Considered by many to be some of the finest ‘hidden gems’ for short breaks, country pubs with accommodation are seeing a huge rise in popularity. And what’s not to like? Bracing country walks on the doorstep, rounded off with a glass of something refreshing from the bar in front of a warming fire. Finish your day with a delicious meal before climbing the stairs to relax in a beautifully appointed en-suite bedroom.
A charming traditional country b&b
Here at the George & Dragon, our visitors often tell us that we are one of the best pubs in Hampshire. We pride ourselves on offering all our customers exceptional service that goes above and beyond what they might expect from a small independent concern. We aim for quality in everything we do, which is why we choose the finest ales, the choicest wines and the finest local produce to tempt your palate.
A dining experience not to be missed
Many country pubs are branching out with gastro pub menus to provide customers with an excellent meal along with their chosen beverage, be that a local ale or beer, or a fine wine, but we don’t think the majority of them go to the lengths that we do. We believe in offering our guests a tempting and varied menu of the freshest seasonal ingredients, which we endeavour to source locally if we possibly can. Our Head Chef has built up a supply chain of ethically sound producers, and we also include locally foraged items wherever possible. The end result is a menu that offers tantalising choices, expertly cooked at affordable prices.
A great place for a short, romantic or family break
There are literally dozens of pubs near Andover and Newbury, but we think that we have the edge. As a former coaching inn, the George & Dragon is packed with original features and rustic beams. Coaching Inns played a hugely important role for around 200 years from the middle of the 17th century, offering travellers and horses a chance to eat, drink and rest. Nowadays the horses may have gone, but the principle still remains. Travellers can stop for refreshments on their journey and rest for a day or two before continuing onwards. The difference now is that now many coaching inns have become destinations in themselves, with people coming to stay for a few nights in order to explore the local area.
A stunning location
Once again the George & Dragon is able to offer its guests that little bit more. We are situated within the boundary of the North Wessex Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s worth taking a stroll through the village of Hurstbourne Tarrant to see the quaint thatched cottages, and keen walkers will want to venture even further afield. There are plenty of routes around the North Wessex Downs offering everything from easy walks of a mile or two through to more arduous treks of several miles. For those undertaking the Test Way long-distance footpath, the George & Dragon is a convenient stopping-off point, offering the chance to kick back and relax for a day or two before venturing onwards. What’s more, the George & Dragon welcomes dogs, so you can bring your canine friend along with you to explore the surrounding walks.
A lovely happy relaxed atmosphere awaits you
The North Wessex Downs isn’t just a great place for walkers, though. Cyclists and horse riders also enjoy the many routes that weave their way through the countryside. The less physically inclined will find that a drive through the countryside offers spectacular views. The countryside is astonishingly diverse, offering high chalk downs, sheltered river valleys, impressive scarp slopes, low-lying heathland, pasture and woodland. Beech knolls and prehistoric monuments offer the chance to step away from modern life for a while and contemplate the countryside’s rich heritage.
A little over six miles to the north of the George & Dragon you will come to Walbury Hill, the highest point in south-east England, which offers spectacular views on a clear day. This area is a walker’s paradise, with the start of the Test Way and the Wayfarer’s Walk. The Test Way is a 49-mile route to Eling in Hampshire, whilst the Wayfarer’s Walk is a 70-mile footpath leading to Emsworth, also in Hampshire. Even if you don’t fancy a walk, Walbury Hill is a great place to take a photograph or two before heading onwards.
An area full of attractions
Visitors with children should take time to visit the iconic Watership Down, which is just a twenty-minute journey by car from the George & Dragon. This is the setting for the Richard Adams novel, where children, and adults too, will enjoy seeing where Fiver and Hazel made their home. Another big attraction for children will be the famous white horses of the chalk downs. Download the app at whitehorsewalk.co.uk, and you can choose which horse to visit and find walk details and a soundscape giving you background information.
If staying in a country inn gives you a taste for history, then you’ll probably want to pay a visit to one of the most well-loved historic houses in the country. Highclere Castle is just a fifteen-minute drive from the George & Dragon, and is better known to television viewers as Downton Abbey. Visitors flock to see the place that they have grown to know and love from the television series, but do check opening times before you visit, as the castle and grounds are not open throughout the whole year.
Art lovers will want to head for Sandham Memorial Chapel in Burghclere, just a few minutes’ drive from the George & Dragon. Here you can find a number of murals by Sir Stanley Spencer, a renowned artist who painted his memories of the First World War, in which he served as a soldier and medical orderly. Favourably compared with the Sistine Chapel artworks, the murals took over six years to complete.
And if art is your thing, then you’ll be interested to view the works on display at the George & Dragon. All artwork on display in the public areas is created by local artists and available to purchase on request – just one more detail that makes us stand out from the crowd.