Two idyllic inns tucked away down winding country lanes in two pretty-postcard villages in Wiltshire, with stunning rural scenery and an abundance of trails to get lost on. Stay at one or stay at both. This pair provides perfect bases for exploring the surrounding area. Driving time between the inns is 1 hour 17 minutes.
Pairing notes: Country, Cosy, Great food, Walking, Romantic
Set beside a pretty, cottage-lined village green and surrounded by rural walking trails, get lost in this idyllic country inn which boasts excellent modern cooking and country-chic rooms.
Persevere down winding lanes to locate the sleepy village of Ham and the stylishly revamped Crown & Anchor, set beside the pretty, cottage-lined green at the heart of the village. Locals and visitors alike love the carefully furnished interior, which boasts a homey feel and meticulous attention to detail.
Expect a cosy, country feel throughout with a blazing log-burning stove, cushioned benches, fresh flowers on old tables, and rug-strewn flagstones in the wood-panelled bar. With stunning surrounding walks, including three long-distance trails, and a network of traffic-free lanes, the pub is the perfect lunch stop for ramblers and cyclists exploring the area.
Impressive estate-owned inn refurbished by the Beckford Group - now a stylish rural bolthole with country-style rooms, a relaxed vibe and delicious pub food.
Smack beside one of the entrances to Longleat House in peaceful Horningsham, the estate-owned Bath Arms dates from 1736 and is an striking, creeper-clad stone inn fronted by 200-year-old pollarded lime trees.
Having had their eyes on this impressive building for some years, the Beckford Group took on the lease in early 2020 and spent lockdown summer gently refurbishing and fine tuning the place, pushing open the doors in late July to reveal a very stylish country inn.
Fans of Downton Abbey shouldn't miss Highclere Castle - where the interior for the award-winning television series is filmed (pictured below). Remodelled and virtually rebuilt by Sir Charles Barry in the mid-19th century, Highclere Castle is now one of Britain's best-known houses, and well worth a visit. A tour of the house and park is a must.
Don't miss an afternoon exploring the pretty market town of Marlborough, which boasts a brilliant high street, charming churches and 17th-century buildings. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the High Street hosts a market selling all kinds of local produce, pottery and plants.
Culture vultures should head to the Watermill Theatre in Bagnor. 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.
Lying in secluded privacy in its own valley, Stourhead is one of the finest landscape gardens in the world. Lakeside paths lead past classical temples and follies, set against a backdrop of exotic trees. Climb King Alfred's Tower, a fine 50m folly, and from the top you can scan three countries. Sitting majestically above the garden is Stourhead House, a grand Palladian mansion filled with Chippendale furniture, Georgian paintings and an exquisite Regency library.
Stroll down the drive from the Bath Arms and within minutes you could be on safari in Longleat. Get up close and personal with the lions, rhinos, giraffes and monkeys in a purpose-built 4x4, or enjoy a Safari Drive Through in your own car. Standing in extensive parkland landscaped by Capability Brown in the mid-18th century, Longleat House is a perfect example of Elizabethan architecture and includes many fine paintings and artefacts, and possibly the most valuable private library in the world.