Bartons Mill is located in the picturesque village of Old Basing in Hampshire, just two miles east of Basingstoke. Easily accessible by road Bartons Mill lies 43 miles south west of London and is less than 10 minutes drive from junction 6 of the M3 motorway.
For guests arriving by train, Basingstoke is on the main South Western rail line with regular services from London Waterloo taking approximately one hour.
Arrival and check-in:
Bartons Mill is approached via a leafy lane and has a large car park with one section reserved for hotel guests. The country inn is a converted water mill steeped in history and enjoys an idyllic setting with its large beer garden overlooking the River Loddon.
Check-in is from 3.00 p.m. and it was around an hour after that when we arrived. Hanging baskets adorn the entrance with check-in taking place at one end of the bar. This was well organised and we were attended to quickly and soon being handed our room keys.
After confirming our dinner reservation we were directed outside as the accommodation is arranged around a courtyard just a couple of minutes walk away. Umbrellas are provided if the weather is inclement but as it was warm and sunny we fortunately didn’t need to use them.
The accommodation comprises 12 stylish rooms accessed by an internal corridor and on unlocking the door of No.11 we knew we were in for a pleasant stay.
There were two steps down into the very spacious room with its exposed ceiling beams, cosy settee, armchair and very comfortable bed.
As it was hot, a fan had been placed on the dressing table and there was a well stocked hospitality tray on top of a separate chest of drawers. Here we found a selection of teas, coffee, hot chocolate, milk, bottles of water and some irresistible Borders biscuits.
There was a wall mounted television, reliable Wi-Fi that was simple to connect to and ample storage space in the wardrobe. Two windows overlooked the peaceful courtyard and we enjoyed a good night’s sleep without disturbance.
The bathroom comprised a bath with shower over, thick fluffy towels and fragrant Essentiel Elements Bathe complimentary toiletries.
Dinner: We enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and nibbles in the attractive beer garden watching a family of ducklings paddling around in the river.
We could have eaten dinner in the garden but instead decided to move indoors as the restaurant was so beautiful and oozed rustic charm with its exposed oak beams and working water wheel.
We were shown to a window table near the inglenook fireplace which must be an even cosier place to sit near in winter when its log fire is burning. There was no need for that during our visit though as it was a warm summer’s evening. After selecting a bottle of Pinot Grigio from the comprehensive wine list we contemplated what to choose from the main menu as everything looked very appetising.
Eventually we made up our minds and our starters of grilled Cornish mackerel served with a heritage tomato salad and a twice baked Hereford hop cheese soufflé with an apple and parsley salad were both delicious and very flavoursome. For mains I opted for crispy Wiltshire pork belly with cannellini beans in a caper gremolata whilst across the table my dining partner tucked into a mouth-watering steak and ale pie made with the much sought after 6X in-house Wadworth ale.
I had hoped for a little taste but it was obviously so delicious that it disappeared all too quickly. It was pleasing that our waiter enquired if we would like a short break before serving the desserts so we relaxed for 15 minutes sipping our wine and admiring the twinkling lights and flickering candles making the dining room look so pretty.
As summer pudding was on the dessert menu I quickly decided on that as it is one of my summer favourites. The juice oozed out of the fruit and its sweetness was balanced perfectly with the tartness of the rhubarb and rose hip ice cream. The vanilla and white chocolate crème brûlée with a strawberry and mint salsa also got a big thumbs up with the light and creamy custard covered with a thin crisp topping, just as it should be.
Breakfast: Breakfast is served from 7.30-9.30 a.m. midweek and from 8.00 a.m. at weekends. Guests do not need to pre-book a time slot as there are plenty of tables in the attractive bar lounge.
We were greeted by a friendly server who took our coffee orders and pointed out the continental selection, fruit and yoghurts arranged on the bar top. After bringing our coffees we selected traditional breakfasts from the cooked items which were cooked to perfection and of generous size.
We chose to have toast afterwards as we prefer to eat it then with jam and marmalade rather than at the same time as the cooked food is served. Thick slices arrived lovely and hot and we enjoyed eating them alongside a second cup of coffee.
The pub boasts a large riverside beer garden with freshly baked pizzas served from its Pizza Shack from 5.00 p.m. at weekends.
There’s live music on Friday nights throughout the year and this was taking place on the weekend of our stay beneath the covered terrace. With a different line up each week we were treated to The Henry’s, a talented vocal duo.
The outdoor terrace can be used throughout the year as it is equipped with heaters and lighting.
Bartons Mill also boasts a function room with its own entrance which is a popular venue for all occasions including weddings. All rooms are dog friendly with one also being accessible for guests with limited mobility.
Out and About:
There are lots of lovely things to see and do close to the hotel. Here are my suggestions.
Basing House: Just a five minute walk from the accommodation lies Basing House, operated by the Hampshire Cultural Trust. Visit the Great Barn, once the scene of some of the fiercest fighting during the Civil War then cross the road to explore the ruins of Basing House which was Tudor England’s largest private house.
In addition to the ruins there is a small exhibition centre and a beautiful re-created Jacobean Garden. Basing House.
Old Basing: A picturesque village filled with characterful thatched cottages and charming country homes. Visit the ancient church of St. Mary’s and call in for a coffee and cake at the artisan The Street Bakeshop.
Shopping: Just two miles from the accommodation lies the town of Basingstoke which has much to offer. Start off with a wander around the shops in the attractive Festival Place mall which contains almost 200 shops with cafes both indoors and spilling out into the square.
Eastrop Park: Located close to Festival Place this park runs alongside the River Loddon, a tributary of the Thames. The park features expansive lawns, a boating lake, paddling pool and Boathouse Cafe.
Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery: Situated at the Top of the Town overlooking the market place in the former Town Hall. Exhibits include room settings of a 1950’s kitchen and the story of George Willis a local clockmaker and former mayor of whom the museum takes its name. There is also detailed information on Jane Austen who lived in the town until the family’s move to Bath in 1801. Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery.
War Memorial Park: located close to the market place this is another attractive park with lawns, mature woodland, a bandstand and an aviary. The park was purchased by public subscription after the First World War to house Basingstoke’s memorial. Previously the gardens were the grounds to Goldings, a Georgian estate which was laid out in the 1780’s.
Milestones Museum: Located a few minutes drive from the hotel stands this wonderful living history museum complete with street scenes, old fashioned shops, heritage trams and vehicles and even a teddy bear museum. The museum brings the past to life as it’s filled with many objects that were either made or used in Hampshire, creating a lasting record of the county’s social, industrial and transport history. Milestones Museum.
The Vyne: located in the village of Sherborne St. John four miles north of Basingstoke. This 16th century house was built for Lord Sandys, Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII. Explore the house and gardens which are set in beautiful countryside and managed by the National Trust. The Vyne.
Bartons Mill is a really lovely inn tucked away down a country lane yet close to the centre of Basingstoke. Tastefully furnished rooms compliment the rustic charm of the pub and on a sunny day I can’t think of anywhere nicer to sit and enjoy a cool drink and a bar snack than in its beer garden. Food is top notch with service to match and I would definitely stay there again when visiting the area.
Bartons Mill, Bartons Lane, Old Basing, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 8AE.
During our stay we were guests of Barton’s Mill and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.
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