A rustic getaway with flair, Editor Sophie Ritchie spends the night in secluded Surrey tranquility with a night at The Merry Harriers’ luxury shepherd huts
Nestled down a winding country lane in Hambledon awaits The Merry Harriers, a traditional village inn dating back to the 16th century. Outstandingly picturesque, surrounded by rolling hills and swathes of thick Surrey forest, it’s a slice of country paradise from the offset.
Walking across its creaky threshold leaves me feeling like I’ve arrived for a Friday night in medieval times – the wooden beams and lack of phone reception both conjure a feeling of Ye Olde Living.
There’s no reception area either – ‘check-in’ is as rustic as the surroundings. The bartender ticks my name off from a list hidden behind the bar, then proceeds to lead me outside to my abode for the night – one of their five luxury Shepherd Huts nestled in an adjacent field.
It might not be the suavest of welcomes, but there’s a charming quaintness about The Merry Harriers that I love immediately before even turning the key.
Designed to offer guests a luxury take on the glamping experience, the Merry Harriers’ new Shepherd Huts are brightly-coloured cabins with private parking spaces and beautiful views of the surrounding South Downs National Park.
My own is a colourful nest full of chic touches and quirky decor. Rainbow-striped cushions with patterned quilts, llama-themed decor scattered across the space and floral curtains create a cozy and inviting space.
It has a notably hippy feel, as if I could be staying at Woodstock itself. I’m not of course, I’m in Surrey – where the nearest guest is politely reading a newspaper by the very scenic pond.
It’s also very peaceful, which is a good thing because the room isn’t soundproof in the slightest. Occasionally I hear the sounds of cars trundling across gravel or meandering down the lane but really, the only noise is the occasional bird chirp.
Luxury touches complete the shepherd hut experience, with a welcoming bottle of Rosé wine, complimentary nibbles, mini toiletries and the all-time country life essential, a wood burning stove.
For something more traditional, four Inn Rooms and six Garden Rooms back at the main building offer a more classically rural stay.
The Food & Drink
Head Chef Sam Page takes pride in using fresh ingredients, almost all of which are sourced within a 15 mile radius. On the menu, expect traditional pub favourites alongside a number of sharing platters. Dishes range from Godalming Sausages with Mashed Potato to Hake & Chorizo stew.
The Merry Harriers is clearly a favourite haunt for locals as well as guests – on a Friday night, you’ll find the candlelit wooden tables packed with hungry visitors clad in Barbour jackets and Hunter boots.
On the tipple list, try a number of local Real Ales, wines from Surrey vineyards and the Merry Harriers Garden Cider very own home-pressed from Hambledon apples. After all, with accommodation so close, you’re only a short stroll away from a good night’s snooze.
Breakfast is a simple but tasty affair, with buffet-style fruit, yoghurt, cereals and juices. You can also order a la carte if you prefer a heartier start to the day – The Merry Classic, with smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toasted granary bread, is our kind of weekend wakeup call.
What to do
As well as unusual accommodation, seriously unique adventures await at this Surrey hideaway. The first UK pub to do so, The Merry Harriers also boasts a herd of 12 llamas, which reside in large paddocks found just behind the inn.
An adorable way to spend a few hours, llama lovers can embark upon a trek with the fluffy crowd.
Walk through the Surrey Hills alongside your tame four-legged companion, enjoying glorious nature and plenty of Instagram opportunities! On sunnier days, some walks even include picnics with a spread of classic British treats to enjoy.
Three nearby foodie pitstops:
1 Hemingways, Haslemere
Vegan milkshakes and freshly-baked cakes await. hemingwaysofhaslemere.com
2 The Mulberry Inn, Chiddlingfold
Classic country fodder with supercar spotting opportunities. themulberryinn.co.uk
3 Cowdray Cafe, Midhurst
Think sensational produce & home-cooked comforts. cowdray.co.uk
The Wordrobe Verdict
Serene surroundings, adorable animal companions and a taste of scrumptious Surrey life – what’s not to love?
Ideal for a UK getaway with flair, book a shepherd’s hut at The Merry Harriers for a glamping experience with a rustic luxury edge.
Make it happen
Where: The Merry Harriers, Hambledon Road, Godalming GU8 4DR.
Nearest train station: Godalming via London Waterloo.
How: Visit merryharriers.com or phone 01428 682883 to make a booking.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, editor