Saddle up for an exquisite escape: Inside a ‘quintessentially British’ Berkshire inn that sits in the heart of what is unapologetically horse country
- Andrew Davies stays in The Winning Post inn, which lies near Windsor Castle
- It has ‘cosy nooks’ and there’s an ‘amiable hubbub rising from punters at the bar’
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While The Winning Post inn sits in the heart of what is unapologetically horse country, it’s not the thunder of hooves that has brought us to nearby Kempton Park Racecourse today, but the Sunbury Antiques Market.
There are 700 stalls to ferret among, with everything from ancient jam jars to jewellery, a pair of forbidding stone lions and some post-war Soviet military regalia.
We leave laden with a coat rail and an antique vase, feeling as if we’ve backed a winner.
This part of Berkshire is rich in beauty and history, with Windsor Castle only 12 minutes’ drive away, or, just beyond, Eton and its caped students, looking like characters from Harry Potter.
The annual Royal Windsor Horse Show also takes place nearby, and the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club hosts a number of ferociously competitive matches, if you like the thrill of horses at full pelt.
Andrew Davies stays in The Winning Post inn, which sits in ‘the heart of what is unapologetically horse country’ in Berkshire
The pretty, bucolic Winning Post is housed in an 18th Century building just a five-minute drive from there. It’s quintessentially British with its cosy nooks, wooden and stone floors and an amiable hubbub rising from punters at the bar.
The 12 rooms have recently been renovated, with a nod to equine fans apparent in the historical posters, paintings and pictures capturing the area’s unique heritage.
There was no bath, but our room – No 11 – had a spacious walk-in rain shower with the sort of water pressure that’s joyous if you’re looking to unwind. The room was situated at the front of the building, with its own small terrace.
Cosy corners: ‘It’s quintessentially British with its cosy nooks, wooden and stone floors and an amiable hubbub rising from punters at the bar,’ Andrew says of the inn
The 12 rooms have recently been renovated, with a nod to equine fans apparent in the historical posters, paintings and pictures capturing the area’s unique heritage
Each has been refurbished with Egyptian cotton bed covers and plenty of plump pillows, a Nespresso machine, DAB radio and widescreen TV.
The pub is also pet-friendly for those who would like to bring their dogs along for the ride.
The rich, inventive and hearty portions on the menu will perfectly round off a busy day. For dinner, pan-fried seabass, sauteed new potatoes, a fresh pancetta and samphire salad and a piquant salsa verde hits the spot. Or try the eye-catchingly named Crabacado burger, which combines soft shell tempura crab and guacamole.
The pub is pet-friendly for those who would like to bring their dogs along for the ride
Visitors can go for a walk in nearby Windsor Great Park, enjoying ‘majestic views’ down from the hilltop to Windsor Castle
Double rooms at The Winning Post start at £109
Next morning you’ll be positively fortified by freshly made coffee before tackling the breakfast menu. It covers everything from a splendid locally sourced full English to pancakes stacked high and groaning under the weight of maple syrup and berries.
After this breakfast of champions, a five-mile circular jaunt around peaceful Virginia Water is called for. It’s a gentle, flat circuit, but for those feeling more energetic it branches off to the Deer Park and the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park, providing majestic views down from the hilltop to the King’s castle.
One small warning: the Post has gone cashless, so no Del Boy weekends away with rolls of notes.
Maybe save your cash for the bookies at the racecourse.
The Winning Post, Winkfield, Berkshire. B&B doubles start at £109 (winningpostwinkfield.co.uk).
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