Please wait, the site is loading...

Travel

Staycation: Crown & Anchor, Wiltshire

Staycation: Crown & Anchor, Wiltshire
The Crown & Anchor pub

This traditional village pub, named after a simple dice game played in days gone by, has had a sympathetic refurbishment. With expert hands in the kitchen, it's now the perfect weekend destination, says Liz Hatherley.

Driving down the sunny lane into the village of Ham, we have to stop the car. A handful of stunning buzzards and kites are swooping all around us, demanding a closer look and seeming to escort us along to our rural weekend getaway.

As the drama of nature continued outside, we stepped into the calm and peace of the Crown & Anchor. It was clear immediately how much attention and care has been invested in this pub with eight rooms. Bought and renovated by two village families who wanted to save their local from becoming a housing development, it reopened after a major investment in 2019. And the freshness and quality of this phoenix-like rebirth is evident everywhere – from the tasteful design and décor to the kitchen team, led by ex-River Cottage head chef Phil Bayliss.

 

One of the stylish ensuite rooms
One of the stylish ensuite rooms

Our bedroom is tranquil and soothing, with original wooden beams framing a bed made up with plush linens. Little thoughtful touches make all the difference, like local botanical products in the pristine bathroom and a bottle of scotch for guests to help themselves to from a cubby hole on the landing. Every aspect of staying here has been considered – and it shows.

I start to wind down with a glass of wine from the bar’s impressive selection – one of the owners even adds to it from his own cellar – and for my husband, a pint of the pub’s own-label Ham 1840 best bitter. The spirits collection is well curated and a cocktail suddenly seems like a great wayto enter into ‘relax’ mode.

 

Liz at the bar
Liz at the bar

Moving to the dining room, we get settled at a table near the bustling, semi-open kitchen to review the dinner menu, which is based around traditional dishes with a subtle contemporary or international twist. The front of house team – who are warm and professional – have kindly marked up a version of the menu in advance with dishes to suit our pesky food intolerances, which makes ordering a breeze.

To start, we go for the sea bass tartare – smoky, fresh and light – and the local pigeon scotch egg with salad cream, where the firm, gamey meat is juxtaposed with soft egg yolk. Next, an innovative potato-wrapped fish and chips, and a knockout dish of dry-aged Hereford beef with tiny spaetzle dumplings, bone marrow, buttery leeks and an intensely savoury red wine sauce. After this we just about manage to polish off a delicate dessert of poached rhubarb with panna cotta and honeycomb, alongside a refreshing fino sherry.

 

Potato-wrapped fish and chips
Potato-wrapped fish and chips

Following a restorative sleep, we came downstairs the next morning to find sunlight pouring through every window, amazed to discover our appetites had returned enough to enjoy a faultless English breakfast in the cosy bar area. Eating where the locals and their dogs had socialised the night before, we reflected on the importance of pubs – and how the Crown & Anchor is a prime example of a true community asset. Its relaxed conviviality and sympathetic restoration seem to have brought people closer together; the team members all live locally, the Ham villagers now have a ‘Pub Tonight?’ WhatsApp group and pieces of the pub’s artwork that were rescued by villagers when it closed down have been proudly returned.

After browsing the newspapers over coffee, we eventually set off into the wild of the countryside again, revitalised by the Crown & Anchor’s style and excellent food and drink, and already start reflecting on how a lovely night at a traditional inn with the best of British service can be a revitalising tonic.

English breakfast
English breakfast

How to book

Rooms at the Crown & Anchor start from £110 per night; a one-bed cottage is available at £160 per night and a two-bed cottage at £200 per night. Prices are based on two people and include breakfast. Rooms are currently available Wednesday to Saturday. Visit crownandanchorham.co.uk for more information.

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years