“A charming Wiltshire inn that blends style, tradition and fabulous food in equal measures”
At the King John, the traditional blends seamlessly with the modern - neutral walls are brought to life with historical maps and work by local artists, Bang & Olufsen phones sit on antique tables alongside flatscreen Sony TVs.
Despite being above the main bar, The King Room was a haven of calm during our stay - certainly monarch friendly. And how could it not be, after an indulgent Bramley-scented dip in the freestanding tub, a deep slumber in the enormous super-kingsize bed, and a leisurely morning roused by fresh coffee and the drenching rainfall shower? The outlook is limited, but the ivy-draped bay window adds yet more stately charm.
Also on this floor are a handful of Superior and Luxury rooms (numbers 2-5). Original sash windows, crisp white bedding and homemade shortbreads ensure each one is as welcoming as the next.
Across the pebble drive, the converted coach house holds Luxury Rooms 6 and 8. A study in contrasts, the former is an airy double-height room while the latter is a quirky attic space with semi-open bathroom (taller guests beware, the beams are rather low). Ground-floor Superior Room 7 is also in the coach house; less private than some other rooms, it’s handy for those wanting to avoid the stairs during their stay.
This is a relaxed sort of place. Our afternoon easily turned into a lazy evening, catching the last of the suns rays in the tiered garden while sampling the bar's award-winning ales. As the air turned chillier, we headed into the country-chic restaurant for a warming supper amid rustic wooden tables and plump cushions.
Onto the menu, a creative mix of country favourites (meltingly good slow-cooked beef pie with buttery suet crust) and more creative additions (trout sashimi with peppery wasabi), all tied together with locally sourced ingredients. Adam was on hand to guide us through the varied wine list, recommending a bone-dry Picpoul de Pinet which suited our tastes perfectly.
I decided to keep my dining footprint as small as possible with a tasty salmon starter (smoked in the King John’s alfresco kitchen), followed by rare Wiltshire venison sliced amongst a seasonal beets salad. The inspiring pudding menu tempted us into share a white chocolate and raspberry parfait - sweet yet light. Oh, and don’t skip the bread, home-baked and pillowy soft. Holidays are made for indulging after all!
Of course, Sunday lunches are a weekly highlight, and any lunch can be stretched out over an entire afternoon if you so wish. In the morning, we took breakfast at a sun-dappled table beside the stone fireplace: jams, toast, pots of tea, an excellent full English (complete with house-smoked bacon) and delicate eggs royale set us up for the busy day ahead.
Although the King John isn't specifically geared towards families, all ages are welcome and families will feel at home in the friendly pub-restaurant. There's a tiered garden (best for older kids) and the rambling countryside allows plenty of space for letting off steam.
Children (4-12 years)
The King Room and Luxury Rooms have space for up to 3 guests; rollaway beds can be provided.
The roadside setting and tiered garden mean parents of toddlers will need to take extra care. No travel cots are provided, but parents are welcome to bring their own.