Great British boltholes: A review of The Bradley Hare, Wiltshire

Great British boltholes: The pub with rooms near one of England’s greatest landscaped gardens that feels bloomin’ perfect

  • The Bradley Hare in Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire, is located close to the gorgeous gardens of Stourhead
  • The co-owner of the property is James Thurstan Waterworth, ex-European design director for Soho House
  • There are a dozen ‘reasonably priced’ rooms with compact bathrooms that are ‘sleek and sexy’

Pubs rarely feel this perfect. Within a handsome Victorian building, floorboards and flagstones are bedecked with rugs, walls daubed with Farrow & Ball colours, and armchairs are set by a wood burner beneath striking modern art.

It’s a relaxed place for a drink before moving into the smarter dining room, with its love seat, window alcoves and dining nooks, where candles from Charles Farris (the Queen’s chandler) flicker.

Everything is just so – there’s even a milk dispenser machine by the driveway that churns out cheese, butter and milkshakes. If it were my local, I’d be in it all the time.

Handsome: The Bradley Hare is located in Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire. Pictured is the Victorian pub’s exterior

There are seven bedrooms in the main house, with a further five in the Coach House next door. Pictured is one of the stylish rooms

It all makes sense when you discover that the co-owner of the property, on the Duke of Somerset’s estate, is James Thurstan Waterworth, ex-European design director for Soho House, the hip hotel and private club group. 

His eye for detail and passion for antiques is obvious everywhere – my bedroom, with stripy fabric headboard and jute carpet, features a characterful, creaking cabinet as well as a classic wooden desk and mirror.

It’s one of a dozen rooms, seven of which open out from a pleasant landing upstairs, with the rest in the Coach House, a former skittles alley, next door. Compact bathrooms are sleek and sexy, with aubergine and black tiles, powerful showers and large bottles of toiletries.

There’s one more ace the Bradley Hare holds up its furry sleeve – just four miles down the road is Stourhead, one of England’s greatest landscaped gardens, created for Henry Hoare in the 18th Century.

The pub is just four miles away from Stourhead, one of England’s greatest landscaped gardens, created for Henry Hoare in the 18th Century


The Bradley Hare, Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire. B&B from £115 a night during the week and £130 at weekends (

It’s a pleasant two-hour yomp from here to the 160ft King Alfred’s Tower, built for Henry on the spot where Alfred was believed to have rallied his troops in 878. Or there’s a shorter, more scenic stroll around the lake, where paths wind between sycamore and Spanish chestnut, ash and oak to yield classical temples, the Palladian bridge and even a hidden grotto.

Back at the Bradley Hare, the quintessentially English country garden is small but perfectly formed. As with the pub, the devil is in the detail – even the air-conditioning units have been cleverly concealed by newly planted trees.

The USP: Reasonably priced rooms in a stylish pub close to the gorgeous gardens of Stourhead.

The rooms: No 2 has pretty floral Hamilton Weston wallpaper, while No 3 has a cute cabin-style bed and a modern freestanding bath. Rooms in the Coach House are generally larger than those above the pub.

The food: Breakfast is currently continental-only, but there are plans to introduce a cooked version in the New Year. Supper is a cut above your average pub grub, but the halibut with shiitake and red wine was overpowered by tarragon. Although the crispy pink fir potatoes with truffle were delicious, there wasn’t the option of any green veg as a side dish, despite the promise of produce from the community gardens. The house wine, though, was tasty and great value at £20.   

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