Wiltshire, United Kingdom

The Bath Arms at Longleat

Price per night from$130.31

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP97.78), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Hearth and soul

Setting

A prowl from Longleat

The Bath Arms at Longleat offers the kind of reassuring, ‘get your battery back up to 100 per cent’ break that you leave feeling truly buoyed. They achieve this by selecting the friendliest staff from the area, ensuring the pub inspires warm fellowship between locals and minibreakers, and by plying you with top worldly wines and local brews with a good head on them. And, if you’ve had one too many Butcombes or slugs of the hotel’s own Horning Ale, they’ll spark you back up with a free Bloody Mary come breakfast. Its antiquity has bestowed plenty of character, with the odd creaky floorboard, wonkily shaped room and heritage trees in the garden; but rooms with a mod-rustic look and elevated country dining gently modernise it. Plus, Longleat Safari Park’s spectacular beasts are so close by – you can even faintly hear them from some rooms.

Smith Extra

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Two bottles of Bramley hand sanitiser

Facilities

Photos The Bath Arms at Longleat facilities

Need to know

Rooms

16, including four Large Doubles.

Check–Out

10.30am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £110.00, including tax at 12.5 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include a hearty full English or à la carte breakfast.

Also

While dogs aren’t allowed to stay overnight, they’re more than welcome in the bar, where they can mingle with local hounds, and will get water, a bone to gnaw on and likely many head pats.

Hotel closed

The hotel closes annually over Christmas on the 24 and 25 December.

At the hotel

Lounge, garden, free WiFi. In rooms: TV, radio, tea- and coffee-making kit, Bramley bath products.

Our favourite rooms

You might get some Lady Chatterley yearnings in Large Double Room 10: set in the former stable block, it has high beamed ceilings and a super-king-size four-poster so you won’t have to roll in the hay. For small families, Large Double Room 7 is a charming attic hideaway (six-footers take note, the ceilings hang a little lower here) with a small day-bed set away from the master bed, where a little one can snooze soundly.

Packing tips

Bring binoculars for spotting shy animals and pairs of wellies for muddy rambles.

Also

The hotel’s delightful vintage means that it’s not the easiest to navigate with a wheelchair; however, some ground-floor rooms would suit guests with mobility issues.

Children

A limited number of travel cots (£10 a stay) can be added to all rooms and extra beds (£25 a stay, including breakfast) can be added to Large rooms. There are highchairs and baby-changing facilities too.

Best for

Juniors and animal-mad little ones.

Recommended rooms

All rooms can fit a baby cot (must be arranged with the hotel in advance), but only the Large rooms can fit an extra bed - however, you'll probably appreciate the extra elbow room however old your child is.

Activities

There’s plenty to do on your doorstep, if not at the hotel itself. Longleat Safari Park will wow for its wild encounters, miniature railway and hedge maze. You could also drive out to Stonehenge or the New Forest to spy ponies, and Bath has family-friendly tours that are educational and fun.

Meals

There’s no dedicated kids’ menu, but the more casual lunch menu will appeal to those with smaller appetites. 

Also

Bring some rainy-day distractions for lazy afternoons in the hotel – there are plenty of peaceful corners to gather in.

Sustainability efforts

The hotel’s home-grown dining ethos means sustainable organic eats from local sources – most from Longleat estate. And toiletries, cleaning products and lightbulbs are all Earth-kind.

Food and Drink

Photos The Bath Arms at Longleat food and drink

Top Table

Move your meal outside to the terrace or garden when the sun shines, and if you’re dining à la bubble, the larger wooden tables indoor will suit.

Dress Code

You could sport shooting party breeks or full-on bohemian pomp like that worn by former Marquess of Bath Alexander Thynn.

