Advertisement

Roasts with rooms: The cosiest weekend stays in the UK

 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

Autumn heralds the comfort, tradition, and gravy-soaked glee of a Sunday roast — particularly when someone infinitely more capable is cooking it for you. Even better is making a weekend of it, and enjoying those goose-fat drizzled roasties after long, bracing walks, or soaks in a theatrical bath.

Whether you prefer the idea of venison cooked over an open fire in Norfolk’s contemporary art-clad countryside, or pork T-bone drenched in Kent apple cider, scoffed in the confines of a Medieval coaching inn, these are the best roast-with-rooms for a weekend escape.

The Beckford Arms, Fonthill Gifford, Salisbury

Not far from Tisbury and an easy journey from the Big Smoke, The Beckford Arms is your classic country boozer-with-beds, where ivy overhangs the vast Georgian windows. It’s the sort of place where you can hunker down for the whole weekend, and it is firmly anchored into the country sports community. Raging fires keep faces animated and cockle-warming, and jolly scenes unfold beneath hops-coated beams.

Expect dishes such as 35-day aged beef, slow-braised lamb, and lentil loaf on the Sunday menu at Beckford (The Beckford Arms)
Expect dishes such as 35-day aged beef, slow-braised lamb, and lentil loaf on the Sunday menu at Beckford (The Beckford Arms)

Chef Jonny Sutcliffe’s Sunday lunches are crafted with long Wiltshire romps in mind and dictated by whatever treasure the local farmers, fishermen, and guns haul to the back door. There’s your 35-day aged beef and horseradish classic, the slow-braised lamb brisket with mint sauce, or a lentil and kidney bean loaf for the veggies — all served with the roast accoutrements (cauliflower cheese layered in thick Westcombe cheddar, Yorkshire puddings, and piping hot carrots and swede). Saunter upstairs to earth-hued rooms dotted in gently contemporary prints and delicious Bramley products, or book into the romantically designed Arch on the Fonthill estate, whose period-pretty rooms overlook acres of misty parkland, ripe for exploration.

Book: Doubles from £105 (beckfordarms.com).

Boys Hall, Kent

Blacklock’s Shane Pearson is the man behind the menu at new Kent haunt Boys Hall (Mark Anthony Fox)
Blacklock’s Shane Pearson is the man behind the menu at new Kent haunt Boys Hall (Mark Anthony Fox)

With Blacklock and Caravan on his CV, head chef Shane Pearson is just the man to whip up reimagined roasts at fresh-on-the-scene Boys Hall in Kent. A nifty 35-minutes from King’s Cross, the exquisitely renovated venue has all the mullioned window, aged beam, and wonky, four-poster charm you can hope for in a Kentish refurbishment.

Roasts are cooked over the fire at this 17th Century hall (Boys Hall)
Roasts are cooked over the fire at this 17th Century hall (Boys Hall)

Rooms decked in dark, brooding furniture reflect the building’s 17th Century vintage, as does the vast brick fire in the main barn-like restaurant, where meaty feasts are served. Sunday roasts are cooked rather theatrically over the fire, such as spatchcock chicken with fermented fennel and courgette, whole grilled sea bream with lemon gremolata, rare breeds pork T-bone drenched in Kent apple cider and served with beef-dripping crispy Ratte potatoes and charred hispi cabbage.

Book: Doubles from £160 per night (boys-hall.com).

The Pig on the Beach, Studland, Dorset

The Dorset edition of The Pig has amazing views of Old Harry Rocks (Lime Wood Group)
The Dorset edition of The Pig has amazing views of Old Harry Rocks (Lime Wood Group)

Hogging the most picturesque clifftop spot along Studland’s yacht-filled bay, The Pig on the Beach is a Gothic wonky wonder with sigh-inducing views of Old Harry Rocks. The Greenhouse restaurant’s 25-mile menu is commendably local on any day of the week, showcasing Dorset’s top-drawer produce with imaginatively low-key flair.

