Support our hospitality industry by booking a weekend break at a local inn, says Sarah Marshall.
As we edge closer to a relaxation of restrictions, the demand for UK staycations has skyrocketed, with many people opting to holiday locally this summer.
Self-catering stays are rapidly filling up, but there’s still room at some of the finest inns dotted around the country; serving good brews and comforting grub, many pubs also have accommodation for weekend stays.
Forming the backbone of British communities, welcoming ‘locals’ offer an opportunity to get an insider take on both secret spots and well known locations. So, whether you’re looking for a dog-friendly getaway in the country, or a laidback escape closer to town, these are some of the top taverns for a short break.
1. The Bell in Ticehurst, East Sussex
Dating back to the 16th century, this multi award-winning inn is a home-from-home with a dash of quirky design. A silver birch tree runs through each of the seven bedrooms, while four garden lodges huddle around a firepit. Design themes range from country pile to work of whimsy, with one room featuring a ceiling of roses. Use it as a base to explore Hastings, Tunbridge Wells and Rye, or stay inside and make use of the handmade Somnus mattresses and supply of delicious cookies. Rooms from £110 including breakfast.
2. The Westleton Crown, Suffolk
Featuring all the genuine charm of a traditional coaching inn, but with a modern contemporary spin, The Crown is located on the edge of a quintessential Suffolk village green. The 34 en-suite bedrooms and public areas feature designs inspired by the local wildlife and landscape, encouraging visitors to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Close to both Southwold and Aldeburgh, the dog-friendly property is ideal for ramblers, who can relax with a selection of real ales, or sip wine on a pretty terraced garden. Rooms from £150 with breakfast.
3. The Peat Spade Inn, Hampshire
Situated in the scenic village of Longstock at the heart of Hampshire’s Test Valley, The Peat Spade Inn is a charming country pub with guest rooms set in an historic peat house. Activities in the surrounding area include fishing for brown trout or salmon, which can be taken back to the pub’s kitchen where chefs will cook up a feast. Nearby Stockbridge is one of the top fly-fishing sites in the world and the award-winning Museum of Army Flying is only a 10-minute drive away. Rooms from £99 with breakfast.
4. The King’s Arms, Dorset
A gourmet stay in the heart of historic Christchurch, this charismatic and cosy 20-room Georgian boutique hotel has hosted monarchs and musicians during its 300-year history. Famous for its literary links to Thomas Hardy, it’s been described as a jewel on the Dorset coastline. Fully restored, the property overlooks the Stour River and Norman-era ruins, and is a short walk to Christchurch Quay. Serving meals made with locally-sourced ingredients, the Jetty restaurant attracts foodies from afar. Rooms from £105 with breakfast.
5. Black Horse Inn, North Yorkshire
With roots extending to the time of William the Conqueror, this rustic inn is filled with wooden beams and natural stone floors. Careful renovations have given the property an elegant overhaul, with 14 en-suite bedrooms decorated with luxurious fittings and mod-cons. Dining is top class in the AA rosette restaurant, but there’s also a traditional English pub atmosphere at a bar stocked with a good selection of real ales. The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a 40-minute drive away. Rooms from £139 with breakfast.
6. The White Horse, Chichester, West Sussex
A contemporary take on an old-fashioned inn, this fabulous property is upbeat and fun. The 15 bedrooms are filled with steamer trunks and mid-century furnishings draped with sheepskin rugs and woollen throws, making the place feel like a 21st century rural retreat. Famed for their food, the kitchen sources game and fish from local suppliers, offering a true taste of the South Downs. Combine countryside with coast by taking a trip to nearby Chichester Harbour, or go horse riding along several trails. Rooms from £119 with breakfast; up to two dogs are welcome for an additional £15 per night.