The Perfect English Escape – The Greyhound on the Test, Hampshire
April 11, 2017
Having lived in London for almost nine years, it always surprises me that other parts of the country can be so welcoming! London is an amazing place to live, but it can also be a tad unfriendly at times with everyone leading very busy lives and shops and restaurants catering to the masses.
Just an hour or so from London, is probably the friendliest village I think I’ve ever visited. Stockbridge in Hampshire – home to the gorgeous cosy restaurant, pub and hotel The Greyhound on the Test.
The main Street in Stockbridge itself is lined with hotels, country pubs (the real kind) and boutique and artisan shops. A real butchers, a real bakers and old bright red telephone boxes. There’s streams and bridges and a beautiful long walk for country hikes if you take a right between Lillies of Stockbridge coffee shop and The Garden Inn and then follow the path down to the water meadows. Real countryside charm in abundance.
On the afternoon we visited, the sun was shining – strangely warm for March. With ample parking out back (right next to some gorgeous tipi’s you can actually hire for weddings and events), we flung open the heavy door and were welcomed with open arms into a charming pub and restaurant area. With a relaxed check in across the bar, the offer of a drink and and a brief chat with the staff, we were shown our gorgeous room.
With a huge bed, two cosy chairs and a flat screen TV, I loved the little homely touches – a big checked wool picnic style blanket over the bed, two delicious thick slabs of rich chocolate brownie on top of the tea cups – this was definitely my kind of place! There was even a fresh vase of daffodils – what a lovely touch.
Not only was the room everything I’d want from a country retreat, the bathroom was also pretty amazing! Gorgeous (expensive) slabs of marble, a decadent roll-top standalone bath, with a pile of glossy magazines for some real relaxation, and my favourite part, under water heating so the floor were nice and warm on our bare feet!
After a mid afternoon hike around the water meadows, we popped in to another bar at the other end of the village and got talking to pretty much all of the locals! Of course they all knew the Greyhound’s lovely landlady Lucy and couldn’t sing her praises enough. When we met her the next morning, we realized all the praise was justified. It’s really quite remarkable what she’s done with the pub and it’s testament to her that her guests return time and time again and travel from as far away as America!
Having worked up a good appetite, we made for a super quick quick turnaround and were back down for dinner by 8. With the lighting now ‘restaurant style’ – dimmed down with plenty of flickering candles, it felt like the height of coziness! Having won several awards, the Greyhound’s brand new menu really is one to study – everything sounded so tempting and hearty!
Having been on a low carb diet for the past month, I tried so hard to resist the bread basket, but failed miserably! Totally justified in my decision to cheat though, the whipped moussey truffle butter was as light as air and so so tasty spread thickly over crusty warm bread rolls.
My friend made the most amazing food choices! A Leek & Truffle Veloute with slow cooked hens egg and crispy leeks (£7.95) was one of the tastiest dishes I’ve had in a long time! Rich and velvety with that unmistakable truffle taste, I couldn’t help but sneak a few spoonfuls for myself… However, I think my main dish triumphed! I went for the Pork Belly served with the most delightful caramelised apple which of course works so well with the pork, bubble and squeak croquette and chargrilled Hispi cabbage (£17.25) which I pretty much devoured all of in about 3 minutes. All those different flavours and textures worked so well together. I can also highly recommend the Smoked Haddock and Prawn Kedgeree – beautiful flavours and not too over powering served with a mango coriander and a poached egg on top (£8.75 or £15.25).
Weary after the earlier big walk, a hearty feed and a beautiful bottle of red, we welcomed the heavy thick curtains which blocked out the light so well that we slept until after 9am. A mattress which you almost melted into and pillows reminiscent of fluffy clouds also helped for a dreamy slumber.
After a gorgeous, fresh, cooked breakfast from another really lovely menu, along with a whole selection of croissants, cereals and fruit, we packed up the car and began the short journey back to London. But with such an easy drive and a packed itinerary for the Greyhound over the summer (they play host to a whole range of sports activities and parties), we’ve already made plans with our favourite landlady Lucy to come back and stay again soon!
Rooms from £140 per night
Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Ashleigh Whitfield