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Overview

Set beside the B4494 in an isolated rural location overlooking the Berkshire Downs, the 16th-century Crab & Boar is a rustic pub-meets-boutique bolthole featuring stylish décor, good modern pub food and elegant rooms.

Originally a small, thatched downland watering hole, the pub has been extended over the years, morphing into rambling inn with rustic-chic dining areas and 14 comfortable and well-appointed rooms in a rear extension that ooze country charm and some have indulgent hot tubs in private courtyards.

A popular dining destination, the inn offers fresh seafood alongside local game and beef dishes, with most ingredients sourced within a 25-mile radius of the inn, ensuring you get a true taste of the great British countryside. It's an ideal base for enjoying a range of outdoor sports, including cycling and walking (Ridgeway Path), and fishing and shooting can be arranged during your stay.

Newbury Racecourse is nearby, too, but for those seeking a touch of culture should visit Highclere Castle, filming location for Downton Abbey.

Rooms from

14 doubles: £150


Good to know

  • All major credit cards accepted
  • Disabled access
  • Alfresco & private dining
  • Hot tubs
  • Electric car charging point
  • Parking available
  • Dog stay: £15

Scenic and serene
Located in the heart of the North Wessex Downs, the inn is an ideal base for exploring the surrounding countryside and pursuing a wide range of outdoor sports.

Quiet romance
It's scenic location and rustic-chic rooms with hot tubs make the inn a lovely spot for a quiet getaway with someone special.

Rooms

A modern rustic makeover has transformed the 14 rooms into cosy countryside boltholes featuring mahogany four-poster beds, rich wool throws and thick feather duvets.

You can expect a rustic-chic decor, Noble Isle soaps and lotions, Nespresso machines, fresh milk, and tiled bathrooms, a few with bath and walk-in shower, and far-reaching downland views. All of the rooms are dog-friendly and dog bowls and treats at the bar are available to spoil your four-legged companion.

The best (and largest) rooms have hot tubs in private courtyards, perfect for a long, relaxing soak with a bottle of bubbly after an invigorating day walking a section of the breezy Ridgeway Path. A few rooms are close to the road, which can be busy early morning, and there is some traffic noise despite good double glazing.

Restaurant & bar

Making the most of local ingredients from both field and shore, the menu evolves with the seasons, offering classics alongside more creative dishes.

Whether you fancy indulging in rich local game, fresh-off-the-boat crab or kicking off your wellies and relaxing with a pint and a pork, fennel and garlic scotch egg, you'll get a true taste of the great British countryside in the country-rustic bar and the smartly furnished restaurant. From a typical spring menu tuck into lamb rump, pommes Anna and salsa verde; confit hake, wasabi, herb and seed crumb, parsley veloute and buttered mash; or chicken, ham hock and leek pie. Puddings may include dark chocolate tart with clotted cream.

On warmer days, head out into the garden and savour your meal surrounded by sweeping downland views. Take time to sample the drinks menu, too - there are local West Berkshire ales, award-winning British spirits, notably gins, and a wide range of fine wines (18 by the glass). There is even Snuffle beer available for any canine companions.

Private dining

For intimate dinner parties or celebrations, the long table in the private dining room can seat up to 14 guests. In fine weather, the garden makes an attractive venue for a summer soiree or an outdoor party.

Things to do

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, the Living Rain Forest at Hampstean Norreys is where you can learn all about the living rainforest environment, as well as the world's endangered plants and wildlife.

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 Chieveley. Elsewhere, there are many miles of footpaths and bridleways and sections of the Thames and Kennet & Avon towpaths to enjoy.

Getting here

Directions

Nearest train station: Newbury
Taxi from station: 10min
Drive: Oxford 36min; Winchester 40min; London 1hr 20min

Address

Wantage Road, Chieveley, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8UE

Prices & availability