The temperature may be dropping as the nights are closing in; yet as we wave goodbye to the long, hot summer, it’s a great time to grab a seasonal bargain. The Great Inns of Britain, a hand-picked collection of 20 traditional coaching inns and small independent luxury hotels, have some crisp, autumn offers to provide the perfect excuse to celebrate the season of amber and gold.
Imagine: toasting your toes beside a roaring fire; warming comfort food showcasing glorious seasonal produce; gorgeous country walks; a bracing stroll on the beach in the autumn sunshine. Just some of the reasons to sneak a seasonal get-away – but if you need more …
Here are our top ten tips for easing into autumn with the Great Inns of Britain:
- Pick your perfect location: From The Selkirk Arms, on the glorious coastline and rocky shoreline of Dumfries & Galloway, to the stunning scenery of the Seven Sisters on the magnificent South Downs at The Lamb Inn, owned by BBC antiques expert James Braxton; you’ll find the Great Inns of Britain located amongst some of the most beautiful scenery of Scotland, England and Wales.
- Choose an award winning Inn: The Inn at Whitwell has just been crowned The Good Pub Guide’s pub of the year 2020. And the Inn of the year accolade went to The King’s Head, in the heart of the Cotswolds. Our newest member, The West Arms, Llanarmon Dyffryn-Ceiriog, was recently voted Wrexham Pub of the Year in the National Pub & Bar awards and the AA-four gold star rated The Castle Hotel, Bishop’s Castle, which celebrated its 300th birthday in 2019, has featured in The Good Hotel Guide for 15 years running. The Bell Inn,Horndon on the Hill, features in all the ‘serious’ guides, and is recommended in The Sunday Times Food List and Good Pub Guide as one of the 10 best gastropubs in the UK. Alistair Sawday recommends that you “Stop for a pint of cask ail in the lively bar, then potter into the restaurant for sensations food.” This is just a snapshot of the many awards, five-star ratings and happy-customer reviews for the Great Inns of Britain.
- Bring your four-legged friend: The Great Inns of Britain extends a warm welcome to your four-legged friend, with well-mannered dogs invited to join their owners at most of our inns. The Bear, Crickhowell, in the Brecon Beacons, is the perfect setting for a relaxing break and up to two dogs can stay in any of its 30 rooms at no additional cost. Your canine companion will be welcome in the bar and be pampered with a serving of chicken for dinner after a bracing walk in the Black Mountains. The award-winning 18th century Rose and Crown Inn, in the pretty Teesdale village of Romaldkirk, is the ideal location for you and your dog; the website even has its own ‘Dog Hall of Fame’ with photos of dogs who have visited and left their ‘paw prints’. Your canine companion will be made to feel at home with locally made ‘Welly-bix’ dog treats and their very own dog bed, with a dedicated ‘dog hosing/drying area,’ it caters for all weathers and levels of mud! Check out more Great Inns doggie treats, special beds and kennels at Dog Friendly Great Inns of Britain
- Sample some seriously gorgeous seasonal menus: The Great Inns kitchens are at the heart of what we do. Talented, creative chefs select and and use only the freshet produce, much of it locally sourced from specialist suppliers, to create inspiring menus that celebrate the seasons. Head Chef, Dafydd Watkins at Y Talbot, Ceredigion, trained with Marco Pierre White and was Premier Sous Chef at The Ritz before bringing his passion for locally sourced, seasonal food to Y Talbot. Head for Shropshire’s Hundred House Hotel and for a fabulous live fire masterclass where the ancient Kadai fire bowl technique is used to roast, grill and bake over charcoal and wood using big barrel drums. Other autumn foodie favourites include The Victoria Inn at Holkham’s delicious beef casserole or venison suet pudding where the venison, beef and game comes direct from the surrounding Holkham Estate. The Wild Boar Inn’s grill and smokehouse is a popular spot for hungry travellers enjoying Head Chef, Dylan Evans middle eastern and Italian influence on classic dishes, or experience first-hand how The Peacock, at Rowsley gained its three AA Rosette rating.
