The 16 Must Visit Country Pubs With Rooms

The 16 Must Visit Country Pubs With Rooms

Emma Henderson lists the pubs with excellent menus, interiors, and beds you need to know about.

/ Emma

Spending the night or two at a classic country pub with rooms is perhaps the most appropriate way to see the rolling countryside. A good pub worth eating at should also be clever enough to be a pub you can stay at, too.

But don't think that just means "a place to bed down in". Oh no, no. Proper 'pubs with rooms' have had plenty of thought, care, design, love and let's face it, money put into these projects. Many of them are labors of love, with painstakingly long renovations of historic buildings.

On the menus expect local and seasonally grown ingredients and produce cooked with flare, while rooms will have their quirky style and character, with plenty of little luxurious details.

They're places you want to relax at, that offer a calming presence away from your usual humdrum. Acting as a rural retreat, they allow you to roam your surroundings, head back to cozy up around a crackling fire, be fed, and get merry before trundling up just a few stairs to bed.

What's better in life than that? No driving, no long distances. It's simple, convenient, but quietly luxurious.

These are the pubs worth booking a table at and then rest your weary head.

The Bell at Charlbury, Charlbury, Oxfordshire

The second pub from Lady Bamford's ever-growing empire is in Charlbury, Oxfordshire which is quickly becoming one of the go-to places of the Cotswolds. No doubt, this pub is a major draw, along with plenty of idyllic walks nearby too.

The 12 rooms are relaxed but unmistakably Daylesford. Mostly muted in color, there are little pops of colors ranging from heavy blues to oxblood reds and flairs from Wiliam Morris's design. Decked out with antique furniture collected by the Bamfords themselves, though some beds have even been made from fallen trees on the estate providing a pleasing circularity. Families can take on two rooms, which even includes children's four poster beds, while four rooms are dog-friendly too.

It's set in an acre of orchard, with a little babbling stream at the end and of course, much of the food dished up comes from the nearby Daylesford farm. It's hyper-seasonal and local, with plenty of it being organic too. It's simple food but done well, like half a pint of shell on prawns or Tuscan style ribollita or paupiettes of Cornish plaice. If you're arriving or departing by train, make use of the pub's electric Land Rover Defender complimentary shuttle service. Afterward, a normal taxi will never feel the same again.

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The Three Horseshoes, Batcombe, Somerset

Margot Henderson is one of a trend of chefs who are sprawling out of London and into the countryside. But for Margot, this isn't her first rodeo when it comes to pubs. She's returning to her pub roots as it was at what's largely considered to be the original gastro pub, The Eagle in Clerkenwell, northeast London where she cut her teeth way back when and, met her now husband Fergus. Separately the duo run restaurants in London, Fergus at St John and Margot at Rochelle Canteen.

In 2023, The Three Horseshoes in the village of Batcombe reopened after a sensitive refurbishment that lent itself to the pub's aged character. But it's been careful to remain a proper country pub though and is still a place for locals as well as others. This area of Somerset has become the go-to part of the county – nearby is Bruton with the Michelin-star restaurant Osip, and in 2021, Nicholas Balfe from London's Levan restaurant opened the excellent Holm restaurant nearby too.

Its five bedrooms are up in the eaves but still have high enough ceilings and plenty of space. Furnished with antique pieces, calming colors, and comfy beds, some have good views with well-placed tubs that make the most of the vista.

On the menu, it's more of Margot's signature rustic cooking, although she's the executive chef, still splitting her time between London and Somerset. Instead, it's St John alumnus Nye Smith at the helm and dishes include the likes of rabbit pie, cured trout, kohlrabi and dollar courgettes, lentils, and sheep's curd.

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The Farmers Arms, Woolsery, Devon

After British-born US tech entrepreneur Michael Birch and his wife Xochi Birch sold their social media platform, Bebo, for $850m, they bought a rundown pub in 2015. Set in the rural north Devon village of Woolfardisworthy (known locally as Woolsery) it was where he spent plenty of holidays as a child visiting family who lived in the village. Since then, the whole village has benefitted from the investment.

