Just 2 hours from London, the ivy-coated Beckford Arms is set on Wiltshire's rolling Fonthill Estate, with walks leading out from its duck-egg blue front door. The country pub essentials are all in place: wooden beams, local ales, cosy suites and log fires. Set away from the inn, hidden in the grounds, are a couple of dreamily designed lodges, and for anyone after some grandeur, how about staying in the historic, Grade-I listed Arch that forms the majestic entrance to the estate? It's upmarket yet down to earth, especially where the prices are concerned. Couples love the hideaway location and it's a good option for families, with a large garden and a play area. As we said, many things to many people.
- Well placed for exploring Wiltshire and surrounded by classic English countryside
- A welcoming pub that's fantastic value for money: elegant rooms and little extras, including a free Bramley product for i-escape guests
- Fabulous food ranging from fine restaurant fare (pan-fried pollock with cauliflower purée) to upmarket pub grub (cider-battered fish and chips and game pies)
- Flexible accommodation: cosy rooms, a family suite and romantic lodges (with kitchens) just down the lane
- Great service and a warm welcome that puts you instantly at ease
- This is a working pub, so a certain level of noise does make its way up to the rooms until closing time
- Some rooms are very small - Room 2 in particular
- Our bathroom was showing signs of age, but decor is refreshed seasonally
- No storage / hanging space for clothes
- The lodges are a 10-minute walk down a country lane (no pavement or street lights) on private parkland
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Country Inn
- 8 rooms + 3 lodges for 2-4
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car recommended
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
As an i-escape favourite, we’ve stayed in many of The Beckford’s rooms and lodges over the years. The décor is contemporary country, with lovely touches throughout. Walls are Farrow & Ball, carpets are seagrass. kingsize beds, Egyptian cotton sheets and Siberian goosedown bedding guarantee a good night’s sleep.
In the main inn, light-filled Large Double Room 7 stands out for its in-room rolltop bathtub - perfect for romantic getaways. We also loved Medium Double Room 1’s French windows and Juliet balcony facing an old magnolia tree. The long Attic suite is extra spacious and private - great for small families. The Small and Extra Small Doubles are compact in comparison; modest windows and squishy beds that dominate the room give them a snug feel. Comfortably cosy for one night, but for longer stays it would be worth spending a little more money for a lot more space.
Some bathrooms are compact, but they're filled with divine organic Bramley products. Excellent water pressure (a treat in old buildings like this) makes morning showers a pleasure. There are fresh flowers, pretty water glasses, Roberts radios and knitted hot water bottles. And in true homely style, you get a teapot with a cosy; fresh milk is left outside your door each morning.
Ten minutes down the lane you'll find 2 beautiful lodges. Perfectly suited to couples looking for space and seclusion, the Splendens Pavillions are nestled amongst Fonthill Estate’s woodland. A rural take on loft-living, they are light and airy with well-equipped kitchens, open-plan lounges and mezzanine bedrooms. Rolltop tubs gaze across the green and a wood-burner warms wintery evenings. They also benefit from having basic kitchens, so make a great choice for longer visits. We always love staying here.
The latest addition is the great Fonthill Victory Arch at the entrance to the estate, 20 minutes' walk from The Beckford Arms. Straddling the approach lane, this unique and historic building has been cleverly and painstakingly converted into a secret hideaway for 2-4, with one double bedroom, a compact bunk room for 2 up a spiral staircase, plus a cosy, comfy sitting room and kitchen-dining room on the ground floor.
The relaxed restaurant’s food measures up to the hype; everything we ate was fantastic. The only problem was choosing... We were almost swayed by the chicken liver parfait starter, but we plumped for the Jerusalem artichoke with runny poached egg, Berkswell cheese and crunchy garlic crumb. Our main - a rich, hearty whole Cornish plaice with kale - had a delicious kick of lemon and tangy horseradish cream. Afterwards, peanuts added a satisfying crunch to the dark chocolate tart with crème fraiche ice cream. Drinks were no afterthought either, we washed everything down with cucumber-infused water and the Beckford Bottle Shop’s Picpoul de Pinet.
