The Cricketers

Pub with rooms in Clavering, Essex

From £140 per night

Curator's notes:

  • Stylishly updated 16th-century inn
  • Elegantly designed rooms; some with terraces
  • Good modern British food; pizzas too
  • Handy for M11, Cambridge & Stansted (20min)
Book a room

Speak to us on +44 (0)20 8161 0100

Overview

Innovative Chestnut Group snapped up this 16th-century inn in late 2020 and relaunched the new-look Cricketers in June 2021 following extensive refurbishment.

Having found fame for being the family home of Jamie Oliver - it was in the kitchens that the young Jamie first discovered his passion for cooking - Chestnut have sympathetically upgraded the pub and rooms following 40 years under the Oliver family, who firmly established the inn on Essex's culinary map. It's a hard act to follow but loyal fans of the Cricketers are sure to embrace the contemporary new look as Chestnut have the Midas-touch when refurbishing their inns, plus the food is still very good too.

The bar and dining areas have been gently updated, spaces reimagined and inspired by the original 16th-century fabric of the building. Light floods in due to the quirky open-plan layout around the central bar: standing timbers act as dividers and exposed brickwork, low beams and rustic wooden floors are complimented by copper, wood panelling and soothing colours and textures.

The 22 bedrooms have also been refreshed, bringing the Essex countryside inside with bold floral and botanical inspired fabrics, papers and paints. In summer, the front terrace is a riot of colour, filled with spectacular displays of fresh flowers and blossoming window boxes around the whitewashed inn.

Rooms from:

22 doubles: £140

Good to know

Major credit cards accepted

Disabled access & 1 room

Alfresco & private dining

Parking available

Dogs welcome overnight

Dog-friendly

Your canine chum will be warmly welcomed in the bar and overnight in the rooms. There's a dog menu, treats on the bar and staff can recommend the best dog walks in the area.

A touch of culture

Nearby Saffron Walden is dominated by the 193ft spire of Essex's largest church and it's narrow streets are lined with a tangle of 15th and 16th-century timber-framed buildings, decorated with elaborate plasterwork known as 'pargeting'.

Rooms

Twenty-two comfortable rooms are split between the timbered inn, the Courtyard, where rooms are clustered around a terraced garden, the adjacent Pavilion and Willow opposite the pub.

Oozing individual charm and character, all were elegantly refurbished in contemporary style in 2021 and feature bold statement floral or botanical inspired wall coverings, rich fabrics, cool lighting, earthy colours - purples, greens, fawns, dark blues - painted furniture and striking wood panels in some rooms. All have quality linen and down on king-size beds, Tea Pigs, fresh coffee and milk, and natural Bramley products in modern tiled bathrooms - most have walk-in showers and the 'Best' have baths too

Rooms range from the two 'Good Rooms' above the bar to the six, ground floor 'Better Rooms' in the Courtyard, just a stroll from the pub, with the 'Best Rooms' located in Pavilion (8 rooms named after cricket grounds) and Willow, a smartly refurbished house across the road. These are larger, offer more detail touches and some of the Willow rooms have outdoor tables and chairs with serene views across fields.

On the doorstep are walks, cycle routes, the historic town of Saffron Walden offering shops, cafes and culture, and opulent Audley End House and gardens.

Restaurant & bar

The Cricketers has long been a popular dining destination, drawing locals and foodies for beautifully cooked modern British pub food, and Chestnut have maintained the high standards.

Seasonal menus are enhanced by imaginative daily specials and head chef Justin Greig continues the traditions of sourcing fish daily from Billingsgate, butchering locally sourced meat in the kitchen, baking bread every morning, making fresh pasta using the authentic Italian pasta machine, and lighting the wood-fired pizza oven at weekends.

This may translate to a starter of beef short rib arancini on red pepper sauce, or grilled asparagus with truffle and watercress butter and a crispy Duddenhoe hen's egg. For main course, perhaps tuck into Priors Hall Farm pork loin, crispy crackling, Suffolk chorizo, haricot bean cassoulet and majoram pesto. Leave room for the likes of lemon curd pavlova or vanilla pannacotta with rhubarb compote. Book ahead for Sunday lunch - Suffolk lamb shoulder slow roasted in the wood oven.

Arrive early to bag the cosy window snug seat close to the log fire - the place to sup a pre-dinner pint of Adams Ghost Ship or Woodforde's Wherry, or a decent glass of wine (over 20) from the short, interesting wine list that favours France. Good choice of artisan gins too.

Things to do

Duxford Airfield has seen real and screen action and now belongs to the Imperial War Museum. You'll find a superb collection of historic aircraft from First World War fighters to the first Concorde ever flown.

With its ancient timbers and crooked lines, Lavenham Guildhall is one of many notable buildings in this picturesque medieval village. Inside, you'll find a museum devoted to the history of Lavenham, with fascinating displays depicting 500 years of farming and industry

At Flatford you can stand in the very same spot that Constable stood and spot the same view he did. Study the scenes that inspired him and found expression in his paintings and visit the small exhibition that provides an insight into the man and his talent.

Getting here

Directions

Nearest train station: Newport

Taxi from station: 6min

Drive: Saffron Walden 12min; Cambridge 40min; Stansted Airport 22min; London 1hr 13min

Address

Clavering, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11 4QT

Prices & availability