The local pub has been saved from rack and ruin and is once again the hub of the village, the fish and chip shop next door was also bought and done up, and its latest update is rooms. Albeit they're not above the pub, but still in the village and well within walking (or staggering) distance. Each has its own eclectic character when it comes to its interior design, from inspired mid-century to pastel retro prints, or bright florals. Rooms sleep two, while the cottages sleep between two and eight.

The pub's interiors mix huge stuffed animal heads on the walls – that are more endearing rather than imposing – with a huge hologram of David Bowie that really sets its country interiors apart from its peers. The restaurant end of the building is bright with huge glass ceilings while the pub has low door frames and ceilings and locals that jostle at the bar. Much of the food is grown by the owners too on their nearby Birch farm, including the hogget, with courgette, tomato and lavender – one of its signature dishes.

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The Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market, Norfolk

The Gunton Arms is worth traveling for. Set on the huge and historic Gunton Estate in Norfolk, it's a former shooting lodge turned traditional pub, but it might not exactly fit the usual country pub recipe.

Yes, you're likely to see herds of fallow deer in the parkland around the pub, but the interiors are an eclectic mix of countryside pub mixed with mesmerizing butterflying pictures by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin's fluorescent pink script pieces offering up phrases like "trust me", along with artworks by Julian Opie and Jonathan Yeo, plus a ziggurat pyramid sculpture from Sol Lewit in the garden. It all becomes clear when you realize the pub is owned by art dealer Ivor Braka. Of course, the menu's venison comes from the estate, where hunks of meat are cooked over the large open fire in the Elk Room, named so for the huge Elk antlers hanging above it. It's unsurprisingly rather meat-heavy, with the likes of spicy wild boar sausages with chili jam, but there are also dishes like cod fingers and chips or artichoke heart linguini and dedicated veggie menus.

As much attention has been paid to the eight bedrooms upstairs as has been to the pub. Rooms have been designed by Robert Kime, and balance country elegance well. Some have dark wood four-poster beds, while others have large baths, mismatched vintage furniture, and a mix of striped accent chairs, large patterned carpets, and pretty wallpaper. All make the most of the parkland views too, and some are dog-friendly where nothing's too much for your four-legged addition. After something bigger? There's a coach house and barn conversion as separate accommodation too.

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The Queen's Head, Broad Chalke, Wiltshire

Added to The Chickpea Group's now six-strong group of pubs is The Queen's Head – a 19th-century inn set in the pretty village of Broad Chalke, named so for its chalk streams.

Opening in 2023, it was the fifth pub lucky enough to be given the Chickpea treatment, which is run by ​​Tommy Tullis and siblings Ethan and Jordan Davids. The team knows exactly what they're doing when it comes to pub renovations and has a successful formula for their signature look, feel, and menus.

Inside it has all the markers of a country pub; flagstone flooring, dark beamed ceilings, a big central fire, plenty of benched seating, vintage chairs, and higgledy-piggledy placed art across the walls. Food includes your usual fare, including burgers, chicken and leek pie, and fish and chips, but the pub's more signature dishes include its ​​English Rose veal liver or wild turbot with leek fondant and wild garlic, where much of all their ingredients come from local suppliers.

There are just four bedrooms set in an annex of the pub's courtyard. Rooms are perfectly formed and cozy, with neutral tones and pastel pops of color in either pink or green and include ​​Land & Water toiletries.

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The Talbot Inn, Mells, Somerset

Set in Mells, one of Somerset's most sought-after getaway locations, thanks to its chocolate box-esque look.

Owned by the Beckford Group, it's the sister pub to the ever-popular Beckford Arms in Wiltshire, so expect more of the same here. The traditional 15th century coaching inn is set around a cobbled stableyard and inside are original flagstones and high vaulted ceilings giving it its distinct old country pub feel.