On Sundays, guests chew on ‘Piggy Bits’ of crispy pork belly and honeyed mustard on sourdough toast, before tucking into confit lamb shoulder with sweet, gently caramelised roasted carrots and preserved berry sauce, or (the full hog) Jurassic Coast pork loin with garden greens and homegrown apple and rosehip sauce. Yes, it’s a chichi riff on the classic pub roast, but with ample vegetarian options (think heritage tomato tarts and wild garden gnocchi) and rustic-chic rooms clad in botanical prints to rest yourDorset Cosmo heavy heads in, it’s what the crowds came for.

Book: Doubles from £255 per night (thepighotel.com).

The Sherborne Arms, Northleach, Cotswolds

Tom Noest and Pete Creed’s fifth pub specialises in classic British food, including offal and game (The Sherborne Arms)
Tom Noest and Pete Creed’s fifth pub specialises in classic British food, including offal and game (The Sherborne Arms)

The culinary duo behind The Bell at Langford and The Little Bell at Soho Farmhouse, Tom Noest and Pete Creed opened their fifth pub this spring, much to the delight of their fuss-free foodie fanbase. Having begun life as a blacksmiths, the Sherborne Arms is exactly the sort of time-warp 16th Century, gnarled-beamed, and wonky boozer that walkers (or village-hoppers) hope to stumble upon.

Sunday roasts here are pure, carnal delight, all lathered in some cleverly paired sauce or perfectly turned gravy, hitting that late Sunday afternoon spot after hours of leaf-kicking. Tom and his team specialise in classic British food, such as offal and game, making the humble roasts (artfully cooked) their bread and butter. These can drag on for hours beside the cracking fire, with goblets of Pinot Noir and sticky toffee puddings — what’s the rush with three sea-grass-carpeted rooms upstairs, where a standalone bathtub on a raised platform promises a slow morning.

Book: Doubles from £100 per night (thesherbornenorthleach.com).

The Lygon Arms, The Cotswolds

This 16th Century coaching inn is the classic country boozer (The Lygon Arms)
This 16th Century coaching inn is the classic country boozer (The Lygon Arms)

Having somehow kept its convivial caché for well over 500 years, this 16th Century coaching inn, just off Broadway’s main thoroughfare, evinces a flame and flagstone era of England, while keeping things country fresh in its courtyard-cosy rooms. Old walls, low-slung beams, and panting dogs splayed out beneath bar stools paint the picture of an old country boozer. This one can count Oliver Cromwell and Charles I among its guests, whose footsteps you can retrace up a creaky staircase to the main rooms, where a tartan-clad four poster mahogany bed awaits. The courtyard rooms are less Medieval, more mod-con country, with crittal doors and squishy tartan headboards.

Sunday roasts are as ceremonial as the archery sessions put on by this honey-stoned Cotswoldian classic, with chef James Martin rustling up some serious vegetarian options. Think roast cauliflower with chickpea dhal and cucumber and coconut yoghurt, as well as the belly-warming beef, chicken, or pork chop with roast potatoes, greens, and near-poetic Yorkshire puddings, which are never short of another drop of gravy.

Book: Doubles from £195 per night (lygonarmshotel.co.uk).

Duncombe Arms, Derbyshire

Finish a hike through the Peak District with a long, lazy lunch at Duncombe Arms (Duncombe Arms)
Finish a hike through the Peak District with a long, lazy lunch at Duncombe Arms (Duncombe Arms)

Having resuscitated a boarded-up-boozer on the fringes of their Derbyshire-Staffordshire estate, Laura and Johnny Greenall (of the gin dynasty) got to work on the food, approaching it all with a simple-but-sumptuous ethos. Standards are high, and the mood and menu easy-going enough to foster a local community spirit.

