Great British boltholes: The classic pub in deepest Surrey that’s like a slice of English countryside from decades ago
- The Merry Harriers lies down a quiet country lane, not far from the A3
- This 18th-century classic pub has a beer garden at the front and rear
- Overnight guests can choose Inn Rooms, Garden Rooms or Shepherd’s Huts
Hidden in the heart of the Surrey Hills down a quiet country lane, it’s hard to believe The Merry Harriers is just a few minutes from the busy A3.
With a beer garden at the front and rear of this classic pub near Guildford, it’s like a slice of English countryside from decades ago.
While the pub dates from the early 1700s – and feels like it, with a large open fireplace, stone floor and exposed beams – owner Peter de Savary (hotelier and local resident) and manager Jake Andreou ensure it is more boutique than basic.
An old favourite: The 18th Century Merry Harriers, which is more boutique than basic, discovers Sarah
It’s a slick outfit with efficient uniformed staff, a decent bar with hand-pulled craft ales and fine wines, and extra touches such as dining options for dogs and ‘Ginfluencer’ tasting sessions at a local distillery.
Its plum location means it’s a favourite with cyclists, hikers and locals, but the 15 immaculate rooms and suites also make it a great option for a relaxing overnight stay.
Choose from Inn Rooms (in the main building), Garden Rooms or five colourful Shepherd’s Huts across the road. With underfloor heating, log-burner, fire pit and complimentary wine, the Huts are anything but basic, yet the Garden Rooms, a row of cosy cottages, have the edge if you want to be closer to the pub and its excellent restaurant.
With underfloor heating, log-burner, fire pit and complimentary wine, the Huts (pictured) are anything but basic
The Merry Harriers Hambledon, Surrey. Inn Rooms from £140, Garden Rooms £150, Shepherd’s Huts £195 (all B&B per night). For more information visit merryharriers.com.
From tomorrow, guests can dine inside or outside from a menu that covers pub classics such as fish and chips and home-made burgers as well as sirloin steak, Singapore-style curry, vegan chilli and Thai quinoa salad.
The Merry Harriers has something you rarely find in rural Surrey: its own herd of llamas. Mungo, Toffee, Dylan and friends say hello to visitors in the garden but the pub also offers llama-trekking for families, friends or, for couples looking for a more unusual romantic date, a champagne picnic trek (luxury hamper carried by your llama).
The USP: Llama treks cost £60 per adult, £34 per child (age eight to 15), for 5pm-7pm trek until October 1 (picnic hamper from £25pp).
The rooms: Expect beautiful finishes to the rural-chic style and splashes of colour, with thoughtful touches such as luxury toiletries and hot-water bottles.
The food: Portions are gargantuan and excellent value. The breakfast menu advised ‘One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast’, and with an impressive range of pastries, cereals, fruit, yogurt, porridge and cooked options available, it took the sentiment to heart. I reluctantly decided against the epic Surrey Farmhouse Full Breakfast in favour of poached eggs and avocado on toast, and felt ready to face anything.