top names, including Chanel and Burberry.
If you’ve been to visit Avebury’s ancient stones, don’t leave without visiting the Henge Shop where, as the owners put it, you’ll discover ‘a variety of subjects from the archaeological to the arcane.’ Gold, silver and pewter jewellery, woollen hats and dowsing rods are among the eclectic mix.
This is Newbury’s only independent health food store and here you’ll find organic items, natural remedies and therapies, body care, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and many unusual gifts.
Located in Bridge Street, at the bottom end of Hungerford High Street, White Coco’s sole aim is to offer customers a handpicked, carefully chosen collection of clothes that provide a ‘different’ look. Clothes are stylish, quirky and fun.
A trip to the small Berkshire town of Hungerford is always an enjoyable experience. On your next visit, make time to visit Roxtons, the outdoor clothing expert. You’ll find all manner of gifts and stocking fillers here – including candles, fragrances and tableware.
Bespoke couture hats and headpieces for all occasions can be found at this studio in the picturesque Wiltshire village of Ramsbury.
Places to visit
Dating from 1800 and restored by the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust, Whitchurch is the oldest silk mill in the country. Weavers work here using 19th-century machinery.
Built for the Queen of Bohemia in the 17th century and remotely situated in windswept downland country near Lambourn in Berkshire, Ashdown House has the look of an elegant dolls' house. The house is small and intimate, with a striking staircase hung with fine 17th-century paintings. Ashdown is tenanted, so check opening times before visiting.
Acknowledged by historians as one of Europe's most important Neolithic sites, Avebury is one of numerous ancient landmarks found within the Wessex region. It's fascinating to stroll among these brooding standing stones, which make up one of the largest remaining henge monuments.
The oldest working windmill in Wessex and originally built in 1821, Wilton Windmill, near the village of Wilton, was restored in the 1960s. The five-storey brick tower mill stands on a hilltop overlooking the Kennet and Avon Canal and is open to visitors at certain times.
The most famous white horse of them all and dating from the Bronze Age, the horse can be seen from miles away and is surely one of the most evocative sights in southern England. The location, at the head of a dry valley on the Ridgeway escarpment, is equally dramatic, and the hill figure is only part of what you can see here. The steeply rippled sides of the valley known as 'The Manger' are the result of retreating permafrost.To the east of that is Dragon Hill, said to be where St George slew the dragon, its blood leaving a scar where nothing grows. The Iron Age hill fort, known as Uffington Castle, crowns White Horse Hill and is the highest point in Oxfordshire, with views over six counties. And across the property there are Neolithic burial mounds, reused until Saxon times.
A unique collection of Great Western Railway steam engines, coaches, wagons and buildings, plus a recreation of Brunel's broad gauge railway.
Wayland's Smithy is a brilliantly atmospheric Neolithic chambered tomb, about 2km along the Ridgeway from the Uffington White Horse. Its name comes from the story that the Saxon smith god, Wayland, lived there and would shoe any horse left with a coin overnight.The tomb you can explore today, with its dramatic entrance stones, is the second on this site and was constructed between 3,460 and 3,400 BC.
Designed by Boulton and Watt, the two beam engines, one dating from 1812, operate a huge cast-iron beam and were originally used to pump water up the canal. Restored in recent years and powered by steam, they can occasionally be seen working - an impressive spectacle. Crofton stands by the Kennet and Avon Canal, near Great Bedwyn.
Marlborough’s striking high street is blessed with many fine buildings but the Merchant’s House is the jewel in its crown. Built and occupied by a prosperous middle-class silk merchant and a superb example of restoration and expert craftsmanship, you’ll find nationally acclaimed wall paintings and fascinating decorative features.
Remodelled and virtually rebuilt by Sir Charles Barry in the mid-19th century, Highclere Castle is now one of Britain’s best-known houses, thanks to the international success of the award-winning ITV television series Downton Abbey, whose producers chose much of the interior for filming. A tour of the house and park is a must.
