In our fifth and final edition of the Great Inns of Britain views for you, we take a trip to some of our hand-picked collection of independent, boutique hotels and coaching inns across Shropshire, Derbyshire and Wales. Each of the Great Inns of Britain is unique with its own individual character, and every one of them has a reputation for delivering fine dining, a warm welcome and fantastic customer service, even if it is from behind a visor!
#GoodtoGo and taking advantage of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out campaign, friends and family are guaranteed a fantastic summer staycation at the Great Inns of Britain, and here’s a quick snapshot of some of their starring roles on film and TV.
The Castle Hotel, Bishop’s Castle, celebrated its 300th birthday in 2019, though 2020 may not have provided quite the 301st anticipated anniversary, there is still much to celebrate at this beautiful inn. Surrounded by the beautiful south Shropshire Hills, The Castle has been providing good value and great hostelry since 1719 and in 2019 Guardian readers voted it one of the Top Ten UK Pub Gardens.
Bishop’s Castle is one of the most charming, unspoilt market towns in England with The Castle Hotel located in a quiet square at the top of the town boasting twelve beautifully appointed bedrooms, three bustling bars, a fine oak panelled restaurant and one of the finest hotel gardens in Shropshire.
The contemporary designed bedrooms all have fantastic views of the town and surrounding countryside or the beautiful hotel gardens. The master double bedrooms feature king or queen size beds and some even have free standing claw baths in the room – perfect for a relaxing break away.
Bishop’s Castle has one of the best reputations for real ale and beer in the country with two fantastic real ale breweries, The Three Tuns and The Six Bells, in the town. With another 16 micro-breweries in the surrounding areas, The Castle Hotel really is spoilt for choice and will have at least four real ales on tap throughout the year.
With an outstanding selection of local specialist suppliers in Shropshire, The Castle Hotel pride themselves on using as much locally sourced produce as possible. The menu reflects modern, British pub food that is hearty, healthy and full of flavour.
Currently taking part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, guests can choose from a menu of good, modern pub food that is healthy, hearty, flavoursome and fresh, great value and enjoy the stunning south facing gardens.
With its lush countryside and historic towns, Shropshire has provided a great backdrop for a number of blockbusters including Stokesay Court in Onibury, which was used as the Tallis’ family home in Atonement (2007), starring Keira Knightly and James McAvoy as the doomed lovers.
Some of the train scenes of the C S Lewis classic The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, were filmed at Highley Station on the Severn Valley Railway and the Victoria Bridge which had a fleeting role in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr as the consulting detective and Jude Law as the long-suffering, sidekick, Dr Watson.
The Hundred House is a charming, family run hotel at Norton, near Shifnal situated in rolling countryside close to Shropshire’s beautiful Severn Valley, just ten-minute drive from Ironbridge Gorge and its many museums.
Throughout, it is embellished with the lasting aroma of drying herbs and flowers grown in the Hotel’s own garden.
Guests are welcome to browse the garden at their leisure and enjoy the variety of unusual roses, trees, herbaceous plants and the large working herb garden with over 100 varieties of herbs, providing seasonal supplies to the kitchen.
The distinctive bar and restaurant feature mellow brick and stained glass with Jacobean wood panelling and cosy open log fires.
The Hundred House has 9 individually decorated bedrooms, most with 4 poster or half tester beds and chandeliers. The bedrooms contain exquisite, hand-picked antique furniture and en suite bathrooms refurbished in 2011, featuring Victoria & Albert baths and rain showers. Many also have the famous Hundred House swing hanging from the oak beams – you won’t forget your stay here in a hurry and is ideal for those who like to ‘escape the norm’! This quirky decor helped the Hundred House to win a coveted Cesar award for ‘utterly enjoyable mild eccentricity’.
The Hotel is owned and run by the Phillips family; Head Chef, Stuart, has held two AA Rosettes for 16 years and earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand for his imaginative cuisine. The Hundred House has a fantastic reputation for excellent food and friendly service, making it favourite destination for many local people.
