Looking for a countryside bolthole where you can fully romanticise the colder months? The Bradley Hare has all the homely design flourishes and winter checklist activities you’re looking for. Lauren Kate Hughes took a trip to picturesque Wiltshire to revel in the cosy season.
As far as seasons go, once Christmas festivities are out of the way, winter looks a little bleak compared to the fresh optimism of spring or the sunshine-filled hedonism of summer. But, for me, winter is the time we can embrace some of life’s greatest pleasures; wrapping up in heavy wool throws, reading by roaring fires, making the most of the morning light with brisk winter walks, indulgent bubble baths, the gentle flicker of candlelight and tucking into steaming plates of comfort food; the list goes on.
If you want to fully embrace the winter months with a cosy getaway, you’d be hard-pushed to find a more worthy spot than The Bradley Hare, an impeccably decorated boutique hotel and fancy pub in the village of Maiden Bradley, a few miles outside Warminster in Wiltshire. It’s no surprise that this country inn’s interiors exceed expectations, considering the rooms have been designed by James Thurstan Waterworth, ex-European Design Director of Soho House.
Boasting roll-top baths, unique 18th and 19th-century furnishings and roaring fires in the colder months, the 12 individually designed rooms are the epitome of countryside chic, with bold colour schemes and contemporary artwork that offer a modern twist on the traditional cottage-core style.
The Bradley Hare has been open since 2021, located within the grounds of the Duchy of Somerset’s estate. Formerly The Somerset Arms, The Bradley Hare is a somewhat glossier remodelling of the former residence, elevating its offering not only with the swish interiors but also a fine dining restaurant that should be the focal point of any winter break.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the hotel’s open-plan dining room, which offers a more formal restaurant area, cosy snug, a botanical-adorned bar and adjoining reading room, with the spaces warmed by open fires and lit by flickering candles in the evening.
Pascale Vickery, who was previously at the highly acclaimed neighbouring hotel The Newt, is in the kitchen serving up creations that balance comfort food and fine dining. It’s been praised by the likes of legendary London food critic Jay Rayner, providing some confidence that we were in for a real treat of a meal as we pulled up our chairs for a candlelit dinner.
For me, there’s something about eating a decadent meal tucked away in a country pub that feeds my soul in a way that other meals can’t. And The Bradley Hare menu has all the goods; ham hock terrine with apple ketchup, tender shoulder of mutton, whipped cod’s roe, and wonderfully stodgy Ricotta gnocchi. It’s food that leaves you satisfied.
During our visit, we also tried our hand at cocktail-making in the hotel’s adjoining event space. On the drinks menu was a Hare on the Rocks, a delightful blend of Pamplemousse Rose, Campari and Prosecco, as well as, my personal favourite, a Damson Sour, which fuses Damson and Sloe gin with the usual components of a sour. Extremely drinkable! The Bradley Hare prides itself on its unique cocktail menu, which adapts through each season to create the right cocktail mood.
If you do want to venture outside the hotel (and no judgement if your agenda consists of comfort food, cosy reading sessions and decadent bubble baths) National Trust property Stourhead is just a seven-minute drive away and offers 2,500 acres of unspoilt countryside to explore. And, if you want a break from driving in general during your stay, as the property is set in a quiet, rural village, you have access to a countryside walk within five paces of the front door.
If you’re looking to escape to the countryside to a cosy retreat with roaring fires, excellent food and some friendly faces behind the bar, The Bradley Hare is it. Striking the balance between chic interiors and elevated food with good old-fashioned hospitality, it’s the ideal choice for a weekend getaway where you can really unwind.
For more information visit thebradleyhare.co.uk