The Royal Oak Pub with rooms in Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire

Prices from:
£125 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Derelict village local revived with style
  • Classic interior; contemporary design
  • True community hub and more
  • Modern food; passion for local produce
  • Stunning glass & oak conservatory
  • Cosy rooms; some under the thatch
  • Great walking from the front door

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitGreen FingersVisit a Stately PileNo Car Needed15 Minutes from the Motorway

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Call this inn 01747 470775

Overview

The Royal Oak Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire , SP3 5PA

THE PERSONAL TOUCH

Tucked away in the gently rolling Nadder Valley, the Royal Oak in Swallowcliffe is the perfect rural hideaway, a spruced up whitewashed and part-thatched pub set in a peaceful, picture-book village lost down narrow lanes and world away from the hustle and bustle of the A303. The pub was unloved and in a sorry state for 7 years until three village residents decided to lovingly restore and breath new life into the stunning 18th-century building. The doors to the new-look Royal Oak were pushed open in September 2015 and, yes, the food is exceptional and the rooms very comfortable, but the pub is very much a community local – everyone is overjoyed at having their pub back. Farmers, walkers, dogs, children and the local gentry happily fill the spruced up bar, replete with huge inglenook and blazing fire, stone tiled floor, thick beams and stylish furniture crafted by Matthew Burt at his workshop in nearby Hindon. Eat informally here amongst the hub-bub, or book a table in the cosy beamed dining room next door, or in the fabulous glass and green oak conservatory that overlooks the garden.

MUDDY PAWS

Dogs on leads are very welcome in the bar area and garden and do treat your well-behaved pooch to one of the complimentary biscuits on the bar. You can stay with your dog in the Cranborne Room (£10 extra) and the pub has doggie towels, beds and treats on request.

STICKY FINGERS

A big welcome extends to children; there are toys available in the bar and they have their own menu of freshly prepared food – soup & bread; pasta & tomato sauce; beef burger & skinny chips; baked fish of the day; ice cream. Upstairs, Nadder Room has a sofa bed; Win Green & Wardour rooms are linked, so are ideal for a family with two children; otherwise most rooms can accommodate a z-bed (£25); cots are free.

ALFRESCO

Rustic benches and huge tables made from local reclaimed timber, including one crafted from a boat fender found in a boatyard, are dotted around the secluded rear garden.

What’s the Damage?
6 doubles £125-£150

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and rooms
    (lift to first floor – Fonthill Room)
  • Parking
Sleep

The Royal Oak Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire , SP3 5PA

DO NOT DISTURB

Named after local rivers, hills and villages, the six relaxing and hugely comfortable upstairs rooms, a couple tucked beneath the heavy thatch, have been beautifully designed and refurbished by Lou Eastham and Alison Galt, who both live in the village. Individually designed with an intimate and homely country feel, you can expect warm pastel hues, wool blankets, gorgeous throws, colourful cushions and goose down duvets on super cosy Hypnos beds, smart upholstered chairs and stylish lightwood furniture, tasteful paintings and prints, and welcome detail touches – jugs of flowers, local pottery mugs, books and local magazines, and fresh coffee, milk and home-made biscuits. Ashcombe is a fun and quirky room up in the eaves with a freestanding bath in a huge bathroom; Win Green is the largest room with dark beams and dual aspect windows; all have fresh tiled bathrooms.

CREATURE COMFORTS

Hypnos beds; Egyptian cotton and Hungarian Goose Down duvets & pillows; Enchanted Plants – handmade natural bathroom products (www.enchantedplants.co.uk); hot water bottle.

GADGETS

Digital radio; FreeSat TV with cable to link up laptop or I-pad/tablet; free wi-fi; no mobile phone signal inside pub.

PAMPERING

Rachel Boase offers traditional Shiatzu massage at her peaceful clinic on the nearby Fonthill Estate, or you can request the relaxing and invigorating treatment in your room at the Royal Oak – shiatsu@boasemail.co.uk

WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST?

Breakfast buffet (cereals, croissants, pastries, fresh juices); hot porridge with double cream & dark brown sugar; full English with smoked streaky bacon and pork sausage, or vegetarian breakfast with tofu.

What’s the Damage?
6 doubles £125-£150

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and rooms
    (lift to first floor – Fonthill Room)
  • Parking
Eat & Drink

The Royal Oak Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire , SP3 5PA

MASTERING THE MENU

Danny DuRose stepped up to Head Chef in January 2017 following the departure of Mark Treasure, who had firmly established the Royal Oak on Wiltshire’s culinary map. Having been part of the team since the re-opening of the pub in 2015, Danny takes sourcing quality local produce very seriously – only traditionally reared traceable meats, with free-range poultry, game from neighbouring estates, and local organic herbs and vegetables. Danny serves up cracking lunchtime bar food, perhaps confit duck hash, fried duck egg, pickled red cabbage and Madeira, and some delicious seasonal dishes on the sensibly short evening menu, which changes monthly and also features a daily special at each course – ham hock terrine, Jerusalem artichoke, toasted soda; baked sea bream, sweetcorn relish, samphire, chilli and coriander; lemon pannacotta, forced rhubarb, sweet granola.

