The final time we visited the stunning Surrey village of Hambledon, my daughter was simply over a yr previous and never but strolling – so returning to evaluate The Merry Harriers, with a keep of their household wing, and a llama stroll may hardly have been extra of a distinction.
Tucked away within the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s a beautiful a part of the countryside that usually will get missed should you’re attempting to flee town.
And having stayed at a few sister properties (together with Dittisham Hideaway and The Beachcroft Hotel), I used to be wanting ahead to trying out the particular household wing on the historic Merry Harriers pub, which dates again to the sixteenth century, in addition to the possibility for a llama stroll in Surrey.
The Merry Harriers, Surrey: Vital statistics
Set within the village of Hambledon, Surrey, The Merry Harriers is round quarter-hour from Godalming, simply south of Guildford.
The historic Inn was taken over by the Peter de Savary group in 2017 and renovated, so in addition to rooms inside the previous pub constructing itself, there are backyard rooms by the pub backyard behind (together with a llama view room), and shepherd’s huts in one other discipline throughout the street by the automotive park.
To learn extra about what it’s like staying within the Shepherd huts, take a look at this evaluate from Otis & Us
Two of the Inn rooms join collectively to type the ‘family wing’ – which is what we had been reviewing. Joined by a small hallway, and with their very own inner locking doorways in addition to the exterior door, it offers households personal space sleeping as much as 5.
The Merry Harriers can also be house to a herd of llamas – all male, together with two infants – who dwell within the fields past the pub backyard and backyard rooms. And there are numerous packages, together with an in a single day or two-night keep, which embrace the possibility to stroll with these fabulous creatures.
There are llama-free strolling trails proper on the doorstep of the pub as effectively.
It’s additionally an awesome base to discover Surrey with children, together with lovely Winkworth Arboretum, only some minutes away, in addition to Petworth, which is lower than half an hour’s drive from The Merry Harriers simply throughout the county border in Sussex. It’s additionally an hour from Gatwick should you’re planning to fly from the airport.
Family wing at The Merry Harriers, Surrey: evaluate
Walking into The Merry Harriers on a Friday night time, it’s an prompt reminder that the village pub has typically been the guts of the neighborhood over the centuries.
Packed with cheerful teams, together with households, all celebrating the beginning of the weekend, we had a quick second of questioning whether or not we needs to be attempting to examine in elsewhere earlier than the pleasant workers picked up our keys from behind the bar, earlier than main us up the steps to the appealingly crooked corridors and our pair of rooms.
The Family Wing rooms
Set on the ground above the bar itself, the Family Wing rooms are two of only some inside the principle constructing, tucked away in their very own semi-private nook behind their very own door.
With one double and one twin room (which has house for an additional rollaway mattress or you may request a journey cot), it’s a pleasant various to having everybody squeezed into one room – as anybody who’s sat very quietly in a darkened resort room ready for his or her children to sleep will respect.
Heading up the couple of steps to the dual room – full with low beamed doorway, which my daughter sailed by way of without having to duck – my 10-year-old was delighted to find that she’d landed the larger of the 2 rooms.
Especially as she didn’t should share it with anybody and will unfold her teddies, books and garments far and extensive.
Overlooking the backyard, it’s appealingly shiny with vibrant blankets on the mattress, a dangling rail and chest of drawers (should you don’t take my daughter’s method to garments storage), plus two chairs and a little bit desk.
There’s a TV in every room, in addition to WiFi (we did have some points connecting to the general public community, however acquired entry to a different one through the keep) though she was extra excited to find the Penguin biscuits on the tray with the tea and occasional, in addition to the mini scorching water bottles.
On a cold autumn weekend, it was additionally toasty heat – to the extent that we ended up turning the heating down barely the subsequent day
Each of the 2 rooms has its personal en-suite, and once more, my daughter’s was barely larger with its personal bathe – neither has a shower – and wonderful toiletries.
Having wedged her door open with one of many useful and quirky doorstops, we headed over to discover the second room.
It’s value declaring that the doorways to the rooms themselves are hearth doorways and so are heavy sufficient to swing shut. My petite 10-year-old had no drawback opening hers (or ours the subsequent morning) however if you’re travelling with youthful children, they may wrestle with the load.
While our room was smaller, I positively didn’t really feel short-changed. With extra minimalist decor, all muted delicate colors, the double mattress was immediately inviting – if unexpectedly excessive – with loads of squashy pillows.
As effectively because the tea and occasional tray, plus an eclectic pile of books, principally of which I immediately wished to learn, there’s one stool within the form of a champagne cork, tucked beneath an enormous barometer.
This room is immediately over the bar, so whereas the noise didn’t disturb us, it’s value being conscious in case you have any mild sleepers.
The storage and toilet are cleverly hidden away: one pair of doorways opened to disclose a suitcase stand and hanging drawers with rail, the second to unveil the toilet, which was compact however not cramped. The rain bathe was deliciously highly effective too.
The solely downside was not having wherever within the room to take a seat collectively as a household – the 2 cozy armchairs in my daughter’s room had been beautiful, however there have been solely two.
The pub backyard & restaurant
You can, after all, loosen up downstairs within the pub, together with a quieter room off the principle bar, or head out to the pub backyard when the climate’s good.
As the solar was shining, we left the video games we’d introduced with us and headed down for a spot of chess, with the enormous chess items.
