Pub/Bar of the Month September 2015: The Castle, Edgehill, UK
The Castle, Edgehill, Warwickshire, UK
For anyone with an interest in British history, The Castle at Edgehill has to be on the list of pubs to visit.
Built as a folly by architect Sanderson Miller for his own use in 1742, the brown-stone edifice sits on a natural ridge, offering expansive views over the site of the battle of Edgehill – the first battle of the English Civil War – that raged here 100 years earlier.
Just a few miles off the M40 motorway near Banbury, it is well worth the detour.
The building has been a pub since 1822 and a Hook Norton Brewery house since 1922, although it still looks more like a minor fortress than a village inn, with its crenellated walls and towers, one a copy of a tower at Warwick Castle.
Inside, however, it has been fashioned into a very welcoming hostelry, helped considerably by the complete refurbishment in 2014 that recently earned it two prizes in the CAMRA/English Heritage Pub Design Awards.
The bar area is where you enter. Spacious and curved, it features big, arched windows and flagstoned floors. There's a lovely little one-bench snug over to one side and a big, welcoming hearth on the other.
Off the bar runs a baronial-style lounge, with wood panelling and stripped board floors. Two Chesterfield sofas sit in front of the log burner in the stone fireplace and abbey-style pointed windows look out on to the beautifully-tended, lawned garden, complete with Aunt Sally pitch.
The two rooms at the rear have the best views. Both are used for dining and offer majestic vistas over the historic battlefield, the story of which is explained on a display board in the garden.
The refurbishment has been substantial but particularly well judged. Carpets have been removed, an old staircase exposed and tatty cushioned benches stripped out.
For an old building, the rooms are bright and airy, and the character of the structure has been maintained without resorting to cliché.
Yes, there is a sprinkling of armoury – a sword here, a suit of armour there, the odd cannon ball – but it's all nicely restrained. It's more class than kitsch.
Beer provision, as you would expect, is courtesy of the associated brewery, with three Hook Norton ales on draught, plus Weston's Old Rosie cider.
Food is very prominent here and is clearly fundamental to the trade but for most of us just a pint or two of Hooky taking in those remarkable views in summer, or tucked up inside by the fire in winter, is pleasure enough.
Rooms in the towers with four-poster beds are available if you can't tear yourself away.
The Castle at Edgehill, Edgehill, Warwickshire OX15 6DJ
Tel. (01295) 670255
Opening Hours: 12–11; 12–midnight Friday & Saturday; 12–10 Sunday