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Black Boys Inn Review

  • Address: Henley Road
  • Town and County: Hurley , Berkshire
  • Country: England

The Black Boys Inn at Hurley is a charming 16th Century refurbished Inn with eight en-suite rooms of individual character with Original Beams, and water from our own well. Recently refurbished as a dining pub. Just a stone’s throw away is a towpath along an attractive stretch of the river Thames. The Black Boys Inn has evolved into an outstanding Michelin / A.A recognised restaurant with elegant but uncomplicated food. AA 2 rosettes. Main courses might include:- Roasted Rack of local Venison, Autumn Vegetables, Rowanberry sauce, Fresh Pan roast Skate wing with Caper & Orange Fondue, Slow Cooked Rump of Lamb with Chestnut Honey & Confit of Garlic and Slow Roast Tamworth Pig Belly with Cider Gravy. Brakespeares ales. Garden. Good walks nearby.

In one of the most beautiful parts of the Chilterns, the Black Boys Inn specialises in French home cooking as evolved by women chefs, the famous ‘Mères de Lyons’, over the past two centuries: simple – and simply delicious – dishes prepared with passion and great generosity of spirit.

The restaurant is in a charming 16th century coaching inn on land once owned by Hurley Abbey. In the 17th century its name became the Black Boy Inn to commemorate the secret visit of Prince Charles, later Charles II, fleeing from the Roundheads after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651; ‘Black Boy’ because Charles inherited a swarthy complexion from his Medici grandmother; and was always toasted as such by his Royalist supporters for the rest of the Civil War.

While nearby Henley was Parliamentarian, the villages of Hurley and Hambleden were staunchly Royalist so the prince knew he could count on them for temporary asylum.

Whether visiting the area for a day out, staying for a short break or business meeting, you are guaranteed a warm and friendly welcome. The many picturesque villages, historic towns, country walks, bustling market towns and warm Chiltern hospitality make it a place that visitors will want to return to again and again.

The Ivy House Pub Review

Eat, drink, stay – but always enjoy!


Nationally The Ivy House is a top award winning pub known for its outstanding food, wines and real cask ales, set in the beautiful Chiltern Vale. To its regulars it is this and much, much more…. A welcoming, beautiful, friendly and warm old country Freehouse nestling in the heart of the Chiltern Hills with stunning views from every window. Behind those sturdy flint and brick walls over 200 years of history creates a really cosy atmosphere with open fires, old beams, lots of brass, old pictures, arm chairs and even the odd ghost story. No juke boxes or fruit machines here, just a genuinely warm welcome & friendly smile await!

Something Special Cooking

The Ivy House Chefs are always busy creating an innovative and ever changing menu. From the most traditional English Fayre to more exotic world wide inspired dishes. These days we are often called a Gastropub, we just like to think of us as a Great Pub with Great Food. Ours is food to eat and savour, not just talk about!! People come back time and time again to work through our extensive menu or see what’s new and tempting on our even more creative Special’s board. Just come in and see what special local or distant delicacies our Head Chef has managed to create for you today – from Pan Fried Ostrich with Mango & Orange Sauce to Fresh Sea Bass Fillets in Sage & Onion Cream Sauce.
Dine where ever you wish, the menu is the same. Sink into a cosy armchair by the fire in the bar or walk through to the original coach house and you will find an old world non-smoking restaurant with occasional sightings of the resident ghost, affectionally known as Sam – sightings definitely not guaranteed!!!

A World of Choice

Of course there is also a very well stocked bar including 4 great cask conditioned ales from local and national breweries. In fact there is nearly always a new beer to sample, we’ve offered over 300 different real ales over the last 5 few years, no wonder our Camra followers keep coming in!! Even more unusual is the superb collection of fine wines from classic French vineyards to more distant lands all around the World. Our extensive list is a joy for any wine lover with over 50 to choose from, we even have over 25 wines by the glass, including the house Champagne – but in case you are driving we also have a wide selection of non-alcoholic beverages.

A Bar full of delights

Relax in our beautiful old fashioned bar with deep arm chairs, open fires and much more. Here you can study our extensive menu and wine list or the amazing range or wonderful drinks on offer from cask ales and bottle beers to our extensive range of Malt Whiskies – another speciality, including some rare favourites of the Landlord, he’ll even try to get special one in for you – as long as he can sample a wee dram!