With eight bedrooms, upstairs the rooms are spacious and bright and have mostly kept their original features, seamlessly juxtaposing old and new. Walls are mostly white, while muted furnishings in pastels are brightened with the odd pop of color. Some feature modern white four-poster beds, and the largest have free-standing baths (some in front of big sash windows) with exposed and unpainted beams above. Little luxuries include Bramley products and Siberian goose-down duvets.

The pub is relaxed and the chefs source ingredients as locally as possible, including the pub's kitchen garden. Signature pub dishes include cider-battered Brixham fish and chips, which should be washed down with a pint of Talbot's ale. While other mains include the likes of pan-fried sea bass with chorizo and dill crushed potatoes.

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Bradley Hare, Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire

With cool-toned sage green walls, 19th-century mahogany furniture, and Georgian sash windows, the interiors at Bradley Hare feel effortlessly chic while still being homely. It was refurbished in 2021 under the watchful eye of new owner James Thurstan Waterworth who was previously the European design director at Soho House, and it shows.

Set within the historic grounds of the Duke of Somerset’s estate in the village of Maiden Bradley, it has 12 rooms. Seven of them are in the main house and are slightly smaller, while the more spacious other five are found in the Coach House, and all benefit from the same perfectly mish-mashed interiors, expertly chosen knick-knacks, and pleasing color palettes. Rooms are even dog-friendly, not that you'd believe it from looking at them.

In the kitchen is Jake Santos who was previously at The Newt – the not-too-distant hotel with extensively manicured gardens, its cider press, and a civilized cafe. Although Bradley Hare's menu changes often expect the likes of dishes such as whole plaice with burnt butter, capers, and pangrattato, along with starters like cod cheeks, jalapeno, and mint.

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The Exmoor Inn, Simonsbath, Exmoor, Somerset

In May 2021, the inn was bought by three brothers, Edward, Freddie, and Alexander Greenall, who have given the pub a new lease of life. Dating back to the 1850s, the pub is part of the Exmoor Forest Estate, a whopping 6,000-acre farm that's the beating heart of the whole place.

Following organic traditional hill farm methods, it has its kitchen garden and produces native breeds, grass-fed beef and lamb, and several hundred red deer, which are all born, raised, and eaten on the farm, almost entirely removing food miles from much of the pub's food.

Sourcing outside of the farm, fish comes from the Bideford day boats off the North Devon coast, and head chef Ben Ogden loves foraging whether it's wild garlic, sea purslane, sweet woodruff, and pineapple weed, or wild mushrooms. After walking on the moors, refuel with pub classic dishes such as cottage pie, venison haunch, pork belly, and plowmen, which are all livened beyond usual pub fare thanks to its top quality and expert cooking.

Adorning the walls is plenty of fishing, hunting, and shooting paraphernalia from horns to crooks which are the only remaining relics before its refurb, ensuring it doesn't feel out of place with the area. Its 10 rooms have their own identities, with bold patterned wallpaper, brightly colored soft furnishings, and botanical painting of flora and fauna.

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The Beckford Arms, Tisbury, Wiltshire

Another pub draped in ivy, the exterior of this 18th-century traditional inn sets the tone for what's inside. But really, we already know what's in store as it's another from the Beckford Group, who is known for finding a classic pub and sensitively bringing it up to date with their Soho House background, while still honoring its pub roots.

The pub's interiors are cozy and the menu's full of elevated classics, Ploughmen with local highlights like Wiltshire ham and Twanger cheddar. There are also smashed pattie burgers, cider battered haddock, and chicken, ham, and leek pie.

Set on the 10,000-acre Fonthill estate in Wiltshire – created by William Beckford himself, a wealthy writer – there are just eight rooms, designed using natural materials including tweed, stone, and sisal with the odd splash of tartan. Furnished simply, but thoughtfully, rooms are painted in hues of moss green and beige.