Hotel restaurant

The restaurant’s rooms all have cosy nooks, farmhouse tables for larger gatherings, mismatched antique seats and leather banquettes with a satisfying crack as you sit on them. Meals here range from the sort of thing a farmer of old might take on his lunch break to something that could grace the tables of Longleat House. Menus are staunchly British and largely local, with meat and game from the estate, chicken from Castlemead poultry farm, oils from Fussels farm and fish brought up from the south coast. Chef Jack Chapman knows the honest, down-to-earth grub pub patrons want when they’ve come in from a brisk walk: a traditional Ploughman’s with Twanger cheddar and slabs of ham, cider-battered haddock with minted peas, game pie. And for finer dining, the likes of pancetta-rolled pork tenderloin with black-pudding fritters, or pistachio-crusted hake beached on ginger butter. Desserts are a saucy bunch with lemon posset and a rich sticky toffee pudding, but we’d pick the affogato which comes pooled in Crafty Wolf’s rum-and-toffee sauce – an elixir made especially for the hotel. On that note, breakfasts of whisky-glazed porridge and syrup-slicked eggy bread will get you out of bed, even if you’ve overdone it the night before – the hangover-busting free Bloody Marys will set you right.

Hotel bar

Pull up an oak stool to the stylishly sage-green bar for a pint of the hotel’s own Horning Ale, potent local brews of all ilk, classic cocktails and superb wines from the hotel’s own merchants the Beckford Bottle Shop. It’s a come-one-come-all kind of inn, and the locals do come in droves, so be expected to hear a few tales and see a few cap doffings.

Last orders

Breakfast runs from 8am to 9.30am, lunch from 12 noon to 3pm and dinner from 6pm to 9.30pm. The bar pours pints from 11am to 10pm.

Location

Photos The Bath Arms at Longleat location
Address
The Bath Arms at Longleat
Horningsham
Warminster
BA12 7LY
United Kingdom

The Bath Arms is set at the mouth of the wild-at-heart Longleat Safari Park in tree-scattered Wiltshire, close enough that some rooms can hear the lions roaring.

Planes

London Heathrow is the closest of the capital’s hubs at just a two-hour drive away – and a very pleasant one at that, with the option to detour to the North Wessex Downs or the South Downs along the way for a breather. Alternatively, land at Bristol Airport, just an hour’s drive away, where flights arrive direct from major European cities.

Trains

Frome railway station is a 15-minute drive away. You can catch a train all the way there from London Waterloo (a three-hour journey) or Bristol Temple Meads (an hour’s journey).

Automobiles

Yes, you’ll need a car – safari-park tours are somewhat scarier without one, and you wouldn’t want to miss out. Having a set of wheels will also make it easier to reach speck-on-the-map villages, remote farms and one-for-the-road country pubs. If arriving from London, the drive will take around two-and-a-half hours via the M4, M25, M3 and A303. Take the second exit from the roundabout on the A36, then exit for Longleat; drive along the A362 until you turn off for Horningsham, turn right onto Hollybush Road and the hotel will be on your right. To drive from Bristol, head south on the A4 and and the A36 via Bath; turn off onto the A36 then B3092, turn at the stone cottage onto Forest Lane and you’ll see a sign for the Bath Arms – the drive should take an hour. There’s usually good availability for on-street parking.

Worth getting out of bed for

Eat, drink, be merry pretty much sums up ways to pass the time here. For a more fulsome list of west country pursuits, chat to the staff who are very approachable and are brimming with recommendations. First follow the rumbling purrs to Longleat Safari Park – it’s more placid entrance lets you wind through Capability Brown’s exquisite Pleasure Walk, through elegant greenery with glimpses of the house and lakes beyond. Longleat House is a prime example of High Elizabethan architecture – still the residence of the 8th Marquess of Bath – and various guided tours cover the goings on among former butlers and housekeepers, whiffs of scandal and a climb to the rooftop. Top it off by puzzling your way through the hedge maze. And, over Christmas, be sure to catch the Land of Light festival, when the house is bathed in vivid hues. The safari park is a menagerie from far-flung climes, including lions, zebras, giraffes, red pandas, marmosets, crocodiles and a further taxonomy of wild beasties. On the calmer side of things is Horningsham Village – its name may be a derivative of an ancient word for ‘bastard’, but it shows off a sleepy yet charming slice of country life; and the people are really quite pleasant. From here, country walks wend off into more rural parts, say, the Heaven’s Gate loop, a not-too-strenuous three-kilometre ramble. A little further south, what Stourhead Gardens lacks in prides, it makes up for in Palladian follies and tranquil picnicking spots. For more contemporary culture head to Hauser & Wirth’s gallery on Durslade Farm, which frames Somerset’s art scene in a modern light. Nearby Frome (Froom to the locals) has a decidedly hippie-ish side, largely thanks to its proximity to Glastonbury, whose mega festival drew in counter-culturals over the years that never left. Secure your tickets well in advance and hit all the stages (or as many as you can muster) in June when musical legends roll up, but otherwise there’s flower-arranging classes at Bramble & Wild, stocking up on handicrafts in the Frome Independent on the first Sunday of each month, or catching a gig at indie venue Cheese and Grain, where the Frome Flea Market is also held every Wednesday. And, with one of England’s greatest Georgian cities less than an hour’s drive away, you’d be remiss not to stop by the Roman Baths to take the waters, go on the free In the Footsteps of Jane Austen walking tour and stop for a not-a-cake, not-a-scone – not, technically, a bun – Sally Lunn ‘bunn’ at her eponymous eating house.

