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Romantic boltholes

Melissa Barker discovers what The Merry Harriers in Surrey has to offer.

Romantic boltholes: Image 1 The Merry Harriers is a 16th-century inn situated in the picturesque village of Hambledon. Full of character, the pub offers excellent food, local ales and wines, luxury accommodation and llama treks.

Excited to see what makes the hotel such a popular mini-moon destination, my partner and I set off to enjoy a two-night stay.

Romantic boltholes: Image 2 Located opposite The Merry Harriers are five luxury Shepherd Huts. Surrounded by a tranquil pond, benches and beautiful views of the Surrey hills, this is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. Each hut is painted a different colour and boasts a range of luxurious amenities, including an en suite bathroom, a hair dryer, a Nespresso machine, a chess board, a complimentary bottle of house rose wine, a basket of nibbles, a firepit, underfloor heating, a log burner and private parking.

Alternatively, there are 10 bedrooms available, with Egyptian cotton bed linen, down pillows, high-pressure showers and flat-screen televisions.

Breakfast is served in The Merry Harriers, where there is something to suit everyone, from pastries and cereal to a full English. I personally recommend the avocado on toast – yum!

Romantic boltholes: Image 3 I love travelling and have been fortunate enough to see some amazing places over the past few years, but I’ve never experienced anything quite like The Merry Harrier’s Llama Treks.

The herd of 12 llamas live in the paddocks just behind the inn and are truly magnificent creatures. Each have their own quirky personality, especially the two babies, Lucky and Toffee. Of the three trekking options available, we tried the Winter Morning Package. This included a three-hour trek and a two-course lunch at The Merry Harriers.

We were partnered with Louis, an older llama, with a voracious appetite and a wilful personality. It was amazing seeing him and his friends running through the fields and enjoying themselves. Our guide was knowledgeable and more than happy to answer all of our questions and even gave us time to pose and take pictures. Make sure you bring chopped up carrots with you and you’ll have a new best friend for life.

Romantic boltholes: Image 4 Newlyweds can enjoy dinner in the inn. The head chef, Sam Page, brings a wealth of experience and talent to the kitchen, taking pride in using locally-sourced ingredients. During my visit, I tried the prawn cocktail to start and the mushroom risotto for main – both were delicious, and the ideal size to fill me up but leave enough room for what I consider to be the main event: dessert! I finished with a chocolate cake – I have a really sweet tooth, so for me this was the perfect choice. It wasn’t too heavy, and I could have happily eaten more.

What’s more, the bar offers a wide range of local ales, wines and home-pressed ciders. The award-winning Bloody Mary is a must-try! The service was impeccable, and the staff went out of their way to ensure we were enjoying ourselves and had everything we needed.

After such a lovely stay, we were sad to be leaving and are planning to visit again very soon!

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