Attached to the hotel is Shropshire’s only 17th Century Tithe Barn. Recently refurbished, it is ideal for weddings, christenings, parties, functions, conferences and meetings. The hotel has dedicated event staff to ensure your event is perfect and the best possible day is had by all. In 2013, The Hundred House Hotel won the following awards: Best Pub for Summer – Alistair Sawday for the Financial Times 2013 Britain Best Kept Secret Garden 2013 – Laterooms.com Best Posh Nosh – Shropshire Star Tourism and Leisure Award 2AA Rosette won for 17th year consecutively!
The Hundred House team has been very productive during lockdown, repurposing the outside areas so more guests can enjoy fine dining on the terrace. Head Chef, Stuart, has been in deep dish development to design and refine new and exciting flavours, in time for customers old and new to Eat Out To Help Out and sending its famous fields of daffodils to local charities to disperse for people to enjoy.
As guests return to enjoy a well-earned summer staycation there’s plenty to explore and fantastic walks throughout the glorious Shropshire Hills and countryside, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Popular hill walks include The Long Mynd, The Stiperstones and for the more adventurous, long distance walks include Offa’s Dyke, one of the longest linear earthworks in Britain, built by King Offa of Mercia in the 8th Century. Also popular is The Kerry Ridgeway, a 15-mile bridleway along the ancient drovers’ track from Bishop’s Castle west to the Cider House in Powys, Wales.
As we cross the border, where better to stay and enjoy the sights of the beautiful Brecon Beacons than the Bear Hotel, Powys. This historic former coaching inn dates back to 1432, and has a delightful cobbled forecourt, an archway into the inner courtyard and 19th century stagecoach timetable in the bar, as reminders of its significant past.
Effortlessly blending comfort and luxury, The Bear offers a stunning selection of over 30 rooms, with choices to suit families, business travellers, couples and individuals alike. Rooms within the hotel and the renovated courtyard, which is alive with vibrantly coloured hanging baskets in summer, are individually furnished with carefully chosen fabrics and all modern comforts, whilst some feature luxurious touches such as whirlpool baths.
The Bear’s restaurant is famous for its carefully chosen cuisine and prides itself on utilising a wide array of locally sourced ingredients, to come up with some delicious seasonal dishes. Meanwhile, the award winning, cosy, low-beamed, dog-friendly bar is the social hub of the pretty little town of Crickhowell, especially in winter when a roaring log fire is the perfect riposte to a fantastically frosty Wales.
The area has spent more than its fair share of time on the big screen too. With its dramatic hills and valleys, waterfalls and moody skies, it’s the popular backdrop for many a Hollywood blockbuster.
Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot, The Dark Knight Rises, used Wales’ tallest waterfall, Henrhyd Falls, as the entrance to Christina Bale’s cape crusader bat cave. Superheroes appear to be fans of Wales’ stunning landscape as Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell, used the Caerwent MoD training camp for its war scenes.
As a designated International Dark Sky Reserve, it’s also a great spot for stargazing, because of its exceptionally low light pollution. Visitors are enthralled by its night-time astral displays of constellations, nebulas and meteor showers.
Nestled in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains, Y Talbot is an historic and characterful Grade II listed Inn located in the centre of the stunning market town of Tregaron, Ceredigion.
Dating back to the 17th Century, this characterful Inn is the perfect base to explore the rural hinterland surrounding Tregaron. There is charm and character in abundance at Y Talbot, with ancient wooden beams, slate flagged floors and inglenook fireplaces.
On a bracing winter’s day, it’s the ideal place to settle down in front of the log fire for a pint of Welsh cask ale and a delicious meal. And in the summer months, the new terrace and beer garden provides a fantastic setting to soak up the sun.
Y Talbot has 9 superior bedrooms, which have all been tastefully renovated to offer style and comfort. Each bedroom boasts a generous sized bathroom, original features and Welsh wool blankets to ensure a truly relaxing stay for guests. There are also 4 standard twin and single rooms available.
