Wigbeth, Horton , BH21 7JH
This gorgeous thatched family-run free house, set in Dorset’s lush countryside, is a unique gem of yesteryear – a must for those who appreciate great food and excellent hospitality. You’re bound to fall in love with the place, with its crooked 17th-century walls, low beams and roaring fires. Once you’ve torn yourself away from views of the historic Horton Folly Tower, it’s the menu – brimming with free-range and local produce – that will grab your attention next. All the sauces are made using top-quality, fresh stock and all chips are hand cut. Everything is prepared on-site by the talented head chef and his team, so accommodating dietary requirements is not a problem. You can also sip real ale, beer and fine wine in the bar, where you can order snacks and specials. Summer holidays see events taking place, such as family barbecues with live music. There’s also a function room available for those hosting an event – hired for free if you’re ordering food. There is now extra accommodation in the form of two luxury shepherd huts, with plans for three more to be built by local craftsmen. These come complete with king-sized beds and hot showers and are perfect for keen walkers and those after an idyllic short break. They’re just one more reason as to why you should visit this lovely inn, where warmth and sincerity reign.