Round off a visit to the resplendent Chatsworth House or a hike through the Peak District with a long, lazy Sunday lunch here. Try the bells-and-whistles Herefordshire beef with all the Yorkshire puddings, roasties, and glazed carrots you could hope for, or an equally hearty chicken, ham, and wholegrain mustard pie with butter-laden potatoes and blanched greens.

Having leaned into the extensive wine list with its Kent sparkling rosé and Argentine reds, or sampled the Eton mess and sticky toffee puddings, diners can retreat to the contemporary-country Walnut House’s rooms, or the Old Barn (sleeping six), and the Garden Cottage (sleeping eight) which are folded into Wooton Hall estate’s pastoral grounds.

Book: Doubles from £195 per night (duncombearms.com).

The Mitre, Hampton Court

The Mitre’s jovial interiors were designed by Nicola Harding (The Mitre)
The Mitre’s jovial interiors were designed by Nicola Harding (The Mitre)

The Mitre is one of the best roast-with-rooms option for a short weekend, at just 45 minutes from London. Interior design maestro Nicola Harding’s playful colours and prints flesh out the below-stairs (but sufficiently grand) bones. Clinging to the banks of the River Thames (with various year-round boating capers making for superb viewing), and a stone’s throw from Hampton Court Palace, The Mitre has film-set currency — it was, after all, once used to house any overspill for Henry VIII’s guests. True to kingly form, the roasts here are a veritable feast of Hereford roast rib of beef or crispy Berkshire pork belly with all the fluffy Yorkshire puddings, glazed veg, and garlic roast potatoes a court could hope for.

Make a mental note to stew in the standalone baths in the smarter end of the 36 respun (and jovially dressed) rooms well before your roast rendezvous, for fear of sinking.

Book: Doubles from £150 per night (mitrehamptoncourt.com).

The Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market, Norfolk

Roasts are cooked over an open fire in the Elk Rooms at Gunton Arms (Gunton Arms)
Roasts are cooked over an open fire in the Elk Rooms at Gunton Arms (Gunton Arms)

The Gunton Arms is a Norfolk institution, worth braving the Friday night road choke for with its unusual cocktail of cool art and flagstone-and-fire-lit interiors battered by the centuries. The late celebrated interior designer Robert Kime worked his moody magic on the upstairs heritage-heavy rooms — all of which seem to perfectly echo Norfolk’s melancholic hues, where vast sky, land, and sea converge.

Following long walks through the deer park or along the nearby, dune-flanked beaches, hungry amblers can tuck under long, gnarled tables. Enjoy Gunton red deer rump, Aberdeen Angus beef, or enormous steaks cooked over the Elk Room’s open fire. These perfectly charred hunks of local beast are festooned with goose-fat roasties and from-the-garden veg, duly washed down with jewel-like burgundy glasses of red.

Book: Doubles from £120 per night (theguntonarms.co.uk).

The Barnsdale, Rutland

The Barnsdale’s rooms are perfect for cosying up in with a good book (Greenlys)
The Barnsdale’s rooms are perfect for cosying up in with a good book (Greenlys)

England’s smallest county is blessed with rugged, agricultural good looks and stellar produce. The Barnsdale smugly collects this top-notch local bounty for its kitchens, where Sundays are centred around elevated riffs on the classic roast beef and pork belly with all the Yorkshire and roastie trimmings. Don’t forget to ease into the roast ritual with warm focaccia and malted bread or the crisy cauliflower popcorn.

Having fallen into the more-than-capable hands of the Signet Collection (also behind The Mitre), this Rutland classic has received the copper bath, statement headboard, and candy-stripe wallpaper room treatment.

After rambling along the banks of Rutland Water, fly-fishing, or snooping around Rockingham Castle (Dickens’ inspiration for Chesney Wold in Bleak House), the delightfully comfortable, textile-heavy rooms are a heavenly refuge to curl up in with tea and biscuits, and a good book.

Book: Doubles from £120 per night (barnsdalerutland.com).