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The Crown Hotel, Blandford, Dorset
This former coaching inn is at the centre of the handsome Georgian market town of Blandford. Its high street is crammed with textbook Georgian architecture - 90% of the town burnt down in 1731 and was rebuilt in classic Georgian style by the memorably named Bastard brothers architects. The Crown is one of these fine Georgian buildings, and has an air of elegance that you don't often see in pubs. The area is a good base for exploring the Dorset countryside too. Lots of people pass North Dorset by on their way to the coast, which is under an hour away, but it has a lot to offer. The countryside is glorious and it doesn't have the crowds you find at the seaside.
You'll love the nearby walks along the River Stour and across the Blackmore Vale, an unspoilt farming area, Thomas Hardy's 'vale of little dairies'.
The hotel is in the centre of Blandford, well-placed for exploring the Georgian town centre's shops and cafés as well as the surrounding countryside.
By car: around 2 hours 30 mins from London, 1 hour 30 mins from Bristol and 3 hours from Birmingham. Free public parking is available.
By train: trains from London to Bournemouth take 2 hours 45 mins, the hotel is a 45-minute taxi ride from Bournemouth station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The hotel is popular with business visitors, but is also a handy base for holidaying families wanting to explore Dorset. The perfect proportions, symmetry, light and space are wonderful - everyone loves a Georgian building. The antique furniture and décor complement this one perfectly.
Service & Facilities
Badger beers are only sold in Hall and Woodhouse pubs - the oak-panelled bar is a good spot to try them.
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
For families Room 3 is a good option, but couples should go for a Luxury Double with copper bath. We love the abundance of period features; high ceilings, oak floors and fireplaces sit comfortably alongside bold wallpaper and antique furniture.
Standard Double, Duperior Double, Family Room, Luxury Double/ Wedding Suite
Facilities include: ensuite shower or bath, free toiletries, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
Generous portions of unfussy dishes are made using locally sourced ingredients where possible. We love any dish featuring Hall and Woodhouse beer, such as steak and tanglefoot pie with Badger beer gravy.
Hall & Woodhouse: classic pub dishes including Forum lager battered fish & chips, cheeseburgers and Sunday roasts. Open daily. Mains from £11.95.