The Miller of Mansfield

Berkshire, Cotswolds & Chilterns, United Kingdom Book from

Reviewed by Liz Simpson
An idyllic village setting, an inviting pub with rooms and a seriously tasty restaurant; all within easy reach of London or Bristol
Picture this. It’s Friday night, you’ve just checked in to your welcoming bedroom and an indulgent tasting-menu dinner awaits in a hour or so. In the meantime, the bar is abuzz with local laughter and chatter, beckoning you to indulge in a devilish cocktail. That’s the position we found ourselves in recently, when we stopped by The Miller of Mansfield for a weekend break, and boy were we delighted about it.

Set in the tiny village of Goring-on-Thames, this 18th-century country pub has been given a modern twist. It makes a great base for exploring the Thames Valley, then relaxing in style. Sink into leather armchairs by open fires, drink wine in the terrace garden and make the most of the excellent restaurant. Each of the 13 modern rooms and suites is decorated in a medley of colour and filled with thoughtful treats. Bring your other half and live the good life for a few days, you won’t regret it.

Highs

  • A perfect lazy weekend getaway: romantic meals, Pimms by the water, walks along the Thames and boat rides in the sun
  • First-class food and wine in the great-value refined restaurant; spring for the tasting menu, it's worth it
  • Characterful rooms and supersized luxury touches: kingsize beds, rain showers, crisp bedding and in-room REN products
  • A vibrant bar area with a great selection of cocktails and wine, plus a crackling fire for winter
  • Although it's great for couples in particular, friends, solo travellers and guests bringing the dog will also love it here
  • The warm and friendly team make everyone feel utterly at home

Lows

  • Only 3 parking spaces, but there a cheap car park close by and easy on-street road parking at weekends
  • The Small Rooms are very compact, but they are priced accordingly
  • With just a handful of shops and cafes, Goring-on-Thames village can be explored in a day or so - but this is part of the appeal for many
  • Those expecting traditional country style may be surprised by the modern bedrooms, but we found them to be high quality and very comfortable
  • Road noise and terrace chatter can travel sometimes - although only until 11ish

Best time to go

Come at any time of year. Spring and summer is ideal (when the weather is behaving itself), as the region offers great walking and boating. We visited in autumn and were rewarded with a glorious riot of golden leaves along the river. Fine food and cosy fireplaces ensure winter would be very cosy. On Christmas Eve, the entire village turn out for a torch-lit procession and carol singing. What better way to ring in the festive celebrations?

Our top tips

It’s not just the food that’s great here, there’s a fabulously balanced wine list, too. As well as the obligatory old world classics such as Sancerre and Mersault they’ve plumped for more playful options like the White Rabbit Riesling, from the German Rheingau region. They’re bang on trend with a delicious Picpoul de Pinet (which we opted for) and our waiter seemed well-versed in each wine’s attributes. Being a true foodies’ restaurant, there was also a great selection of ports and stickies (just in case the tasting menu wasn’t indulgent enough!)

After speaking to owner Mary, what really struck us was acutely aware they are of being relevant to their patrons. Hence, they’ll soon be introducing an English wine, for those who wish to keep their tipple’s provenance within a stone’s throw.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Pub with Rooms
  • 12
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Welcome but not ideal
  • 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
Room:

Rooms

The 13 exuberantly designed rooms and suites have bold splashes of colour and plenty of home comforts. Arriving to a cosy lamp-lit room filled with artisan tea, homemade biscuits and plump bedding felt wonderfully welcoming, as did freshening up with REN toiletries in the indulgent ensuite.

Tucked away on the top floor, the 2 Luxury Suites are heavenly (each sleeps 2-3). We stayed in The Goring Suite, a dark-blue hideaway with 2 spacious bedrooms and lots of character. The romantic Mansfield Suite, just across the hall, is a favourite with pre-wedding brides thanks to its ethereal white walls and an enormous French bed.

Superior Rooms are spacious and charming. We particularly liked Mollington’s (11) soft grey walls, Edwooton’s (9) bay window and Wigston Magna’s (7) huge bathtub for 2. Standard Rooms are a little smaller, but Papplewide (8) has a glorious bay window view of the village green and Larkby Thorpe (14) has characterful exposed beams.

Small Rooms are indeed tiny, but great for solo travellers or short stays. Note that Arnold’s (10) glass bathroom walls are best for those with nothing to hide while Willoughby’s (15) low ceilings could get claustrophobic for taller guests.

Be warned though: here, 'ensuite' can mean open-plan - so you may find your shower is actually in the bedroom!

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

This was where The Miller really impressed us. Having settled into a cosy corner of the golden-yellow restaurant, our 7-course dinner went by in haze of delicious courses, crisp Picpoul de Pinet and happy conversation. There's an open fire in winter and a patio for summer spill-over. It's an easy atmosphere and the team really know their onions.

We kicked off with the ‘Miller sack of homemade bread’ – beef dripping was our favourite flavour. Next came a trio of tasty canapes, then soused mackerel and a creamy beetroot, horseradish cream and mozzarella dish. The spiced monkfish tail was one to remember, with a sumptuous butter sauce. Not to be outdone, the aged Hereford fillet steak was rare, tender and paired with a divine peppercorn sauce. With no less than three puddings to sample, it was the delicate white chocolate and passionfruit macaroons that stole our hearts, rounding off the evening in style.

Open all day, the cosy bar is often filled with locals winding down over bar snacks, cocktails and local ales.

Don’t worry, breakfast isn’t neglected either. The rich flavours of our full English spoke of high-quality produce and an excellent chef. Be sure to ask for the brown sauce - it’s homemade and deliciously fruity. Choose you cooked dish and then top it up with warm toast, fresh juice and yoghurts from the buffet.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Enjoy the great outdoors: whether you want a gentle stroll along the idyllic riverside or a hilly yomp, this is English countryside at its best, with plenty of waterside pubs for a refreshing Pimms en route
  • Visit Basildon Park, the beautiful 18th-century Palladian mansion featured in Pride and Prejudice. The National Trust property has stunning tapestries, delicate original plasterwork and lovely trails through the grounds
  • Take a boat trip along the glassy-still Thames or bring your bike and pedal along the towpath, or settle down for an afternoon's quiet fishing
  • Check out Beale Park wildlife exhibition - it may be aimed at young'uns, but the alpaca, meerkats and giant rabbits will make anyone smile, as will walking through their deer park and beautiful Jubilee water gardens
  • Be sure to stock up on tasty treats at The Goring Grocer before you leave. This independent food shop has a beautiful range of produce; we left with piles of delicious homemade pasties, local cheeses and craft ales

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Wildlife

Kids

Although the pub is best suited to adults, children are welcome and will enjoy the walks and bike rides that the countryside has to offer.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The two Luxury Suites (Goring and Mansfield) each have a double bedroom and adjoining single bedroom. The Superior Rooms have space for an extra bed or a baby cot.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available free of charge.

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

Children's meals:

There is a kids' menu available.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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