Wiltshire, United Kingdom

The Bradley Hare

Price per night from$139.40

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 (GBP112.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Hares and graces

Setting

Comely country estate

Now, here’s a sobering thought: a village without a decent pub. But Wiltshire hamlet Maiden Bradley, once bereft, is now home to the Bradley Hare, a cosily cool 19th-century drinkery. Crackling fires, mellifluous chatter and lived-in comfort are the bones its built on, and former Soho House design director James Thurstan Waterworth has added licks of Farrow & Ball greens and greys, and British heritage wallpapers. Storytelling art and antiques make it discerning enough for the Somerset duchy that surrounds it. Dining showcases the panoply of fine country suppliers (the kitchen even has a ‘game guy’) and the bar has a line-up of local ciders and brews (and not-your-usual wines) – it’s a buzz-generating stop in all senses.

Smith Extra

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A free glass of Franciacorta on arrival

Facilities

Photos The Bradley Hare facilities

Need to know

Rooms

12 (seven in the main pub and five in the Coach House opposite).

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability; try to give as much notice as possible. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £135.00, including tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include a Continental breakfast; a cooked breakfast is also on offer for an additional charge. There’s a two-night minimum stay for Friday and Saturday arrivals.

Also

While it’s not strictly a part of the pub, Milly Moo’s fresh-milk-dispensing hut just outside is a loveable local foible, most notably for its milkshake-maker with a range of flavoured syrups. And, if you think the pub has a touch of blue blood to it, note that the carmine and mustard hues used for the hotel’s branding are inspired by the Duke of Somerset’s ancestor Jane Seymour, one of Henry VIII’s ill-fated spouses.

At the hotel

Large grounds with an asado wood grill, kitchen garden, cosy lounge, wellies to borrow, free WiFi. In rooms: Smart TV, minibar, tea- and coffee-making kit.

Our favourite rooms

Rooms set in the main pub have more of the charm and whimsy you’d expect from a historic hostelry; although, the deliberately pared-back decor of the Coach House rooms makes them stylishly serene. Each is uniquely decorated, but you’ll have 18th- and 19th-century antiques, trad British fabrics, the odd flash of Hamilton Weston’s reproduction chintzes on the wall and linens that could equally grace the linen closets of the county’s stately homes. If we’re hard-pressed to choose where we’d lay our head, No 3 comes to mind for its snug-as-can-be cabin bed, and No 1 for its views over the flowering garden and Long Knoll in the distance.

Packing tips

An appetite: the menu is one you’ll want to try from cocktail apéritif to after-dinner coffee. Don’t bulk out your case with wellies, since the hotel has a stash for muddy rambles.

Pet‐friendly

Dogs are allowed in the bar, Skittles Alley and outside areas, but only guide dogs are allowed in the dining room. Pets can stay in some rooms; advance notice is required and there may be a small cleaning fee. Baggies and scoops are available on request. See more pet-friendly hotels in Wiltshire.

Children

This may be a touch more refined than your average village boozer, but it’s still welcoming enough for family meals after a Longleat visit, with some rooms that accommodate an extra bed and dishes suited to tots.

Sustainability efforts

The West Wiltshire Downs and Somerset’s fertile stretches are very giving when it comes to excellent kitchen produce; so, knowing how special it is, the hotel has adopted a zero-waste policy on food. Each ingredient has a proud place on the plate, excess raw produce is fermented, cured or pickled; and bones and trimmings enhance rich stocks and sauces. And, it has close ties with local butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers and game dealers.

Food and Drink

Photos The Bradley Hare food and drink

Top Table

Stay lightly toasted by the fire, or sequester yourself away in the snug.

Dress Code

Off-duty duke or duchess.

Hotel restaurant

Lose all restraint when it comes to dining here – pile the table with fuschia beetroot slices snowed in with grated horseradish, confit carrots with smoky roscoff onions, sumac-peppered sea-bass, steak atop a bed of romesco, mackerel straight from the source and into an ajo blanco sauce… Burgers ooze Ogleshield or Wyfe of Bath, charcuterie is cured within the region, Sunday lunches are as comforting as a big fat hug and puddings are along the lines of strawberries with basil, clotted cream and brown-butter crumb. Oh, and the hare-shaped salt-and-pepper shakers on the tables are a cute touch. Meals are a big thick creamy wodge of the Bradley Hare’s bread and butter – and the food’s not only divine, but Earth-kind and zero-waste too. And, if you want the meal to be more of an experience, visit in summer when the chefs fire up the garden’s asado grill, or gather family and friends for the hotel’s Viking-style sharing feast. 

Hotel bar

If you’ve had one too many the night before – likely after you see the pub’s selection of local beers, creatively curated wines and imaginative cocktails (using botanicals from the Maiden Bradley allotment) – mumble ‘Bloody Mary’ five times and lo and behold, a Bloody Mary bar with all the trimmings (carrot and tomato juices, fresh veggies and a range of seasonings) will appear. It’s the ideal tonic after pints of Butcombe, cloudy ciders and rounds of French martinis, pineapple daiquiris, the Hare’s take on a negroni (punched up with cider) or whatever else is shaken and stirred behind the bar that day.

Last orders

Breakfast runs from 8.30am to 10.30am, lunch from noon to 2.30pm and dinner from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

Location

Photos The Bradley Hare location
Address
The Bradley Hare
Church St, Maiden Bradley
Warminster
BA12 7HW
United Kingdom

Maiden Bradley is a small patch of English quaintness within the duchy of Somerset’s rarefied country estate, and on the Wiltshire border. All around is Cranborne Chase (a bonafide Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and Longleat safari park is close by.