ON THE MENU

Crispy lamb scrumpet, balsamic vinegar, green sauce
Potted smoked haddock, Dijon mustard, leeks, tarragon, lemon
Honey-glazed duck breast, sweetcorn, chilli & thyme
Fillets of gurnard, runner beans, lime & salty fingers
Chicken puff pastry pie, mushrooms & fresh herbs
Bitter iced coffee parfait, shortbread & hazelnut brittle
Passionfruit, polenta & orange sponge, vanilla ice cream

BAR MENU (SERVED ALL DAY)

Open roast beef & horseradish sandwich, skinny fries
Wild mushroom & roasted hazelnut risotto
Aberdeen Angus beef burger, horseradish slaw, skinny chips

SUNDAY ROASTS

Aberdeen Angus beef, Yorkshire pudding & onion gravy
Slow-roast pork belly, crackling, Cox’s apples, verjuice & thyme

TIME TO EAT

Breakfast: 8am – 10pm
Lunch: 12 noon – 2pm
Bar snacks 12 noon – 9pm
Dinner: 7pm – 9pm

LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL

Pork – Tom Buttling Butchers, Ludwell (www.tbuttlingbutchers.co.uk)
Sough Dour Bread – Reeve the Baker, Wilton (www.reevethebaker.co.uk)
Vegetables & flowers – Pythouse Kitchen Garden, West Hatch (www.pythousekitchengarden.co.uk)
Museum & No8 Wines Co, Tarrant Hinton (www.no8wine.co)
Butcombe Brewery, Wrington, Bristol (www.butcombe.com)
Bespoke wooden bar/restaurant furnishings – www.matthewburt.com (Hindon)

BEHIND THE BAR

Young Joe Ashby certainly knows his stuff behind the bar, happy to offer you tasters of Butcombe Bitter, Fuller’s London Pride, a brew from Downton Brewery, or Cliffhanger, a special beer brewed for the pub by Butcombe, and will guide you around the quirky and very interesting wine list (14 by the glass), which favours smaller producers and has been passionately compiled by local resident and Royal Oak director Jeremy Little. Try the excellent organic, un-oaked Gran Cerdo Rioja (2014) at £24 a bottle, or splash out £48 and quaff an impressive claret (Chateau Les Trois Croix 2010). Niche mixer and juice drinks producers and excellent draught and bottled cider from Burrow Hill in Somerset complete the pleasing picture at the bar – everyone’s thirst will be well slaked.

TIME AT THE BAR

11am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?
6 doubles £125-£150

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to restaurant and rooms
    (lift to first floor – Fonthill Room)
  • Parking
Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Royal Oak

2

Ansty PYO and Farm Shop, Ansty, Wiltshire SP3 5PX

Thriving Farm Shop selling a wide range of home-grown seasonal fruit & vegetables (or you can Pick Your Own) and locally produced goods, including fresh baked breads, plus there’s a busy tea room if you fancy a pot of tea and homemade cake.

3

Fonthill Glebe Wines, Teffont Evias SP3 5RG

A working winery producing English wines from Estate grown grapes at Fonthill Gifford and Dinton in Wiltshire and Awbridge Romsey in Hampshire. Wines are sold by the case only, although the case/cases may be mixed dozens. Please phone ahead before visiting as this is a working winery and they may not be able to see you if they are very busy. Try their Seyval Blanc at the Beckford Arms.

4

At the Chapel, High Street, Bruton BA10 0AE

Former coaching inn, now a multifaceted operation comprising bakery, wine store and cafe with wood fired oven. Head to the bakery for takeaway bread (the sourdough is excellent), cakes, biscuits, pies and exemplary wood-fired pizzas, explore the wine store for keenly priced organic, non-organic and biodynamic wines from small producers, or just chill out in the cafe with a coffee and cake. There's lunch and dinner too, pizza of course, or local ribeye steak with peppercorn sauce.

5

The Frome Independent Market, Frome BA11 1BH

Taking place in Frome's town centre on the first Sunday of the month (between March and December, this brilliant market champions local food and drink producers, as well as contemporary designers and makers, vintage fashion stalls and furniture.

