The Good Pub Crawl
PUBLISHED: 12:22 10 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:03 20 February 2013
Wiltshire magazine crawls off in search of new entries in the Good Pubs Guide and finds a good few pubs worth crawling to, with good food too.
The Good Pubs Guide is the pub enthusiast's bible, both for the best in beer and dining, and some half-a-dozen new entries for Wiltshire appear in this year's edition. Inclusion in the guide is all the more impressive since they emanate from customers' recommendations, later anonymously verified by inspection and new ones making the grade this year are:
Bakers Arms, Badbury
A 'bright sparkling little pub' and 'probably as close as it is possible to get to the archetypal little, down-to-earth country local' are just some of the plaudits heaped on the Bakers Arms. It is just off Swindon-Marlborough road and close by junction 15 of the M4. The pub serves Arkells beers, with good quality pub food - their club sandwich, apparently, defies anyone to finish it all.
Blue Boar, Aldbourne
The Blue Boar basks in the fact that it once provided a location for an episode in a 'Doctor Who' programme, but that isn't its only claim to fame. The pub serves Wadworths and a guest beer, with lots of unusual bottled beers. It is described as a 'friendly low beamed traditional pub with enjoyable food and drink'. The meals are said to be more than generous.
Castle Inn, Castle Combe
In the 'village that time forget' sits a pub and hotel that people like to remember, not only for its setting in what is said to be the 'prettiest village in England' but for the food, whether that be a five course meal served in the formal dining room or a simple bar snack or hearty pub meal served in the airy upstairs conservatory-style room with a roof terrace. Butcombe and Shepherd Neame Spitfire are on tap here as well as a good selection of wines and spirit by the glass.
Cross Keys, Upper Chute
On the Hampshire/Wiltshire border, the Cross Keys recently re-opened under new management and offers a wide selection of real ales, an extensive wine list, home-cooked food made from the finest local produce and spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. Described as a 'true country pub', the dining is good and deliberately unpretentious.
Seymour Arms, East Knoyle
A well liked pub that serves popular and reasonably priced food with a wide selection of lunchtime fare and a more expansive evening dining menu. A rambling layout lends itself to snug seating areas and the creeper-covered pub is conveniently located for the A303. East Knoyle was the birth place of Sir Christopher Wren, whose father was the local rector.
Refined pub dining in a delightful 15th century village inn, good beer, unpretentious food but with flair, and a mix of modern dining furniture with period fixtures and fittings are what make the Wheatsheaf such a delight to eat in. Good quality bar meals or more elaborate restaurant dishes with real ales on tap qualify the Wheatsheaf for inclusion in the Good Pub Guide.
White Horse, Winterbourne Bassett
The pub's reputation is built on quality and a relaxed, efficient service, as well individually prepared meals using the finest ingredients, most of which are locally sourced. The beer is Wadworths and the pub is described as a neat, civilised dining pub. There's a sizeable garden for those long, hot, Wiltshire days too.
The Good Pub Guide 2008 is out now price £14.99. See www.rbooks.co.uk or www.goodguides.co.uk for further information.