In the heart of the Forest of Bowland, the Inn at Whitewell has a proper middle-of-nowhere feel, though actually it’s right in the middle of the country (the nearest village, Dunsop Bridge, has a phone box which officially marks the geographic centre of the UK). As well as 15 bedrooms the inn has a self-catering cottage, the Piggeries, with three double bedrooms (one en suite), a large kitchen-diner and a spacious sitting room with views over the river – plus a large garden. With plenty of walks from the door and wholesome, hearty meals to come back to, this is a perfect, dog-friendly retreat any time of the year.
The Piggeries sleeps six, in high season it costs £1,740 for three nights or £2,080-£2,740 for seven nights
This old pub on the banks of Ormesby Little Broad was transformed a few years ago and as well as being a pub/restaurant with rooms and a wedding venue it has lodges in the garden. Waking up by the water is a treat: the three lodges have two or three bedrooms with verandas to enjoy the views. This is a good base for exploring the rest of the Broads national park and the nearby coast, which has some of Norfolk’s best beaches at Winterton, Waxham en Horsey, home to one of the country’s largest grey seal colonies.
The Boathouse lodges sleep four to eight from £135-£150 a night, breakfast from £11.95pp
Within walking distance of the world’s oldest single arch railway bridge, Causey Arch, and the Beamish Museum, this spacious country inn on the Red Row country estate is a popular dining spot, with produce sourced from local farms (steaks and masterful sticky toffee pudding are menu highlights). The pub has a dozen rooms as well as four self-catering suites and rooms in a separate building, the Red Row Retreat (which can be rented together). A short walk away, there’s also two-bedroom Huckleberry Cottage, with kitchen, living room with wood-fired stove, conservatory dining room and terrace.
Huckleberry Cottage sleeps five, from £85-£130 a night (two-night minimum); Black Horse doubles from £89-£200 a night B&B
On the banks of the River Wye, a stone’s skim from England, the Boat Inn in Penallt is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The interior is small and cosy, with a timber-framed bar and a wood-burning stove, but the appeal is the tranquil river-facing terraced garden, which leads up to a waterfall. There’s a two-room apartment above the pub: a fully equipped kitchen gives guests plenty of self-sufficiency, en, although it doesn’t do breakfast, the pub serves decent food and locally brewed ales and cider.
The Boat Inn’s apartment sleeps four, from £100-£120
The Crown’s seven-bedroom holiday let is connected to its pub by a secret door. Refurbished in a contemporary style, it has a games room, huge kitchen/diner, five bathrooms and private garden. The pub itself is a proper, down-to-earth local that honours its West Country location by stocking stocks 26 ciders and perries, including the inn’s own King’s cider. Food is unpretentious and delicious (with pizzas from a wood-fired oven).
The Crown Inn Woolhope’s holiday let sleeps 14, from £40pp a night, breakfast is available at extra cost
On the border between Cumbria and the Lake District and Yorkshire and its Dales, this pub is in a fabulous rural location, close enough to both national parks and yet very easy to reach (10 minutes off the M6). Along with 16 rooms it has three self-catering yurts in its riverside garden. With logburners, king-size beds, towels, robes and slippers, it’s only the compost loos and open-air woodland showers that make staying in a yurt feel wilder than the comforts of the pub.
The Black Swan has two yurts sleeping two from £135-£145 a night and one sleeping four from £145-£155 (year-round prices)
In Ringstead, a mile from Hunstanton and the north Norfolk coast, this ancient village inn is well positioned for visiting the nature reserves at Snettisham and Titchwell, Holkham beach and superb country walks. Daar is 13 comfortable bedrooms as well as a couple of two-bedroom cottages in the grounds, with plenty of living space, contemporary fitted kitchens and Smart TVs. The pub serves excellent food (whole seabass or crispy lamb ribs may feature on the menu), breakfast is included in room and cottage rates – and dogs are welcome. There’s a new outdoor seating space and children’s area, ook.
