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Review: Charlecote Pheasant Hotel

Searching for a lovely country stay where you can explore neighbouring Charlecote Park and south Warwickshire - AND Fido will be more than welcome? Look no further.

THE LOCATION

Smack bang between Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon you’ll find Charlecote. It’s a teeny tiny hamlet but punches well above its weight, with plenty going on here. There’s the quintessential chocolate box houses to amble around, Warwickshire’s last working water mill which even sells its own flour, Charlecote Park, the huge National Trust deer park, and of course this immensely popular village pub and hotel. It’s a former farmhouse and hayloft with 70 rooms, just brimming with period features and with perfectly manicured gardens.

THE VIBE

Inside it’s a hodge-podge of new and old – with the historic farmhouse the setting for a beautiful restaurant and bar area, and the newer buildings home to plush hotel rooms. If it’s a fine day, there’s loads of seating in the pretty, outdoor gardens in the shadow of the neighbouring church – perfect for enjoying a glass of something cold in the sunshine.

The restaurant and bar are really impressive spaces, a real mix of period features blended with contemporary, beautiful furniture and statement pieces. It’s all mood lighting, low beams and nooks and crannies for cosy catch ups. Pictures adorning the walls are a nod to the area’s history with snapshots of local people hard at work. There’s also a doggy ‘pit stop’ where you can grab some biscuits, water and a blanket for the most important member of the family before heading through for a drink or a bite. If you take your pooch he’ll be welcome at most bars, restaurants and shops in Warwick and Stratford too, and if you’re looking for some awesome local dog walks with a pub pit-stop check out my feature here.

SCOFF & QUAFF

Food is offered in both the bar area and restaurant, and both are lovely and relaxed – perfect to swing by for a meal after a long walk around the park. Don’t waste your time looking for the menu online before you go, it’s not on the website (which for someone who likes to have a peruse before they go was a bit disconcerting) but I’m told this is as it’s updated so regularly. I needn’t have worried anyway – we were spoilt for choice.

It was steadily busy, and to be honest even if you just fancy a drink it’s worth popping in thanks to the local offerings including gin and rum from Shakespeare Distillery and ale from the Warwickshire Beer Company.

With a glass of chilled Ren Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in hand (which I can highly recommend) we had a peruse of the menu. It’s not huge, but its a people-pleaser with something for everyone.

I went with the beetroot cured salmon (£7.95) which was a delicious earthy, light starter. It came with the addition of a potato salad which I wouldn’t have thought to put together, but somehow just worked. My mum (is there anything better than a gossipy dinner with mum) went with the salt and pepper squid (£6.95) coated in a light batter with a sweet chilli sauce for dipping.

Onto the main event – we both couldn’t say no to the slow braised blade of beef in red wine gravy (£16.95). And it was cooked to perfection. The meat melted in your mouth and was deliciously rich, and came with crunchy veg and perfectly cooked potatoes.

You’d think we wouldn’t have room for pud, but obviously I don’t want to let the team down, so we shared a banoffee pie (£5.95) and a cheeseboard (£8.95). As someone who likes their cheese as smelly as possible, the stilton was an absolute hit, and the brie and cheddar were real crowd pleasers. The pie was an absolute triumph too with a lovely thick layer of chocolate on top.

STAY

The Charlecote Pheasant has 70 rooms including executive suites and dog-friendly rooms if you’re taking your pup – which I’d highly recommend because there’s so many gorgeous walks around here. We stayed in one of the suites, which was roomy, with gorgeous, serene views overlooking the park. When we arrived in the early evening there were cattle and sheep which we could see out of the window, and by the morning these were replaced by one of the herd of deer which roam freely across the park.

Decor was classic and there were coffee machines with plenty of pods (why are there never enough!). The bed in our room was super king size and there was a squishy sofa, perfect for enjoying a nightcap or some precious reading time that never seems to happen at home. Rooms are bigger and better value than you’d get in some nearby hotels too which is worth considering if you’re thinking of doing some sightseeing in one of the towns – classic doubles come in at around £75. There is some TLC needed in hallways which I hear the hotel is looking to work on, but the rooms are comfy and good value.

OUT & ABOUT

The main calling card for the Charlecote Pheasant is its location. Pack your walking boots, you’re gonna need ’em. It’s directly opposite National Trust’s Charlecote Park – a Victorian home set in more than 180 acres of woodland with herds of Jacob sheep and fallow deer. If you’re up bright and early take a meander over and the deer are often right by the entrance, including some rare albino deer. It’s a short walk too from Charlecote Mill, the last working water mill in Warwickshire which still produces its own flour.

A 15 minute drive away is Stratford-upon-Avon with the RSC, Shakespeare’s Birthplace and if its a nice day then hop on a boat and take a trip down the Avon. Around the same distance is Warwick with the castle, and if it’s shopping you’re after then head to Leamington.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: If you’re looking for a base for walking, exploring south Warwickshire and want to take the pooch with you then this is a great choice and good value.

Not for: If you’re after the creme de le creme then maybe take a peek elsewhere. Some parts of the hotel could do with a bit more love, but it also adds to its charm.

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