The Beckford Arms Pub with rooms in Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire

Prices from:
£95 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Everyone’s ideal country inn
  • Crackling fires and candlelight
  • Rustic, seasonal food – big flavours
  • Laid-back feel; great service
  • Simple, modern rooms ooze comfort
  • Estate lodges offer peace & seclusion
  • Don’t miss the Beckford Bottle Shop

PerkInn Places Perk

Tea & Crumpets on Arrival

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

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Overview

The Beckford Arms Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire, SP3 6PX

The personal touch

Thanks to a new wave of young, talented entrepreneurs who have only just started strutting their stuff, it’s an exciting time for the country inn. Dan Brod and Charlie Luxton’s Beckford Arms near Tisbury is a case in point – a country pub reinvented for the 21st century, its chill-out atmosphere and easy-going service working well with the slightly wonky period charm of the 18th century building and gloriously rural location on the edge of the Fonthill Estate. On wintry nights the place exudes a dark, burnished warmth, thanks to soft lights and log fires, balmier days draw you into the garden, where hammocks, rugs and shady trees deal with most of the vaguaries of the British summer and a boule piste provides gentle exercise. Dan & Charlie opened the Beckford Bottle Shop in nearby Tisbury in late 2015 – it’s worth perusing the fantastic selection of over 300 wines from around the world, as well as craft beers, ciders and boutique spirits, as you’ll sure to find your favourite tipple at the inn to take home.

Sticky Fingers

Expect a warm welcome towards children (cots free & child bed £25); Rooms 1 & 2 interconnect; no under 8’s in Lodges.

Muddy Paws

Dogs welcome in the bar (water & bones provided) and in Room 6 (£10).

Alfresco

While away a long summer’s day in an acre of mature garden or have lunch or tea on the large terrace. There are hammocks under shady trees, a pétanque piste, a games area to entertain the children, and even a dog bath to hose off after a long muddy walk.

What’s on?

Movie Nights – on Sunday evenings chill out on the sofa and watch an old movie with a glass of wine and a plate of comfort food (fish pie or shepherds pie).

What’s the Damage?
8 doubles – £95-£170
Lodges £175 (weekdays); £195 (weekends)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Parking

Gongs
Waitrose Good Food Guide; Good Hotel Guide; Michelin Pub Guide

Sleep

The Beckford Arms Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire, SP3 6PX

Do not disturb

Climb up the Georgian staircase and you will find eight bedrooms that have done more than anything to establish the Beckford in the premier-league of country pubs. The feel is simple, unmistakably modern, more upmarket hotel than pub bedroom, with the rooms handsomely kitted out with a raft of extras you would be hard pressed to find in a five-star hotel. The best, in the attic, spreads over two bedrooms (one for children or a single adult) and a sitting room, another has a free-standing bath parked quirkily in the bedroom; every bed is hard-to-get-out-of comfortable. A 10-minute stroll from the pub, in the heart of the Fonthill Estate with views across lake and parkland, are two stunning lodges, each with simple kitchens, sitting rooms with wood-burning stoves, and bed and bath on mezzanine level for soaking up the view.

Creature comforts

Egyptian cotton sheets; Siberian goose down mattress toppers and duvets Vintage Welsh wool blankets; Bramley natural bath products designed by Chloe Luxton; Hot water bottle; Emergency pack with toothbrush/paste; Fresh milk, a cosy-clad teapot, mugs and a chocolate bar.

Gadgets

Free WiFi; Flat screen TV; DVD library; Internet radio and iPod docking station.

Pampering

Angela (Aromatherapy) and Anouchka (Theravada Thai massage) are highly qualified masseurs, both with their individual specialties and they provide a relaxing, pampering in-room massage.

What’s for Breakfast?

Home-made bread and croissants, seasonal home-made jams; Museli & natural yoghurt (Blackmore Vale); Porridge with cinnamon & honey; Eggs Benedict; Scrambled egg & smoked salmon; Beckford’s full English.

