Great British boltholes: Inside the cosy country retreat in Shropshire that offers plush rooms and destination dining

  • The Haughmond is located in the sleepy Shropshire village of Upton Magna 
  • Rooms are individually decorated in rich jewel colours with plush faux-fur throws
  • The restaurant offers a six-course tasting menu with wine pairing 

You don’t have to arrive in Upton Magna on two wheels, but you’ll be in good company if you do.

The sleepy Shropshire village is a popular pit-stop on the cycle route between Land’s End and John O’Groats, and the bustling Village Store & Cafe feeds toasties and scones to as many as 300 hungry cyclists a day.

Those who prefer a more leisurely stay head next door to The Haughmond. Like the Village Store, the 17th Century coaching inn is run by chef patron Martin Board and his wife Mel. 

The Haughmond is a 17th Century coaching inn located in Upton Magna

They bought the derelict pub in 2012 and have gradually restored it, building their family home there and adding the shop, a self-catering barn conversion and seven bedrooms above the inn.

There are also two pet-friendly ground-floor rooms named after the family’s Staffordshire bull terriers.

Inside, the decor is inspired by the wild deer that throng nearby Haughmond Hill, The Wrekin peak – a local landmark – and Attingham Park, an 18th Century National Trust property with 200 acres of parkland. 

There are stag portraits, wall-mounted antlers and deer etched everywhere from the menu to the candles on the dinner tables. Sage-green walls, buttery leather armchairs, low whitewashed beams and a whole wall of saddles and stirrups add to the hunting-lodge feel.

Plush: The richly decorated Red Room has sweeping views over The Wrekin from the bed

Yet locals don’t come for cosy pints but slap-up special-occasion dining, courtesy of executive head chef Gareth Howarth. The Haughmond’s restaurant has been Michelin Guide-listed since 2016 and offers a six-course tasting menu with wine pairing alongside a short à la carte menu, using ingredients sourced within 20 miles where possible. 

Even on a Tuesday night, it’s fully booked with well-dressed couples and older families celebrating birthdays and toasting each other with cocktails made of gin distilled in the village vicarage.

It’s worth booking a room for a breakfast with a fine-dining flourish. Before the full English, a chef’s starter plate is an unexpected treat with a curl of smoked salmon on a parmesan pancake, home-made granola layered with fruit and rich Greek yogurt, and a sliver of delicious lemon drizzle cake. 

The decor is inspired by the wild deer that throng nearby Attingham Park, pictured above


The Haughmond, Upton Magna, Shropshire. B&B from £95 per night. For more information visit

Just the thing before a day pottering around the cobbled medieval streets and half-timbered Tudor houses of nearby Shrewsbury, birthplace of Charles Darwin.

USP: Cosy country retreat with destination dining.

The food: Exceptional ingredients beautifully presented. The six-course tasting menu is £55 and includes sirloin beef tartare with egg yolk, charcoal mayonnaise and brioche and a feather-light dark chocolate stout cake with malted milk ice cream, smoked fudge and praline. Note that the restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

The rooms: Individually decorated in rich jewel colours with plush faux-fur throws, oak furniture and feature walls. The Red Room is the largest, with a fireplace and sweeping views over The Wrekin from the bed. Emerald-green Sika in the eaves is the cutest and has French doors and its own Juliet balcony. 

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