Red Lion & Troutbeck Guest House

East Chisenbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom Book from £135

Reviewed by Kate Parsons
A warm welcome and Michelin-starred food, coupled with luxe rooms and plenty of peace in a Wiltshire village
To call this a pub with rooms is to do it a serious dis-service. Since opening in 2008, owners Brittany and Guy Manning have worked tirelessly to build up the Lion’s culinary reputation (they met whilst working at Per Se, Thomas Keller’s New York restaurant), and in 2012 their efforts were rewarded with a Michelin star. Rather than rest on their laurels, they then gave themselves a new challenge: to open an accompanying guest house. Troutbeck is a 2-minute walk from the pub, and both offer service and quality that's a real cut above the norm. Guy is Head Chef and Brittany has been the driving force behind the restaurant's exquisite pastry, the front of house, and now the guest house.

The 5 bedrooms are enormous, and fully specced out with mod cons and private terraces overlooking the River Avon. Combined, Red Lion & Troutbeck offer the charm of a pretty rural pub, along with food that absolutely wows and a great night's sleep. Staff are genuinely friendly, and there's a big pub garden for sunny days, with alfresco tables and their own chickens and pigs. If you're looking for a romantic country bolthole to treat yourselves, we can think of nowhere better.

Highs

  • Superb food, but without all the stuffiness and fuss that tends to go along with fine dining, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner every day
  • As the 5 bedrooms are all on one level, and away from the pub, they are gloriously quiet
  • The setting - a picturesque village, and the guest house rooms overlook a private stretch of the River Avon
  • Great walking from your doorstep; trout fishing and golf nearby, or visit Stonehenge and Salisbury
  • Thoughtful attention to detail - we loved the hangover cures by your bed, homemade biscuits and cordial, Pictionary for rainy days, and complimentary Buck's Fizz at breakfast!

Lows

  • You'll need to book well ahead, especially if you want to have dinner during your stay (lunch is less busy)
  • Breakfast is served in the pub, but Troutbeck has umbrellas in case it's raining for your 2-minute walk
  • Not a full-service hotel, but they do a good job of covering all the bases they can

Best time to go

Perfect for a stay at any time of year. In summer you can enjoy the river views from your room, your decked terrace and the pub garden. In winter, relax by the open fires in the pub then cosy up in your room.

Our top tips

Switch off your mobile. We had a totally indulgent time with long soaks in the bath, an afternoon reading on our private terrace, a delicious dinner, then a long lie-in before a lazy breakfast.

Great for...

Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 5
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Best for babies
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

Troutbeck is a modern bungalow with just 5 individually styled, super-comfy rooms. Guy and Brittany used the best of the best when creating them: Somnus beds, Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems, Egyptian cottons and linens, Dualit kettles and contemporary fixtures and fittings, married with the odd antique. Boutique by numbers this certainly ain't.

All rooms are spacious with giant glass doors (most bi-fold) that lead out onto your private decked area with chairs and table, alongside the River Avon. We stayed in the huge Benjamin Suite and woke up to 3 swans breakfasting outside our door! Decorated in silver and blue, this was a really beautiful room with a gorgeous slipper bathtub and a small sofa.

The Chamberlain Room is dressed in sage and gold tones, with a large wardrobe, leather love seat and shower bathroom. Of the Superior Rooms, The Anglesea Room is a dramatic petrol blue, and its bathroom has a tub and shower. The Davenport Room is lovely and light, its walls a pale green, a jaunty fish cushion guarding an armchair, and a big shower bathroom. The Manser Room is wheelchair-friendly with a wet-room style bathroom. It is the most peaceful room, being the furthest from the road, and is also dog-friendly. All bathrooms have cosy robes and an array of Quintessentially English toiletries.

But it's the quirky touches that really set this place apart. As Guy and Brittany's past and present revolves around food, décor includes framed menus from fine-dining establishments around the world, and classic cookbooks (Locatelli, Larousse Gastronomique). Inventive minibars host Sipsmith gin and vodka, Frobishers juices and complimentary homemade lime cordial or freshly squeezed OJ, as well as delicious biscuits. You'll find hangover cures by the bed, Pictionary in the wardrobe, and leather guides full of information about the local area and beyond.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Complimentary soft drinks
  • Cots Available
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Red Lion's food is multi-award winning and rightly so - just make sure you book a table in advance. Ingredients are locally sourced and everything is beautiful quality, the marriage of flavours and combinations brilliantly thought through. The drinks list has been equally considered, and prices, whilst on the high side for a pub, are certainly not exorbitant. Staff are friendly and keen to make suggestions and discuss provenance and cooking processes, and extras are all homemade (from brown and tartare sauce to the tomato juice in Bloody Marys).

At dinner, a tomato consommé with broad beans, feta and croutons delivered a fabulous punch of flavour. Next, we opted for the Loch Duart salmon with avocado, spring onions and coriander, and light-as-a-feather goujons of Cornish lemon sole. So far, so delicious. The plentiful supply of fresh sourdough and butter (hand-churned by Guy’s 81-year-old father) was an additional delight. When it came to our main courses, the chicken with polenta and roasting juices was sublime. A creamy gooseberry fool and indulgent Valrohna chocolate mousse with fleur de sel finished things off perfectly. Nothing felt rushed and we really enjoyed the laid-back pub atmosphere.

We fully indulged at breakfast the next day, too, kicking off with homemade granola, compote and local yoghurt, followed by eggs Benedict made from their freshly laid eggs and brioche with ham, home-cured from their West Berkshire pigs. Coffee is made to order and there's just-squeezed orange juice for your Buck's Fizz.

In addition to à la carte lunches, bar snacks are available all day - we can recommend the Scotch eggs and smoked pork ribs with pickled coleslaw. For a change of scene, try Thomson's Deli in Pewsey - open for daily lunches and weekend dinners.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Bar snacks
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore the local footpaths to help you build up an appetite. Staff can provide recommendations and maps
  • Kick back on your terrace and read a book by the river, then treat yourself to an in-room massage
  • Stonehenge, a mystical World Heritage site, is just 15 minutes away. This incredible pre-historic monument has stood proud for 3,500 years, and to this day no one can explain why the circle of vast stones was built
  • We love historic Salisbury with its stunning cathedral and grand 15th-century banqueting hall that now houses the cinema
  • Indulge in country pursuits - clay pigeon shooting, trout fishing, horse riding and golf can all be arranged locally
  • Birders can visit Wiltshire's Great Bustard Project, aimed at reintroducing these majestic birds to the wild
  • There are a number of excellent National Trust properties in the area, from Lacock Abbey (featured in Pride & Prejudice and Cranford) to Avebury Manor. Nearby Highclere Castle, featured in Downton Abbey, is also popular
  • Beautiful Bath is only an hour away and we always find it hard to resist for boutique shopping, the famous thermal spa and delicious cream teas
  • Longleat Safari Park is an hour away: drive through the monkey enclosure, explore the maze, and see lions, tigers and giraffes

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Clay pigeon shooting
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wildlife

Kids

Whilst we wouldn’t particularly recommend this for families, children are welcome, and Britt and Guy understand the requirements involved with small kids as they have a young family of their own.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Benjamin Suite can accommodate a child/adult on its sofabed; all rooms can fit a baby cot (free of charge)

Babysitting:

On request

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs
  • Toys to borrow (on request)

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Kid-sized portions can be served in the pub

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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