A cosy inn with open fires, but the biggest draw of The Anchor Inn in Hampshire is surely its proximity to Jane Austen’s home in Chawton
With its low oak beams and beautifully polished bar, the Anchor Inn, Hampshire, is the kind of place that makes you feel right at home from the off. Even the jolly, chatty locals are happy to welcome you into their fold as you share stories over a local ale or specialty gin.
This ancient inn, which dates back to the 14th century, has six beautiful bedrooms, each one individually designed, and each named after a First World War poet.
Each room has the personal touch, with nice toiletries, quirky antiques and details about its namesake poet.
In the Rupert Brookes bedroom, the beams reach high up into the pitched roof and the French doors open onto a small balcony. You can lie on the big bed and look across and see Hampshire’s chalky fields roll away into the distance, with the occasional deer and pheasants among the crops.
Downstairs the excellent restaurant serves delicious food using local ingredients and in a very pretty panelled dinning room too.
Our meal included a pork belly starter with frozen apple and blue cheese, followed by seabass cooked beautifully, which came with a selection of the freshest of vegetables. Finally, with hardly an ounce of room left, we managed to squeeze in a chocolate tart and delicious raspberry sorbet.
The dining room walls are covered in interesting memorabilia, including photographs of the First World War veterans that gathered here on Armistice Day anniversaries for as long as they could.
Breakfast is also served in this room and is equally tasty, whether you go for the full English or just stick to the cold table and toast.
Elsewhere, there is a small seating area in the bar, with old-fashioned armchairs and a squidgy sofa. The private bedrooms have their own seating areas too and a selection of books and magazines are available to read in the bedrooms and the pub.
When it’s time to venture outside, staff will furnish you with a map for short local walks across the fields and in the local lanes: with its thatched cottages and local duck pond, the village is picture perfect.
Visit Jane Austen’s house in Chawton
But it is nearby Chawton, just a 15-minute drive away, that’s the biggest draw of the area. A handsome village, Chawton was the location of Jane Austen’s last home – given to Jane, her sister Cassandra, their mother and a friend to live in, by Jane’s brother Edward, who had inherited the nearby manor of Chawton House Library. Chawton House Library is also in the village and stands in beautiful grounds next to the church where Cassandra and Jane’s mother are buried.
It was at Chawton that Jane wrote, re-wrote and published her famous books and a trip to the house, now Jane Austen’s House Museum, to see the rooms and personal possessions is not to be missed.