There had been loads of folks taking advantage of the autumn sunshine and consuming outdoors too, however there’s additionally a restaurant connected to the bar inside.
With the names of former pub homeowners painted on the partitions, it’s a reminder of what these partitions should have seen – I did marvel what the earliest landlords may need fabricated from the choice to have smashed avocado with chilli flakes for breakfast.
If it might have taken them a bit unexpectedly, it was the right begin to my day. And whereas a full English or the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs is at all times tempting, the porridge was additionally an surprising winner for all three of us – particularly with honey and cinnamon so as to add on.
There’s additionally a breakfast desk with pastries and bread to toast, fruit compote and yoghurt plus cereal and juice. You can get dairy alternate options together with oat milk as effectively (together with on your porridge) too.
A number of the stays additionally embrace dinner, and it’s effectively value reserving even when they don’t – not solely as a result of the closest alternate options are a drive away, but additionally as a result of there’s a sensible choice protecting every part from child-friendly meals to vegetarian and vegan choices (and even a canine menu!)
It’s basic pub fare – steak, burgers, fish and chips, plus conventional favourites like shepherd’s pie – in addition to some day by day specials.
A Surrey llama stroll
If you’re not already tempted to examine into the Family Wing, the furry icing on the cake is an opportunity to satisfy and stroll with llamas throughout your keep right here.
Even should you’re solely visiting, you may head up previous the backyard rooms or to the top of the pub backyard to see them of their discipline – and chances are high that at the very least one will lollop over to examine you out in return (and examine should you would possibly occur to have a bucket of one thing tasty).
The Merry Harriers launched a brand new exercise this yr with a ‘Lunch & Llama‘ expertise on Saturdays and dates through the faculty vacation, an hour-long session together with llama colouring-in sheets.
But even higher is the possibility to go on a llama trek – appropriate for youths aged eight and above. Walking in pairs, you may take turns in main the llama or simply having fun with their firm, and it additionally meant that my daughter acquired to observe earlier than deciding to take over the main rein herself (and will give it again for the downhill part on the return).
And should you’re pondering, effectively that sounds good sufficient however why not simply go for a stroll? Just 5 minutes with Mungo will change your thoughts.
Mungo was ‘our’ llama for the 2 hour trek and it’s no exaggeration to say we had been all utterly smitten.
Each llama very positively had his personal persona, together with good-looking Champagne, who I swear was posing for the digital camera displaying off his fluffy fur, Goji, who loves to hold picnic baskets and naughty Lorenzo, who stored settling down for a little bit of a relaxation at each alternative.
Mungo, in the meantime, was supremely chilled out, plodding alongside peacefully at our aspect, stopping solely to effectively strip a mouthful of leaves off a part of the undergrowth or briefly detouring to have a pleasant scratch in a holly bush.
After a number of days of rain, I used to be glad I’d packed my climbing boots (or do carry wellies) however he contentedly ambled by way of puddles whereas we clambered throughout little raised bridges and good-naturedly left even essentially the most tempting leaves after some light encouragement.
The stroll takes you thru woodland, over the frequent and as much as some fantastic views of the Surrey Hills, with an opportunity to ask a number of questions and discover out extra in regards to the llamas, their behaviour and life alongside the way in which.
We even stopped at a sand pit at one level for the llamas to lie down and have a roll for a spot of mud bathing. Although evidently it wasn’t day for it: the entire group stood there politely observing us till we carried on strolling once more.
It’s unbelievable for youths too: the llamas are very affectionate, laid-back creatures, whose buck enamel means it typically seems to be like they’re having fun with themselves massively, and love having their extremely delicate fur stroked.
All these tales of llamas spitting? Well, they’re true – however you’ll get at the very least a number of warning grumbles first should you unintentionally do one thing to annoy them. Even one llama poking his nostril between the legs of the llama in entrance solely acquired a snort of displeasure.
One phrase of warning: a llama bathroom break can go on for some time! After one in all our group of 5 llamas determined a selected patch of timber would make the right bathroom, the others stood calmly watching earlier than every in flip got here to the conclusion that really, sure this was an awesome thought.
The two hours went previous far too rapidly, and immediately we had been again within the discipline once more having to say goodbye.
Surrey’s Merry Harriers with children: verdict
Weeks on, we’re nonetheless speaking about Mungo – fairly truthfully, should you get the possibility to stroll with llamas wherever, seize it! But should you can decide your llama and your location, a keep on the Merry Harriers with children is unbelievable.
As laid-back because the llamas had been, having the interconnecting rooms was a positively deal with, and one not normally to be present in a historic pub like this.
With all of the necessities, and fairly a number of beautiful extras – from the little touches just like the paintings within the rooms and vintagey tins of espresso and tea to the good breakfast and outside chess – it’s best for a beautiful enjoyable household weekend in Surrey.
And the varied packages imply you may e book every part in a single go – keep, dinner, and a llama trek with a picnic (in summer time, lunch on the pub when the climate isn’t so type). There are different actions all year long too, equivalent to wreath-making within the run-up to Christmas.
There are loads of family-friendly issues to do within the surrounding space to fill your weekend as effectively, though a llama trek ought to positively be one in all them – in any case, what higher solution to encourage your children to go for stroll?
For a chilled-out household escape, this quiet nook of Surrey could be very laborious to beat.
Disclosure: Our keep on the Merry Harriers, Surrey, was free for the needs of evaluate – all opinions and llama adoration are our personal.
Images copyright MummyTravels