Local restaurants

Osip restaurant is a bijou farm eatery in rural Somerset, where pretty much all the produce is grown onsite or sourced from their neighbours. There’s no standard menu – the owners want the experience to evoke a certain time and place in Somerset – so expect a seasonal storytelling feast along the lines of treacle and ale bread with hay-smoked butter, black-truffle macarons, roe buck with grilled purple mustard and elderberries and fig-leaf ice-cream and canelés to finish. The Warminster branch of La Campagna is a contemporary Italian with a menu that makes choosing rather hard. There’s all the classics and a few twists and turns – we like the pappardelle alla cacciatore with shredded duck, Parma ham and Marsala wine or the salmon with baby prawns in champagne sauce.

Local cafés

Craving fish and chips? Or perhaps a wedge of homemade cake? White Row Farm is a notch above your average chippy and has a sweet café for all your light scoffing needs.

Local bars

The Bath Arms owners are also wine merchants, happily, running the Beckford Bottle Shop in Bath, where they source their outside-the-wine-crate list of world-spanning, old and new bottles. Tell the hotel you’re going in advance and they can ensure there’s a little something behind the bar for you, then go on a tasting journey accompanied by small plates (Bath chaps with Bramley apple, Dartmoor fallow-deer loin with leeks). Keystone Brewery keeps the hotel’s bar stocked with malty bitter Large One, and if you drive out to the source you may get to nose around the brewery. 

Reviews

Photos The Bath Arms at Longleat reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this warm hug of a country-inn hotel on the Longleat estate and unpacked their fluffy lion from Longleat Safari Park’s gift shop and bottles of English sparkling from Beckford Wine Shop, a full account of their gaily green break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Bath Arms in Wiltshire…

The Brits may not quite have a comparative word for hygge, but if warmly welcoming 18th-century inn the Bath Arms is anything to go by, we certainly know how it feels – and we have our own distinctive brand of it. This historic rest stop sits at the mouth of the really-wild Longleat estate – so close you can hear the lions distantly roaring from some quarters. If its sweet countenance, clad in creeping greenery and framed by low stone walls, isn’t beckoning enough, within awaits a chirpy West Country bunch to pour you pints of local brewed Butcombe beer, wax lyrical about rural pursuits and generally cosset you. This pub with rooms has pedigree too: it was once owned by Lord Bath before being bought by the Beckford Group, who own equally charming Smith properties the Talbot Inn, Lord Poulett and the Beckford Arms. Owners Charlie Luxton and Dan Brod are clearly devoted to the details: they also own Bramley whose lush products furnish the bathrooms, and when the pandemic hit they issued a whimsical guide called A Waiter’s Handbook to help staff implement gruelling restrictions. And, where a hotel cares for its staff, they in turn take very good care of their guests. Rooms with a chic country look have homey touches (abstract prints, vintage finds, soft rugs, elegant lamps) and beds so well dressed you could bounce a penny off them. And food here is a lot of what you fancy, with ploughman lunches, deep-filled pies and nursery puddings, all reflecting the local area’s farms and artisans very well indeed. And, come morning, the staff will quietly deliver a free Bloody Mary to anyone who had too rollicking a time in the pub the night before. There is the odd creaky floor and low-slung doorframe that comes with a hideaway of this vintage, but after a night well spent here, you’ll feel as settled in as this characterful building.

Price per night from $130.31

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