300-year-old coaching inn with a civilised feel, character bar and dining rooms, and a thoughtful choice of both drinks and food; spotless bedrooms
The good pub guide review
This 300-year-old coaching inn is part of the Ramsbury Estate, which operates its own well respected brewery and distillery nearby, and showcases Ramsbury products. It's a lovely old heavy-timbered building, smartly decorated with contemporary paintwork and furnishings; the atmosphere throughout is gently civilised and informal. The two rooms of the chatty bar have tartan-cushioned wall seats and pale wooden dining chairs around assorted tables, country and wildlife paintings, interesting stained-glass windows and a woodburning stove. Neat, efficient staff serve Ramsbury Farmers Best, Gold and Flint Knapper and a changing guest on handpump, a dozen wines by the glass, 20 malt whiskies and their own-distilled gin and vodka. A cosy room between the bar and restaurant has armchairs and sofas before an open fire, a table of magazines and papers, a couple of portraits, stuffed birds and a squirrel, books on shelves and patterned wallpaper. Smart and relaxed, the restaurant is similarly furnished to the bar with wooden tables on bare boards or rugs, oil paintings and winter-scene photographs on beige walls; fresh flowers decorate each table. A nice surprise is the charming back café with white-painted farmhouse chairs. The garden has picnic-sets on a lower terrace and raised lawn, with more on a little terrace towards the front. The nine bedrooms (in the inn or the renovated coach house) are smart, well equipped and restful.
The good pub guide food review
Imaginative seasonal food (under a new head chef) includes a bar food menu with such dishes as burger and chips and vegetarian alternatives. There are also regularly changing (and considerably more expensive) à la carte offerings, such as burrata with charred squash and chicory, smoked salmon with Dorset blue vinny, walnut and fig, Creedy Carver duck breast with duck leg pie, purple kale and hen of the woods, and barbecued monkfish with tandoori-spiced carrots and carrot quinoa. Puddings include sourdough treacle tart with miso ice-cream and carrot cake with candied orange and mascarpone sorbet.