6

The Horsehoes, Ebbesbourne Wake SP5 5JF

The unspoilt, rural charm of Ebbesbourne Walk, a sleepy hamlet tucked away in the Ebble Valley, is here is abundance: climbing roses in the rambling garden, beams and open fires, ale tapped from the cask, honest, fresh local food (book for amazing Sunday lunches), and a long-serving, character landlord (01722 780474)

7

Tom Buttling Butchers, Ludwell, Shaftesbury SP7 9ND

Built as a butchers shop in 1906 and a butchers ever since, with the Buttling family taking over in 1978, it is now owned by Paul Buttling, the 4th generation of the family to run the shop. It is renowned locally for quality, fully matured meat from local farms, homemade pies and pasties, plus a good choice of cheese and fish.

8

No. 8 Wine Co, The Old Calf House, Tarrant Hinton, Blandford Forum DT11 8JX

No8 Wine Shop is based in Tarrant Hinton, just off the A354, and has over 500 wines to choose from, with prices ranging from £5.95 per bottle up to the first growth clarets and everything in between. The shop is open Monday - Saturday 10am - 5.30pm and there are evening tastings during the summer, and No 8 also opens the wine shop on Friday evenings as a wine bar between 5.30pm - 8pm, which gives customers the opportunity to come and have a glass or two of the latest wines discoveries.

10

Pythouse Kitchen Garden Shop and Cafe, West Hatch SP3 6PA

The 18th century walled garden and Victorian kitchen garden produces fruit, a wide variety of vegetables and flowers. Everything grown in the garden is sold in the small shop and appears on the menu in the appropriately rustic café: Thursday night dinners may feature Pythouse's own organic lamb or beef.

11

Shaftesbury Farmers Market, Town Hall, Shaftesbury SP7 8AA

Founded in 2004, this family-run company is the place to go if wild birds and historically renowned country estates are your thing. Husband and wife team, Robert and Kate Cuthbert, together with their dedicated band of experts, strive to ensure your day is exactly what it should be.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Royal Oak

Activities

2

Racing at Salisbury, Netherhampton SP2 8PN

Dating back to the 18th century and one of the best-loved racecourses in the world, Ascot is renowned for its thoroughbred racing. Royal Ascot Week in June is one of the country's key sporting and social events, attended by Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

3

Rushmore Golf Club, Tollard Royal SP5 5QB

An 18-hole championship golf course situated in Rushmore Park on Cranborne Chase, a part of the world renowned for its fine beechwoods, rolling grassland and sense of solitude. Unusually, nine holes are in Dorset, while the remaining nine are to be found in neighbouring Wiltshire. The course offers stunning scenery, from ancient parkland to views of the south coast and the Isle of Wight. The Rushmore Clubhouse is a popular venue for lunch, tea and even breakfast.

4

Grovely Riding Centre, Water Ditchampton SP2 0JB

Located in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside and established more than 50 years ago, Grovely has an established reputation for professionalism and extremely high standards. Riding takes place over chalk downland tracks, Roman roads and grassy droves where there is always a strong sense of Wiltshire's distant past and the views are often breathtaking.

10

Courses at Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal, Salisbury SP5 5PT

The Larmer Tree Gardens is the delightful setting for an assortment of courses with popular themes. Expect perhaps an afternoon tea cookery course or perhaps a picnic basket cookery course. Alternatively, try your hand at making bread or preparing canapes or nibbles.

11

Famous Fishing, Netton, Salisbury SP4 6AW

Since 1995, Famous Fishing has been Britain's premier fly fishing company, offering its clients the chance to fish on the country's finest spring-fed chalk streams and trout rivers where they thread their way through a precious landscape most people only glimpse. Groups of all sizes and skill levels are welcome.

12

Serious Shooting, Orcheston, Salisbury SP3 4RL

Founded in 2004, this family-run company is the place to go if wild birds and historically renowned country estates are your thing. Husband and wife team, Robert and Kate Cuthbert, together with their dedicated band of experts, strive to ensure your day is exactly what it should be.

Shopping

9

Ludwell Village Stores, Ludwell, SP7 9ND

Village Shop of the Year, Ludwell Stores is one of the finest village shops around. A 200 year old store with shelves piled high with a myriad of local and not so local goodies.

17

Enchanted Plants, 6 The Commons, Shaftesbury SP7 8JU

Based in rural North Dorset, Enchanted Plants is run by Medical Herbalist Jemma Cannon whose love of plants and their endless potential for improving health and well-being led her to open her first shop in 2007. This is where you'll find the finest organic soaps, handmade in Dorset.

18

Clementines Shop, Lower Lawn Barns, Fonthill Gifford, Tisbury SP3 6SG

Persevere down the bumpy track to locate Clementine's gorgeous gift shop situated in barns around a beautiful 19th century courtyard. A treasure trove filled unusual, interesting and traditional items and gifts, it perfect for finding presents for all the family, plus there are stylish and imaginative products for kitchen, home and garden. Gift fairs throughout the year.

