Nestled into its own private valley just five miles from Henley-on-Thames, the village of Hambleden offers a calm retreat from the hectic pace of modern life. Having been owned by the WHSmith family for most of the last century the village has been almost completely protected from development, and as a result it is the perfect destination for a peaceful getaway.
And luckily up and coming hotel group Hillbrooke spotted the potential here and the Stag & Huntsman, their new pub/hotel, exploits everything Hambleden has to offer. There was already a pub on this site but sensible renovation means there are now also nine tasteful bedrooms named after drives on the estate shoot. We stayed in Henley Hill and loved the space, but weren’t so keen on the oppressive warmth. Perhaps being over the kitchen didn’t help.
There are three separate cosy drinking bars in the well-renovated pub.
Hambleden is in the Chilterns Hills and is a hotspot for walkers, which is no bad thing, but it does mean the bar gets very busy at lunchtime.
The Stag & Huntsman makes the very most of its location in stunning Hambleden.
However, during our stay the staff seemed to cope well with the influx and the food was excellent. If you are shooting in this area then this would make a perfect overnight stay, or it would make a great base for a romantic weekend away.
Location of the Stag & Huntsman: In the Chiltern Hills between Marlow and Henley-on-Thames.
What we ate at the Stag & Huntsman: Haggis fritters with homemade Rebellion ale chutney (£5.75), Game ravioli with sage butter (£6.50), 28-day aged rib-eye (£21.95), Monkfish scampi, with trio of peas and chips (£12.95) and a good cheeseboard including Spitfire and Stinking Bishop. Washed down with a Kapuka Pinot Noir.
Stag & Huntsman plus points: This is a stunning village and the hotel is right in the middle – a perfect spot for a weekend getaway or a shooting visit. It has been tastefully renovated by the forward thinking Hillbrooke Hotels and offers good food and friendly staff. If you are heading this way then book a room, you won’t be disappointed. And it’s only six miles from the excellent E.J. Churchill Shooting Ground and shop.
Stag & Huntsman drawbacks: It gets very busy with walkers at lunchtime, but who can blame them?
Stag & Huntsman cost: Rooms start at £100 (including breakfast).
Stag & Huntsman contact: www.thestagandhuntsman.co.uk or 01491 571227.
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