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 overview The Merry Harriers, with a keep of their household wing, and a llama stroll might hardly have been extra of a distinction.
Tucked away within the Surrey Hills, an Space of Excellent Pure Magnificence, it’s a beautiful a part of the countryside that always will get ignored should you’re attempting to flee the town.
And having stayed at a few sister properties (together with Dittisham Hideaway and The Beachcroft Resort), I used to be trying ahead to testing 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: Important 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, try this overview from Otis & Us
Two of the Inn rooms join collectively to type the ‘household wing’ – which is what we had been reviewing. Joined by a small hallway, and with their very own inside 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 ideal base to discover Surrey with youngsters, together with stunning 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.
Household wing at The Merry Harriers, Surrey: overview
Strolling into The Merry Harriers on a Friday night time, it’s an immediate reminder that the village pub has usually been the guts of the neighborhood over the centuries.
Filled with cheerful teams, together with households, all celebrating the beginning of the weekend, we had a short 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 Household Wing rooms
Set on the ground above the bar itself, the Household 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 one more rollaway mattress or you’ll be able to 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 lodge room ready for his or her youngsters to sleep will admire.
Heading up the couple of steps to the dual room – full with low beamed doorway, which my daughter sailed by while not having to duck – my 10-year-old was delighted to find that she’d landed the larger of the 2 rooms.
Particularly as she didn’t must share it with anybody and will unfold her teddies, books and garments far and broad.
Overlooking the backyard, it’s appealingly vibrant with vibrant blankets on the mattress, a dangling rail and chest of drawers (should you don’t take my daughter’s strategy to garments storage), plus two chairs and a 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 throughout 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
Every of the 2 rooms has its personal en-suite, and once more, my daughter’s was barely greater with its personal bathe – neither has a shower – and beautiful toiletries.
Having wedged her door open with one of many useful and quirky doorstops, we headed over to discover the second room.
It’s price mentioning that the doorways to the rooms themselves are fireplace doorways and so are heavy sufficient to swing shut. My petite 10-year-old had no downside opening hers (or ours the subsequent morning) however if you’re travelling with youthful youngsters, they could wrestle with the load.
Whereas our room was smaller, I positively didn’t really feel short-changed. With extra minimalist decor, all muted comfortable colors, the double mattress was immediately inviting – if unexpectedly excessive – with loads of squashy pillows.
In addition to 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 below an enormous barometer.
This room is straight over the bar, so whereas the noise didn’t disturb us, it’s price 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 lavatory, which was compact however not cramped. The rain bathe was deliciously highly effective too.
The one downside was not having anyplace within the room to sit down 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 may, after all, chill out 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.
Because the solar was shining, we left the video games we’d introduced with us and headed down for a spot of chess, with the large chess items.
There have been loads of folks benefiting from the autumn sunshine and consuming exterior too, however there’s additionally a restaurant hooked up to the bar inside.
With the names of former pub house owners painted on the partitions, it’s a reminder of what these partitions will need to have seen – I did surprise what the earliest landlords may need manufactured from the choice to have smashed avocado with chilli flakes for breakfast.
If it might have taken them a bit without warning, it was the right begin to my day. And whereas a full English or the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs is all the time tempting, the porridge was additionally an sudden 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 may get dairy alternate options together with oat milk as effectively (together with to your porridge) too.
Loads of the stays additionally embrace dinner, and it’s effectively price reserving even when they don’t – not solely as a result of the closest alternate options are a drive away, but in addition as a result of there’s a good selection protecting all the pieces 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 every day specials.
A Surrey llama stroll
In the event you’re not already tempted to examine into the Household Wing, the furry icing on the cake is an opportunity to fulfill and stroll with llamas throughout your keep right here.
Even should you’re solely visiting, you’ll be able to head up previous the backyard rooms or to the tip of the pub backyard to see them of their discipline – and chances are high that no less than one will lollop over to examine you out in return (and examine should you may 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 throughout the faculty vacation, an hour-long session together with llama colouring-in sheets.
However even higher is the possibility to go on a llama trek – appropriate for youths aged eight and above. Strolling in pairs, you’ll be able to take turns in main the llama or simply having fun with their firm, and it additionally meant that my daughter acquired to look at 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? Simply 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 fully smitten.
Every llama very positively had his personal persona, together with good-looking Champagne, who I swear was posing for the digital camera exhibiting off his fluffy fur, Goji, who loves to hold picnic baskets and naughty Lorenzo, who saved 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 couple of days of rain, I used to be glad I’d packed my mountaineering boots (or do deliver wellies) however he contentedly ambled by puddles whereas we clambered throughout little raised bridges and good-naturedly left even probably 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 plenty of questions and discover out extra in regards to the llamas, their behaviour and life alongside the best way.
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. Though evidently it wasn’t a very good day for it: the entire group stood there politely gazing us till we carried on strolling once more.
It’s incredible for youths too: the llamas are very affectionate, laid-back creatures, whose buck tooth means it usually seems to be like they’re having fun with themselves massively, and love having their extremely comfortable fur stroked.
All these tales of llamas spitting? Nicely, they’re true – however you’ll get no less than a couple of warning grumbles first should you by chance 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 lavatory break can go on for some time! After certainly one of our group of 5 llamas determined a specific 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 ideal thought.
The 2 hours went previous far too rapidly, and out of the blue we had been again within the discipline once more having to say goodbye.
Surrey’s Merry Harriers with youngsters: verdict
Weeks on, we’re nonetheless speaking about Mungo – fairly actually, should you get the possibility to stroll with llamas anyplace, seize it! However should you can choose your llama and your location, a keep on the Merry Harriers with youngsters is incredible.
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 couple of beautiful extras – from the little touches just like the art work within the rooms and vintagey tins of espresso and tea to the good breakfast and out of doors chess – it’s very best for a stunning enjoyable household weekend in Surrey.
And the assorted packages imply you’ll be able to e-book all the pieces 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 sort). There are different actions all year long too, resembling wreath-making within the run-up to Christmas.
There are many family-friendly issues to do within the surrounding space to fill your weekend as effectively, though a llama trek ought to positively be certainly one of them – in any case, what higher solution to encourage your youngsters to go for stroll?
For a chilled-out household escape, this quiet nook of Surrey may be very onerous to beat.
Disclosure: Our keep on the Merry Harriers, Surrey, was free for the needs of overview – all opinions and llama adoration are our personal.
Pictures copyright MummyTravels