Established in 1991, on the site of one of Europe’s most famous orchid nurseries, this is where you can learn all about the living rainforest environment, as well as the world’s endangered plants and wildlife.
One of the area’s oldest buildings, Shaw House is a prime example of an early symmetrical H-plan Elizabethan mansion. The house was built by a local clothier and visited by Elizabeth I. In the 1940s it became a school, though concerns about the structure led to a £6 million restoration. Shaw House opened its doors to the public in 2008 for the first time in over 400 years.
Probably better known as Calleva Atrebatum, Silchester offers an intriguing insight into the Roman Occupation when this was the site of an important town. Walk between the walls to get a real flavour of community life during this fascinating period.
Built in 1926-27, Sandham is an unusual war memorial. Inside are hugely impressive and ambitious murals by Stanley Spencer, which took six years to complete and are reputed to be the most important series of decorative paintings produced in England in the 20th century. The images represent scenes from the Great War in which Spencer served as an orderly in a military hospital. The chapel is managed by the National Trust.
This is just the place to visit if you like snowdrops. The park is open daily in February when extensive drifts of this delicate little flower create a dazzling picture. The little church of St Gregory has an octagonal spire and a rare round tower. Fans of The Great British Bake Off will recognize this parkland landscape instantly. The BBC series was filmed here.
Founded in 1382, Winchester College is believed to be the oldest continuously running school in the country. Join one of the guided tours that explore the medieval heart of the college, including the Chamber Court, the 14th-century gothic chapel, the original scholars’ dining room, and the 17th-century red-brick schoolroom thought to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
Awesome and full of interest, one of Europe’s finest cathedrals, with the longest of all Gothic naves, this magnificent building dominates the city’s compact and fascinating medieval centre. Treasures include many rare books, notably a wonderful 12th-century illuminated Bible, some spectacular architecture, and the tombs of Jane Austen, Izaak Walton and the early English kings. Don’t miss sung evensong for an opportunity to hear the choir.
One of Europe’s earliest and most remarkable Greek revival houses stands in a landscaped park with an ornamental lake in the Candover Valley north of Alresford. Although an empty shell, the exterior has been restored to its former glory, most strikingly the temple front supported on eight gigantic columns. It provides the impressive backdrop for the month-long Grange Park Opera Festival (June-July).
Though small, Berkshire benefits from some very varied landscape – much of it ideal for walking. The western half, in the vicinity of the Crown & Garter, offers the best scenery – a mix of classic English countryside and vast swathes of chalk downland. The Ridgeway long-distance trail is probably the most obvious choice for an invigorating hike over the downs and is easy to reach from Inkpen, as is the Wayfarer’s Walk on the North Hampshire Down just south of the pub. Elsewhere, there are many miles of footpaths and bridleways and sections of the Thames and Kennet & Avon towpaths to enjoy.
Study the Berkshire and Hampshire cycle maps and you’ll find a huge range of routes on the Crown & Garter’s doorstep. The Lambourn and Kennet valleys are perfect for cycling as are the tracks, lanes and bridleways of the county’s remote south-west corner. Many of these routes offer grand views and miles of solitude.
There’s plenty of choice in West Berkshire, with festivals and events to suit everyone. Among the annual fixtures is the Newbury Spring Festival (May), held at different venues in and around the town, and the Hungerford & District Community Arts Festival staged in July. Autumn also sees some big events, with the Royal County Show at Newbury Showground, the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury Racecourse and the Victorian Extravaganza in Hungerford.
Location, Location, Location
By Road: From M4 (J13) head south on A34, then follow A4 east towards Hungerford. Turn left signposted to Kintbury, passing Kintbury railway station, then turn left opposite the shop in the village, signposted to Inkpen. Remain on this rural lane to Inkpen Common; pub on left
By Rail: Nearest railway stations are at Kintbury (2 miles) or at Hungerford (5 miles)
Great Common Road, Inkpen Common, Berkshire, RG17 7QR