The Beckford Arms

Tisbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom Book from Book from £95 per night

A wonderful, welcoming country pub with stylish rooms and lodges at great rates
The Beckford Arms is many things to many people. To foodies, it's a great restaurant and laid-back bar. To city folk, it's a perfect weekend retreat, offering comfy rooms and countryside walks. To locals, it's a favourite pub for a relaxing pint, and shooters and beaters prop up the bar. Owners Dan and Charlie (who formerly ran Babington House) are genuinely welcoming, and the ambiance is easy.

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 and log fires. But there are also potted bay trees, wrought-iron lanterns and Bloody Marys made with homegrown horseradish. 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.

Highs

  • 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

Lows

  • 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. It is therefore subject to separate booking terms, which will be sent during the enquiry process

Best time to go

The Beckford is open all year, and makes a lovely getaway whatever the season. Summer is gorgeous for lazy days in the garden, spring and autumn provide glorious natural colours on the estate, and the pub is a cosy bolthole in winter thanks to its open fires (and hot water bottles!). In autumn, the fallen leaves allow the Splendens Pavillions views of Fonthill Lake.

Our top tips

Ask about movie and pizza nights when you arrive - both are often on offer at the weekend, depending on the weather and season. Classic films are shown in the pub via a projector and there's a wood-fired pizza oven in the garden.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Pub with rooms
  • 8 rooms + 2 lodges
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • 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
  • Petanque
Room:

Rooms

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.

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. In contrast, the Small Doubles are particularly compact and a little dark. This is reflected in the price, but they’re worth avoiding if you’re staying more than one night.

Ten minutes down the lane, the Splendens Pavillions nestle 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.

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.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

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, 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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • There are beautiful walking routes within the Fonthill Estate - ask for maps and wellies if it's muddy. Don’t miss beautiful Fonthill Lake, where they filmed Chocolat
  • Stourhead Gardens (pictured) are a short drive away - particularly picturesque in spring and autumn
  • Fly fishing, deer stalking and shooting (or simulated game shooting) are all possible on the estate – the team can assist with arrangements
  • Head into Tisbury village and peruse the local independent shops, which include a charming florist, a deli, antiques and homeware shops, and the Beckford Bottle Shop
  • 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)
  • Back at the Beckford, have a massage in your room or laze in the garden

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Deer stalking
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse racing
  • Shooting
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

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. However, the rooms are small and only one is really set up to accommodate families. Travel cots are available to use.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Attic is the only room suitable 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).

Baby cots can fit in Medium Double Rooms 1 and 3, and Large Double Room 7 only. There are no extra beds, but Medium Double Room 1 and Small Double Room 2 can interconnect.

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged on request

Baby listening:

Baby monitors are available and extend as far as the restaurant

Baby equipment:

  • Travel cot

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

Children's meals:

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. Kid-sized pizzas are also available from the wood-fired oven in summer

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

Distances:

  • Airport 1.5 hours
  • London: 2 hours
  • Hospital: 25 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 8 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We loved our stay. The food is worth the journey alone...outstanding dishes over the whole weekend. Excellent ales on tap, and picture perfect walks in the local area (the loop of the fonthill estate and Wardour castle are english countryside at it's finest). We cannot wait to return

10/10,

Lovely hotel. Really relaxed atmosphere and delicious food. Our room was fantastic with a separate area for the kids, although the decor is getting close to needing a refurb. Very family friendly. Would definitely stay again.

10/10,

Fantastic pub to hole up in and enjoy a sofa by the fire (we visited in December) before a really great evening meal. The only problem was having room to do breakfast justice! The walk from the front door mapped by the owners is well worth doing as well.

9/10,

We stayed in the Splendens lodge overlooking the fields and lake of the estate. Being able to look out on the green fields from the lounge, the dining table, the bed and even the bathtub ensured that you always felt well and truly in the countryside. A delightful walk around the estate right from the front door and good food at the end of the day; a perfect spot for a short break away from the city

10/10,

Just returned from an amazing stay at the Beckford Arms. The food, ambience and service were all fantastic. There's a lovely 4-mile walk that guests can take around the surrounding area, to build up an appetite for the great food and drink. The staff couldn't have been more friendly or attentive. A perfect short break!

9/10,

Beautiful pub, restaurant and bedrooms. We went on a very cold day and spent the afternoon snuggled up on the sofa's by the fire drinking red wine. Service was brilliant and all the staff were so friendly - nothing was too much trouble. We stayed in room 2 and it was lovely. Very comfy bed and amazing shower. Dinner was amazing, as was the fabulous breakfast. Will definitely be coming back for another visit!

10/10,

The staff is absolutely lovely and kind. We were there with our two children and they made us feel very much at home and welcome. This is our second visit and we will return again.

10/10,

We enjoyed it so much, we wanted to extend our stay, but due to prior commitments, could not. We are already planning our next stay.

9/10,

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Rates for The Beckford Arms