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Summertime in Britain demands a good picnic and at this week’s prize-scooper, The Olde Bell Inn in Berkshire, you’ll get more than a selection of cold cuts. Try a fully fledged outdoor kitchen, manned by chefs who know how to cook up fine-dining feasts alfresco…

Style Inn-keeping with tradition
Setting Thames riverside village

Why this week? The kitchen has just unveiled a new outdoor rotisserie, kamado oven and grill: tuck into organic chicken straight off the spit, marinated squid or rainbow trout from a nearby river. Speaking of which, Henley-on-Thames is just down the road, so pack your straw hats and deck shoes. Until the end of August, stay for two nights at the weekend for £100 a night. And if you’re at a loose end during the week, stay Monday to Friday from 25 July until the end of August from £99 a night.

Our favourite bits We heart the beautiful oak floorboards, the inviting woollen blankets thrown across the beds and lounging by the Inn’s rustic farmhouse furniture. We also love the elegant claw-foot bath in the larger rooms of the Malt House and the Penguin Classics that fill the bookshelves of every room. A final favourite is the summer kitchen’s specially selected weekend kids’ menu, sure to please parents and children alike.

Mr & Mrs Smith say ‘Mr Smith and I have been going to Henley-on-Thames in Berkshire for the last six years to visit good friends, and not once have we turned down the road to Hurley. Now that I’ve been to Hurley, which is less than 10 minutes from Henley, I am annoyed at the many missed opportunities to spend time at The Olde Bell Inn.

The exterior looks like any other Tudor pub – white, slightly wonky, with leadlight windows and orange roof tiles – and you’d be forgiven for walking right past. Don’t. Upon crossing the threshold, the first thing we noticed was the typical English inn oak bar. A roaring fire beckoned, but before we could settle down, we had to check in…’

Read the full anonymous review of the Olde Bell Inn

You say ‘The Olde Bell Inn was our introduction to Mr & Mrs Smith and we were blessed with fantastic weather to top it off. We were desperate for an overdue short break, with chilling-out being the main factor. We stayed two nights and found the hotel grounds and staff all very welcoming. The food was beautiful and we dined in-house both nights – we highly recommend the silky home-made pumpkin ravioli.’

(Sherri, BlackSmith, stayed on 6 Mar 2011)

Read more Guestbook reviews of the Olde Bell Inn

Thanks to Victoria Goodhew for help compiling this post.

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