The Wellington Arms in Hampshire is the perfect rural retreat for locals and Londoners alike
In the forthcoming issue of BRITAIN magazine we look at the wealth of wonderful places to visit that are within an hour’s drive form the capital. Around 15 minutes from Basingstoke, down winding country lanes, The Wellington Arms in Baughurst is a superb find and the perfect place to escape to from the hubbub of the city. Right on the edge of the Hampshire Downs, Baughurst is great walking territory, and The Wellington Arms offers a welcoming haven for locals and Londoners alike.
The Wellington focuses on food, and its small restaurant is packed full of foodie fans every night of the week. Surrounded by neatly tended vegetable and herb beds and chickens, pigs, sheep and even bees, the restaurant offers some of the best regional produce in the area – all delivered in traditional unpretentious dishes that are full of flavour. Chef and co-owner Jason King creates the menu, which is chalked up on the blackboard daily, offering seasonal ingredients and local specialities in mouth-comfortingly large portions.
We visited on a dark and rainy evening between Christmas and New Year and The Wellington’s twinkling lights were a friendly sight. Inside we immediately felt enveloped in the cosy atmosphere – the friendly buzz of conversation from packed dining tables; the bar full of homemade preserves, jams and sloe gin; and the classic Christmas decorations with their clever additions of long pheasant feathers all served to create the perfect rural retreat.
Carefully crafted starters of twice baked Marksbury Cheddar soufflé on sauteed leeks and a delicate prawn salad were followed by a comforting pheasant stew and a hefty Char-grilled 10oz ribeye steak with hand cut chips and red wine jus. After sticky toffee pudding and chocolate mouse we were glad to waddle down the short path to one of The Wellington’s two bedrooms, converted in November 2011 from what was once a derelict oak framed hay store and scullery dating back to the 17th century.
From a giant emperor-sized bed with acres of soft white feather duvet to delicious Aesop botanical skincare products in the fabulous shower, and from the reading platform up a ladder in the beamed eaves, to the coffee machine and china teapot with hand-knitted mohair tea cosy, everything for the perfect relaxing stay has been thought of. And after a delicious home-cooked breakfast the next morning, we were truly loath to leave and already planning our next visit.The Wellington Arms Baughurst Rd, Baughurst, Hampshire RG26 5LP
0118 982 0110 www.thewellingtonarms.com