This summer, it seems that almost everyone has been weekending in Cornwall, Camber Sands and the Cotswolds. Out of all the Big C’s? I headed to the latter. But with quaint villages overflowing with tourists and riverside spots spilling over with Instagrammers day tripping, I was relieved to have also booked at staycation at The Pheasant Inn a few miles away. Located in the North Wessex Downs, this country retreat is a proper gem. Want to know how to bag your stay for free? I’m spilling the beans on this Southern steal.
At A Glance
Location: Shefford Woodlands, Hungerford, RG17 7AA
In a nutshell: Country living less than 2 hours from London
Bed + bath: Spacious room with a waterfall shower, multiple balconies and shabby chic decor
Food + drink: The pub is cooking breakfast, Sunday roasts and fancy gastro bites, as well as cocktails and hampers to takeaway
£££: FREE stay on Sunday nights when you book in advance and spend £100 in the restaurant
I must admit that the main reason for my stay here was my love for a freebie. I came across The Pheasant in Conde Nast Traveller so knew that it would be a great shout. I called a few weeks before, mentioned the Sunday night offer and was emailed confirmation of our room and dinner booking. Arriving on a sunny day after an afternoon of farm stops and fruit picking (this city girl secretly loves a wholesome day), we were fortunate to learn that we had the best room in the hotel.
With not one, but two balconies; shabby chic chairs, a huge comfy bed and a quaint breakfast station, the room was just what we were after. But we didn’t have long before dinnertime, so it was straight to the pub. Starting off inside, we settled in for an Aperol Spritz (£9) and Picante de la Casa (£9) – a coriander-tipped take on the classic margarita. While the interior was cute, it was the gorgeous tented garden that I was eyeing up. So with a quick shuffle outside, it was onto beef carpaccio and halloumi bites (£6.50).
For mains, I went for the confit creedy carver duck (£18) while Josh opted for lamb with a tomato sauce (£16). He wasn’t too keen on his choice, but I was loving my pick… especially when paired with an Old Fashioned (£9) and finished off with the indulgent Baliey’s chocolate tart (£7). Whether you’re a foodie or just fancy a bargain night out of the city, you can’t go wrong here.
Now, if we’re talking hotels, we need to talk snoozin’. Recently, I’ve had everything from stunning stays with noisy nights to average rooms uplifted by the cosiest beds and sound-proofing. Unfortunately this old-school spot was in the former; with our room backing out onto the car park and garden area, it meant that we were woken early in the morning by other guests coming and going. But for a complimentary night out? I stuck my earplugs in and carried on dreaming.
Fancy getting a free night at The Pheasant? Simply call ahead to check that their Sunday offer is still running. Alternatively, they’re offering complimentary cocktails and a second night’s stay until November , alongside 50% off cocktails on Tuesdays in September.