Accommodation that’s a Travellers Delight

After an extensive £1/2million redevelopment in 2003 we now now offer luxury en-suite bedrooms to extend your stay with us overnight and awake refreshed to a wonderful home-cooked traditional breakfast. With individually designed and themed rooms that make you feel just as at home as our famous warm welcome.

Facilities for Everyone

After our redevelopment we are delighted to announce we can now offer proper deluxe facilities for disabled people – a rarity in a Grade 2 listed 250 year old building. We are still awaiting permission to put in proper disabled parking spaces but we hope this will happen soon.
Of course, families and babies are also catered for with baby changing facilities and a Junior diners menu plus colouring sheets, and even a Wendy house in the garden for our younger customers. Click here for more information on our….

Meet The Ivy House Team – a welcome to all!

At your service with so much more than just a smile. The Ivy House is a close team, many having been with us for years. From the Owners to the Manager to the waiting and cleaning staff – we all care passionately about our beautiful old Freehouse and want you to feel the same way! That is why the Ivy House welcome is so wonderful and sadly very unusual these days. We enjoy our jobs, and want you to enjoy your visit. The welcome is genuine as you will realise from the first smile. We will go out of our way to meet your needs, obviously we cannot do everything all of the time, but you won’t know unless you ask!!

Windmill Inn in Kent Review

The Garden

Our garden is child friendly and has an enclosed play area / playground for the little ones to play in.

Situated in Hollingbourne, near Maidstone in Kent, this 16th century, former coaching inn serves great, freshly prepared restaurant food and features a childrens menu also.

Our weekly “specials” menu is popular and we also feature a separate lunchtime menu.

Restaurant in Maidstone Kent

Looking for a restaurant in Maidstone Kent ?

Situated in Hollingbourne, near Maidstone in Kent, this 16th century, former coaching inn has the genuine feel of an old country pub housed within a beautiful traditional style Grade II listed building, offering real ales and wonderful Kent Pub food / cuisine.

Offering a regular weekly “specials” menu our food is constantly changing and we have a large child friendly garden with a separate, enclosed play area for children.

The Windmill Inn

Looking for good pub food in Kent ?

Situated in Hollingbourne, near Maidstone in Kent,we serve great food & a fine selection of real ales, lagers, ciders and drinks all housed within a beautiful traditional style Grade II listed public house.

Our Kentish pub food is constantly changing and we have a large child friendly garden with a separate, enclosed play area for children.

Windmill Inn in Kent – The Menu

Our food is all freshly prepared with an emphasis on good, quality, local ingredients. Fish is supplied fresh every morning to us from a local coastal supplier.

Prince of Wales Pub Review

The Pub Review

The Prince of Wales is in the village of Shippon, 5 miles south of Oxford. Shippon is just off the A34 near Abingdon. The Prince of Wales offers all its customers a warm and welcoming greeting as you enter the Lounge or the Public Bar. The lounge has seating for 26, along with a lovely fireplace, oak beams, brass hangings with many themed plates and pictures on the walls. There is also a non smoking area and access to the garden. In the Public Bar there is a pool table, dart board, Juke box, 2 televisions and seating for a further 20 customers. Outside, the Prince of Wales has a large beer garden. Its an ideal place to enjoy the spring and summer months with its 6 benches and flower beds which over looks the pretty village church. To the side of the garden and to the rear of the pub is free car parking for approx 12 cars.

Pub History

Mr. Henri Travers, of St. Peter Port, Guernsey, saw clearly what was happening to the catering trade after the Second World War and decided to call it a day. The restaurant at the Prince of Wales no longer exists and Mr. Travers has a much quieter and probably just as prosperous a life running the place as an ordinary pub. This is the story as he told it.
‘My great-grandfather came over here from Dorset to assist with the building of the harbour. He put his son, James J. Travers, to an apprenticeship with a printer, and this man, my grandfather, started the business here at the Prince of Wales in 1884. Here, in the present bar, is the original licence. It’s in French and it’s dated 3 September 1884, and signed “Greffier de la Reine”. At the top it says, “Acte d’Autorisation”, and it’s made out to “Monsieur James Travers”.