- Enjoy fine wines or a well-kept pint: Shibden Mill Inn, near Halifax, has won Best British Pub of the Year in 2018 and Yorkshire Pub of the year several times, a nice addition to its two AA rosette awards for culinary excellence, AA five- star rating, Sawday’s Pub of the Year and Great British Pub of the Year awards and multiple entries in the Good Pub Guide. This recognition is due in no small part to the exceptional dining coupled with an extensive and award-winning wine list, serious Gin List, and drams of connoisseur whiskey. Paul Klein personally selects each of the fine wines available in The Blue Lion, near Leyburn, a Michelin Guide recommended Inn with Rooms – and the selection of Yorkshire real ales includes offerings from the nearby Black Sheep Brewery in Masham.
- Explore an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), be it beautiful countryside or dramatic coastline. The Castle Hotel, is on the the Cambrian Way – an unofficial mountain walking route beginning at Cardiff Castle and finishing some 291 miles away at Conwy Castle – and offers a great place to stay or stop for a well-earned and invigorating bite to eat. The West Arms, is close to the breath-takingly beautiful Snowdonia National Park and the White Horse & Griffin is one of the most iconic and charismatic properties in Whitby, perfectly capturing the heritage, ambience and essence of this much-loved coastal town.
- Walk this way: Step outside any of the Great Inns and you’ll find wonderful walks that start from the doorstep – from a relaxing amble to full-on hikes in the hills and valleys. As well as helpful maps and guides, you’ll find owners keen to share their favourite routes and inside knowledge. The Pheasant is one of the last remaining traditional Cumbrian hostelries; enjoying a peaceful setting close to Bassenthwaite Lake and exuding a peaceful period atmosphere, it is the perfect spot to enjoy three wonderful Lake District walks. Base yourself at the charming, family run Hundred House Hotel and you’re in the heart of Shropshire’s rolling countryside, close to the beautiful Severn Valley, there are plenty of stunning walks and it is just ten minutes away from the picturesque World Heritage site of Ironbridge with its many museums.
- Get set to cycle: Many of the Great Innkeepers are cycling fans, but that’s what comes of living amongst some of the UK’s finest scenery. As well as exploring numerous cycling routes and trails, you can also get up close to some major cycling events. The first stage of the Tour of Britain kicked off in Glasgow ending in Kirkcudbright, where Inn keepers’ Chris and Sue Walker of The Selkirk Arms welcomed cycling fans to explore the fantastic scenery, nestled between the rugged coastline and dramatic heather-clad hills of Scotland’s beautiful south-west coast. The Boar’s Head, Ripley and The Blue Lion, East Witton are ramping up to welcome thousands of cycling fans with some great hospitality, exceptional food and a warm Yorkshire welcome as the UCI Road World Championships and Yorkshire 2019 Para Cycling International whizz by from 21st to 29th September 2019.
- Go fishing: The Peacock at Rowsley is renowned for offering some of the country’s finest and most extensive dry fly fishing for wild trout. Tuition is available and the sessions operate in a strict catch and release policy with fish being released unharmed. The Blue Lion offers salmon fishing packages for the River Ure, north Yorkshire’s best kept secret as a premier salmon river. With origins as the 14th century home to Walter Urswick, keeper of the King’s Forest of Bowland, the best pub in Britain as voted by the 2020 Good Pub Guide, The Inn at Whitwell’s seven-mile stretch of the River Hodder offers fishing with an historic pedigree; residents are welcome to fish for salmon, brown/sea trout and grayling according to the season.
- Grab yourself a great Autumn offer: As days get shorter and the trees turn to shades of autumnal coppers and russet reds, it’s a great opportunity to grab a seasonal bargain. There are lots of offers and discounts across the UK so check out the website for discounted mid-week breaks and autumn getaway offers at greatinns.co.uk.