What’s the Damage?
8 doubles – £95-£170
Lodges £175 (weekdays); £195 (weekends)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Parking

Gongs
Waitrose Good Food Guide; Good Hotel Guide; Michelin Pub Guide

Eat & Drink

The Beckford Arms Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire, SP3 6PX

Mastering the menu

Chef Nigel Everett makes good use of carefully sourced ingredients, with much drawn from the surrounding countryside. In the rustic bar upscale snacks and pub staples are served all day (from homemade sausage rolls, fish or pheasant fingers to burgers and cottage pie). The main menu pleases with rustic, seasonal dishes where attention is paid to the flavour of every ingredient, in starters such as braised beef and oxtail, shaved parmesan truffle mayonnaise and garlic crumb or main courses of cured cod loin, brown shrimps, curly kale, capers, lemon and tarragon butter. Sundays – ideal for lazy mooching – sees lunch of whole roast chickens to share and Yorkshire puds for all, and a free movie with supper in the evening; on fine summer weekends tuck into pizzas cooked in the outdoor wood-fired oven. As the Beckford is all about eating and drinking, dining tables are dotted everywhere, not only can you eat in the restaurant and the lively bar, but also more intimately in the sitting room where lounging sofas beckon afterwards.

On the menu

Brixham crab cake, capers, chilli jam, fennel & cucumber salad £7.50 Beckford beef burger, bacon, cheese, pickle, chilli slaw, chips £12.50
Roasted pork tenderloin, sautéed potatoes, braised red cabbage, seasonal greens £18
Sea bass, samphire, cider & cream sauce £17.50
Vanilla rice pudding, strawberries, baked white chocolate £6

Sunday Roasts

Slow-roasted lamb shoulder £16
Rib of beef £16
Whole roast chicken for 4 to share £38

Foodie Extras

Going for a walk or heading out for the day, take a made-up hamper based on the day’s menu and add wines from the wine list and don’t forget the picnic blankets and wine glasses. Hampers can also be dropped of at a pre-agreed time and place for larger parties.

Time to Eat

Breakfast 8am – 10am
Lunch 12 noon – 3pm
Afternoon Tea 3pm – 6pm
Dinner 6pm – 9.30pm

Local, local, local

Pork – Huntsham Court Farm (www.huntsham.com)
Beef (hung for 4-6 weeks) (www.traditional-beef.co.uk)
Vegetables & lamb (www.pythousekitchengarden.co.uk)
Wines from Yapp Brothers in Mere (www.yapp.co.uk)
Bramley Products (Chloe Luxton – www.bramleyproducts.co.uk)

Behind the bar

Of the three local ales offered, Beckford Phoenix is exclusive to the pub, designed by nearby brewer Keystone to commemorate the fire that closed the Beckford Arms for part of 2011. Other ales could include Box Stream brewery’s Golden Bolt and Butcombe brewery’s bitter. For wine drinkers, wines are cannily chosen, covering all the main bases briskly and efficiently – and affordably. House choices include a local English white – a Seyval Blanc from Fonthill Glebe wines. Specially designed cocktails, Sipsmith gin and a range of single malts encourage continued propping up the bar.

Bar snacks

Pickled quails eggs
Fish fingers, sorrel mayonnaise
Potted shrimps

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm

The Best Bits

Everyone’s ideal country inn
Crackling fires and candlelight
Rustic, seasonal food – big flavours
Laid-back feel; great service
Hammocks in the garden
Simple, modern rooms ooze comfort
Estate lodges offer peace & seclusion

What’s the Damage?
8 doubles – £95-£170
Lodges £175 (weekdays); £195 (weekends)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Parking

Gongs
Waitrose Good Food Guide; Good Hotel Guide; Michelin Pub Guide

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 Beckford Arms

2

Stourhead Farm Shop, Stourton BA12 6QF

Situated on the magnificent Stourhead Estate and renowned for the quality of its meat and its choice of locally produced seasonal foods and drinks, the Stourhead Farm Shop has been trading since 2005. There are 10 varieties of handmade sausages on offer - including the Stourhead Sizzler - a range of home-cured bacon and hams, cheese, fruit and veg, free range eggs, bread, jams and pickles.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

6

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.

7

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.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Beckford Arms

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.

5

Ballooning, Larmer Tree Gardens SP5 5PT

Begin at the famous Larmer Tree Gardens on Cranborne Chase and enjoy 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!

