Top 10: The Best English Inns for Overnight Stays

(by walencienne/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images) Windsor Castle, Berkshire // Photo by walencienne/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

by Telegraph Travel experts, The Telegraph, September 1, 2017

Sherelle Jacobs introduces Telegraph Travel's guide to the best old English inns – for Michelin-starred dining, historic architecture, creaking corridors and resident ghosts. Expect the country's finest craft ales, rousing bucolic views, country walks on the doorstep, and four-poster beds, exposed beams and rolltop baths – in the Cotswolds, Berkshire, Lancashire, Surrey, Yorkshire, Helmsley, the Lake District and the Isle of Wight. 

The Olde Bell Berkshire, England

9Telegraph expert rating


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This is one of the oldest hotels in Britain – founded in 1135 – so expect inglenook fireplaces and sloping floors aplenty. Ask to see the secret tunnel that leads to the village priory; Baron John Lovelace used it to hide from the authorities when he was involved in the 1688 Glorious Revolution to overthrow King James II. Winston Churchill also met with President Dwight Eisenhower here to discuss wartime strategy, and proximity to Pinewood Studios has attracted Greta Garbo and Elizabeth Taylor as guests in the past. Opt for the rooms in the Main Inn and Malt House for character in the shape of wonky beams and clawfoot baths. The inn hosts a 'destination' pub restaurant, with bread baked on site and greens from the vegetable patch. There are also six acres of lovely gardens to explore. Read expert review From £53per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best Cotswolds pubs with rooms

The Inn at Whitewell Lancashire, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The loveliest French countryside would have a hard time competing with these surrounds. Expect a riverside haven set in a natural amphitheatre of meadows and hills – the outlook is one of utter peace. The building dates back to the 1300s, when it housed the keepers of the Royal forest. In the 18th century it became a resting place for travellers making treacherous journeys through Lancaster’s vagabond-ridden countryside. Like his father before him, owner Charles Bowman stalks the auction houses and the warm, welcoming and atmospheric inn is filled with a delightful collection of antiques. Expect quirky rooms: perhaps an Edwardian bath and shower contraption or a very French antique cane bed. There's also hyper-local produce – as in roast beef that was once a friend of the cows in the neighbouring fields. Read expert review. From £120per night.

• The best pubs with rooms in England

The Crown Inn Chiddingfold Chiddingfold, Surrey, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The Crown Inn has been wowing guests with its beautiful stained-glass windows, cosy fireplaces and romantic four-poster beds since 1383. The then 14 year-old King Edward VI stayed overnight here while on his way to visit Shillinglee in 1552. Presumably his retinue of 4,000 men couldn’t quite squeeze in and camped outside. Old coins, a wall painting discovered when whitewash fell away and a sedan chair dating from 1760 – one of only two in England – enhance the historic feel. Bedrooms have characterful oak beams and standalone claw-foot baths. You’ll find high-quality seafood on the dinner menu, including succulent lobster and monkfish. Leave space for the hearty English breakfast, which is tasty and locally sourced, down to fresh strawberries and blueberries. Read expert review From £55per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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The Highway Inn Burford, Cotswolds, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The 500-year-old Highway Inn still has its original coachhouse and stables and a multitude of nooks, crannies and winding corridors. The window seats are waiting to be curled up upon with the weekend papers. It is the sort of warm, inviting place to retreat to in winter, while summer visitors may enjoy the restored medieval courtyard. Rooms have nice touches: curly taps in the bathroom, an antique illustration of a Viennese belvedere, or a decanter filled with a sherry aperitif perhaps. Beers are from nearby breweries, and food is posh pub grub, locally sourced where possible; at dinner guests might find a starter of rabbit terrine, fennel chutney and soda bread, or a main of venison. Read expert review. From £55per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best hotels in the Cotswolds

The Woolpack Inn Lake District, Cumbria, England

8Telegraph expert rating

Legend has it this 14th-century Kentish inn surrounded by the majesty of the western fells is haunted. Many guests claim to have seen the Grey Lady – imaginatively named after her colour – floating through the rickety wooden corridors. Note the giant olive tree on the patio – it was planted when the inn was built and is 600 years old. Expect lots of comfy armchairs and cosy corners for relaxing with a book. The pub has a wood-burning stove, and a modern adjacent bar features local art. Seven simply furnished, comfortable rooms have views of the fells. Home-cooked local fare in the Farmyard Dining Room features the likes of Woolpack pie with beef dripping chips and Traditional Tatie Pot with Herdwick mutton and black pudding. Excellent real ales are available too. Read expert review. From £60per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best hotels in the Lake District

