If you love nothing more than to sit in a country pub in front of a roaring fire, reading the weekend papers while you work your way through the selection of well-kept ales at the bar, then a stay at the Crab and Boar in Berkshire is the place for you.
How to find the Crab and Boar country pub
Located on its own, a few miles from the Berkshire village of Chieveley, the Crab and Boar is a classic country pub; thatched roof, comfy sofas, good food, a massive beer garden, but with unexpected treats – such as hot tubs in most of the rooms.
[Note: this review of the Crab and Boar pub with rooms was first published in 2016 so some of the details might need updating]
One of the most romantic pubs in Britain?
When we stayed there the weather was a classically British wintery day – howling gales, pouring rain, grey skies – but that didn’t stop other guests spending the afternoon in their personal outdoor jacuzzis as the covering umbrellas flapped in the wind, while the bar staff were kept busy with room service deliveries of champagne and ice buckets (it has been called one of the most romantic pubs in the country).
An afternoon at the Crab and Boar in Berkshire
Our room, on the upper floor of the bedroom block just next door to the pub, didn’t have a hot tub but given the weather, that was no hardship – we bagged the sofa next to the fire instead and didn’t move all afternoon except to get another drink at the bar.
History of the Crab and Boar
Built in the 1600s, the pub was originally known as the Blue Boar, the name apparently due to Oliver Cromwell staying here one night in 1644 and leaving a statue of a wild boar behind. It’s not clear where it is now – although there is a stuffed boar’s head in the restaurant – but either way the story is now commemorated in the new name, the pub having previously been a seafood restaurant called The Crab at Chieveley.
Now part of the Epicurean Collection group of boutique inns, the Crab and Boar pub in Berkshire might be a relaxing place to spend a weekend but it takes its food very seriously indeed. The bar snacks menu alone is far removed from the standard choice of crisps and peanuts, offering instead oysters, prawns, boquerones and wild boar salami, but also some classic English comfort food dishes such as fish finger and roast beef sandwiches.
Dining at The Crab and Boar
Dinner in the dark but cosy restaurant was a delight, even if we got off to a slightly rocky start by having been giving the wrong menu and therefore choosing dishes that weren’t available. Once we’d sorted that out we piled first into the hearty and warming lobster soup and then the rump and shoulder of lamb, beautifully pink and with cavello nero, artichoke and anchovy on the side.
The desserts, from rhubarb and custard to plum souffle and chocolate cremosa, were tempting but the cheese board won me over, with some delicious local cheeses such as Barkham Blue and White Nancy goat’s cheese. There was a good selection of wines by the bottle and the glass and we retired upstairs to our room feeling very content.
Bedrooms at the Crab and Boar
The room itself was the perfect place to hide away during our stay in a pub on a wild and blustery night, with a cosy sheepskin rug, warm blankets, wooden floor and decorated in a simple, almost Scandinavian style.
Breakfast the next day was very pleasant, from the friendly sign on the blackboard to the cheerful and efficient staff. There were cereals, cold meats, yoghurts and pastries for people to help themselves to, and hearty cooked breakfasts were also available.
Things to do in Berkshire
There are several attractions nearby, such as the Newbury races, the real-life Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle and the pleasant town of Wantage. However the beauty of the Crab and Boar is that you don’t actually have to go anywhere. While on a sunny afternoon I’m sure the spacious beer garden will be the place to be, there was something rather delightful about spending a cold winter’s night here and I would highly recommend a visit (whether or not the hot tubs are available).
Hotel information and to book the Crab and Boar
Crab and Boar, Wantage Rd, Chieveley, Berkshire
Crab and Boar is a food pub with rooms in Berkshire and is part of the Epicurean Collection, a group of pubs chosen by the Epicurean Times to represent the best of British hospitality and British food.
If you like reading reviews of pubs with rooms or you are interested in a stay in a pub then you’ll love reading these pub reviews: The Crown and Castle, Orford: a Suffolk spot of food heaven; Good taste in every sense at The Swan in Southwold; The Bull at Sonning: a perfect example of a British pub