Townies looking for a taste of the good life often make a beeline for this gentrified Victorian inn-with-rooms on the Wiltshire/Dorset border. Built in 1859 as homage to King John’s hunting lodges (Cranborne Chase is nearby), it keeps locals and weekenders equally happy with its roaring fires, sporting vibe, open-plan interiors and creative food. The kitchen works to a seasonal ‘small plates’ concept – think artichoke tagliatelle with chilli, olive oil and oregano, clams with chorizo and green kale or devilled duck livers on toast, followed by apple beignets with mulled cider. However, the sell-out attraction in summer is the delightful ‘garden kitchen’ under a Victorian-style gazebo – perfect if you fancy a plate of char-grilled lobster or pigeon salad. The inn also has a fascinating list of (mainly) organic and biodynamic wines, which can also be purchased to take home.
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