At the front of the stairs there’s a certificate from the Guernsey Licensed Victuallers Protection Association. It says: “This testimonial has been presented to James J. Travers, together with a gold watch-chain and a silver tea-pot for Mrs. Travers, by the above Association as a mark of esteem for valuable services rendered by him as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer”. And then there’s the names of the committee, the date, 1899, and a portrait of my grandfather.
His wife was French. The bar was downstairs. The dear old lady was rather good at cooking, so in the bar she started to cook for the customers and she did very well. Her kitchen in the basement was the place labelled “Genes”. It was a sort of coaching inn and the stables were next door. My grandfather took over the stables and gradually extended and eventually opened up the restaurant upstairs on the ground floor. You can still see “Restaurant” etched on the windows and we’ve got cups with grandfather’s initials on them. The kitchen for the new ground-floor restaurant was where the “Ladies Only” is now. And eventually we had a restaurant upstairs as well.
We only ran a lunch. It was a lunch place, with special meals in the evenings. The customers were business people in the town, accountants, lawyers, people like that. And we used to do quite a lot with the school, the college. Parents used to bring their youngsters to have a meal here. We charged two shillings before the War and 2s. 6d. just after it. It was a three course meal, with the meat carved off the joint.
When the motor-car came in after the 1914 War, the restaurant trade went down, because people could go home to lunch easily. The summer visitors didn’t make all that difference to us. We had an all-the-year-round trade. But there wasn’t a lot of competition. In the old days there were only two other restaurants in the town. None of them were big restaurants. We could seat about twenty people.


We gradually built the business up during the Twenties and Thirties and then the war changed everything. The States took over the restaurant and used it as a kind of canteen for their staff. They put someone in to run it. They used to bring their own stuff in, whatever they could get. Just like any other café or restaurant in town during the Occupation, I gae a bit of help. Of course, the bars had to close down. There was nothing to sell.
We carried on for about ten years after the war and then we closed the restaurant down. We use the upstairs restaurant and kitchen as part of our own accommodation now. Towards the end, the trade had slackened off a good deal. We were really running the restaurant more or less for the sake of tradition then. We weren’t making much profit out of it.
And there it is, a pleasant pub with a great deal of a museum about it. Apart from the innumerable pictures on the walls, there’s a nice collection of pistols and powder flasks, with the official German receipt when they were handed in for safe keeping in April 1941. Another relic of the Occupation is a ship’s bell. That came off a French tanker, the “Folcan”, that used to run in here with oil for the Germans. When the Normandy landings took place, we were cut off, of course. The French crew were very short of grub and they flogged the ship’s bell to someone in the country for food. Luckily enough, the farmer was a customer of mine, and after the War he was short of scotch. I had some, and we bartered the bell for that.
The people who are regularly at the Prince of Wales regarded themselves as a kind of club and they were in the habit of sending telegrams to the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) himself from time to time. The Prince’s Private Secretary always wired back and there are several of these replies, framed, on the walls. One, sent from Sandringham, says:
“Mr. Travers, Prince of Wales Hotel, Guernsey. The Prince of Wales thanks the diners at your hotel for your kind congratulations and in the unfortunate even of war is sure Guernsey will do it’s duty. Knollys.”
It is a little difficult to imagine a similar exchange of telegrams between Royalty and the people taking a light lunch at Voysey’s Café in Bournemouth or eating out at the Strand Palace, but the patrons of an old-style place like the Hursts’ Harp Dining Rooms might just conceivably have done so.
The on-site archaeology of eating becomes steadily rarer, and the Prince of Wales is a refreshing exception. How many other restaurants or ex-restaurants can boast, for example, a 1902 cash register? Mr. Travers still has one, with the original gaurantee still stuck to the bottom. ‘When decimialisation came in,’ he recalls, ‘we had it modified, but it’s a bit of a nuisance, really, because it only tells you up to 40p.’

Hay Waggon Inn, Hartfield Review

An independently run 16th Century historic Inn situated in the heart of Pooh Bear country, on the edge of Ashdown forest.

Being one of the areas premier dining venues, we offer a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere in which to enjoy a wide selection of freshly prepared dishes from our blackboards or bar menus.

Stop for lunch in the peaceful garden in the summertime, or perhaps a candle-lit dinner to end your day, the choice is yours!