The Star Inn Harome, Helmsley, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Most book a room to experience the Michelin-starred restaurant at this thatched 14th-century pub boasting chocolate-box looks and a bucolic farming village location. Whitby-born chef-owner Andrew Pern was one of the first champions of local sourcing and he has a huge kitchen garden at the back of the inn. The menu might include crab sticks on avocado ice, lamb chops with truffled faggot or honey-roasted duck with tea-poached quail’s egg. There’s an element of fun, too – think a beer and cider pairing menu and black pudding bread. Each bedroom has a quirky feature: perhaps a pool table, piano, or bath with countryside view. Read expert review. From £150per night.

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Shibden Mill Inn Halifax, Yorkshire, England

8Telegraph expert rating

You might think you’re in for a last tango in Halifax if you approach this 17th-century inn from Swales Moor Road – it’s a bone-rattling ride down a narrow cobbled lane against a dizzying gradient as you enter the deep folds of Shibden Valley. But arrival is a treat once you spot this little gem nestled next to Red Beck; the waters of this stream powered the building when it was a mill (a Halifax brewer turned it into an inn after a devastating fire in 1859). Low, exposed wooden beams, open fires and trophy stag's heads lend atmosphere. Bedrooms have huge stone archways, soaring ceilings, skylights, canopied beds and heated floors. Don’t miss the cheese board at dinner – it offers a good choice of Yorkshire’s finest. Read expert review. From £76per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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The Killingworth Castle Wootton, Cotswolds, England

8Telegraph expert rating

In 1636, a Geordie called Thomas Killingworth built this inn facing fields on the edge of honey-stone Wootton. Look out for the County Firemark at the top of the pub’s front wall – an old sign to indicate the inn had insurance (if you didn’t have one the fire brigade wouldn’t help in an emergency). Its rustic-chic with exposed-stone arches, wood floors, crackling fires and a long bar that is a very much a haunt of locals. Rural peace is pretty much guaranteed in the eight bedrooms, which are in a separate stable block away from potential pub noise. There’s an impressive craft ale range, and eating here is a treat. Talented chef Sonya Kidney capitalises on Cotswold produce, like roast beef with celeriac remoulade and pheasant breast with roast cabbage. Read expert review. From £99per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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The Wight Mouse Inn Isle of Wight, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This welcoming stone-built Georgian-era inn nestled in the peaceful village of Chale was briefly renamed Clarendon Hotel after the Clarendon ship that sank in Chale Bay in 1836 – though now it’s the Wight Mouse again. Some of the inn’s timber was salvaged from the wreck. It’s worth checking in for the views alone; sweeping across Tennyson Down and Freshwater Bay, where the sun sets behind white cliffs. Higgledy-piggledy rooms are full of character, with flagstone, oak beams, and large log fires. Picture-bay windows frame the spectacular view. The 10 rooms are fresh and bright if basic – bring your own toiletries. An extensive menu of pub food is supplemented by a chalkboard of daily specials. Meat is from the local butcher at dinner; breakfast features homemade croissants and a full fry-up. Read expert review. From £79per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best Lake District pubs and inns

The Bull Inn Charlbury, Cotswolds, England

8Telegraph expert rating

A 16th-century coaching inn in a honey-stone town just an hour from London by train. It's also handily located for visits to Blenheim Palace or Chipping Norton. The Bull oozes atmosphere with appealing period accoutrements of inglenook fireplace and exposed stone walls and beams. There’s a modern, arty vibe too, with flamboyant furnishings and striking paintings from the Crane Kelman gallery in London (you can buy one on the way out if you like). The four bedrooms are glamorously devised – one has walls hand-painted by artist Fifi McAlpine, another is soothingly deep green. The inn has its own butchery so order a meat dish for dinner; breakfast eggs come from nearby Cackleberry FarmRead expert review. From £85per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

This article was written by Telegraph Travel experts from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

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