The Royal Oak Pub with rooms in Yattendon, Berkshire

Prices from:
£99 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Historic inn; super village setting
  • Good food and wine; discerning crowd
  • Dinner party ‘Feasts’; book ahead
  • Classic country-chic rooms
  • Walled garden – alfresco heaven

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitVisit a Stately Pile90 Minutes from London15 Minutes from the MotorwayPrivate Dining

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Overview

The Royal Oak Yattendon, Berkshire, RG17 7AA

The personal touch

Formed out of a row of 16th-century cottages facing the village square, the wisteria-clad Royal Oak has a long, celebrated history: Oliver Cromwell dined here on the eve of the Battle of Newbury in 1664. Much loved as a country inn and a dining destination for many years, owner Rob McGill has gradually upgraded and improved the place since taking over in 2009, refurbishing all the bedrooms, and work is underway developing a new kitchen (with garden-facing pizza oven and rotisserie), a smart rear conservatory dining room, and landscaping the garden, so watch this space! Two entrances lead separately to the lounge, replete with rug-strewn parquet floor, leather sofas and a crackling winter log fire, and to the three interconnecting room that make up the rustic and timeless bar-cum-dining rooms. Think, red-and-black tiled floor, black beams, brick and panelled walls, glowing log fires, and church candles on old dining tables – unfussy, informal and very popular, so book ahead of you want to eat in the bar. Locals gather for pints of Good Old Boy in the tiny snug and the whole place has a cracking community feel. It’s just 10 minutes’ drive from Junction 13 of the M4.

Sticky fingers

Children are welcome throughout; smaller portions are served; larger rooms can accommodate a z-bed (£15).

Muddy paws

Dogs are welcomed in the bar (there are water bowls scattered around) and in the rooms by arrangement (£10) where extra dog blankets can be provided if required.

Alfresco

Teak tables and posh cream brollies at the front of the inn offer village views. From the bar, French windows lead to the secluded walled rear garden – perfect for lazy summer alfresco drinking and dining surrounded by a vine-laden trellis and colourful flower borders. Boules pitch to work off lunch.

What’s the Damage?

10 doubles/twin £99-£140.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Two private dining rooms
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar & restaurant
  • No parking – street parking and village car park (50 yards)

 

Sleep

The Royal Oak Yattendon, Berkshire, RG17 7AA

Do not disturb

Individually decorated rooms are split between the Inn and the former staff house next door; all are named after guns and enjoy fine views across the village square or the beautiful walled garden; the latter being the quietest. They have been refurbished in classic style with rich fabrics, a mix of antique and painted furniture, big lamps, sporting prints and comfy beds dressed with fine Josephine Home linen, soft down and woollen throws. Larger rooms, especially the three in the adjacent cottage, have space for leather or upholstered chairs, plus huge bathrooms with tubs and separate walk-in showers. All are kitted out with gun cabinets (this is prime shooting country), Nespresso machines, fresh milk, homemade shortbread, Smart TVs and posh Bramley Bathroom Products. A top breakfast will set you up for the day – Newbury Races, walking the Berkshire Downs or the Thames Path.

 

What’s the Damage?

10 doubles/twin £99-£140.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Two private dining rooms
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar & restaurant
  • No parking – street parking and village car park (50 yards)

 

Eat & Drink

The Royal Oak Yattendon, Berkshire, RG17 7AA

Mastering the menu

(Starters: £7.50-£12; Main Courses: £16.50-£28; Desserts £6-£8.50; set lunch 2 courses £19.50; 3 courses £24.50)

