Once upon a time there was a dream of England; her babbling brooks, her tranquil woods, her fields stretching away as far as the eye can see in a pleasingly asymmetric patchwork quilt. Atop this indulgently utopic vision sits the English pub – steadfast in her claim to be the most vital cog in the complex, intertwined workings of this green and pleasant land. During covid, the British public reserved the fever pitch of their indignation and horror at their rapidly retreating civil liberties for the darkest day of all; the day the pubs were forced to close. The point that I am trying to make, and butchering in the process, is that the pub, and our love of the pub, is something so utterly essential, so ubiquitous, that when someone does it really, really well it should be praised beyond measure.
Now, imagine, if you will, what happens when this perfect pub also has dazzlingly well decorated and wonderfully charming bedrooms. This is a force to be reckoned with – this, is the Bradley Hare.
The Bradley Hare, found in the beating heart of rural Wiltshire about 20 miles from Stonehenge, is somehow the most quintessential version of the English pub, serving phenomenal, locally sourced food, whilst also managing to be that little bit chic and effortlessly elegant at the same time. James Thurstan Waterworth, one of the co-founders, was the ex-European Design Director for Soho House, which would explain why the décor achieves the impossible of straddling the gap between whimsical, old-school charm and graceful modernity.
The Bradley Hare, formerly a Victorian inn, is comprised of two buildings; the main one holds the bar, the restaurant and some of the 12 rooms, the other one is contains the remainder of the rooms. Both buildings are made from an extremely handsome stone, framed by red brick with terracotta roof tiles. Upon entering, you will find ‘The Snug’ directly in front of you. A large, dark stained oak bar with raised bar stools flanked by a merrily roaring wood burner complete with a pair of armchairs and framed by some trendy modern art. The tones of the room are calming and neutral with the occasional dazzling pop of colour from either the carefully chosen artwork, the upholstery on the chairs or the Persian rugs which are strategically scattered around.
The food at the Bradley Hare is top notch. A huge deal of effort goes into ensuring that, wherever possible, local fare is used whether this is seasonal veg, game from the local butcher, or beautiful fresh fish from the fishmonger. The menu changes at a rate of knots as the gastronomic offering is ingredients lead, so the menu will bend over backwards for what is freshest, rather than it being the other way around. Stand out options from the current menu include the grilled monkfish tail, curried bisque and turmeric potatoes for mains, with the pigeon, onion, Jerusalem artichoke and hazelnuts as a starter. I think it’s important to add at this juncture that The Bradley Hare can also more than hold its own on the cocktail front – their ludicrously dirty Martini ranked amongst some hall of famers. Staff are also very hot on their efforts to reduce waste and are committed to ideals of ‘zero-waste dining’.
The Bradley Hare has 12, perfectly formed rooms. The interiors, just like the rest of the venue, have their feet firmly rooted in stylish classicism, but make frequent nods to the here and now. No bedroom is the same and each one features antique 18th and 19th Century furniture sourced from around the country. My own room also boasted a vast, snow white, free-standing bath tub in the bedroom and a very welcome bottle of red on a side table right by it – blissful after a rather arduous drive. The super-king sized bed seemed to go on forever and was dressed in beautiful, crisp linen.
The staff at The Bradley Hare could not be more accommodating and are visibly thrilled when it’s clear that you’re having a good time whilst under their care. They brim with local tips and tricks about where to go, what to see, and generally about how to get the very best from your visit. The Bradley Hare is set on the Duke of Somerset’s estate and so there are plenty of gorgeous local walks to do and ‘cutesy’ villages to explore. This is a venue that is perfectly suited for that thing that keeps us all going through the ravages of British Winter; the shamelessly self-indulgent weekend getaway…
The Bradley Hare, Church St, Maiden Bradley, Warminster BA12 7HW