Planes

Bristol Airport is the closest, just an hour’s drive away, where flights arrive direct from major cities throughout Europe. For those flying in from further afield, Heathrow is best, just under a two-hour drive away.

Trains

The hotel is deep in the countryside, but Bruton, Frome and Warminster stations are all around a 20-minute drive away; Frome is the most direct route from London, with services from Paddington taking around two hours.

Automobiles

You could hike your way around the Wiltshire Downs, but a car will make crossing those dreamy green expanses much easier – from English-accented safaris at Longleat, to Stourhead’s lush landscaping and fair-of-face villages, there’s plenty to see in the vicinity with the aid of wheels. And there’s a car park to the rear of the pub.

Worth getting out of bed for

They don’t give awards for outstanding natural beauty to just any old area – and both Cranborne Chase and the West Wiltshire Downs are thoroughly deserving of the designation. At the cusp of the West Country, there’s grassland, woodland, white-chalk edifices and more mystical landmarks: giant horses carved into hillsides, burial barrows of long-lost legend and stone circles. Of course, the most famous of the latter is the supposed druidic temple and solstice gathering site Stonehenge, a 30-minute drive from the hotel. And another Wiltshire curiosity that’s caused more spurious speculation is its come-and-go crop circles – for a chance of seeing them (or to admire the chalk filly carved into its side), climb up Westbury Hill. And, nearby Frome (pronounced ‘Froom’, DFL-ers), on the Somerset side of the border, has its fair share of dyed-in-the-hemp hippies, as well as as a fantastic flea market and a festival of music, art, theatre, food and more come July.

More classical English pastimes can be found closer to the hotel: pass by Bradley Hall, the lavish 17th-century pile that’s still home to the Duke of Somerset; romantically wander through the myriad mini temples, grottoes and towers dotting the lush landscaping of Stourhead, before a nose around the Palladian house; or tramp out to elegant folly King Alfred’s Tower (about a two-hour walk). Due north of the hotel, Longleat Safari Park has lions, tigers, giraffes and more exotic animals against the backdrop of an exceedingly grand manor (home to the Marquess of Bath). And Georgian glamourpuss of a city Bath is just a 40-minute drive away for tea shops, healing soaks and Austen-esque adventures. Back in the present, Hauser & Wirth’s beautiful gallery, surrounded by a perennially picturesque garden and neighbouring Durslade Farm Shop, has thought-provoking modern-art exhibitions.

Local restaurants

The Bradley Hare is definitely the epicurean epicentre of the duchy, and you’ll want to book more than one meal there, but fertile farmland, game-roamed estates and untapped avenues for foragers give these counties a gastronomic edge. In nearby Bruton, Osip has wildflowers hanging from the walls of its bijou dining room (a former ironmongers) and menus that also plunder Somerset’s wilds. Definite dishes are hard to pin down, seeing as they change with the season, available produce and the chef’s whims, but they’re arranged by the menu du jour, or a six- or nine-course tasting menu. Past delicacies have included carrot financiers, blackened lamb with asparagus and mushroom and hazelnut cookies. The Bath Arms, on the Longleat estate, uses meat reared onsite and fish from the South Coast in its hearty yet modern pub grub. And, you’re deep in cider country, so wade in with a visit to The Newt, which has its very own cidery, plus extensive kitchen gardens, orchards and a resident forager. 

Local cafés

Next door to Osip is its deli, the Old Pharmacy, for lighter lunches (carrots with magnolia and stracciatella, cucumbers with smoked cod’s roe, burrata, peach and runner bean salad) and bags of coffee, bottles of cider and wine, and pickled and preserved bits to take home. If you drive out to Bath, make a pit stop for lunch at Hartley Farm, which is worth a visit for its three cheese mac with Devon blue, Barber’s vintage and Wookey Hole cheddar. And the attached shop sells the region’s finest, from meat to sweets to fruit and veg boxes.

Local bars

Late, cocktail-fuelled nights aren’t exactly a thing here, but there are plenty of creaky yet immensely comfortable pubs to get settled in, with dogs curled up in the corner, good old lads crowding the counter and a fire when things turn chilly. The Three Swans in Frome is one of Somerset’s oldest boozers, with a precariously towering roast dinner, god-tier pork pies and Scotch eggs, and plenty of local pulls lining the bar.  

Reviews

Photos The Bradley Hare 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 fashionable and friendly pub on the Duchy of Somerset’s sprawling estate and unpacked their wildflower posies and hosed down their muddy wellies, a full account of their patrician pub break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Bradley Hare in Wiltshire…

If you asked someone to describe the ideal country pub, the result would probably be something like the Bradley Hare: its 19th-century red-and-grey-brick exterior, fire-cheered dining and drinking spaces, and rooms rife with antique charm are the sort of things that float into your head when you dream of a cosy winter hideaway or a snug summer escape. But, this particular pub with rooms, in one of Wiltshire’s official Areas of Outstanding Beauty, brings a bit or urbanity to the duchy of Somerset’s estate: designer James Thurstan Waterworth, who formerly styled for the Soho House group, has judiciously picked the foxed mirrors, gently scuffed leather pieces, heritage British wallpapers, all-very-covetable mismatched seats, bold modern artworks and even candles from the Queen’s very own chandler, Charles Farris. So, in some ways it feels like a pub with club aspirations, albeit one that still draws in the locals for friendly fireside banter. Although, as alluring as pints of Butcombe beer and Pilton cider are, it’s likely the food that keeps punters popping in – at the zero-waste kitchen, cornucopias of fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses and fish of the highest order (all from local suppliers) go into shout-it-from-the-rafters repasts, Sunday roasts and summertime grills. And it’s made all the better with the knowledge that you can simply waddle back to your room after overindulging. When considering that dream country pub, be sure to wake up here.

Price per night from $139.40

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