Our premier accommodation offers a mix of double and single rooms, all of which are En Suite and furnished for your comfort.

We also offer a wide range of group dining options with menus tailored to your needs for birthdays, weddings anniversaries and intimate Christmas gatherings.

Please click on the individual links top left for more information on what we have to offer.

Key Features

  • Historic Inn 45 minutes from Gatwick
  • En Suite superior letting rooms
  • Extensive freshly prepared menus
  • Tailored Weddings a Speciality
  • Ideal Location – edge of Ashdown Forest
  • In the heart of Pooh Bear Country
  • Conference Facilities Available
  • 20 minutes from Tunbridge Wells
  • Birthdays and Anniversaries
  • Romantic Weekend Breaks

About the Inn

The Haywaggon Inn at Hartfield, formerly named The Dorset Arms until the 1970’s because of the Inn’s affiliation with the Duke of Dorset’s Estate, dates back to approximately 1540 and, like many properties in this Historic village, is a fine example of an unspoilt, timber framed period building.
The Inn, which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book has had a colourful history over the years and has come to the aid of many a weary traveller on route between London and the Coast. Amongst it’s more notable associations: King Henry VIII who would travel through the village from his Hunting Lodge – Bolbroke Castle to his hunting grounds on what is now known as Ashdown Forest. More recently, The Dorset Arms, having been acquired at one time by the Trust house group, boasted to be the smallest Trust house Hotel in the country until the late 1950’s having 6 letting rooms!

In recent years, Hartfield has become a centre for lovers of the AA Milne books about Winnie the Pooh, whom, having lived on the forest not far from the village, wrote the stories for his son, Christopher Robin. Another occupant of the Former Milne residence, Brian Jones has also been a notable patron in the past!

The gift shop to be found in the village attracts fans from all over the world, including Japan, where the Pooh Bear books are widely used in English language courses.

In continuing a long history of tradition the present day Inn, now well known as The Haywaggon, is one of the areas premier dining venues where we offer a wide range of freshly prepared dishes from our blackboards and bar menus to temp most pallets. Many well known faces have been known to walk through our doors over the years but Shh, don’t tell everyone. You just never know whom you may end up sitting next to!

Accommodation

A New addition for this year is the re-introduction of guest rooms here at the Inn. We are proud to offer our guests a selection of single and double rooms, all of which are en-suite, and comfortably furnished.
Facilities

All our rooms offer sprung beds along with 26” wide screen televisions, wireless internet access, hair dryers as well as tea and coffee making facilities. Disabled access rooms are also available.

All rooms are non-smoking and offer:

  • 32” LCD televisions with monitor capability
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • All rooms are en-suite
  • Ironing facilities are available
  • Full English or continental breakfast served in our restaurant
  • Private parking


Prices

  • Single Room with en-suite shower £70
  • Double Room with en-suite shower £80
  • Deluxe Double Room with en-suite bathroom £90
  • All prices include Breakfast and VAT.

Functions

We offer many different options for most types of function here at the Haywaggon.
Our restaurant can hold up to 44 people, with further capacity for another 50 people in our adjoining bar area. We also have a snug room which can be booked for intimate family gatherings or business lunches. Some examples of functions catered for in the past are:

Weddings

We offer a tailor made service to help your day become one to remember. We can design menus especially for you to incorporate your favourite dishes, offer you an extensive selection of wines and champagnes to accompany your meal. Welcome your guests in our secluded garden with a champagne and canopy reception. Provide a varied selection of live music for your evening entertainment, as well as evening buffets. All backed up by attention to detail and excellent service by our professional team.

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Mark that special event with family and friends at The Haywaggon. We can cater parties of up to 44 guests in our restaurant, and offer you choices from our varied blackboards, or tailor the menu especially for you to make the occasion one to remember.

Buffets

A selection of finger and fork Buffets are available in our restaurant or bar area and can be booked at short notice in the unfortunate event of bereavement, or planned in advance for any function you may want to hold.

Society and group lunches

We welcome societies, groups and clubs to use our facilities and frequently cater for many local and further a field parties visiting the area.

Coach parties

Coach parties are also welcome to dine with us by prior arrangement. We specialise in catering for local area tours and Christmas Lunches.