If, like us, you’ve been dreaming about being served a perfectly-roasted rib of beef and pillowy Yorkshire puddings filled with red wine gravy, then read on. We’ve rounded up the best country pubs a short drive from London, and the loveliest independent boutiques to visit, too. These destinations definitely hit the mark for a festive weekend road trip…

The White Horse, Hascombe, and Wattle & Daub, Godalming

GODALMING, SURREY

Wattle & Daub Home

Situated on the ever-so-charming Church Street in Godalming – where part of The Holiday was filmed – Wattle & Daub is a treasure trove for interiors aficionados. The owner, Gemma, sources, salvages and creates all kinds of beautiful bits and bobs for the home. From local ceramic makers and one-off pieces of vintage furniture, to delicately perfumed candles and festive wreaths – it’s well worth a visit.  www.wattleanddaubhome.co.uk

The White Horse, Hascombe 

This 16th century pub located in the picturesque village of Hascombe has plenty of old-world charm while offering delicious and wholesome cuisine, it’s no surprise that they were voted Best Pub In Surrey for three consecutive years. We’re particularly fond of their classic Sunday roasts, and the fact they use local wine merchant Taurus Wines to put together seasonal wine lists. You can try almost all wines by the glass using The Coravin, too. It’s a clever system which allows you to enjoy a glass from any bottle, while protecting the wine from oxidation. It also sits at the crossways of various paths and cycling routes should you fancy walking off the excess. www.whitehorsepub.net

The Horse Guard's Inn, Tillington, and Twenty, Petworth

PETWORTH, WEST SUSSEX

Twenty 

If it’s an impressive line-up of cool of-the-moment fashion and accessory brands you’re after, but you can’t face the hustle of London, then head to luxury boutique Twenty – nestled amongst the pretty cobbled streets of Petworth they stock brands like Isabel Marant and Rotate. They’ve also just launched a new concept  – The Store by Twenty – within which they’ve introduced a savvy roster of new designers. www.twentypetworth.com

The Horse Guard’s Inn, Tillington

This has got to be one of our favourite pubs outside of London. Really, honestly, truly. A two-minute drive from Petworth in the South Downs National Park, the 350-year old pub has a warm and welcoming atmosphere – you can even roast chestnuts on the open log fires. The menu is seasonal and everything is either sourced from local suppliers of foraged from the garden. In the garden you’ll also find The King & I – an incredible little lifestyle cabin selling lots of lovely interiors bits, upholstery and antique trinkets. www.horseguardsinn.co.uk

 

The Running Horse, Littleton, and The Hambledon, Winchester

WINCHESTER, HAMPSHIRE 

The Hambledon 

The Hambledon is ‘kind of’ a department store, but only selling the good stuff. Basically, a really good shop, selling really beautiful things from lots of lovely independent brands. They have a noteworthy edit of menswear in the newly refurbished basement, three rooms of womenswear including new names like Meadows and Bellerose on the first floor, as well as a seriously impressive beauty, home and kids offering. It’s great for gifts and stocking fillers so there’s no way you’ll leave empty handed. www.thehambledon.com 

The Running Horse

This stylishly restored village pub is just a couple of miles outside of Winchester in the village of Littleton. If you’re looking for a change of scene, a warm friendly atmosphere and superb, simple and fresh food, all wrapped up in a cosy rustic setting, then this is the place for you. Think leather-bound books, wooden panelling and homemade ice-cream. You can also breathe in your weekend dose of country air, the pub backs on to fields and walking routes. www.therunninghorseinn.co.uk

The Beacon, Rusthall, and Mink Interiors, Tunbridge Wells

TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT 

Mink Interiors 

You’ll be spoilt for choice if you head to the historic Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells. The colonnaded walkway is flanked by beautiful little independent boutiques, cake and coffee shops so make sure you allow yourself time to mooch. One of our favourites though, is Mink Interiors. The boutique sells a curated collection of some of the best in modern interiors from all over the world including cool art prints, Berber cushions, statement lighting, baskets and ceramics. Be sure to check opening times before you visit.  www.mininteriors.com

The Beacon 

The Beacon is perched atop a hill in Rusthall on a street named Tea Garden, just outside of Tunbridge Wells. It manages to mix the best in country-house charm with a relaxed ambience and five-star cuisine. And then there’s the outstanding views from the terrace – that alone is enough to get us there. The menu lives up to the impressive surrounds as the kitchen team pick and take inspiration from the local area – making sure the offering is always super fresh. www.illbemother.com


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