There are also two large and luxurious lodges a 15-minute walk down the road, where the likes of Byron, Nelson, and Turner previously stayed. What's even more unique is the opportunity to stay in the Grade 1 listed building, aptly known as The Arch, which covers three floors. Wherever you're staying the night, don't leave without taking a stomp of the local area, where maps and wellies are available to borrow.

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The Three Horseshoes, Asthall, Burford

Lady Bamford's third pub has been brought back to its 18th-century farrier roots, after a brief period named The Maytime from the mid-Seventies. It's now been renamed Three Three Horseshoes, harking back to when the pub's farriers would replace horseshoes for those passing through on their travels.

The honey-hued stone pub is home to six cozy bedrooms, where each room name has an equestrian nod. They're demur in size and simply decorated, but have been given the signature Daylesford touch with cool palettes and quality materials and feature walk-in showers.

Food centers around pub classics done very well – homemade pork pies, Ale battered haddock, and venison stew, and unsurprisingly, much comes from the Daylesford farm.

Though a great spot for keeping cozy, it's easily one of the best pubs for the summertime, as outside is a huge pub garden with views over the rolling hills of the Windrush Valley, which is well worth walking through, as is a trip to Burford, that's just four miles away.

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The Potting Shed, Crudwell, Wiltshire

With white wash painted stone walls inside and old ceiling beams The Potting Shed certainly feels rustic, but it is all part of its persona. It's given plenty of warmth not only from the fire but with the hundreds of framed pictures and paintings of dogs adorning the walls.

The food is very pubby but has been carefully created to please a wide bunch with the likes of black pudding scotch egg, fish and chips, and burgers, but with plenty of little surprises like sriracha relish to give heat to burgers and Turkish stuffed aubergines.

Although you can't stay at the actual pub, The Potting Shed also has a sister hotel, The Rectory, just over the road, which owner Alex Payne bought in 2016 and refurbished to open the following year. The Georgian house has 15 bedrooms, while three more are in a separate cottage. They all benefit from plenty of light from large windows and cool-hued interiors which are simply decorated but feel very chic. There's a mix of sizes, some have four poster beds or beamed ceilings, while all have goose-down duvets and Bramley products in the bathrooms too. There's also an honesty bar in the corridor for nightcaps.

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The Bath Arms at Longleat, Wiltshire

Although just 30 minutes from Bath, you'd be forgiven for thinking this pub is actually in Bath. Instead, it's set in the village of Horningsham on the edge of the Longleat estate and its safari park. Also part of the Beckford group of pubs, it's an elegant traditional inn steeped in history and the group's recognizable style.

Outside, the 18th-century pub is draped in leafy green creeping foliage that fits right in as a village pub is surrounded by thatched cottages, while the courtyard with lime trees makes it feel far more European.

Much of its produce comes from the Longleat estate, including game meat, and the menu includes souped-up versions of fish and chips, steak and plowman along with modern fare like spicy mixed bean cassoulet and a crispy poached egg, plus wood-fired pizzas. While upstairs across its 16 rooms, the group's usual color palette is at play, with tones of mossy greens, pale pinks, and blues among hints of grey and cream along with the ever-present Bramley products. The smallest is dinky, and even the largest are not huge, but some do have roll-top baths in them and one has an Indian-style four-poster bed.

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The Bear Inn, Hodnet, Shropshire

Set in the village of Hodnet, its Welsh name translates to 'peaceful valley' – and if that's not already enough of a pull for you to visit, the pub certainly will be. But it's not just the village that has an interesting name. The rather unusual name for a pub points to its history where beneath the floorboards was a bear pit, where animals were once kept for bear baiting and entertainment.

Keeping with the historic theme, it's another 16th-century coaching inn, which might as well be a prerequisite when it comes to creating a worthy pub. It's had a hefty renovation, thanks to owner Chloe Turner, who has created an inviting retreat.

