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 local microbrewery beers like Keystone or Plain Ales - there's a May beer festival too. Equally content will be gastronomes seeking out the confident, contemporary menu which now has a three AA Rosette award. 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 pigs' cheeks (from pub-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.