Casting around for a stylish stay near some of England’s best fishing beats? Look no further than the Grosvenor Hotel in adorable Stockbridge, a tiny town surrounded by gin-clear (and trout-filled) chalk streams. But don’t worry if you don’t know a nymph from a mayfly, angling’s far from the only activity in this riverine region: you can trawl Stockbridge’s independent boutiques, artisan food shops and galleries or don your wellies to walk the forested footpaths of the Test Way. Afterwards, reward yourself with a chilled glass of English sparkling in the Grosvenor’s peaceful walled garden – you’ll soon fall hook, line and sinker for this heart-of-Hampshire hideaway.
Double rooms from £161.77, including tax at 5 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast – there are fully cooked and continental options and you can choose to eat almost anywhere you like.
Planning a day by the river bank? Give the hotel 48 hours’ notice and they’ll wave you off with a picnic hamper filled with pork pies, home-made sandwiches and a chocolate tiffin or two (plus a bottle of sparkling wine or some local ales if you’d like).
At the hotel
Garden, free WiFi, free use of the hotel's bikes. In rooms: TV, tea and coffee, Elemis bath products.
Our favourite rooms
We fell hard for the Cannon, an airy room in the main hotel building with views of an ancient church spire, Pucci-inspired headboard, vintage rug and gleaming copper roll-top bath. Sigh.
The Treatment Shed offers a perfectly petite menu of classic pampering. Book in for a Swedish massage, a full body massage with a detoxifying facial, a knot-untangling sports massage or a concentrated pummelling of your back, neck and shoulders.
Don’t panic if you’ve forgotten a piece of kit for fishing, shooting or even dog walking – Stockbridge High Street is crammed with country outfitters.
The ground floor common areas, the garden and two Garden rooms (1 and 2) are wheelchair accessible.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds (for ages 3-14) can be provided for £30 a night; babysitting is also available for £15 an hour – you’ll need to give the hotel two days’ notice.
The hotel are members of Hampshire Fare, a collective committed to supporting local farmers and food-makers within the Test Valley, so most of what you eat (and sometimes drink) will have been grown, caught or produced within a 25-mile radius.
When it’s fine, you can’t beat a table outside in the walled garden, surrounded by the riot of flower beds and box hedges.
Country cosy will do just fine here at this relaxed retreat.
Take your pick of places to dine: the stately wood-panelled bar, the double-height main dining room which has a zingy green palette and statement tulip chandeliers, outdoors in the walled garden or in the partially covered and Alpine-inspired La Hutte. Each location serves the same seasonal, locavore menu which starts with crispy squid and wild garlic aioli, burrata with Isle of Wight tomato salad, a soy marinated tuna poke bowl and a confit duck salad with mango salsa. Main course standouts include a River Test trout nicoise salad, a short rib cheeseburger with bacon seasoned fries and a rack of salt-aged lamb with butter beans. Desserts draw from the bounty of local farms with options including a platter of English cheeses, a pistachio cake with black cherry puree and a millionaire salted caramel tart. The breakfasts here will set you up for long days on the river or in the field: there’s smoked River Test trout with poached hen’s eggs, smashed avocado on sourdough and a full English with sausages from nearby Broughton Farm. Settle into a sofa in the wood-panelled Danebury Room for sweet or savoury afternoon teas.
The well-stocked and wood-panelled bar has snacks and sharing boards to nibble – try the Boondoggle Ale on tap from local brewery Ringwood, an English Garden cocktail made with Hampshire-grown Coates and Seely sparkling wine or a dram of Lagavulin as a nightcap.
Breakfast is served from 7.30 to 10.30am; lunch is from noon until 2.30pm and dinner is from 6 to 9pm (9.30pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays). Afternoon tea 3 to 5.30pm Wednesday to Sunday.
There’s no room service, so stock up on gourmet snacks from Thyme and Tides across the road.
The Grosvenor Hotel’s porte-cochère presides over the high street in Stockbridge, a tiny town in the heart of Hampshire’s picturesque Test Valley.
Touch down at London’s Heathrow airport – from there, it’s about an hour’s drive.
Andover and Winchester train stations are both about a fifteen minute drive from the hotel – the journey to either takes just over an hour from London’s Waterloo. Ride-sharing apps haven’t reached this area of Hampshire yet, so you’ll need to pre-book a local taxi from the station.
A car’s not essential if you plan to stay in Stockbridge, but you’ll want one if you plan to get out and explore – there’s plenty of dedicated parking at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Whether you’re looking to land your first fish or you’re an avid angler with your very own tackle box, the Grosvenor has contacts with fantastic local fishing agents in the area, who can arrange halcyon days out on the river bank. Pop to either Orvis or Robjent’s (both in walking distance) for any gear you need – their knowledgeable staff are brimming with advice.
Content to let sleeping trout lie? Stockbridge is the start and end point for many walking routes that take in water meadows, tidal marshes, ancient churches and peaceful woodland, so you’ll have easy access to Hampshire’s great outdoors. If you’re feeling energetic, you could walk the portion of the Test Way from Stockbridge to Mottisfont (5.5 miles), a National Trust property with famous walled gardens and cafés for refueling – if you’re lucky enough to visit in June, you’ll see the roses in full bloom.
This area of Hampshire also happens to yield some of England’s most delicious sparkling wine – book in for a vineyard tour and tasting at local vintners Black Chalk to taste their award-winning small-batch bubbles.
And finally, it’s hard to leave Stockbridge without a few souvenirs – the high street is lined with adorable independent boutiques and galleries. There’s the Garden Inn for the green-thumbed, Mokaya Cocoa’s Belgian chocolates for the sweet-toothed, the Wykeham Gallery for affordable contemporary art and sculpture and George Clark for interior aficionados.
Just across the road is Thyme and Tides, a much-loved artisan deli and fishmonger that serves sandwiches, salads, sausage rolls and pastries at its selection of cafe tables, but you’ll want to browse the selection of cheeses, charcuteries and wines to take home, too. Woodfire is a casual Italian cafe serving pizza, pasta and paninis. For finer dining, book ahead for lunch or dinner at theGreyhound, a multi-award-winning gastropub serving a seasonal Anglo-French menu and owned by the lovely Lucy who trained as a pastry chef under Marco Pierre White.
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 historic fishing hotel in Stockbridge and unpacked their nets and waders, a full account of their trip to the Test Valley will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside The Grosvenor Hotel in Hampshire…
The Grosvenor Hotel was built in 1821 as a social hub and hotel for a keen racing crowd to convene after days out at Stockbridge Racecourse, the Ascot of its day. Unfortunately, the racecourse no longer stands but, a century later, the hotel is still going strong… though it’s seen its tiny town’s obsession turn from the four-legged to the, um, no-legged. Yes, almost everyone in Stockbridge is fanatical about fly fishing – nearby, the clear chalk streams of the River Test provide some of England’s best, and most beautiful, places to drop a line. And, with its location right in the middle of the chocolate-box high street, the Grosvenor provides plenty of bait – a tranquil walled garden terrace surrounded by blooming flower beds, a hearty menu that draws from the surrounding valley’s farms, fishermen and artisan producers and flashes of Pierre Frey, Fermoie and Farrow and Ball in each colour-happy bedroom, every one individually designed by local interiors guru Lottie Keith, who oversaw the Grosvenor’s glamorous recent glow-up.