Best British Isles weekend breaks 2015: Hampshire

Countryside walks, fishing for wild trout, fantastic food and ludicrously comfy king-size beds make the Bourne Valley Inn a must-visit. Oh, and the Bombay Sapphire gin distillery is just down the road, too.

Deep in the rolling Hampshire countryside, past the picture-perfect flint and thatch cottages of Whitchurch, the Bourne Valley Inn is a quintessential country pub with nine elegantly decorated bedrooms and a garden that runs down to the river Test, home to wild trout. 


Which room? All the bedrooms are small but stylishly formed, with pebble-coloured painted headboards and soft woollen throws. They’re a good way away from the restaurant and bar so you won’t be disturbed as you sink into your king-sized bed. 

What to pack: Evenings are relaxed but pack comfortable shoes – the pub offers fishing trips, or you can buy a picnic hamper at the on-site deli and enjoy a stroll through the hedgerow-lined countryside. 

What to order: The pub is a favourite with locals, so booking for dinner is a must. The pub classics are well covered, but try the pan roasted bass with braised fennel, poularde clams and samphire, and that freshly caught trout.

Don’t miss: A short drive brings you to Laverstoke Mill. With a history dating back to the Domesday Book, this complex of beautiful redbrick grade-II-listed buildings is home to Bombay Sapphire’s custom-designed distillery. Most striking are the site’s two glasshouses, which house examples of all 10 botanicals present in Bombay Sapphire’s gin. You’re free to explore, spending time in the botanical room, touching, smelling and tasting the plants, or getting more hands-on with the finished product in a cocktail masterclass. 

How to do it: Doubles at the Bourne Valley Inn cost from £120, b&b (bournevalleyinn.com). Self-discovery tours at the distillery cost £15, VIP master distiller experiences £100 (distillery.bombaysapphire.com). 

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