6

Game Shooting, Fonthill Bishop SP3 5SH

Among Fonthill's 10,000 acres is the chance to enjoy simulated shoot days on the estate's main pheasant and partridge drives with clays instead of live game birds. Breakfast and lunch are served at Deer Park Barn and there are days available between late April and July.

7

Wilderness Survival Skills, East Woodyates SP5 5QY

Escape from the comfort and convenience of the modern world and learn all about the harsh reality of life in the wilderness, discovering the skills required to navigate and survive in places that are beyond our imagination. For example, do you know how to light a fire in all weathers or build a waterproof shelter from natural materials? These fascinating survival courses offer the chance to find out and to experience something completely different.

21

Fly Fishing, Beckford Arms SP3 6PX

Between the villages of Fonthill Gifford and Fonthill Bishop and just a stone's throw from the Beckford Arms is a large lake set in private parkland. In this glorious setting, David Griffiths, an advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor, provides expert tuition in fly-fishing. Here the complete novice can learn all about trout and salmon casting in hourly or two hourly sessions, or book a one-day introduction to fly-fishing course for up to four rods.

Shopping

15

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.

16

Pythouse Kitchen Garden Shop and Cafe, West Hatch, Tisbury 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 cafe: Thursday night dinners may feature Pythouse's own organic lamb or beef.

17

Bluestone Gallery, Devizes SN10 1AT

An impressive selection of antique and modern glass paperweights, plus beautiful Georg Jensen jewellery and antique and modern enamel boxes. There's also jewellery made by resident jewellers, the Marshall family, and fine art by renowned and up-and-coming artists.

18

Wilton Shopping Village, Wilton SP2 0RS

A short drive from Salisbury, in a pleasant riverside setting, this courtyard development in the village of Wilton is the perfect spot for a bit of out-of-town shopping, with restaurants and an antique centre included.

20

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.

Places to visit

8

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.

9

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.

10

Fovant Badges, Fovant SP3 5JH

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.

11

Wilton House 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.

12

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.

13

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury SP7 8JW

Classically English, Gold Hill in Shaftesbury is one of Britain's most famous landmarks. The steep street, lined by rows of picturesque cottages, is still remembered for a much-loved television advert for Hovis, directed by Ridley Scott. Thomas Hardy, Dorset's most famous son, is also associated with Shaftesbury and among the town's many attractions are two fascinating heritage museums.

14

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.

19

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.

Walking

www.visitwiltshire.co.uk
The Beckford Arms is set in the heart of Wiltshire’s great walking country. From the pub’s doorstep numerous walks link the region’s picturesque villages and fine scenery. Cranborne Chase is perfect for exploring on foot and there are even trails and tracks on remote Salisbury Plain, where you might be lucky enough to spot the Great Bustard, Britain’s heaviest bird, which has made a comeback.

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 Rail – Tisbury Railway Station is 5 minutes away in a taxi or 25 minutes walk, or you can arrange to be picked up in the pub’s Landrover. Trains from London take 1 hour and 45 minutes from Waterloo and leave every hour.

By Road – Travelling West on the A303: Take the turning marked Fonthill Bishop, you come to a T junction in Fonthill Bishop. Take a right and then first left, signposted Fonthill Gifford and Tisbury, by a grassy triangle. Drive through the Fonthill Estate Arch and go through the estate with the lake on your left, you arrive a few minutes later at The Beckford.

Travelling East on the A303: take the turning marked Hindon by the Esso service station. Then, when you come to a traffic light, turn right and straight away left towards Hindon. When you get to Hindon turn right to Tisbury by The Angel pub. You follow the road uphill and through a small tunnel – continue following the road to Fonbthill Gifford. The road bears round to the right and is signposted to Tisbury. At the next crossroads The Beckford is on your right.

Address:

Fonthill Gifford,, Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire, SP3 6PX

Rooms rates & booking
Reviews

Reviews

John Walsh, The Independent 2013,

“This is an old pub triumphantly re-invented as something between a hotel, a wine bar and a restaurant. The food is triumphant, too – doing a dozen basic things well but tricking every dish out with extra textures and flavours. It’s a lovely haven in the wilds of wintry Wiltshire.”

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