For lunch, there are pub classics like cider-battered fish and chips, or smoky chorizo burgers. It's popular with locals, so book ahead and make time to revel in the pub ambiance. At the bar, try the Beckford Phoenix ale.
In the morning, there's a hearty help-yourself breakfast table. We also ordered the Full English (the local sausages were superb) and the Nutella pancakes. When we return, we'll try the avocado on toast and a Bloody Mary...
If you’re staying in Splendens Pavillions or The Arch, you can walk up to the pub for breakfast or make use of your cute little kitchen. The team will stock the fridge with ingredients - local Foots Farm eggs, smoked back bacon, Berkshire pork sausages, plus everything for tea, coffee and toast. In summer, you can whip up a lazy breakfast and dine al fresco on the lawn or terrace.
- Coffee / tea making
- Kids' meals
- Organic produce
- Room service
- Stourhead Gardens (pictured) are a short drive away - particularly picturesque in spring and autumn
- If you feel like a spot of shooting (real or simulated), or perhaps a shiatsu session is more your style, the team will be able to point you in the right direction
- Head into Tisbury village and peruse the local independent shops, which include a charming florist, a deli, antiques and homeware shops
- On the edge of the village, the tithe barn is now home to Messums art gallery, a pioneering multi-purpose gallery and arts centre
- A short drive away, 14th-century Old Wardour Castle is a great place to while away an afternoon; explore its many rooms and beautiful grounds before stopping off for lunch at the enchanting Pythouse Kitchen Garden
- There are lots of racecourses nearby, if you fancy a flutter (Salisbury, Wincanton and Bath) and the excellent Rushmore Golf Club is an easy 30-minute drive
- Despite being in a different county, Bath is an easy day trip (40-minute drive)
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Horse racing
- Well being
The Beckford Arms is great for families with a large garden and lots of room for kids to run around, so they don't disturb other guests. The Attic and The Arch are well set up to accommodate families, and a couple of the Double rooms can interconnect. Travel cots are available to use (at an extra fee).
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Attic is the best room in the inn for families; tucked in the eaves, it has a double bedroom, a sitting area, and a tiny extra bedroom with a small double bed (suitable for 2 children). The Arch is another great option for a family of 4; kids will love the experience of staying in such a quirky conversion, but be mindful of the stone spiral staircase and the road (albeit quiet) running through the building. For these reasons, it is only suitable for children aged 4 and up.
There are no extra beds, but Medium Double room 1 and Extra Small Double room 2 can interconnect. Baby cots can fit in Medium Double rooms 1 and 3, Attic and Large Double only.
Cots Available, Family Rooms
Babysitting can be arranged on request
Baby monitors are available and extend as far as the restaurant
- Travel cot
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There's no official kids menu and there are no cooking facilities for guests, but there are child-pleasers on the menu like beefburgers and fish pie plus the option of a full roast chicken for you all to share for Sunday lunch.
Kids Activities on site:
- Large garden with a dedicated play area and a Petanque piste
- Board games
- DVD collection to play in the sitting room via projector
Kids Activities nearby:
- Farmer Giles (10-minute drive)
- Old Wardour Castle (10-minute drive)
- West Knoyle Bush Farm Bisons (10-minute drive)
- Longleat Safari Park and House (20-minute drive)
- Stonehenge (20 minutes) and Avebury (1 hour) for a megalithic weekend out
- Salisbury, for cinema and wet weather activities (30-minute drive)
Families Should Know:
Noise from the bar can travel upstairs. Children are not permitted in the Splendens Pavillions or The Arch.
- Airport 1.5 hours
- London: 2 hours
- Hospital: 25 minutes
The Beckford Arms is set on the Fonthill Estate, near the village of Tisbury, in Wiltshire, southwest of England.
The Beckford Arms is just over an hour from Bristol, and 2 hours from London; see our car rental recommendations.
The nearest station, Tisbury, is 5 minutes away in a taxi or 25 minutes' walk (no pavements). Trains from London Waterloo take 1 hour and 45 minutes and leave every hour.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to the UK and getting around
- Bristol 74.0 km BRS
- London Gatwick 176.0 km LGW
- Beach 90.0 km
- Shops 3.0 km
- Restaurant 4.0 km