My wife and I, with three friends, spent a balmy summer’s evening and overnight at this fine country inn, en route from Birmingham to an event in Hampshire, and wanting somewhere comfortable to stay with good food. Having stayed at a Miller’s hotel (now defunct: near Wells) some years ago, we had enjoyed the slightly quirky, relaxed atmosphere and hoped we might find a similar approach here at the Queen’s Arms. We did.
All the staff were cheerful and friendly, and we felt very welcome. I’m going to make a couple of small criticisms of this establishment during this review, but in no way do they reflect on the staff, and in no way would any of them mean I wouldn’t recommend this place very highly. I mention them in the interests of accuracy only.
After we had arrived, unpacked, and settled in to our room we noticed one of the bedside lights wasn’t working. I asked the manager at the bar if she could fix this for us, and we went out for a walk to explore the countryside. (Well worth exploring: the village is pretty as a picture with its thatched cottages; the Berkshire downs envelope this quiet valley, and you look over wonderful rolling landscape, where there’s plenty of wildlife to be seen). When we came back the light was fixed.
There is a very pleasant beer garden, which we sat in and enjoyed after our walk. The bar here is well stocked, with excellent draught bitter and an unusually large selection of gins (though not surprising given that this is a Millers’ establishment).
Dinner was the highlight of our stay. Not “haute cuisine” but good high quality food, with a bit of extra imagination. My friends and I really enjoyed our dinner. The menu gives a good choice, and the wine list is well varied, with more than enough different wines to enable you to match your choice of food. We had a Chateau Perron (Pauillac) which we greatly enjoyed. My flat iron steak was cooked just how I asked for it, and the chips (fries) were delicious: crunchy on the outside and soft inside. A tiny criticism is that I had not asked for sauce, and I was served mine with peppercorn sauce: this really is nit-picking on my part though because it was in a pot, so I didn’t have to have it, and I wasn’t charged extra for it, as it turns out, though the menu had said it cost £2 for sauce. The sauce was quite nice though!
Desserts were excellent too. Three of us had chocolate fondants which were just right: sort and gooey inside, well cooked sponge outside, and oozing chocolate flavour. One of my friends ordered three scoops of ice cream, and the scoops he was served were different flavours to the ones he had asked for, but this was not a problem, and the waitress immediately brought him what he had wanted. We had some dessert wine (Sauternes) with our puds, and then coffee and port sitting outside under a canopy, on some comfy outdoor sofas. All in all a very satisfying and enjoyable dinner.
You wouldn’t choose to stay here if you don’t approve of sporting shooting or fishing, but then you’d probably get the idea from their website that these activities are central to the reason why the Queen’s Arms does what it does, and decide to stay elsewhere. Personally we don’t indulge in such sports, but the fact that others do is not a problem for us. We stayed in a shotgun themed room, called Holland and Holland. It’s full of interesting pictures of shotguns, with beautiful etchings on the metal parts. The room was small, indeed as we first walked in, my wife banged her knee on the protruding bedframe, and hurt herself slightly. OK, we thought, won’t do that again! (And neither of us did). The king sized bed was very comfy and the room was pleasantly furnished (if you don’t mind lots of pictures of shotguns on the walls, which I didn’t. I wouldn’t have them at home, but for a stay in a hotel, why not?!). The en suite shower room was very clean, and everything worked, plus the toiletries were nice. My only gripe, and this was probably only due to the fact that it was about 28 degrees C that day, and a very warm night, was that the room was very hot at night. I woke around 0200 due to the heat. At about 0300 it occurred to me that if I switched the fridge off it would help. It did. By about 0400 I was comfortable and went back to sleep until my alarm woke me at 0800.
Breakfast is part buffet (juices, cereals, fresh fruit) and part cooked to order from a choice. I had a full English (how could I not?!) which included local eggs from free roaming chickens, and delicious bacon. Oddly, at least I thought so given the pride with which local ingredients feature here, the black pudding seems to come from Scotland. Anyway, there was plenty of toast and tea to go with it all, and it was delicious. My friend (the same one who had the ice cream issue, so maybe it’s just him!) ordered boiled eggs and soldiers, but was given poached eggs and soldiers, but as the waitress pointed out, it saved him the effort of peeling them himself, which was true, he was happy, and he enjoyed them.
Decent value, great hospitality and very good food and drink. I’d like to visit in winter when I’ll better appreciate a warm bedroom, but I heartily recommend this Inn as a good place to eat and stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The award winning Queens Arms is ideally located just 3 miles from J14 of the M4, the corridor between London and the South West within close proximity of Hungerford (12mins), Newbury (20 mins), Marlborough & Swindon (30 mins). Heathrow is just 50 mins away. The village of East Garston is in the heart of the Valley of the Racehorse and the North Wessex Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Queens Arms has 12 ensuite rooms, with super comfy beds, fine linen, TV and super fast broad band. Features also include a friendly bar with fireplace, excellent restaurant and a covered outdoor area. The large garden is enclosed, perfect for children and dogs, all of whom are welcome. For private parties, weddings, business meetings and conventions there is The Queens Lodge, a private & exclusive venue with its own south facing enclosed terrace & garden. The Queens Arms has won Best Hotel Award for the past two years and is recommended by Sawdays and The AA. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Odigeo, Hotel.de, Agoda and Priceline so you can book your The Queens Arms reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Queens Arms Hotel East Garston
- The Queens Arms East Garston, Berkshire