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Overview

Tucked away in rolling downland on the Wiltshire and Dorset border with fine shooting estates and the Cranborne Chase on the doorstep, this refurbished Victorian inn strikes the ideal balance between rustic hideaway and relaxing village pub.

Spruced up in modern country style, the smart, airy and open-plan bar and dining areas feature rugs on terracotta tiles, old pine tables topped with chunky church candles and pots of lavender and rosemary, blazing winter log fires, snug alcoves and cushioned bay window seats, and country photographs and big mirrors on cream walls. Fresh flowers, daily papers and the Shooting Gazette enhance the upmarket feel of this civilised inn.

The kitchen produces an impressive best-of-British menu featuring fresh fish, game, meat and vegetables, all sourced locally. And in the warmer months, a large terraced garden complete with outdoor kitchen, offers the chance for relaxed alfresco dining. Cranborne Chase offers wonderful walking, cycling and riding opportunities, while shooting and fishing are a way of life here and you can try your hand at both on nearby estates and rivers.

Rooms from

8 doubles: £150


Good to know

  • Amex not accepted, Visa / Mastercard / Maestro all accepted

  • Disabled access

  • Alfresco & private dining

  • Parking available

  • Dog stay: £15

A touch of culture
For a cultural day out, head to the nearby cathedral city of Salisbury to explore its shops, museums and fine historic houses.

Outdoor adventures
Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it's an excellent base for walking, cycling and riding activities, as well as shooting and fishing opportunities.

Dog-friendly
Dogs are welcome in all the rooms and dog bowls can be provided on request.

Rooms

Each of the eight country bedrooms - five in the main Victorian building and three in a renovated coaching house - are comfortable, rustic sanctuaries

Antique furnishings blend effortlessly with contemporary touches - expect big headboards, down duvets and crisp linen on super comfortable beds, rich floral fabrics, fresh flowers and fat lamps, and posh bathrooms. Smaller rooms and snug and cosy - for oodles of space book the King's Room, with its vast bed, leather Chesterfield sofa and slate and glass bathroom with claw-foot bath and walk-in storm shower.

To keep you connected, there are digital televisions, direct dial telephones and wifi, or for some quiet downtime, there's a selection of books to read. All rooms come with Bramley bath products, fine Newby teas and homemade shortbread.

Restaurant & bar

Work up a healthy appetite by striding across the surrounding downland trails - the Wessex Ridgeway passes the pub door - and return for some hearty modern pub food, prepared from seasonal ingredients supplied by local farmers, fishermen and artisan producers.

With the Rushmore Estate and Cranborne Chase on the doorstep, the menu is rich in game and the kitchen works with a number of small farms and local suppliers to create inspired, relaxed versions of the traditional British classics that reflect the flavours and ingredients of each season. Typically tuck into black pudding and apple croquette with apple sauce; chicken and leek pie, spring greens and buttery mash; ox cheek ragu, oven-dried tomatoes, capers and gnocchi; and rhubarb and ginger steamed pudding.

Behind the bar you'll find a good selection of craft and local beers, a wide range of wines and champagne (available by the glass), along with fine whiskies, gins and cognacs.

Private dining

In the summer, the beautiful terraced Victorian garden, surrounded by lush countryside, is the ideal place to host a party, private lunch or reception. If you're looking to celebrate a special occasion, The Lounge is an intimate hideaway perfect for shooting parties or private get-togethers. It combines heritage furnishings with modern facilities including a flatscreen TV (ideal for watching rugby with a group of friends), a private bar and discreet fridges stocked with the finest wines, whiskies and cognacs - ideal for pre-dinner drinks.

Things to do

Tucked away in the pretty village of Tollard Royal, just one of the many historic villages that are dotted throughout Cranborne Chase, this was once an ancient hunting ground for King John. This part of the world is renowned for its rolling chalk grassland, ancient woodlands, chalk escarpments, downland hillsides and chalk river valleys.

The Larmer Tree Gardens, the first private gardens in the UK to be opened to the public, are a short walk away, but if you fancy something a little wilder, head to Ashmore Wood, a mix of ancient semi-natural woodland, plantation conifers and hazel coppice, which has ample walking trails to follow.

For heritage and culture buffs, don't miss Badbury Rings, an Iron Age hill fort; Hambledon Hill, a prehistoric hill fort in North Dorset, which dates from the Neolithic period; and the medieval cathedral city of Salisbury, with its magnificent 13th century cathedral, which is a 30-minute drive away.

Getting here

Directions

Nearest train station: Tisbury
Taxi from station: about 20min
Drive: 20min from Shaftesbury, 30min from Salisbury, 2hr 50min from London

Address

Tollard Royal, Wiltshire SP5 5PS

Prices & availability