As lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease and the re-opening of hotels is on the horizon, I wanted to share with you my stay-cation retreat to The Crab & Boar in Newbury, Berkshire with Dannielle of The Heart Led for a much-needed wellness stay (and girly catch-up).
I have been busy compiling a list of the UK’s ultimate stay-cation destinations to share with you all, and in the midst of this I just couldn’t overlook this award-winning country pub, who have now reopened with a few changes – read the statement here. The Crab & Boar is nestled in the heart of West Berkshire farmland and yet easily accessible from the M4 at Junction 13 near Chieveley.
Following long weeks of lockdown, I would hasten to imagine you’re in need of a bit of a break, whether that’s just for a change of scenery or to reset ready to embrace this newer normal, or you need a well-deserved rest and couple of days away from the children and the trials and tribulations of home-schooling, a pub get-away like this is the perfect solution.
So, let me take you back to early this year when COVID19 wasn’t even a ‘thing’, I hopped into my car and made way to West Berkshire, the home of The Crab & Boar, country pub, bed and breakfast and proud member of the Epicurean Collection.
Things to do during your stay:
The Crab & Boar is situated just 20 minutes from the real life Downton Abbey – Highclere Castle in Newbury, a must visit if you’re in the area and a fan of the iconic ITV drama series. For racing enthusiasts, Newbury Racecourse is located nearby, so the hotel and pub makes a great base for an unforgettable days racing once the public are invited back to cheer on the horses and jockeys and share in the celebrations.
And of course, the picturesque Berkshire countryside is right on The Crab & Boar’s doorstep (literally), with hours of rural walks and rambles to explore including the beautiful historic ruins of the 14th-century Donnington Castle.
For the country sporting enthusiasts, incredible shooting and fishing experiences are available for you to immerse yourself in as part of your stay. With 31 of the country’s premier shooting estates and chalk streams in the surrounding area, you’ll be able to enjoy either or both during your time at The Crab & Boar, you only need to ask.
Similarly, if, like me, you are just in need of a relaxing get-away nestled amongst rolling British countryside, then one of the hotel’s two hot tub rooms is what you need. If this doesn’t sound appealing enough, all of the pub’s bed and breakfast rooms are dog friendly so, if you’re travelling with your canine better half you can rest assured they’re just as valued a guest as you.
The Crab & Boar experience:
Want to know about our stay? Well as you can maybe imagine, I shotgunned the hot tub room (is that even still a thing?) and no sooner had Dannielle and I dropped our bags off in our individual rooms, we gathered in my room for a relaxing dip in the hot tub, complete with cup of tea and lots of chit chat before dinner.
My room – Great Holt, situated on the ground floor, was a spacious, rustic rural inspired stylish double with clean and well equipped ensuite. The hot tub is located undercover in a small and secluded private patio terrace just behind the room which is accessible by the adjoining French doors.
Dannielle’s room was a short walk away, upstairs. This was a smaller, snug style room with tasteful quirky and charming decor finished with lots of plush cushions and of course an ensuite too.
Once we had exhausted the hot tub and were beginning to resemble prunes, we decided to shower and get ready for dinner. Down in the pub now, the true country charm is evident in every corner of the bar and restaurant; from field sports and hunting inspired artwork, to traditional rustic furniture and inviting roaring fire.
Sitting down to a well-dressed, idyllic candle lit table positioned in front of a window (my favourite), we were presented with today’s menu. Anyone who knows me well, knows good food really is the way to my heart and to say I was excited to experience the award-winning food at The Crab & Boar would be an understatement.
With a passion for showcasing the best of British produce from both it’s shores and fields; fresh, local and seasonal produce is of the upmost importance to the team here. Whether it’s rich and nutritious locally sourced game or freshly caught fish each dish on the menu celebrates British produce. It is important to note that vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are available and trust me – they looked just as delicious as the standard dishes on the standard menu.
Our delicious three course meal consisted of many delights including freshly baked bread to accompany an incredible soup, locally sourced sausages (me) and burger (Dannielle). For Dannielle, knowing the origin of the food she eats is incredibly important, whilst for me, knowing it is ethically reared and produced is top of the list with locality being a welcome bonus!
A great night’s sleep and a perfect start to the day:
After what I think we would both describe as a wonderful night’s sleep in our rooms, we met again in the restaurant the next morning for a highly anticipated breakfast.
One of my absolute favourite things about a night away is the breakfast the following day. With an array of fresh fruit juices to choose from, I indulged in a refreshing glass or two… or three of fresh orange juice.
With a selection of cereals and pastries on offer as well as the option to order from a menu of cooked breakfasts, the one thing I would of loved to have seen more of is fresh fruit and yoghurt. However, the cooked breakfast of which I has salmon, scrambled eggs and a delicious field mushroom was absolutely incredible.
Once we’d finished our breakfast, Dannielle and I went back and said our final goodbyes to our respective rooms before once again meeting in the pub, armed with some coffee, for a little bit of mutual business planning together, feeling refreshed from our relaxing stay before hitting the road. Supporting and empowering fellow women in business to succeed and scale their business in collaboration with each other as opposed to competition is such a special thing.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at The Crab & Boar and can highly recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing break to recharge.
I don’t know about you, but I am itching to book my next overnight get-away, although I’ll be feeling a little anxious about it, I feel passionate about helping support our British hospitality industry get back on their feet just as I am about all small business including my own. Have you got any stay-cations booked for the coming months? If so, how are you feeling about venturing out to do something which we once wouldn’t have thought twice about?