Somerset, United Kingdom

The Queen's Arms

Price per night from$101.68

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 (GBP82.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Walkers’ wonderland

Setting

Scenic South East Somerset

The Queen’s Arms had been at the center of village life in quaint Corton Denham for decades without troubling the national radar. But, thanks to a recent takeover by an energetic young local family with foodie credentials, visitors are now flocking to this country pub on the Dorset-Somerset border for the warm service, farm-to-fork fare and overnight stays at the ten refined rooms above the inn. Not just for outdoorsy types, it’s a launchpad for the area’s art galleries, antiques shops and National Trust properties, too.

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A freshly baked treat on arrival

Facilities

Photos The Queen's Arms facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Eight bedrooms and one private two-bedroom cottage.

Check–Out

11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both can be flexible, subject to availability.

Prices

Double rooms from £99.00, including tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast – choose from fruit, muesli and croissants or opt for the Full English with sourdough toast, sausages from artisan butcher the Story Pig and eggs however you like them.

Also

Watch this space: owner Doune has grand plans to build a cookery school in the garden that will offer half-day and weekend courses.

At the hotel

Grassy garden, terrace with outdoor heaters, free WiFi throughout, electric car chargers. In rooms: Smart TV with Netflix, Roberts radio, tea and coffee (fresh milk is delivered daily), glass water carafes and 100 Acres bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Each room is individually designed with colourful textiles and plenty of personality, so you can’t go wrong. We were particularly partial to Room Two in the main house for its double-ended pink bath tub and Room Seven in the Coach House with its ikat curtains that framed far-reaching country views. For family groups or country-sport parties, the self-catering cottage in the garden comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, an enormous living room with beamed ceilings and two generously sized bedrooms.

Packing tips

Long socks and Le Chameaus for rambling. And Mrs Smith can leave her hair straightener at home – there’s one in every room.

Pet‐friendly

Dogs are exceedingly welcome in all areas of the pub and can stay with you in any of the three Coach House bedrooms or the private two-bedroom cottage. See more pet-friendly hotels in Somerset.

Children

All ages are very welcome. There’s a kids’ menu in the pub, a cot can be added to any of the Coach House bedrooms and the private two-bedroom cottage is perfect for family groups.

Sustainability efforts

The Queen’s Arms has strong links with local farmers and as much meat, produce, beer and cider as possible is sourced locally. Fish comes from the Dorset coast, a selection of vegetables comes fresh from the village every week, tea bags are all compostable and flowers are picked fresh from the garden.

Food and Drink

Photos The Queen's Arms food and drink

Top Table

On a Sunday morning, read the supplements over coffee and croissants in the corner table’s cosy chairs. For dinner à deux, we loved the intimate two-top with the antique lambing chair sourced from Sherbourne.

Dress Code

A dash of tweed and a cashmere layer for the country casual look.

Hotel restaurant

With its cosy nooks, tartan-clad club chairs and seasonal wreaths hanging from the ceiling, the warm and convivial pub is the kind of setting where lunch can segue smoothly into supper aided by board games, a roaring fire and local ciders on tap. In summer, take a seat on the large outdoor terrace to soak up the views of rolling fields and silhouetted sheep on the ridges. 

From spelt flour to Somerset cheddar and village-grown veg, the menu is a showcase of the pub’s strong links to Dorset and Somerset farmers. Chef Johnny Jones may have cooked at Bibendum, the River Café and the Berkeley Hotel, but the real measure of his food is that it passes the exacting standards of his Italian wife (hence the hand-made pastas). Dishes change seasonally, but expect elevated pub staples (pork pies with sriracha and beer battered fish and chips) alongside more delicate fare like Cavolo Nero soup, monkfish with samphire or squash and sage tagliatelle. For dessert, there’s Dorset-made Purbeck ice cream, Somerset cheeses and a sinful chocolate mousse cake to choose from.

Hotel bar

Sheppey’s cider and local ales are on tap but the expert bar staff can mix up a mean espresso martini, too. There’s a standout list of international wines and, on weekends, a Bloody Mary bar with all the trimmings. 

Last orders

Dinner is served from 6pm to 9.30pm (9pm on Sundays); on weekends, lunch is served from noon to 3pm; last orders are at 11pm.

Location

Photos The Queen's Arms location
Address
The Queen's Arms
Corton Denham
Sherborne
DT9 4LR
United Kingdom

The Queen’s Arms is nestled in the Country Life cover-worthy village of Corton Denham on the Dorset-Somerset border, a ten-minute drive from Sherborne.

