Fancy a quiet night in the countryside close to London with llamas (yes, llamas) for neighbours? We’ve got you covered.
Sometimes catching up with a girlfriend for dinner simply isn’t enough. You’re both rushing to get there, you never have enough time and you realise on the train home you haven’t covered half the topics you wanted to chat about. Enter the grown up sleepover – nope, no euphemisms here – you just get to go away with one of your besties and spend some quality time together, in a beautiful setting with delicious food , gorgeous bed linen, and…
This was how I came to be at The Merry Harriers in one of Surrey’s most picturesque villages, Hambledon. It’s somewhere that has managed to retain the feel of a local pub (with a host of happy regulars to prove it) but is also a superb staycation venue with beautifully designed rooms and an ability to cater to the more discerning traveller. This is a place to watch – for the team, under the ownership of Peter and Lana de Savary, have even bigger plans here – think shepherd huts, more bedrooms and an ever expanding dedication to the local produce served on the menu.
A 16th Century village inn, The Merry Harriers is blessed with its location in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s the perfect pitstop for cyclists, walkers, dog lovers and families who can cosy up by the fire or enjoy the beautiful garden in the warmer months. Yet equally it’s becoming a destination for those wanting a night away from the hustle and bustle, a dinner with friends or… wait for it… a llama trek through the countryside (complete with picnic and champagne on request).
These llamas (all 12 of them) live in a paddock beside the inn and if you’re staying over and want to wake up to their hilarious faces, we recommend booking into one of the Garden Rooms. These rooms are also dog friendly and set away from the pub itself. Wake up in the morning, make a cup of coffee and go say hi to the llamas who are inquisitive and curious as to what you’re up to and will come to the fence and peer questioningly at you. The llamas are available for ‘treks’ and it’s certainly an experience, leading a llama through the stunning Greensand Way.
Hungry work llama trekking, so if you don’t opt for the picnic option you can come back to the pub and have lunch or dinner. The chef here is passionate about using the produce local to the pub – there are dandelion leaves on salads, pesto made from nettles and wild garlic found close by. Similarly, the meat is sourced locally wherever possible – the Godalming sausages are delicious. The menu isn’t fancy but it’s pub food done really well. The breakfasts are hearty at its best – with strong coffee and rounds of toast.
One of the best things about The Merry Harriers is how easily reachable it is from London – either by train from Waterloo, or by car down the A3. If you do decide to take the train, you’ll need a taxi from the station but once there you won’t have to travel far with walks and food both on your doorstep. Overnight stays start from £95 and if you’re travelling with a dog, be sure to request a Garden Room.
The Merry Harriers, Surrey GU8 4DR
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Images © The Merry Harriers