The Gin Trap Inn has two-bedroom cottages sleeping four from £240-£390 a night B&B
When owners Sean and Sarah Mason took over and renovated this pub in Fownhope, seven miles south-east of Hereford, they made sure locals had a designated “drinkers’ table”, with no food allowed. Beer aficionados started coming from miles around to sup Greenman bitter, specially brewed by Wye Valley Ales. But it’s a shame to come here and not try the tempting food, ook; and when done, there are 17 boutique-style rooms spread over the property to retire to, including five rooms in the Old Cottage across the forecourt that can accommodate self-caterers. One is a double room with a kitchen attached; the others are two doubles which share a kitchen and sitting room (so good for a family or friends).
The Greeman has doubles (with shared kitchen) from £80-£100 a night B&B
In the sleepy Shropshire village of Upton Magna, the Haughmond is a modern coaching inn, owned and run by husband-and-wife team Mel and Martin Board. Dog- and cycle-friendly, it’s a splendid place for food (the restaurant has a three-AA-rosette) and the garden has views over the surrounding countryside. It has seven contemporary en suite rooms and a self-catering barn conversion too, with a beamed open-plan kitchen-diner and living room, two double rooms and a family bathroom.
The Barn is £360-£1,100 a week and sleeps six; doubles from £95-£130 a night B&B
In the peaceful Shropshire village of Lydbury North, this old Georgian coaching inn not only has a handful of upstairs rooms, it opens a summer campsite, with spaces for caravans, campervans, and tents. It is also part of the Walcot Hall Estate, immediately behind the pub, which has lots of self-catering and glamping options too, from shepherds huts and Gypsy caravans to cottages and apartments. The location is perfect for exploring the Shropshire Hills.
Powis Arms glamping pitches from £7.50-£14 for two adults. Double rooms from £80 a night B&B
On East Dean’s picture-perfect village green, lined by flint-walled cottages, the Tiger Inn’s setting is as idyllic it gets. At just half a mile from Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters cliffs it’s a popular stop for walkers tramping the South Downs Way. It has five bedrooms upstairs, and eight self-catering cottages in 18th-century listed farm buildings. Each sleeps between two and six, and they are set around a delightful walled garden. The inn and the cottages are run by Beachy Head Estate.
Beachy Head Estate cottage sleeps six in three bedrooms, van £750-£2,000 a week. One bedroom cottages sleeps two, from £575-£900
This lovely pub is part of the Waveney River Centre, which has a low-key camping and glamping site, as well as lodges and penthouse apartments in a less-visited corner of the Norfolk Broads. It’s a great family option with all sorts of outdoor activities: there are bikes, canoes and day boats for hire, and the footpaths through the marshes on the far side of the river lead eventually to the expanse of Oulton Broad. Rates include use of the centre’s indoor pool and the foot ferry across the river.
Waveney Inn apartments for four from £465-£800 a week; also doubles from £85-£115 a night B&B
There are lots of Royal Oaks around the UK – it’s officially the country’s most popular pub name – but this is one of the best, a Georgian country inn with five en suite rooms, a family room in a converted barn and a couple of very comfortable, dog-friendly, two-bedroom self-catering cottages across the road – each with a kitchen, cosy sitting room and private terrace. To the north are the rolling downs; to the south, the estuaries and inlets of Chichester harbour and West Wittering’s fabulous beach. The inn is a great option for food too, with a focus on Sussex ingredients – local venison, fish and seafood, Southdown lamb, local ice-cream and cheese – and its own beer.
Royal Oak cottages for four from £200 a night, and doubles from £125-£190 B&B
Following a famous massacre in 1692, you’re not welcome at the Clachaig Inn if your name is Campbell. If it’s not then you’re in luck, because this historic inn is a very comfortable base for exploring the surrounding Glencoe mountains, met 23 guest bedrooms (some dog-friendly). There are also a dozen self-catering chalets, cottages and lodges (also dog-friendly) at the inn itself and in and around the village. The pub can get riotous, especially in the Boots Bar, where there is live music and over 400 whiskies to sample – the inn has its own whisky and gin, and runs its own tasting events from time to time. As for food, like all good walkers’ pubs they serve all day – everything from fish and chips to haggis, neeps and tatties.
Clachaig Inn lodges sleep four, from £425-£915, or £450-£950 sleeping five