The Hare & Hounds, Newbury is leading the way in the high-end ‘pubs with rooms’ trend. After months of careful restoration, this beautiful Georgian coaching inn now boasts a cosy traditional pub, dining space serving delicious seasonal fare and 30 characterful rooms donned with aged timber, exposed beams, racing-themed fabrics (due to the proximity of the year-round racing at Newbury Racecourse), some with roll-top copper bathtubs, as well as a covered garden terrace which is perfect for the warmer months.

The Hare & Hounds is set at the foot of Newbury in the pretty village of Speen in West Berkshire. The pub is steeped in history from the nearby horse racing community and lies within striking distance of Donnington and Highclere Castle (the filming location of Downton Abbey). The property follows the launch of Wild Thyme & Honey in Ampney Crucis in the Cotswolds. Both pubs are owned and managed by Myers and Ramsey and is the fourth property to join the group.


The bar area is the perfect mix of newly restored sophistication and historic pub, with the relaxed & familiar service found in a country watering hole that is also impeccable and slick, just what you would expect at a boutique hotel.

After a long sunny country walk, we bundled into the warm entrance and into the bar with dogs sleeping in their baskets around the fire. I sipped on a Highclere Martini (named after the famous filming location nearby) and my travelling companion had a local ale. Next door is the Barn Dining Room with soaring ceilings and exposed beams; we meandered our way in after a few more cocktails, along the beautifully decorated corridors. To our delight, come dinner time, the restaurant was full to the brim with locals and guests alike.

The bright and airy dining space offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week; guests can expect seasonal menus as well as classic yet upmarket pub fare. We indulged on the Sussex Charmer cheese souffle which was as decadent as it was delicious followed by the luxury fish pie with lobster and Cornish crab cream sauce and the braised venison hot pot. This was frankly one of the best pub meals I have ever eaten. Considering it was nearing 10pm and other diners were still ordering wine, dessert and also laughing and clinking glasses, the feeling was universal.

The Hare & Hounds also offers two private dining rooms, which would be ideal for a special celebration.


The equine theme is reflected throughout; we stayed in the Bridle Suite in the Hunter’s Lodge, one of the surrounding buildings. There are also rooms in The Stables (formally a working stables) and The Paddocks. The Hunter’s Lodge is set slightly away from the beating heart of the property with the dining room and bar area.

The Bridle Suite includes a cosy living area with historic, low ceilings, a spacious ensuite bathroom and of course, a fabulous roll-top copper bath next to the grand bed flanked with antler artworks, where one can truly feeling like Lady Mary. There is a small built-in bar and complimentary sloe gin, perfect for an arrival tipple. The suite can also interconnect with Tally Ho in the Hunter’s Lodge, for larger groups.


The Hare and Hounds is a unique proposition. Gone are the days where the UK staycation involved packing the car and hunkering down in a bolthole miles from anywhere and miles from a decent meal and wine list. The British Isles are vast and guests at The Hare & Hounds treat the space much like a traditional coaching inn, a restful and well connected stop along the way but also now, a destination in it’s own right.

This spring, I cannot wait to return with my loved ones and try the sirloin of British Beef roast with ‘lashings of gravy’ and a gorgeously turned out Bloody Mary, followed by a trip to Highclere Castle. Homemade horseradish cream alongside, anyone?

Rates from £125 for a double room with breakfast:

The everchanging menu’s can be found here.

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