EAST CHISENBURY, Pewsey, SN9 6AQ
Secluded in the upper Avon Valley in a fold of Salisbury Plain, this ancient inn shares a sleepy hollow with other eye-catching thatched properties. Elements of the Tudor pub remain, with plenty of character injected by bare brick, log-burner and other rustic flourishes. At the bar, beer-hounds will be delighted with a rolling selection of beers from Stonehenge and Box Stream - there's a May beer festival too. Equally content will be gastronomes seeking out the confident, contemporary menu which has three AA Rosettes. Licensees Guy and Brittany Manning have a distinguished pedigree in the restaurant world and bring particular flair to the range of dishes crafted from local, seasonal ingredients. Kick in with sika venison and pistachio terrine, then look for slow-cooked pig's cheeks (from the pub's own raised pigs) with crisp polenta, roasted fennel, Burbage shiitakes and pork cracker. Tucked behind the Red Lion is a tranquil tree-shaded beer garden. Luxury riverside accommodation completes the dream here.