I have discovered the perfect way to escape to the Hampshire countryside. The King’s Head, Hursley offers traditional British comfort, a warm welcome (whatever the weather), home-cooked food by an award winning chef all nestled within a gorgeous historic village just south of Winchester.
We relished the opportunity for a getaway to the Hampshire downs to unwind, recharge and reconnect with one another. The countryside around is glorious and this Coaching Inn is also near some rich historic and cultural attractions in and around Winchester.
The King’s Head Exterior
The King’s Head, Hursley is a Georgian Coaching Inn with sash windows, tall ceilings and old stories to tell.
The outside spaces are full of plants and flowers, lanterns and shade, for the sun (and today… the drizzle!).
The view along the street is crammed with picturesque cottages and Georgian homes. Opposite the smart All Saints Church nestles among the trees.
For the second year running The King’s Head, Hursley has been named Hampshire’s Best Pub by the National Pub & Bar Awards 2017.
It is also a place full of heart, with warming messages that bring a smile.
Although we wouldn’t be sitting in the garden on this grey and damp day, the garden was still lovely to explore.
As you head into the garden, it is worth noting that if you want to bring your dog for a nights stay at this country retreat, you can book the Spitfire suite, where they are most welcome. There are bowls of fresh water around the inn and dog biscuits available too!
This room plays homage to the fact that the village of Hurlsey played host to the Vickers Aviation design team during Second World War, makers of the renowned Spitfire fighter plane.
The King’s Head garden
It makes for a lovely place to meet up with family and friends.
There are flowers, fruit and herbs growing all around the garden. Some shade comes from bright umbrellas and fruit trees.
I love that the entrance is lit by lanterns. We head inside this homely Inn and were welcomed with warm smiles.
The King’s Head Dining Room
One of the first rooms you’ll spot is the main dining room. I loved it’s old world rustic charm. Faux bookshelf wall paper, crystal candles holders and an array of wooden tables with miss-matched chairs. This is a place you can happily relax in, whilst still feeling spoilt. They want you to feel at home, but little luxuries are everywhere.
This table is by an open door with lovely views of the village. Great for a summers lunch or early dinner.
Bedroom: EDWARD VI ROOM
Our room had a four poster bed fit for a King.
Soft pillows on a four poster bed, a fireplace, ornate wallpaper and a roll top bath were some of my favourite things about this room.
There are 8 rooms and all of them are different. Each is linked a to one of Hursley’s rich historical past.
Antique furniture is matched with modern day comfort. You get a kettle with vintage tea cups and a selection of refreshments, comfy dressing gowns and good quality toiletries.
I don’t know what this says of me and my husband but we always let out a little cheer when we can make our own cup of tea! You can admit these things when you are enjoying your midlife!
Every room is guarded by a sweet dog that sits outside the room.
Dumping our bags we head out to explore a bit more.
The King’s Head Bar
This is proper country inn with quality real ales but it also has a great collection of gins. On top of that, the owner is a sommelier. So, if like us you enjoy a quality tipple, you won’t be disappointed.
The bar has a place for everyone, whether you need a high backed chair for one, a stool to prop yourself against or a cozy settle to share with friends.
There is a really good selection of drinks on tap…
including a King’s Head Ale!
Most exciting for me, however is the quality of their gin selection…
The smaller dining room just off the bar is perfect for a Sunday lunch!
The room is warm and cozy for small groups to eat, chat and enjoy home cooked food.
You can expect to get good advice on wine here.
The Skittles Alley
This is a unique games room based in the large cellar found through a door under the stairs and down a winding staircase. It’s a delightful space with arching brick ceilings and giant naked bulbs for lighting.
This room is not only home to the traditional skittle alley but can be hired out as a function or private dining room. There is room down here for up to 50 guests. Sport can be put on the flat screen tv.
So, it’s a great room for meeting up with friends or colleagues. If you are local you could even join in their games night by bringing along your own skittles team!
We sat and enjoyed a cider before having a go ourselves. There are various ways to play, but we decided to keep it simple.
The game came naturally to some of us…
For others, not so natural..!
Having had more fun beating Andy at Skittles we cozied up together by an open window, listening to the rain patter outside, whilst looking for local houses on our laptop. One can dream…
After a lazy soak in the roll top bath I got dolled up, ready for dinner. As soon as we left our room delicious smells rose from the kitchen downstairs, signalling our stomachs to rumble in expectation.
The King’s Head restaurant.
We started at the bar, where I chose The King’s Head own gin. They serve it with grapefruit and it tasted fantastic!
The menu is fairly small and well thought out. We like it when restaurants have 4 to 5 choices per section, it shows confidence in the dishes.
Rather than going for a starter Andy really fancied the flat bread with meats and mozzarella.
It was rather filling but juicy and full of flavours. Andy loved the Roquito peppers.
I chose the cheese soufflé, which was possibly the best I had ever eaten. It was light but also tremendously hearty and generous, cooked with delicious cave aged cheddar.
Andy’s main was this whole plaice roasted on the bone. He really enjoyed it. It was as soft as can be and full of flavour, especially with the accompanying brown shrimp. I can vouch for the potatoes as I kept pinching them!
I very rarely pick pork. The word ‘Tomahawk’ won me over and I’m so glad because the flavours on this dish were scrumptious. The Black Pudding & Garden Purple Sage Mash was a revelation! I also really enjoyed the crunchy bacon bits alongside all this soft loveliness.
We were super full at this stage, but the thought of a double chocolate and cherry cheesecake was too much for me to ignore!
It was another deeply satisfying dish.
The food here is big, flavoursome and hearty. Expect to leave the table very satisfied and heavier around the waist!
The village of Hursley
The next morning, the weather was still grey but we headed out between the drizzle for a little stroll. Hursley is a gorgeous and tiny village (practically a hamlet). But there is a church (All Saints) you could take a look around.
Perfect rows of cottages line the street, with beautiful wooden door ways and roses climbing around the windows.
The village has a rich history involving Oliver Cromwell and Henry de Blois. The Hursley estate was used as an American hospital during WW1 and a during WW2 it became the control centre of the Spitfire programme.
The local butchers looked really good and we considered buying a joint to take home for dinner. In the end, we couldn’t get our heads around it after feasting last night.
We wondered why one house had such enormous chimneys. If you know, please leave a message below. My guess is that it might have been the local bakers once upon a time…?
Incredibly, we had worked up an appetite during our little walk and head back to the Inn for breakfast.
Breakfast at The King’s Head
The table was laid with cereals, a fruit bowl, quality jams and fruit juices.
I ordered a cappuccino and was delighted when a giant cup appeared with masses of froth.
We chose the Farmhouse breakfast. Every component tasted really really good. I ate it all and I would highly recommend it. It is an ideal way to start your day before exploring Winchester.
We really enjoyed our stay at The King’s Head, Hursley. It was everything you hope a traditional Inn would be with a dash of extra special.
Main Road, Hursley
Telephone: +44 (0)1962 775 208
Disclosure: The nights stay and breakfast was gifted. However, my opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support Passion Fruit, Paws And Peonies.
Nearby attractions to The King’s Head, Hursley
- Winchester Historical Centre
- Winchester Cathedral
- New Forest
- Isle of Wight
- The Watercress Line
- Jane Austen’s House
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