There are 12 bedrooms, each named after a type of tree, which have been designed by Octavia Dickenson and feature pretty pastel shades and clashing pops of floral or patterned prints across everything from lampshades to curtains. In the red wine-hued dining room, food treads a fine line between pub grub, and something a little more sophisticated, where plenty of the ingredients come directly from its own 200-year-old walled garden.

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Bull, Burford, Oxfordshire

If you're looking for a countryside retreat, but want something that veers away from the usual countryside look, the Bull Pub is the answer. Taking up residency in the little Cotswold village of Burford, set on Burford's highstreet inside it's a 16th-century inn that feels like a labyrinth inside with artworks from Damien Hirst and Harland Miller, along with black and white photographs of celebrities. It calls itself a 'curious coaching inn', which is noted at the entrance, and it's certainly hit the nail on the head.

It's one of a few pubs now setting a trend for spinning what you'd expect in these parts on its head and doing it so well. It's the creation of PR magnate Matthew Freud, the grandson of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, who has now turned his hand to hospitality.

For dinner, choose between the casual long tables (encouraged to get guests chatting) at Horn restaurant, with a set menu of home cooking, or Hiro, for…. sushi. Again, another surprise. Wholesome activities are on offer too, another bid to free Brits of the fear of talking to each other, and to instead embrace a proper community spirit in the form of yoga, floristry, chess, and more. The attempt to break isolation doesn't stop there though, as throughout the 18 rooms each is void of any televisions. Instead, there are harmonicas – not the most direct swap, but fun nonetheless.

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The New Inn Coln St Aldwyns, Gloucestershire

This is the second entity from a local duo,' Baz and Fred' (otherwise known as Harry Henriques and Fred Hicks), which opened in 2020 and follows in the footsteps of their first outpost, The Stump Pub, near Cirencester. The first endeavor pivoted to offering fancy takeaway food during the first lockdown, and so the idea for The New Inn was born.

The menu is dominated by their hefty and high-end burgers, focused on quality ingredients like house-cured bacon and whisky shallot mayo. Though if you fancy something else, there are small plates and mains like pig cheeks and polenta or plaice with capers and samphire. Finish off the night in the dedicated Negroni room, whether it's your nightcap of choice or not.

Find the former 16th-century coaching inn in the idyllic Cotswold village of Coln St Aldwyns. The New Inn's interiors are a pleasing mix of a more minimalist version of Petersham Nurseries's aesthetic with an air of rustic charm, so expect modern four-poster beds, spacious rooms, and some roll-top baths. There's plenty of original stone and wood mixed in with a palette of greens and creams across the pub, restaurant, and 15 rooms. During the summer, while away the day on the outside terrace be sure to head to the nearby village of Bibury or town Cirencester too.

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Alice Hawthorn, Nun Monkton, Yorkshire

After a marathon seven-year renovation undertaken by owners John and Claire Topham, the Alice Hawthorn fits in perfectly with its bucolic surroundings. It's classic English village territory with a pond, village green, Georgian cottages, and even a maypole – the tallest in the country. It's a suitable setting for the Grade II listed building, whose unusual name is a homage to a a local successful racehorse, which was named after Alice Hawthorn who helped birth it.

Behind the main pub, eight converted barn rooms have vaulted high ceilings, featuring the original old beams. Together with its Scandi and minimalist style, they've created airy and spacious rooms that are calming to be in.

Of course, there's Yorkshire tea in the rooms and Yorkshire ales on tap in the bar, along with Flagstone floors, roaring fires, and dogs making the most of the warmth nearby. But as the owners have done such a good job on the update, it means everyone wants a slice of the pie, so booking a table is essential. Sunday roasts are impressive, and elsewhere on the menu, one of its signature dishes is popcorn prawns (in a light tempura batter). Dishes are hearty, so walk it off via a rambling walk nearby, or head into York, which is just 20 minutes away.

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