Head Chef Dafydd trained with Marco Pierre White and was Premier Sous Chef at The Ritz before coming to Y Talbot in 2010; he is passionate about preparing excellent quality food and is committed to sourcing the best local produce. The menu is the same throughout the Inn, but guests are offered a choice of dining experiences; there is the option of casual dining in the pub or a more formal eating experience in the restaurant.
You’re guaranteed a feast for the eyes in this part of Wales where Y Talbot nestles at the foot of the Cambrian mountains, just stone’s throw away from Cardigan Bay. Close to Snowdonia National Park, it’s enjoyed plenty of big screen time too.
Die Another Day 2002, starring Pierce Brosnan as 007 James Bond, filmed its final scene at Penbryn beach, Ceredigion and the national park provided many of the sweeping vistas and dramatic background to King Arthur Legend of the Sword (2017), starring Charlie Hunman. The shores of Llyn Gwynant became a Chinese Village for the film Lara Croft Tomb Raider: the Cradle of Life (2002), starring Hollywood icon, Angelina Jolie.
The area is something of a paradise for walkers too from gentle strolls with stunning views such as Dinas Oleu, Barnmouth and Aber Falls or three-mile round route of Cwm Idwal Walk for the more adventurous. Any walk can always be topped by a visit to the summit of Snowdon itself for a view of breath-taking proportions.
We make our way to the other side of the map for our final Great Inns of Britain view for you with The Peacock, situated in the heart of England amongst the rolling countryside of the Peak District. This small luxury hotel offers the perfect base to explore the beautifully unspoilt scenery of Derbyshire and the nearby villages and towns.
The Peacock’s modern and stylish décor is perfectly complemented by antique furniture, creating a contemporary yet comfortable ambiance within the walls of this ancient building. Guests are sure to enjoy a good night’s sleep in one of the 15 luxurious bedrooms, most of which feature king size or super-king size beds, including two four-poster rooms.
All rooms are furnished to a high standard with en-suite facilities, telephone, TV, DVD player, i-pod docking stations, tea and coffee making facilities. Additionally, guest rooms feature Apple TV which offers more entertainment options, including streaming from your own Apple device. The suite offers a beautiful bedroom with beams and a super-king size bed, overlooking a quiet lane and the postcard-pretty village Post Office.
The beamed sitting room features a large sofa which houses a 5- foot, sprung mattress bed which means the suite can be shared by two bubble-friends. Both rooms have a large screen TV, DVD player and the facility to connect your device easily to the TV. The large, luxurious bathroom has a full-size bath and a double shower.
The Peacock, part of the Haddon Estate, is also the ideal retreat for relaxing and taking time out, with the award winning Restaurant (which has been awarded 3 AA Rosettes), and the small and intimate private dining room offering peaceful surroundings and a mouth-watering menu created by the Head Chef, Dan Smith. Fine dining, using locally sourced ingredients is complemented by a wide range of wines or hand-pulled barrel ales. A delicious bar menu is offered in the cosy and atmospheric bar Monday to Friday.
You’ll find that Derbyshire is the heart of crinoline television and film with virtually every period piece created over the last few decades, happening along to Derbyshire for an authentic setting. From THAT Pride and Prejudice BBC TV Series with Colin Firth stepping out of an early bath, to Keira Knightley’s exquisite performance in The Duchess, Chatsworth House is a firm favourite for Directors and location managers looking for the perfect on-screen ancestral home of landed gentry.
With 900 years of history, Haddon Hall is a frequent star of the screen from Mary Queen of Scots (2019) starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan as the warring Queens to the Hollow Crown – War of the Roses, featuring British acting royalty Dame Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Okonedo, it is a stone-clad embodiment of Britain’s past.
If you want to get the most from the 2020 Staycation, then the beautiful Derbyshire countryside and Peak District with stunning views, wonderful walks and spectacular cycle tracks is the perfect place to end our ‘Have we got views for you’ Great inns of Britain journey. Our inns are now open and covid secure and we look forward to welcoming you through our doors very soon.