Planes

The closest are Bristol or Southampton; if you’re travelling from further afield, you’re better off flying to London’s Heathrow or Gatwick and driving (it takes about two hours and fifteen minutes) or catching a train to Sherborne.

Trains

Sherborne and Castle Carey stations are both about fifteen to twenty minutes’ drive away. With advance notice, the hotel can organise taxi transfers.

Automobiles

Unless you plan on sticking to circular walks that begin and end at the pub, wheels will be essential for ferreting out local farm shops, strolling the grounds at Stourhead or surveying the scene in Bruton. There’s free parking on-site (and two electric car chargers).

Worth getting out of bed for

If you’ve remembered your Merrell’s, there are six world-class walks that start and finish right at the pub’s door – just ask for the hand-drawn walking map and take a quick assessment of how much pasta and cider you’d like to burn off. If you opt for the short but heart-quickening hike up the ridge towards the Beacon, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views over the Somerset Levels. Go a bit further to reach Cadbury Castle, a hill fort (the actual castle is long gone, unfortunately) that’s sometimes rumoured to be the site of King Arthur’s Camelot thanks to the archaeological discovery here of what was once a great feasting hall. A twenty-minute drive away, the National Trust property of Stourhead has world-famous landscaped gardens with Neoclassical temples, grottoes, Palladian bridges and a show-stopping lake.

Art lovers should visit the local Hauser & Wirth gallery, the Somerset outpost of the renowned collectors, which has sister spaces in London, Zürich, Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles. There’s a sculpture garden and regularly changing exhibitions. 

You’ll need to pay £45 for a yearly membership to explore the endless acres of The Newt in Somerset, but inside you’ll find a working farm, a cider bar, a butcher, farm shop, ice-cream parlour, interiors boutique, ornamental gardens and enchanted trails for little Smiths (plus 3,000 of their namesake amphibians living in the ponds). 

For a longer day trip, drive 40 minutes to see the spectacular beasts (lions, zebras, giraffes and crocodiles) at Longleat Safari Park or take in the blustery beauty of the Jurassic Coast.

 

Local restaurants

If you do visit Hauser & Wirth on Durslade Farm, treat yourself to something to eat at the Roth Bar & Grill, the perfect pitstop for tomahawk steaks, house-made charcuterie and rainbow-coloured salads, all reared and/or made on-site. In Bruton, book ahead for lunch or dinner At the Chapel, a former church that’s now a restaurant with stunning south-facing views through ecclesiastical windows (leave time to shop in the attached winestore and artisan bakery).

In the next-door village of Sandford Orcas, you’ll find the Story Pig, a family-owned farm and butcher with the highest ethical and welfare standards. Visit their Lavender Keepers’ cafe for coffee, sausage rolls, quiches and sweet treats served in a teepee. And just five minutes up the road is Teals, a food market, restaurant and lifestyle shop serving Somerset on a plate with a side of apple orchard views.

Reviews

Photos The Queen's Arms 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 country pub in Somerset and unpacked their home-pressed cider and Story Pig sausages, a full account of their bucolic break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Queen’s Arms in Corton-Denham

‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to buy the pub?’ Doune Mackenzie-Francis sometimes said to her husband Simon during long lunches at their local watering hole. Of course, they never thought they’d actually get the opportunity, but when the Queen’s Arms came up for sale unexpectedly during lockdown in 2020, they decided to leap. It was a daunting prospect, especially with three young children at home, but Doune came armed with impressive food credentials (Ballymaloe cookery school and eight years at Leith’s in London), an eye for interiors and a love of gardening that stemmed from her free-range childhood in Scotland. After exchanging, she shuttered the worn-out pub for a top-to-toe refurbishment, layering antiques from Sherborne with textiles from Chelsea Harbour in the bedrooms, hanging oil paintings (pilfered from her parents’ garage) above the hearth and painting the dining room an Edward Bulmer blue. In the grassy pub garden, there are now ginkgos, fruit trees and rose bushes to frame the view of rolling Jurassic hills and grazing sheep. And, perhaps most importantly of all, the newly enlisted (and River Café-trained) chef Johnny Jones has quietly added fresh pastas, jalapeño crispy chicken and Babylonstoren wines to the pub menu without sacrificing staples like fish and chips, hearty Sunday roasts or Somerset ales. Thanks to this team’s TLC, the Queen’s Arms can now add its name to that hallowed list of stylish pub stays that are slick enough for the London set but where locals (and their labradors) still feel right at home.

Price per night from $101.68

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