21

Wilton Shopping Centre, Wilton SP2 0RS

Just a short drive in the direction of Salisbury brings you to this historic courtyard setting comprising shops, restaurants and an antique centre. Wilton Flooring has its own on-site factory shop where you can browse among quality carpets and rugs.

22

Matthew Burt Furniture, The Showroom, High Street, Hindon SP3 6DR

If you love the stylish and very unique tables and chairs that adorn the bar and dining rooms at the Royal Oak, then visit Matthew Burts showroom in nearby Hindon. Here a small creative team of talented designers and makers create freestanding and fitted furniture from individual pieces to room sets or an entire house full.

Places to visit

5

Stonehenge SP4 7DE

This World Heritage Site is at least 5,000 years old and is the most famous prehistoric monument in Britain, perhaps. No one knows its exact purpose or how the smaller bluestones were brought here from Pembrokeshire. From every angle Stonehenge looks stunning but especially from a distance when the ancient stones blend into the timeless downland setting.

6

Longleat, Warminster BA12 7NW

Standing in extensive parkland near Frome and Warminster, Longleat House is a perfect example of Elizabethan architecture. The house includes many fine paintings and artefacts, and possibly the most valuable private library in the world. Longleat is also renowned for its safari park.

7

Salisbury Cathedral SP1 2EJ

Its spire is the tallest in the country, immortalised in John Constable's famous painting Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 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.

8

Old Wardour Castle, Tisbury SP3 6RR

If the ruins of this secluded, 14th-century stronghold seem familiar, it's because they featured as one of the locations for the 1991 Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood; Prince of Thieves.

13

Wilton House, Wilton, Salisbury SP2 0BJ

Home of the Earls of Pembroke, Wilton House was designed by Inigo Jones in the 17th century, replacing the original house, which was destroyed by fire, and later remodelled by James Wyatt. Inside is the Double Cube Room, which contains a famous collection of Van Dyck paintings. Look out, too, for the former riding school, a Tudor kitchen and a Victorian laundry.

14

Stourhead, Mere BA12 6QF

Acknowledged as one of Europe's finest landscaped parkland gardens, Stourhead is managed by the National Trust. The gardens serve as a perfect example of the English landscape style, and the lake is a picture at any time of the year. The autumn colours here are a real treat.

15

Fovant Badges, Fovant SP3 5JF

Drive along the A30 near the village of Fovant, park where indicated and you get grand views of the famous regimental badges cut into the chalk downland - an extraordinary sight. During the First World War there was a training camp at Fovant and thousands of servicemen from all corners of the world gathered here before departing for the Western Front. In their spare time they carved the badges of their regiments. For a closer look follow public footpaths and tracks to the top of the downs.

16

Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal, Salisbury SP5 5DT

Near Tollard Royal on glorious Cranborne Chase, these gardens offer a breathtaking assortment of horticultural riches. In addition to camellias, rhododendrons and a striking hydrangea collection, there are ornate buildings, peacocks and macaws.

Walking

www.visit-dorset.com
The Wessex region is a walker’s paradise. To the south of Swallowcliffe lies Cranborne Chase, famous for its magnificent views, breezy high points and secluded valleys. The area was once a royal forest where King John hunted. For something with a real taste of adventure, try the Wessex Ridgeway or the South West Coast Path, and for a walk with a difference sample a spooky ghost tour in one of Dorset’s charming historic towns.

Cycling

www.visit-dorset.com
www.thenewforest.co.uk
www.visitwiltshire.co.uk
Cranborne Chase is an obvious choice for exhilarating cycle rides. Further north there are numerous quiet lanes and downland tracks to explore in the vicinity of Salisbury Plain, and to the southeast the vast wooded expanse of the New Forest offers over 100 miles of off-road cycle routes.

Events

www.visit-dorset.com
Dorset offers plenty of choice during the year. There’s the popular Purbeck Literary Festival in February, while at the end of August the county hosts the Great Dorset Steam Fair at Tarrant Hinton, near Blandford Forum. Expect 2000 exhibits and over 200 full-size steam engines. Another popular fixture in Dorset’s social calendar is the Larmer Tree Festival in July. This five-day music and arts event has been running for more than 25 years.

Getting there

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

By Road: Swallowcliffe is signposted off A30 near Ansty between Salisbury and Shaftesbury. Pub is in the village centre.

By Train: Tisbury railway station (Waterloo) is a short 2 mile bus (Route 26) or taxi ride away.

Address:

, Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire , SP3 5PA

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