Head chef Nick MacGregor (ex-Gordon Ramsay) sources the best seasonal produce from local suppliers to create simple, unfussy yet full-flavoured and well-presented dishes that trawl the globe for inspiration and include some traditional pub classics. For example, Yattendon Estate venison and Berkshire farm meats are supplied by Vicars Game in nearby Ashampstead, free-range eggs come from Beechwood Farm at Hampstead Norreys, and Fishers of Newbury deliver the fresh vegetables. Kick off with crispy soft shell crab with green chilli sauce, or ham hock terrine with piccalilli and toast; follow with roasted red duck laksa, lime and coriander, toasted peanuts and rice noodles, or a proper pastry chicken and leek pie served with a jug of white port, mustard and thyme gravy and creamy mash. Why not push the boat out and share a Chateaubriand with peppercorn sauce, or the 12-hour slow roasted lamb shoulder with rosemary potatoes, green beans and lamb jus. Book ahead for a ‘feast’ supper (minimum 8 people) in one of the private dining rooms and tuck into a whole roast suckling pig with crab apple sauce and all the trimmings. Great Sunday lunches too – whole rib of beef on the bone. To quaff, there’s Berkshire Brewery beers and a decent list of wines from Berry Bros, Berkmann and Enotria (14 by the glass).

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 7.30am – 10.30am
Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm (3pm Saturday; 3.30pm Sunday)
Dinner: 6pm – 9.30pm (9pm Sunday)

Time at the bar

12 noon – 11pm (10.30pm Sunday)

What’s the Damage?

10 doubles/twin £99-£140.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Two private dining rooms
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar & restaurant
  • No parking – street parking and village car park (50 yards)

 

Food Trail

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 – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Royal Oak

2

Laverstoke Park Farm Shop, Overton RG25 3DR

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.

3

Leckford Farm Shop, Stockbridge SO20 6EH

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.

4

Ramsbury Brewery, Ramsbury, Marlborough SN8 2NN

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.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Royal Oak

Activities

2

Skydiving, Ipsden OX10 6AS

Take the big leap with a tandem skydive (that's the one when you're safely attached to an instructor) or an accelerated freefall where the instructors are beside you. Thrilling stuff.

16

The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury RG20 8AE

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.

17

Newbury Racecourse, Newbury RG14 7NZ

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.

18

Bucklebury Farm Park, Bucklebury, Reading RG7 6RR

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.

19

Hot-Air Ballooning over Berkshire

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.

20

Thruxton racing circuit, Thruxton, Andover SP11 8PW

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.

Shopping

8

The White Horse Bookshop, High Street, Marlborough SN8 1HN

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.

9

Below Stairs of Hungerford, Hungerford RG17 0NB

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.

21

Bertie Golightly, Marlborough SN8 1HU

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.

22

Natures Corner, Newbury RG14 1AE

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.

23

White Coco, Hungerford RG17 0EG

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.

24

Roxtons, Hungerford RG17 0EH

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.

Places to visit

3

Whitchurch Silk Mill RG28 7AL

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.

4

Ashdown House, Lambourn RG17 8RE

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.

5

Uffington White Horse, Uffington SN7 7QJ

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.

7

Wayland's Smithy, Ashbury SN6 8NX

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.

10

Highclere Castle, Highclere Park, Highclere RG20 9RN

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.

12

Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury RG14 2DR

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.

13

Silchester Roman Town, Reading RG7 2HG

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.

14

Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere, Newbury RG20 9JT

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.

15

Welford Park, Newbury RG20 8HU

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.

Walking

www.walkinginberks.co.uk
Though small, Berkshire benefits from some very varied landscape – much of it ideal for walking. The western half 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 Yattendon. Elsewhere, there are many miles of footpaths and bridleways and sections of the Thames and Kennet & Avon towpaths to enjoy.

Cycling

www.gps-routes.co.uk

Study the Berkshire cycle map and you’ll find a huge range of routes on the Royal Oak’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.

Events

www.visitnewbury.org.uk

There’s plenty of choice in 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.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: M4 (J13) north of Newbury; following signs to Chieveley and then Hermitage; turn left B4009 through Hermitage then right at The Fox signposted to Yattendon. Royal Oak is in the village centre

By Rail: Nearest railway stations are Newbury (10 miles) and Pangbourne (5.5 miles)

Address:

The Square, Yattendon, Berkshire, RG17 7AA

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