13 March 2013

A WEEKEND IN WILTSHIRE

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a weekend at award-winning The Beckford Arms, a country inn tucked away in the heart of leafy green Wiltshire.  The Beckford Arms at the foot of the Fonthill Estate, once owned by William Beckford who was the richest man in England, balances a traditional style country pub with a luxury boutique hotel perfectly.  Owners Charlie Luxton and Dan Brod learnt their trade at Babington House, so as Nick Jones and Soho House pretty much wrote the country house hotel rulebook, you're in good hands here.



The eight simple, fuss-free bedrooms are tastefully decorated with a focus on luxurious textures; chalky matte cream paint, pale grey panelled wooden walls, woven wool blankets and a thick, feather down duvet to collapse into.  It was one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in.  Rooms also come with a rolltop bath and a selection of Bramley bath and body products handmade in the West Country with natural ingredients by Charlie's wife especially for the hotel (which I featured here).





Downstairs is arranged into a conservatory restaurant, a cosy pub (currently The Good Pub Guide's UK Dining Pub of the Year) filled with locals, dogs, wooden beams and a fireplace plus a sitting room complete with big sofas and stacks of newspapers in front of another roaring open fire, ideal for relaxing by after a hard day's walk...

stomping around in Musto walking boots (and striped Ellos dress)

The food here is lovely too; in the mornings we ate in the conservatory where a full breakfast menu (with damn good bacon sandwiches) was served in addition to cereals, croissants, fruit, Bloody Marys, tea and coffee.  For dinner, good, hearty gastropub fare was on offer from head chef Pravin Nayar - the smoked salmon starter was absolutely delicious - alongside wines and plenty of beers, bitters and ales available from the bar.


During the day, we walked eight miles to Wardour Castle, a picturesque 14th century crumbling ruin and English Heritage Grade I listed building, before having afternoon tea and sandwiches at Beatons, a charming tearoom and bookshop inspired by former Wiltshire resident Cecil Beaton.



Back at the hotel, we had drinks in the Spring sunshine out in the pretty terrace garden, where I tried the local seyval blanc grown at Fonthill Gifford, which tasted unusual; good, quite dry and rather impressive for an English white wine.  It's a great place in a lovely part of the country. If you fancy a relaxing, luxurious rural retreat in the British countryside, The Beckford Arms is for you. Thanks for having us.

The Beckford Arms, Fonthill, Gifford SP3 6PX



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