Inn Pair: Wiltshire & Dorset

The Beckford Arms & The Museum Inn

Two glorious inns nestled in Dorset and Wiltshire countryside, with rural and cosy vibes plus wonderful walking from their doors. Stay at one or stay at both. This pair provides perfect bases for exploring the surrounding area. Driving time between the inns is 28 minutes.

Pairing notes: Countryside, Great food, Active outdoors, Heritage, Off the beaten track


Meet the inns

1. The Beckford Arms, Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire

A cool, relaxed vibe with seasonal food, local ales and simple rooms oozing style and comfort - everyone's perfect country inn.

Close to the bustling town of Tisbury, The Beckford Arms is a country pub reinvented for the 21st century, with a relaxed atmosphere, easy-going service and just the right amount of 18th century eccentricity. Its glorious rural location, on the edge of the Fonthill Estate, makes this a superb spot for a little rest and relaxation.

Enjoy lunch on the terrace or while away the sunny days in a hammock. There's a boule piste for those wishing to flex their ball skills or mosey into local Tisbury, a charming town with plenty to see and do.


2. The Museum Inn, Farnham, Dorset

Snugs, intimate corners and eight comfortable guest rooms (plus a large self-catering cottage) give this 17th-century tavern in Dorset a traditional, homely feel.

The Museum Inn was built by the father of modern archaeology, General Pitt-Rivers and this 17th-century tavern is the archetypal countryside inn. Surrounded by the rose gardens and postcard-perfect cottages of Farnham, the inn's thatched roof and cosy interior gives a traditional, homely feel. There are eight comfortable guest rooms and a self-contained cottage that can house up to 16 people.


Best things to do whilst you're there

1. Beckford Arms, Wiltshere

Not for the faint-hearted! Larmer Tree Gardens on Cranborne Chase offers hot air ballooning, with stunning views of Wessex and southwest Wiltshire from the air. The trip usually lasts between three and four hours and offers a rare opportunity to see this vast landscape, known for its ancient sites and enigmatic crop circles, from a totally different perspective. An exhilarating experience!

Spend a day in gorgeous Wilton House. Home of the Earls of Pembroke, the house was designed by Inigo Jones in the 17th century, and later remodelled by James Wyatt. Inside is the Double Cube Room, which contains a famous collection of Van Dyck paintings. Look out for the former riding school, a Tudor kitchen and a Victorian laundry. There's an incredible adventure playground to keep little ones occupied for hours.

Immortalised in John Constable's famous painting Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows from 1831, don't miss Salisbury's staggering cathedral (pictured above), with a spire that's the tallest in the country, painted in 1831. The cathedral was begun in 1220, finished about 1280, and includes a medieval frieze and an original copy of the Magna Carta.


2. The Museum Inn, Dorset

Farnham is situated in Cranborne Chase, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which features rolling chalk grassland, ancient woodlands, chalk escarpments, downland hillsides and chalk river valleys, each with a distinct and recognisable character. The area is dotted with historic villages, nationally important wildlife sites and quiet country lanes.

Looking for a place to go for a walk, then head to Win Green, the highest point in the Cranborne Chase, which offers panoramic views stretching all the way to the coast, or try Ashmore Wood, where trails wend their way through ancient semi-natural woodland, plantation conifers and hazel coppice. Two ancient hillforts - Badbury Rings and Hambledon Hill - are close by and worth the climb.

For something more sedate, visit The Larmer Tree Gardens, the first private gardens in the UK to be opened to the public, or take a drive down The Beech Avenue to admire this man-made arboreal wonder en route to Kingston Lacy, a grand country estate owned by the National Trust. The medieval cathedral city of Salisbury, with its magnificent 13th century cathedral, is a 30-minute drive away.


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