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The Hardy Way

The verdant landscapes of Wessex
The inns of character at which you stay are as charming as the scenery that you explore, and are one of the highlights of the holiday. When the Museum Inn in Farnham is full, you stay two miles away at its sister hotel, the King John Inn in Tollard Royal, which places equally high emphasis on its cuisine. In Cranborne, your starting point, you have a choice of accommodation: the friendly, relaxed pub atmosphere of the Inn at Cranborne (where you stay on a bed-and-breakfast basis), or the peaceful, gastronomic La Fosse (where we include dinner on one night). Please advise us when booking your holiday if you would like the gastronomic option in Cranborne.
 

The Inn at Cranborne (country inn), Cranborne

Meal arrangements: breakfast only

The Inn at Cranborne
Dating from the 16th century, this atmospheric 4-star inn has extended a warm welcome to many travellers over the years, the most famous of which was Thomas Hardy. There are creature comforts in the nine high-quality bedrooms that didn’t exist during his time (upgrade to a luxury room if you’d like more space and a super-king-size bed), but much of the building’s original character has been retained, and, if you choose to dine in, you’ll find that the excellent pub menu uses only ingredients sourced within a 30-mile radius, pretty much as it would have done in his time. There is a cosy bar, as well as seating in the garden where you can relax in good weather.

 

La Fosse (restaurant with rooms), Cranborne

Gastronomic option
Meal arrangements: breakfast, plus dinner on one night

La Fosse
The emphasis at this peaceful home-from-home is the excellent restaurant (closed Sundays). Chef Mark Hartstone, who runs La Fosse with his wife Emmanuelle, worked under Raymond Blanc and has won numerous awards for his cooking. Your stay includes a delicious 3-course dinner, with the option to upgrade to Mark's six-course tasting menu (please note this is designed to be enjoyed by the whole table, so all members of the party would need to upgrade). The half-dozen beautifully decorated bedrooms are named after local cheeses, while a guest lounge and a small garden complete the picture.

 

Museum Inn (country inn), Farnham

Meal arrangements: breakfast only

Museum Inn
This thatched 4-star inn in the centre of the village derives its name from the fact that it once provided lodgings for visitors to the (now relocated) museum created by General Pitt-Rivers, the father of modern archaeology. Behind the red-brick façade are a superb restaurant, the original 17th-century bar (complete with flag-stone floors, low ceilings and a large fireplace), and just eight comfortable bedrooms. We include the standard rooms located in the old stables, just a few steps from the main building, but you can upgrade to a luxury room in the inn itself for more space.

 

King John Inn (country inn), Tollard Royal

Alternative accommodation
Meal arrangements: breakfast only

King John Inn
Located in a small village, this high-quality yet friendly 4-star inn comprises an excellent restaurant serving seasonal local produce, a bar, and eight bedrooms which are furnished with antiques, equipped with roll-top baths or ‘rain’ showers, and finished with plenty of homely touches.

 

La Fleur de Lys (restaurant with rooms), Shaftesbury

Meal arrangements: breakfast, plus dinner on first night

La Fleur de Lys
La Fleur de Lys, a 4-star restaurant with rooms, is a delightful place to stay, thanks not only to its first-rate restaurant (closed Sundays) and convenient location near the town centre, but also the warm hospitality of your hosts, who are mines of information on the local area. The eight bedrooms are individually decorated and take their names from different grape varieties, while the communal spaces include a small outdoor seating area, a pleasant bar and a lounge.

 

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Accommodation
At a glance
Starting point: Inn at Cranborne or La Fosse, Cranborne
Day 1: The Inn at Cranborne or La Fosse, Cranborne
Days 2-3: Museum Inn, Farnham or King John Inn, Tollard Royal
Days 4-5: La Fleur de Lys, Shaftesbury