Pubs with rooms offer something special for family stays. They can be both casual and chic, offer food that kids love that’s also frequently locally sourced, simply but well-prepared and served in cosy rooms, in front of log fires or in gardens with fantastic views.
We also love the range of options in the rooms where we rest our heads and the experiences both at the pub or nearby.
Earlier this year BritMums’ cofounder Jennifer Howze hosted an online chat with several pub experts for the British Guild of Travel Writers. They shared some of their top pubs with rooms for families. Here’s we round up a few of our favourites from the discussion!
Have you stayed at a family-friendly pub you’d recommend? Tell us in the comments below.
For a quirky pub stay
1. The Merry Harriers, Hambledon, Surrey
Make your pub visit a little different with shepherd’s huts, llama treks and a friendly pub dog Jake!
With Mungo, Toffee, Goji and the rest of the llamas, the pub organises treks for English picnics, winter morning outings or summer evening treks. Kids need to be age 8 or older, or babies in backpacks or papooses. (Be sure to pre-book.)
We also love the prospect of staying in one of the five stylish shepherd’s huts, arranged beside a pretty pond. These are kitted out with a double bed, a log burner, underfloor heating and a seating area with games. Glamping-plus touches include ensuite bathrooms with rainforest showers, a kitchen corner with fridge that comes stocked with a complimentary bottle of wine, milk and nibbles, and a Netflix-enabled TV. Outside there’s a firepit and sun loungers. Each hut accommodates two adults.
We think The Merry Harriers is perfect with older kids. Book two huts (or more!), set up your teenagers in the one next door and break out the marshmallows at sunset. Or book into one of the Inn or Garden Rooms for traditional four-walled comfort.
A family-friendly pub with active fun
2. Clachaig Inn, Glencoe, Scotland
This pub has 23 modern bedrooms, some with views of the Glencoe mountains, plus 12 contemporary self-catering chalets, cottages and lodges. Triple and family rooms are available.
Adrenaline junkies will love the activities nearby: canyoning, whitewater rafting, sailing, outdoor swimming, paddle boarding, plus fishing, golfing, mountain biking and more. We love that Clachaig has a large drying room too so no need to turn your bathroom into a a huge drying rack!
The bedrooms are in 3 separate wings. The oldest characterful bedrooms in the Ossian wing have bathtubs. The Bidean wing rooms are airy with large windows. The Lodge rooms were built in the ‘80s in a motel style and five of them allow you to bring a dog.
Real ale fans will find a wide range of Scottish craft ales, and the bar stocks more than 400 malt whiskies, 130 Scottish distilled gins. Belly up to the bar (actually, sit down at your table for appropriate social distancing) and enjoy log fires and regular music nights.
A child-friendly pub stay on the South Downs
3. The Fox Goes Free, West Sussex
This 400-year-old former hunting lodge has original features that capture the charm of the area. For warmer months, there’s the large back garden has a flint wall that gives way to views of rolling hills and grazing sheep. For chillier times, there are the inglenook fireplaces inside.
It’s got a great reputation for good food and is 7 miles from Chichester, near Cass Sculpture Park and West Dean Gardens. Look out for the resumption of their monthly clay shoots. This is a great base for Goodwood events, when they start again. We also love being able to order the pub’s own beer, The Fox Goes Free.
While the rooms are limited to doubles or twins, this looks perfect for parents with babies or those old enough to enjoy nearby activities, have a delicious pub dinner then retire to separate rooms.
A chic kid-friendly pub with rooms
4. For chic stays: The Mason Arms, South Leigh, Oxford
The proper response to ‘Were you born in a barn’ is ‘No – but I want to stay in one!’. At least when that barn is at The Mason Arms, part of the Artist Residence group.
The Barn Suite is the best room in the house of this chic pub, with a dramatic four-poster bed, free-standing tub, private terrace, eclectic artwork, woodburner. There’s also the Farmhouse Loft (‘English bohemian style’), the Stable (super king sized bed, private terrace in converted farm outbuildings), the Stable Suite (original high pitched ceiling, logburner). All accommodate a cot or extra bed for the kids and contribute toward their education in good hotel room design.
Nearby you’ll find Blenheim Palace, Bicester Village, Daylesford Organic and the delights of Oxford.
A family-friendly pub with royal appeal
5. The Devonshire Arms, Beeley, Peak District
An 18th-century coaching inn owned by the Chatsworth Estate, the Devonshire Arms is set in a pretty village and combines olde worlde charm with a brasserie that’s all light and contemporary vibes. Look for a similar up-to-date approach in the rooms, with splashes of colour, groovy patterns, modern four poster beds and more. Four rooms are inside the Inn, the rest a short ways away at Brookside House, Dove Cottage and Devonshire Square. The Luxury Suites can hold up to four – we particularly like the one with two single beds set end-to-end.
The hearty simple food from the pub gets raves. Stay here to explore the national park – Chatsworth House is a couple miles walk across the park – or drive to attractions such as Castleton’s caverns or Haddon Hall (currently still shut).
The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire also have holiday cottages and other properties. Check out the 16th Hunting Tower with its spiral staircase, up to 3 bedrooms (including a twin bedroom in the stone annexe building), and views of Stand Wood. See also, the Russian Cottage, decorated by the Duchess, and Swiss Cottage (not yet bookable).
More insider family travel tips