Escape from the Madding Crowd
22 August 2017
It’s August, it’s holiday time, the roads are choked with cars, the beaches are busy and the honeypot villages and tourist hotspots, such as the Lake District and the South Coast, are bursting at the seams. Still keen to escape, then check out these eight fabulous country inns, all peacefully tucked away in less busy areas yet perfect for walking, cycling and other country pursuits, or just to relax and unwind away from the hustle and bustle. Set off early and you could be sipping summer drinks at a cracking pub with rooms in the wilds of Teesdale, in a timeless estate village in Rutland or Somerset, or perhaps deep in the Shropshire Hills.
The Rose & Crown, Romaldkirk, Co. Durham
Idyllic Romaldkirk stands isolated amongst the rugged moorland landscape of Upper Teesdale, miles from any motorway or large conurbation, and this striking old inn makes the ideal base for exploring. Invigorating walks, challenging bike rides and superb pony trekking tails are on the doorstep; dogs are welcomed.
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The Angel Inn, Hetton, North Yorkshire
This ivy-clad 18th-century drover’s inn stands in the glorious Yorkshire Dales countryside, close to Malham Tarn and some fabulous walking trails. The Angel is renowned far and wide for its rustic French/Yorkshire menu, imaginative wine list and sophisticated, comfortable bedrooms – the perfect place to hunker down for a few days.
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The Fleece Inn, Dolphinholme, Lancashire
Set on a rural crossroads on the edge of the wild Bowland Fells, this rescued and revamped community-focused pub with shop, country-smart rooms and good hearty cooking stands on the Wyre Way in glorious walking country. Minutes from, but a world away from, the M6 (J33), the Fleece is a great base for exploring the unique Trough of Bowland landscape.
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The Fox & Hounds, Exton, Rutland
Set by the green in a timeless estate village deep in rolling Rutland countryside, yet striking distance from Stamford and Rutland Water, this fine old inn is worth finding for elegant Asia/Africa inspired rooms, real fires and candles galore in the club-like bar, the tranquil garden, and eclectic modern British food. A peaceful rural bolthole – you won’t want to leave.
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The Pheasant, Neenton, Shropshire
Rescued and refurbished in country-rustic style, this community local is hidden deep in the Shropshire Hills between Bridgnorth and the foodie town of Ludlow. A cracking rural base offering a big welcome, good country cooking, and three comfortable rooms – a ramble up Brown Clee Hill (fantastic views) is the perfect prelude to lunch or dinner.
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The Barrow House, Egerton, Kent
Follow narrow lanes from the A20 to locate tiny Egerton and this striking spruced-up 16th-century gem on Kent’s must-walk Greensand Way trail. Rescued from closure, the Barrow House is now a thriving local with three cosy contemporary bedrooms (two have super views across the Weald), a rambling beamed bar, and an eclectic, crowd-pleasing menu.
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The Talbot Inn, Mells, Somerset
A spruced up Somerset hideaway, tucked away down winding lanes in the hills north of Frome. Don your boots, explore fascinating feudal Mells and surrounding footpaths, or visit Frome’s amazing artisan market (first Sunday of the month), return to eat seriously well in candlelit dining rooms and retire to a super comfortable room upstairs.
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The Gurnard’s Head, Treen, Cornwall
Close to Land’s End on the wild Penwith peninsula, this isolated and iconic cliff-top inn is a real beacon and sets the standard for relaxed, convivial hospitality. ‘Eat, Drink, Sleep’ is the mantra, and it lives up to its promise, with cosy-rustic rooms and the kitchen championing seasonal Cornish produce. Dramatic coast walks will certainly blow any cobwebs away.
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The Inn, West End, Surrey
In an area not renowned for decent pub food and good rooms, Gerry and Ann Price’s recently spruced up Inn West End comes as a big surprise. Expect a stylish, yet informal set up, noted for a top notch wine list, great food, and twelve smart bedrooms in a new-build stable block to the rear. The Inn is worth escaping to for a few days – it’s close to Windsor, the racing at Ascot and some retail therapy in Guildford.
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